As Audio prepare for their Formula 1 program, they announced today that they’ve hired Neel Jani to do simulation work for their new F1 engine program.
Jani, who won the 2016 World Endurance Championship in a Porsche 919 EVO, said: “I am delighted to accompany Audi on their way into Formula 1.
“It is both an honour 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.”
Audi have a long history of success in their sports car racing program and one thing is usually standard operating procedure for them…it’s their show, their car, their team and their drivers.
In sports car racing, a manufacturer program typically brings drivers who work for the manufacturers. A team such as Joest or even Heart of Racing benefit from the relationship they have with the manufacturer and the stable of very good drivers these manufacturers have.
The reason I mention this is because I am not feeling positive about Valtteri Bottas or Zho Guanyu retaining their seats the close Audi’s involvement becomes with the Sauber team they bought in to.
I am happy for Neel but I suspect, and it wouldn’t surprise me, to find two Audi drivers in the seats when Audi officially hits the asphalt in 2026. If they keep Valtteri, it will be to retain the consistency but let’s wait and see what they do. Another thought is, will new-hire James Key have any influence on who they pick as their drivers?