Audi is preparing to enter Formula 1 in the best possible way. Since this year, the Ingolstad manufacturer has been working intensively on its power unit, and over 300 people are studying the car that will take to the grid in the 2026 Formula 1 championship.
Thanks to a substantial budget of around $200 million, the German team is courting and hiring more and more prominent figures from the current F1 paddock, including Andreas Seidl, who will be the CEO, and James Key, who will become the technical director.
According to an article published by the British monthly F1 Business Magazine, and reported by thesportrush.com, former Scuderia Ferrari team principal Mattia Binotto has also received a rather tempting offer. It is said that the Italian engineer was offered $20 million to join the Audi group as the team principal.
However, the Italian declined the proposal after speaking with the executives of the German team and touring the headquarters in Neuburg. The reason is said to be that the Emilian engineer was not impressed by the facility where he would have worked, as it did not meet the standards he was accustomed to at Ferrari. Furthermore, even the managers reportedly failed to capture his attention, to the extent that, according to the rumors published by the newspaper, he referred to them as “clowns” in some private messages. “He has privately told friends that some of the people at Neuburg an der Donau are clowns,” the magazine reports.
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These are pieces of information that have no other official confirmation, but if true, the fact that a person of great experience like Mattia Binotto has declined an offer from Audi raises some questions about the real conditions of the team and the direction it is heading. In any case, it is still too early to speculate on the performance and potential results of the German team, whether it will be as successful as its rival Mercedes or if it will fail, as other financially strong constructors have done in the past.