The Volkswagen Group has confirmed long standing rumours that it will be entering Formula 1 from 2026 using both the Porsche and Audi marques.
Describing the decision as a move unlikely to present itself anytime again, Wolfsburg’s CEO, Herbert Diess, remarked on Monday that recent developments in the sport, as well as changes regarding engines in said year, had acted as the catalyst its board of directors, though not unanimously, eventually approved of.
“If you look at the major sporting events or events in the world, it’s the case that in motorsport, it’s really only Formula 1 that counts and is becoming increasingly differentiated,” motorsport.com quoted him as saying.
“If you do motorsport, you should do Formula 1 as that’s where the impact is greatest. What’s more, you can’t enter Formula 1 unless a technology window opens up which means, in order to get in there, a rule change: so that everyone starts again from the same place”.
Ruling out the Volkswagen name featuring on either the Audi or Porsche team’s car as it “doesn’t fit” the brand’s profile, Diess stated, “Porsche has to be the sportiest car brand in the world – so Porsche has to do motorsport. If Porsche does motorsport, the most efficient thing is to do Formula 1”.
In an apparent swipe at Mercedes-Benz’s parent company Daimler, Diesss, on the decision to enter Audi, said while Ingolstadt is a “much weaker than Porsche” for F1, it “actually has the better case for Formula 1 because it has much greater potential for the brand”.
“They are moving into the higher segments, into competition with Daimler, and then Audi will also have a case where they say that makes sense,” he said.
Despite Deiss remaining coy on the exact method of the entries, rumours have alleged Porsche entering into relationship with Red Bull as engine supplier, while Audi appears on course to acquire either McLaren, Williams or Sauber (Alfa Romeo) using Porsche engines badged under the Four Rings.
If approved, the Red Bull deal will see Porsche return to Formula 1 after a five year spell between 1983 and 1987 where it ironically powered McLaren under the TAG designation, with Audi’s debut set to its first.