“For instance, the implementation of e-fuels” – The Volkswagen Group could finally make its entry into F1 with either their Porsche or Audi brands.
Speaking to BBC Sport, Porsche Motorsport vice-president Fritz Enzinger confirmed their interest in re-entering F1. Porsche was a works team decades ago, and also guided McLaren to 25 race victories. 19 went to 1985 and 1986 World Champion Alain Prost, and 6 to 1984 Champion Niki Lauda. Porsche is the largest manufacturer of race cars in the world.
“It would be of great interest if aspects of sustainability – for instance, the implementation of e-fuels – play a role in this. Should these aspects be confirmed, we will evaluate them in detail within the VW Group and discuss further steps.”
F1 – Volkswagen considera entrar na Fórmula 1 com Porsche ou Audi – https://t.co/9nVVURczbh
— Autoracing (@adautoracing) March 3, 2021
What are e-fuels, the future of Formula 1?
E-fuels are carbon-neutral fuels that that powers ICEs without harming the environment, unlike fossil fuels. The ones being considered are bio-fuels (made from bio-mass) and synthetic fuels (made as part of an industrial process).
As part of the new regulations, F1 are committed to making e-fuels a key element from the 2025 season. Enzinger confirmed their interest, though it remains to be seen if Volkswagen would prefer entering in 2025 or before that.
“Porsche and Volkswagen AG are observing the constantly changing regulations in all relevant racing series around the world. This is also the case with regard to the emerging new engine and drivetrain regulation for Formula 1 from 2025.”
What are the ways in which Volkswagen could enter Formula 1?
The most likely possibility is via their Porsche or Audi brands. Porsche has been a successful OEM (original equipment manufacturer) in F1 in the past but hasn’t done too well as an independent entity.
As per sources, the Volkswagen Group (VAG) has had exploratory talks with Red Bull, McLaren, and Williams.
McLaren seems like an obvious choice at face value but just made the switch to Mercedes from Renault. Their team principal Andreas Seidl – previously head of Porsche motorsport – could help them gain entry after McLaren’s new Mercedes contract terminates.
Williams could be a potential partner too, for a number of reasons. Firstly, their current partners Mercedes have four partners now, including their own works team. This, according to various sources, has already compelled the British team to have talks with the French Renault.
Secondly, with the management change to Dorilton Capital, and onboarding of Jenson Button as an advisor, Williams is keen to return back to the top, and a new engine partner could assist them with that.
Meanwhile, for Red Bull, this makes the most sense, as they would be without an OEM at the end of 2021. The exit of Honda has allowed Red Bull to look for a partner after they declined Renault. Until then, they will continue to use the Honda engines under the name of Red Bull Powertrains Limited. Team boss Christian Horner addressed this, clearly opening an opportunity for a tasty collaboration between Porsche and Red Bull.
“If an exciting partner comes along, then of course it makes sense to look at it very seriously, whether it be an OEM or another type of partner.”