Audi and Porsche recently held negotiations with McLaren and Red bull respectively to revamp the Formula 1 grid from 2026.
Mercedes will have a competition for the constructor’s championship as it looks like Volkswagen subsidiaries Audi and Porsche will probably enter Formula 1.
By 2026, Formula 1 will become semi-electric and CO2-neutral. The VW subsidiaries aligning with the vision of sustainability will enter the sport with their own racing teams.
Audi is reportedly on the verge of submitting a purchase offer to McLaren CEO Paul Walsh. Audi and Porsche held preliminary talks with only a few teams. In the meantime, negotiations are well underway with the McLaren and Red Bull racing teams.
The VW Group’s supervisory board will have to approve the deal, which is expected to happen by the end of February. F1 CEO Stefano Domenicali also wants to sign lucrative TV marketing deals.
Negotiations with McLaren and Red Bull
Audi and Porsche want to work together to build the Formula 1 powertrain, but each wants to market it under their own name to other Formula 1 teams. Both are concerned about the new rules, which will go into force in 2026.
Audi is having an easier negotiation with McLaren as Duesmann knows the McLaren team principal, Andreas Seidl, well from their time together in Formula 1 with the former BMW Sauber team.
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— McLaren (@McLarenF1) January 12, 2022
For Porsche CEO Oliver Blume, things are much more challenging. Red Bull is full of self-assurance, owing in part to Max Verstappen’s world championship victory. Porsche wants to be able to enter as a racing team or simply as an engine provider, as Honda did recently.
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It’s no secret that Volkswagen CEO Herbert Diess is in favour of the entry. He had already drawn a line in the sand when he lauded Formula 1 on Linkedin in the summer of 2020 while criticizing Formula E, which is aimed toward pure electric propulsion and is unpopular with fans.
“Formula 1 will become CO2 neutral by using synthetic fuels,” he wrote at the time. “It’s much more exciting, fun, more racing, and a better technical competition than Formula E, which does a few laps in game mode in city centres.”
Last year, the Group and Formula 1 had moved closer together in December. Audi had written a letter to the FIA.
In it, Duesmann and his head of development Oliver Hoffmann called the new engine rules a fair compromise that takes into account the interests of already committed Formula 1 participants as well as potential newcomers.