Mercedes’ Toto Wolff and Hywel Thomas react to Audi’s F1 entry

© Sebastian Kawka for Mercedes-Benz Grand Prix ltd.

Mercedes team boss Toto Wolff and engine boss Hywel Thomas give their first comments on Audi’s entry into Formula 1 in 2026.

Yesterday Audi officially announced they will enter Fromula 1 in 2026 with their own power unit. In addition, Volkswagen Group brand Porsche also intends to enter the sport by buying into Red Bull, but it is yet to be officially confirmed.

Ahead of the Belgian Grand Prix, Mercedes team boss Toto Wolff gave his comments on the two prominent German brands entering the sport.

“It’s great,” the Austrian said when asked about Audi’s arrival.

“I think when you see who has joined F1 in terms of automotive companies, and the very best brands in their sector outside of automotive, it shows the strength of the sport.

“And it’s great for the sport, great for us to have some of the best auto companies in the world as competitors.

“F1 is the toughest sports competition for any automobile company in the world. It has been, and it’s just going to get tougher with these guys coming.”

Wolff also commented on different approaches the two brands took when entering the sport.

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“I think you’re just hedging your bets, because one is your fully integrated works team in Switzerland, and the other one is joining in with one of the best F1 teams in the world.

“It’s a dual track strategy which make sense to me,” he concluded.

Mercedes High Performance Powertrains managing director Hywel Thomas was also asked to comment on Audi’s entry.

“It’s clearly very exciting and there was a large part of the regulation discussion that was about ensuring that we did have a set of regulations that did knock down some of those barriers to entry,” Thomas said.

“So, it’s fantastic to have got to the end of that process and have realised that we have knocked down those barriers so we can get some new entrants and of course, we will look forward with great excitement to competing against them.

“They’re going to be formidable characters and they’re going to be a formidable team for us to compete with, and that’s what we look forward to in any competition,” he concluded.

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