Audi's F1 programme is “on the right road”, and the upcoming departure of its CEO ‘changes nothing'.
In mid-April, outgoing CEO Markus Duesmann used the Auto Shanghai event in China to announce the manufacturer's first full hybrid F1 power unit was scheduled to run on a test bench before the end of the year.
Just over two months later, Audi confirmed Duessman is to be replaced as CEO by the Volkswagen Group's head of product and strategy, Gernot Döllner, from September 1.
Duesmann's exit is understood to relate to the fact Audi has fallen behind major road car rivals Mercedes and BMW with regard to its electrification programme.
Additionally, there have also been strong suggestions Audi is not as far advanced as it should be with its F1 PU at this stage.
Providing an update on the situation from the team's perspective, and with the clock ticking on Audi's entry into F1, Alunni Bravi jokingly stated initially: “First of all, I'm happy to hear that the Audi project is behind the shadow.
“We don't have this kind of information. It's always difficult for external people to understand what is the status of development of such an important programme like a new PU manufacturer entering Formula 1.”
With regard to the developments from Sauber's side, he added: “Concerning our programme, the programme is on the right road.
“We are working hard to develop the team over these next two seasons. We know there are constraints linked to the financial regulations.
“But, with Andreas Seid (Sauber Motorsport CEO), we are addressing all our weaknesses and trying to seek the best opportunities in the market to bring quality into our team and to develop our facilities.
“So there is no change for us, nor for Audi. Audi's project is based, not on a single individual, but all the company.
“We work as a team, all together, to be ready for 2026. This doesn't mean the challenge is easy. We have such strong competitors, so we need to be really humble, and to work on a daily basis at our best because the competition is extremely high for everybody.
“Especially on the PU manufacturer side, the competition in 2026 will be really, really strong, so we just need to be focused on our job.”
With regard to Duesmann's departure, he concluded: “Nothing changes with the departure of Mr Duesmann.”