Volkswagen is rumored to be reviving its long-held interest in Formula 1 by greenlighting Audi and Porche’s involvement in the sport.
An announcement from the Volkswagen Group regarding an entry into Formula 1 is expected to be imminent after a top-level meeting that is scheduled for the next week.
According to reports, Audi will make an outright offer to purchase the McLaren team set to be around 500 million euros ($556.30 million) while Porsche intends to establish a long-term deal with current driver championship holders Red Bull, having already teamed up in the world rally championship.
Rumors of Volkswagen’s potential entry into the F1 scene have circulated for years, but have gathered momentum in recent months with the sport set to take a new direction in terms of budget caps and a planned change in engine formula from 2026.
Last December, a letter was sent by Audi CEO Markus Duesmann and Oliver Hoffmann from the brand’s Board of Management to former FIA President Jean Todt. This letter indicated that Audi were ready to put pen to paper on a potential F1 entry in light of the “Regulation Framework Issue 6” being passed by the council.
This framework refers to the power unit regulations, which have been outlined with the aim of using 100 percent sustainable fuels, and a shift of focus to more electrical power.
Volkswagen’s ultimate decision will rest on whether Formula One follows through with its plans and switches to synthetic fuels by 2026 and on McLaren’s progress regarding the electrification of its vehicles (McLaren currently uses a Mercedes engine).
Volkswagen has invested the most of any global carmaker in electric vehicle production and batteries in an attempt to clean up its image from the Dieselgate emissions scandal and remain in line with governmental carbon reduction targets.
F1 has seen an exponential increase in revenue and viewership in recent times thanks to Netflix’s “Drive to Survive” series and the ascension of young drivers like the current world Champion Max Verstappen, Charles Leclerc, and Lando Norris.
More viewership means a more expanded racing schedule with Las Vegas being the latest addition to the F1 circuit.
Keeping the fans in mind, F1 has introduced new racing regulations in 2022 for more wheel-to-wheel racing which has paid dividends with both the races thus far going down to the wire yielding two different winners in Bahrain and Saudi Arabia.