Audi and Porsche are joining Formula 1, says VW Group's CEO

The rumors are true.
Brad Bergan
A Mercedes F1 hybrid race car.Sjo / iStock

Formula 1 is about to get even more intense.

Audi and Porsche, two premium brands under the Volkswagen company (VW Group), are joining Formula 1 after learning that the German automaker can make more money than it will cost to participate, according to a statement from VW's CEO Herbert Diess, in a Reuters report.

And, with a bright future forecast for Formula 1 racing, this means VW Group could soon become more synonymous with high-performance speed than ever.

Porsche aims for a partnership with Red Bull

The discussions went forward amid the board of directors for the two premium brands, but these had led to internal divisions, said Diess during an event in Wolfsburg, according to the report.

But the two brands — which are the most significant sources of income (next to Volkswagen's China industry) — ultimately proved fit to rake in extra cash for Wolfsburg, in a Formula 1 environment of ultimate speed and precision. "You just run out of arguments," he said, pulling the final rug out from under the opposition's position.

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This comes on the heels of several months' speculation that the two auto brands were working on partnerships to enter the very highest class of international motor racing — which has gone forward under Mercedes leadership, for much of the last ten years. Notably, Daimler AG owns Mercedes, the F1 brand of which is owned via a partnership between Daimler, Toto Wolff, and INEOS.

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Notably, steps to prepare Porsche for its Formula 1 entry were a little more developed than those of Audi, said Diess, in the report. Audi is prepared to provide $556.3 million for McLaren, the U.K. luxury sports carmaker, to enter, according to Reuters. But Porsche is aiming for a long-term partnership with Red Bull, before it jumps into the fray — which could take years.

Beyond the economic viability for the two brands' glorious entry into Formula 1 — the potential for excellent advertising exposure also proved a persuasive factor in the decision. Diess added that Porsche's entry would reduce other racing activities, and put new emphasis on the Formula 1 circuit.

Formula 1 will remain 'the biggest motorsport spectacle in the world'

Additionally, a new powertrain of unspeakable complexity that abandons electrical harvesting has hit the scene, and it uses a turbocharger that employs a more powerful regenerative braking. And this innovation was reportedly a prerequisite to VW Group entering Formula 1, according to an Ars Technica report.

"You can't get into Formula 1 unless a technology window opens," said Diess in a YouTube video interview. "You need a new engine development and to make the new engine development you need three or four years. We assume that in '26, '28, it will still be the biggest motorsport spectacle in the world, even more so than today."

"More in China, more in the USA than today, and this is also the largest marketing platform for premium vehicles," added Diess. But beyond the partnership with Red Bull, we still don't know what Porsche and Audi will look like when they compete. We also don't know whether Porsche and Audi will use their own F1 powertrains, or instead collaborate under different nameplates. But however things look when VW Group's brands speed down the circuit, the future of racing is sure to get even more intense than ever, in the coming years.


Editor's note: An earlier version of this article suggested Mercedes was owned by VW Group. This has been corrected to reflect the current owner, Daimler AG.

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