JUNE 2, 1997
The Audi rumors grow
THERE have been rumors in F1 circles for some weeks that the Benetton Formula 1 team is for sale. These have been denied but the story will not go away and last week in Germany the financial magazine Wirtschaftswoche picked up rumors in the business community that Luciano Benetton, boss of the Italian clothing company, has decided that he has had enough of the company's lack of success in F1 and has put the team on the market.
According to the German magazine there are negotiations involving Porsche, BMW and Audi. Audi remains the favorite to take over the team.
Audi has an impressive background in motor sport. In the 1930s, when it was known as AutoUnion, the company battled with Mercedes-Benz for the domination of Grand Prix racing. After the war it became part of the revived Daimler-Benz until it was bought by Volkswagen in 1966. Ten years later it launched into the luxury car market with the Audi 100, taking on Mercedes-Benz and BMW. In the sport Audi has spent the last 15 years concentrating on rallying and touring car racing with great success under the guidance of Ferdinand Piech, a famous Porsche racing engineer in the late 1960s. He is now in charge of the whole Volkswagen Group, which is expanding fast at the moment in an effort to take on rivals General Motors, Ford, Toyota, Nissan and Chrysler in the global market.
The best way to draw attention to this and to train and motivate engineers is in Grand Prix racing. There have been a lot of rumors in recent years about Audi entering F1 but recently we have repeatedly heard stories suggesting that not only does the company have an F1 engine, it also has managed to get its hands on a couple of F1 chassis.
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