Audi sign Neel Jani as F1 power unit simulator driver

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Audi has signed the highly experienced Neel Jani as a simulator driver to spearhead the development of their F1 power unit before joining the series in 2026.

The 39-year-old’s wealth of experience across a vast array of championships will help the German company the power unit ahead of their F1 debut.

The former Red Bull F1 test driver is eagerly anticipating starting work with Audi: “I am delighted to accompany Audi on their way into Formula 1.

“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,” says the Swiss.

Formula 1’s newest arrival announced their participation in F1 at last year’s Belgian Grand Prix and have been testing a one-cylinder engine since 2022.

2026 sees groundbreaking engine regulations in F1 with the removal of the expensive MGU-H and triple the electrical power of the current power units.

The Neuberg-based company are planning to run their first F1 hybrid power unit on a dyno later this year and have a critical impact on on future vehicle concept.

CEO of Audi Formula Racing GmbH Adam Baker explained that the team are focusing on performance and efficiency. They are also using a vast array of methods to maximise their potential.

“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.”

Oliver Hoffmann added that the simulator plays a vital role in F1 and it needs an experienced driver to help extract the project’s potential.

“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,” says Hoffmann, Member of the Board of Management for Technical Development of AUDI AG.