APRIL 8, 2022

Volkswagen to F1 in 2026 confirmed

Volkswagen has officially "confirmed" its intention to see the Audi and Porsche brands on the Formula 1 grid in 2026.

Max Verstappen, Saudi Arabian GP 2022
© Red Bull

Volkswagen has officially "confirmed" its intention to see the Audi and Porsche brands on the Formula 1 grid in 2026.

We have reported for weeks and months that McLaren could tie up with Audi, while the similarly VW-owned Porsche is eyeing a works deal with Red Bull.

The issue came to a head in Volkswagen's supervisory board meeting on Thursday.

"The board of directors and supervisory board of Volkswagen AG, Porsche AG and Audi AG have confirmed the plans of the two group brands for a possible entry into Formula 1," Volkswagen told us.

"The Audi and Porsche brands will provide details at a later date."

Indeed, the deals are contingent not only on signing contracts with the F1 teams, but the world's second-largest carmaker is also waiting for the FIA to ratify the altered engine rules for 2026.

"A decision on entry has not yet been made," an Audi spokesman clarified. "We are in the final phase of the evaluation.

"The new regulations for 2026 and subsequent years are not yet available. They provide for far-reaching changes for more sustainable sport, which is a prerequisite for a possible entry by Audi.

"To this end, Audi Sport is in contact with the FIA and as soon as a decision has been made, we will announce it."

While the Red Bull-Porsche deal appears to be set in stone, it is believed Audi's negotiations with McLaren have in fact broken down despite the exchange of an eye-watering EUR 650 million offer.

F1 legend Gerhard Berger thinks McLaren would simply have been reluctant to give up too much in making a deal.

"McLaren is a very strong brand with a great history in motorsport," he told motorsport-total.com. "I don't think that such an asset would be allowed to disappear."

Auto Motor und Sport quoted an insider as saying: "Maybe Audi only wants McLaren to believe the deal is off."

Nevertheless, rumours of new talks between Audi and the Sauber (Alfa Romeo) and Aston Martin teams are now emerging.

As for Red Bull-Porsche, Berger said: "I think that's going to happen and it would be a great combination.

"From a marketing point of view alone, Porsche and Red Bull go together so well. It's fresh and cool.

"Porsche fits with Red Bull 100,000 times better than with Renault," he added.