Jordan Warns Audi Will Be Fighting 'Uphill Battle' In F1

by Adam OndrikThursday, 08 February 2024 at 08:00
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According to former F1 team owner Eddie Jordan, Audi - which will enter the sport in 2026, will be fighting an uphill battle.
Audi will join Formula 1 in 2026 as it will take over the team we know as Sauber/ Stake. The promise is that they will develop their own power units and could, therefore, challenge the best of the teams on the grid, like Red Bull, Mercedes, or Ferrari.
However, the former F1 team owner Eddie Jordan warns it won't be as straightforward as many expect. He said on the Formula for Success podcast:

"Everyone thought that Toyota, with all the money and with all the expertise and everything that they could do, and that Honda had pulled out, so therefore, there was a clear path for them."

Toyota entered the sport in 2002. As Jordan said, it was a great promise, but the team struggled a lot, and the best result the team could achieve during the following eight seasons was fourth place in the Constructors' Championship.

"They were shocking, miserable. It was a real poor effort that Toyota did in Formula 1, and they scurried well out of it and they haven’t come back. The same, you could say, happened with BMW."

BMW is another major car manufacturing brand that tried its luck in F1. The team partnered with Sauber for four seasons between 2006 and 2009. Though it was more successful than Toyota, it only won a single Grand Prix.

"But I would have thought that BMW and Toyota would come in with a huge bang. So therefore, you’re assuming that Audi are going to come back, just because they’ve won some various things in Le Mans and stuff like that."

Audi has succeeded in other racing series, such as the WRC (World Rally Championship) and the WEC (World Endurance Championship). This suggests that the manufacturer is serious about racing.
On the other hand, Formula 1 is like no other series. Success anywhere doesn't guarantee anything for Audi once it enters F1. Jordan asserted it would be at least five years before the German manufacturer becomes competitive.

"But I don’t care what anyone says, it’s a five-year plan to get Audi to even get close to winning a race, and I don’t care what driver they have in it."

Even the technical director of Sauber, James Key, who plays a major role in the team's transition to Audi lately, tried to temper the expectations, saying the team won't be the "full product" until at least 2027. Former F1 team owner added:

"There’s a massive learning curve. I learned that, I realised how tough it was and I think that Audi, despite all the money that they’ve got, they have an uphill battle."