The Volkswagen Group is inching closer to committing two of its brands to participate in Formula 1 after the proposals were discussed at a board meeting yesterday.
VW Group is considering whether to move into the series with Porcshe, which it describes as its ‘Sport’ brand, and Audi, one of its four ‘Premium’ marques.
A group spokesperson confirmed the two brands are planning a potential participation in the championship, which was discussed at a supervisory board meeting yesterday.
VW Group, one of the world’s leading car manufacturers, is understood to be awaiting clarification of F1’s future rules before committing. These are expected to include a revised hybrid with no MGU-H and a more powerful MGU-K.
The FIA also said last year it intends to “make it possible for [newcomers] to join the sport at a competitive level” when the new rules are introduced.
Porsche is believed to be pursuing a tie-up with Red Bull, whose previous engine supplier Honda withdrew from the series at the end of last year.
“I think it’s very exciting and it’s very important for Formula 1 as well,” said Max Verstappen. “Of course we have 10 great teams, but also to have really big brands behind it is really nice, to see that commitment so I’m looking forward to what the future will bring to the teams.”
Audi has been linked to a buy-in to McLaren, but has also been mentioned in conjunction with other teams.
“Us and Red Bull… are the teams who seem to be involved at the minute,” said Lando Norris. “I’ve got nothing to say, to be honest, it’s a question for Andreas and the team more than it is for myself.
“But of course, if there’s more big manufacturers as a whole, then it’s only a good thing for Formula 1.”
Lewis Hamilton believes it is an open secret that the manufacturers will come into the sport. “I knew about it a long time ago already,” he said.
“I think it’s great that we’re going to get new manufacturers within the sport, especially as you see there are a lot of teams that have the potential to be top teams, but are our customer teams and so I think it’s going to be great moving forward and so we welcome them in.”
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46 comments on “Porsche and Audi move closer to F1 commitment after meeting”
8th April 2022, 11:31
It is a bit odd for one company to be entering 2 subsidiaries to potentially be competing. Could end up enhancing one brand while damaging another. Or perhaps F1 is moving much more to a scenario where marketing exposure from participation is worth way more than any sporting success that comes from it.
Keith Collantine (@keithcollantine)
8th April 2022, 11:36
@gabf1 They do have previous form for this, however: Both brands competed against each other in Formula E and the World Endurance Championship.
8th April 2022, 11:46
…and both withdrew from those series pretty hastily, leaving a big hole in the WEC in particular. Is that what F1 really needs? An ever-present threat of another mass exit like BMW, Toyota and Honda in 2008. Especially if they’re not contributing any new teams, merely sticking their brand on long-established entities like McLaren or Red Bull Powertrains.
8th April 2022, 11:48
That exactly is why the probably want 2 brands to join together. They could have some cost efficiencies at the back end and also have higher bargaining power with FIA and the FOM.
8th April 2022, 15:56
Certainly both brands compete for consumers dollars when you can drive up to a car dealership superstore setting and see an Audi dealership right next door to a Porsche dealership. With a VW dealership right around the corner lol. Not sure how much VW Group cares where you spend your money as long as it is with one of the aforementioned three.
8th April 2022, 18:00
All three have different target customers. There is some overlap, but not too much.
9th April 2022, 3:12
@f1mre it’s mostly differentiated by income, though, if we’re being brutally honest.
8th April 2022, 11:32
The announcement is schedule to happen just after the confirmation of that NY GP we,ve being hearing for decades.
8th April 2022, 11:47
So red bull Power trains switches from being white label Honda to white label Porsche?
That’s a bit of a downer. I thought red bull will build its own engines and we will get 2 new names – total 6.
Now it is just total 5.
Sonny Crockett (@sonnycrockett)
8th April 2022, 12:41
At least they’re not branded ‘Tag Heuer’.
Chris Lloyd (@chrisr1718)
8th April 2022, 16:10
or worse, Mecachrome
8th April 2022, 14:17
Sumedh I’m not convinced what you suggest will be the case, because Horner has spoken of them ideally being independent of any pu maker for 2026. He did say they would do their due diligence if a potential partnership arose that would suit them, but I got the impression that they did not want to depend on anyone.
So of course I could be wrong and we’ll just have to wait for the official announcements, but imho for now I think it will be a major partnership of VW Group with McLaren via Audi, and if Porsche is involved with RBR I think it will just be on more of a fringe basis. I don’t envision Porsche making pus for RBR, and certainly not on a customer basis. But assisting with knowledge and technology? Sure I can see that.
8th April 2022, 18:53
I’m sure VW would like to get both inside information on the Mercedes powertrains as well as get their hands on Honda intellectual property, although on paper that might now be Red Bull’s.
I can very well imagine though, and Honda would have been wise to do so, that the deal Red Bull made with Honda -on said paper- states that their technology can not go to other manufacturers within x years. But what number would the ‘x’ be? Then there’s also the idea that the Red Bull – Honda deal is one that leaves the door open for Honda to come back again. That would be a move to omit budget cap issues, as those are currently not applicable to Honda. With VW getting into it however, I suppose that door would be shut.
Well, who knows, we’ll see.
I’d prefer to see new teams added, instead of take-overs.
And also, personally, I’ve never been very fond of the ‘Volkswagen’ group, it’s origins and it’s car brands. But then, I’m no real fan of any of the German car makers. To me they always seem to lack a certain sense of style.
8th April 2022, 20:29
Yeah fair comment. And my understanding is that Honda stills owns their IP.
8th April 2022, 11:56
I’m personally hoping for them to field two new teams. More seats, more space for young drivers, maybe even give some of their former LMP1 or GT3 drivers a reward shot at F1.
Steven Robertson (@emu55)
8th April 2022, 12:17
With Andreas Seidl at McLaren, merging with Porsche would make more sense, and red bull getting Audi
8th April 2022, 12:49
It’s probably that way round as McLaren Automotive competes with Porsche at the higher end of the Porsche portfolio. Audi already have Lamborghini as a subsidiary which you could argue is also a McLaren competitor with the Bugatti brand sitting under the parent VW Group. It’s probably most likely due to the nature of how the brands want to be involved with the respective teams, rather than the personnel in the teams per se.
8th April 2022, 12:22
So in short, they’re thinking about it but won’t commit until the new PU regs are decided.
I just see it as them making some marketing mileage while they can and then withdrawing their interest once they actually have to commit.
8th April 2022, 14:21
@dbradock I think this time it seems to actually be happening and they just want the pu regs for 2026 officially set in stone to ensure F1 doesn’t withdraw from the pu concept they have seemed to all have agreed on is the way to go for 2026.
8th April 2022, 18:57
The same stone the FIA generally sets their regulations in?
8th April 2022, 20:26
Lol point taken but no I would think when it comes to the specs of the 2026 pu they will have to lay out precise rules and regs and yes write those in stone so makers can start planning well in advance of 2026, just as happened ahead of 2014.
9th April 2022, 4:18
Audi/Porsche/VAG have been @ F1 PU meetings since 2015.
When Porsche left WEC, they built a F1 PU & actually dynoed it.
As world #2 auto-maker, who shares many parts within the group, VAG clearly has an agenda for F1 as R&D.
As an Audi owning revhead, IMHO, Porsche in F1 is a no-brainer. Audi ???????
Trivia: Google “Porsche invests $100 million in synthetic fuels to save the ICE“
8th April 2022, 12:28
I might be wrong but given VW group history of not committing to F1 for obvious reasons I still have a feeling that they might withdraw in the last possible moment. Not committing until the PU regs are finalized is a sign that they want to have some kind of advantage within the new rules. They have already lobbied to get the MGU-H removed which is apparently not enough…
Sonny Crockett (@sonnycrockett)
8th April 2022, 12:44
I’m all for them joining the party, just as long as McLaren’s history isn’t trashed in the process.
I’d have no problem with McLaren-Audi and a merging of the best of both marques. I’d have a big problem with them racing solely as Audi with little or no reference to the great team they’ve bought into.
8th April 2022, 13:18
@sonnycrockett completely with you on this! This is my biggest concern, it would be a step backwards for F1 if they gained audi/porche and lost mclaren. If be much happier if they entered a new team possibly with an engine partnership with red bull?
8th April 2022, 13:45
@sonnycrockett Agree with this as well
8th April 2022, 14:11
@sonnycrockett McLaren is an iconic brand I don’t think VW would consider removing the name but instead use it as a showcase for new tech. It may well replace Bugatti as their supercar brand.
8th April 2022, 14:23
@johnrkh Yeah I too do not envision VW or Audi ‘cancelling the Mac culture’ if you will.
8th April 2022, 12:49
Which ever brand joins ORBR is no help to F1, IMHO. ORBR have built, equipped and staffed their facility. They should follow through and commit fully.
Alec Glen (@alec-glen)
8th April 2022, 13:23
Any chance we’ll only be getting a VW engine, provided to RB and McLaren under the Porsche and Audi brands specifically?
8th April 2022, 13:51
So funny, McAudi and RedPorschbull.
In my silly understanding of the world every team should be backed by a car brand.
It makes little sense for McLaren, they are a car brand.
8th April 2022, 14:03
@jureo I would think it would include an engine deal to supply McLaren road cars with Audi engines.
8th April 2022, 19:21
Don’t know if it’s a silly understanding.
Back in the old days, it (each team backed up by a manufacturer) wasn’t so, with many privateers and teams designing and building cars for the sole purpose of racing in them. You can still see that in the fact that the championship is still also a constructor’s championship as well as a driver’s.
Over the years though, the -regular- car manufacturers have taken over.
They sell many more cars than the supercar brands and certainly more than any privateer race team, thus they have more money to spend and they’ve found that motorsports is a great way to market their products even further. But they come and go as they see fit, as they’re just in it for the money, and nothing else. Unfortunately, doing so, they leave a host of dead teams behind.
And that’s the aspect of this change that I don’t actually like.
Of course they’ll tell you it’s there, but in reality the real, dedicated passion for just racing is gradually lost to commercial gain.
But then, that’s just my understanding of the F1 world, as a ‘not so new fan of anyone in particular’.
Luke S (@joeypropane)
8th April 2022, 14:10
I wonder if VAG entering F1, while Mercedes are on the back foot, will be seen as an opening for BMW to return? They’d be well left out of the “Pinnacle of motorsports” as the last of the “big 3” German manufactures, but it would also be just about the best time to return and not be at risk of being bottom of the pecking order?
9th April 2022, 3:16
I am so tired it took me three times trying to figure out that you meant the Volkswagen Auto Group.
Mark Thomson (@melthom)
8th April 2022, 14:32
And what will the V6 hybrid turbo be replaced with? Porsche and Audi are just interested in electric cars, right?
8th April 2022, 14:39
I’ve been very sceptical of VW entering F1 in the past on the grounds that a major manufacturer will not commit unless they get something out of it. Apparentlly the MGU-H is on the chopping block which was a VW “request” but I believe Mercedes and Ferrari are happy to see it go as well. The other thing is mandating the use of sustainable fuel which is also looking probable.
So I suppose the next question is how long will they stay, taking into account that F1 is primarily a promotional tool for these organizations. They do pass on developments to Rd use such as Mercs electric turbo. But those things don’t need to be developed in F1.
F1 is or will be 100% owned and controlled by the major manufacturers.
8th April 2022, 14:48
Given Porsche’s investment in synthetic fuels it wouldn’t surprise me if they are using that as their bargaining chip. Like you said, MGU-H has fallen out of favour with multiple PU suppliers (which strikes me as odd given its advantages) so what else could they be holding out on if not fuel specification?
8th April 2022, 15:51
Let’s not forget one of the things (and it’s huge) VW Group will ‘get out of it’ is the global marketing impact from being in F1. And yeah it sounds to me like Brawn and all the teams were already on board with getting rid of the MGU-H for the cost and complexity savings, and so that pus from 2026 will be a bit more plug and play for customers ie. from 2026 it might be a bit less crucial that you be an in-house works factory team as a necessary ingredient like it has been since 2014 and will be through 2025, not that after that it will hurt to be factory works.
I don’t think VW Group are necessarily ‘holding out’ based on the fuel spec, but rather just need to see it formalized by F1 officially so that VW Group is guaranteed that what they are signing up for will come to fruition for 2026. I mean, we certainly have been told that this entry by VW Group is going to happen but for the formalities, so I think that if they had doubts about anything there would still be those kinds of technical meetings going on. As to asking ‘how long will they stay?’ that to me is premature as perhaps they don’t know that right now themselves. Let’s just get them in F1 first and take it from there.
8th April 2022, 21:06
@robbie they are still holding technical working groups for the 2026 regulations as, contrary to what you think, the 2026 regulation package does not actually exist yet.
What the FIA passed late last year was a framework that would be used to develop a technical submission to the World Motorsport Council some time in 2022, which would then form the basis for the 2026 regulation package. To that end, Audi itself has explicitly stated that “the new regulations for 2026 and subsequent years are not yet available” and have stated that they are waiting for those regulations to be released first.
8th April 2022, 14:44
Given MGU-H is out of the picture (seems to be a sticking point with most PU manufacturers) I am curious to see how turbo lag is addressed in the new spec.
8th April 2022, 15:50
By using electric energy more.
8th April 2022, 16:48
The Dolphins Over the last few years I have not at all gleaned from anything we have read or heard that the removal of MGU-H has been a sticking point. Seems to me like they all have agreed from the start of discussions surrounding 2026 onward that they need to get less complex and less expensive pus out there, and removing the H would be the perfect way to do that. But with more emphasis on K. And on synthetic fuel.
8th April 2022, 21:50
I can’t tell anymore if that’s a real photograph or a game screenshot. Amazing how pc graphics have advanced.
9th April 2022, 1:41
Can Andretti get in on the fun? Maybe the good folks at Audi/Porsche will hire them to run the whole deal.
9th April 2022, 3:03
Makes sense given how F1’s popularity has absolutely exploded and the whole point of this is for PR ultimately. We have better cars now, and a “cast” of characters and talents that ensure F1 isn’t going to be receding back anytime soon. Perfect time for some big brands to get in on the fun, more so than anytime since the 90’s.
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