Volkswagen Group set to agree Formula 1 venture next week with Audi and Porsche brands



Volkswagen Group will make an announcement about its plans to enter Formula 1 from 2026 next week, according to a report from Business Insider.

The German car manufacturer has been weighing up a move to enter Formula 1 over the past few years and its representatives attended a roundtable meeting at the Austrian Grand Prix last year in order to discuss plans for the next generation of F1 engines with the FIA, current teams and management.

Formula 1 has homologated its engines this year, meaning that each manufacturer’s design cannot be altered from now until the end of the current agreement in 2026, when a new era of engine design will begin. Each new era brings with it interest from external parties and the growth of Formula 1’s popularity internationally, thanks in no small part to the success of the behind-the-scenes Netflix series Drive to Surviveappears to have caught the attention of Volkswagen.

The report suggests that a final meeting of the VW Group board will take place next week in order to settle on a strategy to move forward with. “We will hopefully be able to communicate our intention to enter into Formula 1 then,” one source told Business Insiderwhile another added that there is a “good chance” of a positive outcome.

Whether the Group would enter Formula 1 merely as an engine manufacturer or with one or two full-blown teams is unclear at this point, but with a reported operating profit of 2.5 billion Euros in 2021, the company would certainly have the capital to launch a squad if it wishes to do so.

Rumors swirled last year that the firm had made an offer to purchase the McLaren team in order to re-brand it as an Audi outfit from 2026 onwards, but McLaren CEO Zak Brown spoke only of discussions about a possible engine partnership in public. Brown says that his understanding of him is that the company will enter F1 by using its Porsche brand as an engine supplier for Red Bull and its sister team AlphaTauri.

“They’ve spoken with a handful of people on the grid, and we had conversations,” Brown told reporters in January. “I am hearing they are going to do something with Red Bull on the Porsche front,” he added.

“As you would imagine we have had conversations but in the short term and medium term we’re very happy where we are,” he said, referring to the team’s current deal with engine supplier Mercedes. “So we are just going to wait and see are they going to come into the sport, because that’s not been definitively decided. If they do, we have a contract through this term and naturally we’re going to evaluate where we are and take a decision on what we do in 2026 in due course.”

After Honda’s withdrawal from F1 at the end of the 2021 season, Red Bull took over the maintenance of their own engines via the creation of a new entity called Red Bull Powertrains. They joined the existing F1 engine manufacturers Mercedes, Ferrari, and Renault as the fourth supplier on the grid.

The third round of the current Formula 1 season takes place at Albert Park in Melbourne, Australia on the weekend of 8 April.


www.independent.co.uk

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George Holan

George Holan is chief editor at Plainsmen Post and has articles published in many notable publications in the last decade.

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