Alfa Romeo has quashed rumours of Audi pulling out of its Formula 1 project, stating the German manufacturer “has a strong commitment” to the sport.

It has been over a year since Audi announced it would join the Formula 1 grid in 2026, which will see them acquire the Sauber squad, currently run under the guise of Alfa Romeo.

However, Audi’s consistent silence on its F1 project has fuelled rumours that its plans are behind schedule, with those rumours escalating in recent times.

However, Alfa Romeo Team Representative Alessandro Alunni Bravi was keen to clarify the situation in the Sao Paulo Grand Prix Friday press conference.

“The commitment is there,” he said. “This commitment comes from a decision not only of the board of Audi but also the advisory board of Audi and the Supervisory Board of Audi/Volkswagen. 

“Why there is a lack of communication is simple. We are Alfa Romeo F1 Team Stake.

“So until the end of the year, we have certain limitations in communicating about the team, about the future, about the involvement of Audi, and we fully respect Alfa Romeo for this and we don’t want to make any kind of announcement or more than what is strictly related to the race and the Championship.”

Upon the conclusion of the 2023 season, Alfa Romeo will part ways with Sauber, with the team returning to the original name in which it first participated in 1993.

That leaves two years (2024 and 2025) for Sauber to prepare for Audi’s full-scale takeover in 2026.

“We are working hard to develop the structure of the team,” Alunni Bravi added.

“We have a strong recruitment plan in place. James Key [Technical Director] is one, but we have on a weekly basis new appointments.

“And it’s not a matter of, you know, the involvement of Audi in financing the team or sustaining this development process.

“We have two owners, you know, two shareholders, there is a governance in place according to the different stages of the transaction that will be completed ahead of the 2026 season and so we are proceeding with the investment plan, with everything, in accordance with the governance that has been agreed.”

Alunni Bravi states Audi remains committed to F1 – Photo: XPB Images

Whilst Sauber’s long-term picture continues to slowly unfold, the short-term sees the team languishing toward the bottom of the Constructors’ Championship table.

Alfa Romeo sits ninth in the standings on 16 points, four ahead of the last-placed Haas and five behind eighth-placed AlphaTauri.

With just two Grands Prix remaining in 2023, Alfa looks more than unlikely to match the 55-point tally it achieved in 2022 – that saw the team finish sixth in the table.

The slip down the pecking order has prompted a rethink for 2024, meaning the C44 will, in Alunni Bravi’s words, “not be an evolution of this year’s car”.

Instead, Key, who returned to the team he worked with between 2010-12 in September, will oversee a “completely new car from chassis to suspension“.

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