To support the development of its power unit for Formula 1, Audi has signed a simulator pilot – Swiss pro racing driver Neel Jani. Alongside this, an update of the dynamic driving simulator is being run at the company’s Neuburg site to enable testing of the hybrid powertrain.
“Just like in production development, simulation plays a major role in our Formula 1 project. Our simulator is an important tool for the power unit development. It requires a development driver who, in addition to a grasp of technology, brings versatile experience to the project, especially in terms of energy management in racing conditions,” said Oliver Hoffmann, member of the board of management for technical development of Audi.
As a former test and reserve driver at Red Bull Racing, Jani has spent many hours in a F1 simulator. As a race driver in endurance racing, he also has valuable experience in a hybrid race car. “I am delighted to accompany Audi on their way into Formula 1,” he said. “It is both an honor and a great responsibility to be involved in a project of this magnitude at an early stage. I am sure that with my experience from Formula 1 and LMP projects I can forge good links between theory and practice.”
Since the end of 2022, Audi has been assessing a one-cylinder engine as part of the development of the power unit, which, according to the company, has been providing valuable data. The continuing concept phase is laying the performance-related groundwork of the power unit for 2026 when the new regulations provide for increasing electrification. The first hybrid powerplant, consisting of the ICE, electric motor, battery and control electronics, will be run on the dyno before the end of the year and will provide the basis for the future vehicle concept.
“At the moment, we are mainly focused on fundamental concept questions with high relevance to performance. However, in evaluating various technical solutions we rely not only on digital methods. Know-how, experience and practically relevant development are indispensable elements of drawing the right conclusions from the simulation. With that combination, we can assess various operating strategies at an early stage and pave the way for efficient energy management of the power unit,” said Adam Baker, CEO of Audi Formula Racing.