Red Bull and Volkswagen

Tomorrow in Paris Volkswagen subsidiary Audi will announce the new R10 prototype which the company will use in the years ahead at Le Mans. Our spies tell us that the new car will be a twin-turbo diesel device and it will be the major thrust for Audi in competition for the next couple of years. It remains to be seen whether it will have any effect on the Audi programme in DTM but it is likely to mean that there will be no F1 activity from the Ingolstadt firm for at least two years.

However, another announcement last week is worth mentioning as another VW subsidiary, Skoda Auto, has announced that it is to withdraw from the World Rally Championship. Closer investigation reveals that this is largely cosmetic because the company will provide cars, development and engineers to two private teams which, in effect, means that Skoda is staying in the game in all but name. The key point is that funding for one of the Skoda private teams is coming from Red Bull, which will be run by Raimund Baumschlager's BRR team, which is based at Micheldorf in Austria. This will run a pair of Skoda Fabia WRC cars on 10 events next year for rising Austrian star Andreas Aigner and potentially Francois Duval, who was the winner of the recent Rally Australia.

It is clear from this that Red Bull has what amounts to a works deal in all but name and that its money is being used to build up Skoda's challenge in the WRC with the possibility that later, if the team is successful. Skoda will return as a factory team - probably still with Red Bull backing.

We hear that Red Bull would like a similar partnership with Volkswagen in F1 which would allow VW to enter F1 using Red Bull money and then take over the programme if all went well, while keeping Red Bull on as a sponsor.

There is also talk of a major motorsport facility for all Red Bull operations being built at the A1 Ring where eventually the various teams could be consolidated in a place.

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