VW interested in new F1 engine formula

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Volkswagen motorsport director Kris Nissen believes the sport is “very attractive” for car manufacturers but said his company would not decide on any future participation in the sport until the future engine formula was decided.

Speaking at the Nurburgring 24 Hours Nissen said:

All I can say at the moment is that nobody is aware of the new regulations for Formula One engines. Until that is clear I think nobody, including Volkswagen, can do any comments on their interest. First we need from the FIA to know exactly the regulations from 2013 or 2014 and we also need Formula One to recover a bit.

Formula One has been, I would say, in a crisis. It has been very expensive, manufacturers have been pulling out and a lot of political discussions and stories. Which I think, personally, is really a shame because I think Formula One is number one in motorsport. Formula one is very attractive for everybody.
Kris Nissen

Volkswagen have never competed in F1. They currently have teams in the Dakar Rally, with sponsorship from Red Bull, and recently returned to Formula Three as an engine supplier.

Porsche, which is in the process of merging with Volkswagen, has participated in F1 and won races as a constructor and engine supplier.

The FIA has consulted several car manufacturers, including those not currently involved in F1, on future engine specifications for Formula 1 and other FIA championships.

A move towards smaller-capacity turbocharged engines, which would reflect trends in road car vehicle production, is widely expected for 2013.

Read more: Engine rules and the F1 monopoly

Thanks to Ed for the tip

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Keith Collantine
Lifelong motor sport fan Keith set up RaceFans in 2005 - when it was originally called F1 Fanatic. Having previously worked as a motoring...

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  • 52 comments on “VW interested in new F1 engine formula”

    1. Well I’ll be the first to say I’d like to see a Williams-Volkswagen on the grid in 2013!

      This is how I wish manufacturers in the sport were actually involved, as engine suppliers and how the soon-to-end McLaren-Mercedes partnership worked – a major interest and source of investment, but not a controlling one. Of course there will be exceptions like Ferrari and (soon enough) McLaren, and the odd true manufacturer like Renault and Mercedes, but I think it would be better for the sport and the manufacturers themselves to limit their involvement to the 40% stake Mercedes had in McLaren; teams could still control themselves and the withdrawal of a manufacturer would have to be through negotiation, not a unilateral pull-out like BMW, which has left Sauber in a mess this year.

      1. Sush Meerkat
        19th May 2010, 15:05

        Surely it would be Williams-Porsche, since they collaborated on Porsche’ new Hybrid supercar.

        Either way, both are good.

        1. Prisoner Monkeys
          19th May 2010, 15:13

          If Volkswagen enter, they’ll want their name in Formula 1. They’re not going to enter and then re-brand the engine as something else.

          Given their connection to Red Bull in the Dakar and DTM (though Audi), I wouldn’t be surprised if Volkswagen enter the sport with Red Bull.

          1. I see nothing stopping them from entering the sport as Volkswagen and Porsche. Rumors are of them interested in owning a team, and other rumors of just them wanting to supply engines. Well with both brand names, such could be true.

            1. Prisoner Monkeys
              20th May 2010, 2:20

              There’s nothing stopping them entering as Porsche – except for the way they want the cars to carry the Volkswagen badge.

            2. yeah PM, so a team gets customer Porsche engines, VW have a VW badged team, and another team gets customer Audi engines. Exactly the same drivetrain, but VAG spreading the love around their brands.

            3. Prisoner Monkeys
              20th May 2010, 6:59

              Exactly the same drivetrain, but VAG spreading the love around their brands.
              But that doesn’t do anything except dilute Volkswagen’s presence. VAG have no need to “spread the love” across their marques, and Formula 1 will not be any better off with three teams running identical engines under different named. It will be one manufacturer name, and only one. And that name will be Volkswagen. We’re not talking about the parent company here – we’re talking about the actual Volkswagen manufacturer.

            4. Didn’t Ford do that as recently as 2003-2005? The Jaguar and Minardi cars had “Cosworth” engines, while the Jordans had “Ford” engines

      2. Yes, I think this could be Williams’ best hope to get back to the front of the grid in the mid term. I don’t think it is any coincidence that their worst years (1988, 1998-99, 2006-) have generally been without major manufacturer support (with Toyota being the exception to the rule)

        I think Toro Rosso could be the most likely initial partner though, because I doubt Red Bull would change to them without giving them a grace period to build their program, but having said that, going into 2013, it could be back to square one for everyone anyway.

        Btw, thanks for the mention, Keith :)

      3. I agree I would like to see Williams-Volkswagen.

        I prefer it when manufacturers join F1 as an engine supplier and own just part of a team at most such as McLaren Mercedes.

        I also think a scenario such as this is the best chance of Williams returning to the front.

      4. I won’t be surprise to see that to happen.& if KERS are back in F1 from 2011 then we may see a deal sooner rather than later.

    2. VW now own the Bugatti name which has a little F1 heritage.

      1. and Lamborghini as well.

        1. And Auto Union. It would be fun to see that name come back (and not just as Audi).

      2. Prisoner Monkeys
        19th May 2010, 15:47

        Yes, but they want Volkswagen to be in Formula 1, not some company that Volkswagen AG own.

        1. True. I was more discussing the “Volkswagen have never competed in F1” statement and the Porsche merger reference. Some of this heritage precedes F1 but the point is the company has some history in racing.

          Not that the Bugatti Type 35 would help much with a modern F1 entry.

        2. are you sure?

          I remeber seeing a while back that they where more interested in using another brand that they own, they said something along the lines of ‘the volkswagen group entering formula 1 does not nescacerily mean you will see the VW brand in f1, we own severall other car makers’

          1. Jarred Walmsley
            19th May 2010, 20:32

            I’m thinking Porsche or Lamborghini will be the most likely name used by Volkswagen in F1

          2. Prisoner Monkeys
            20th May 2010, 7:07

            Pretty sure. Kris Nissen works for Volkswagen the manufacturer, not the Volkswagen Auto Group. Although the likes of Lamborghini and Audi are owned by VW, they still operate on their own. It’s significant because Nissen works specifically for Volkswagen Motorsport, not Audi Motorsport or Lamborghini Motorsport.

            1. Yes I can see your point, they would want to promote their brand which as it’s core values has quality, green-credentials, strength of investment and common-sense (ie VW) over their sports car brands F1…never mind that there isn’t actually a VW sports car (and don’t quote the Scirroco to me because that’s nothing more than a Golf in Wolf’s clothing…)

            2. Prisoner Monkeys
              20th May 2010, 14:20

              Where is it said that a manufacturer has to have a sports car in its line-up? Renault doesn’t have one. Toyota didn’t, either.

        3. In the end they own those companies for a reason, otherwise it would be the VW Veyron. I think they would most likely use Porsche or Lamborghini badged engines.

        4. Why would they want Volkswagen in the F1?

          Volkswagen is a brand for People who calculate the return value of their car and see that as one of the major reasons to buy a car.

          1. But VW the group has been pushing VW the brand into more and more markets (such as China) and obviously wants a bigger presence in the sporting world or they would be racing Porsches or Audis on the Paris-Dakar.
            Since Porsche pretty much runs its own competitions, and Audi is now known for ALMS and DTM, I suppose they feel the need to push the humble Beetle back into the limelight.
            I wonder why they don’t take the cheaper option of putting Golfs into WTCC?
            However, I agree with Ben, they would be much more creative to have customers powered by VW, Porsche, Lamborgini etc, but then its never that obvious is it?

            1. Yes, put VW Golfs in DTM or WTCC and upgrade Audi from Le Mans too F1.

              Audi have been in Le Mans too long anyway and they are struggling against Pqugeot. To beat Peugeot would mean they need to increase their budget and then they might as wel go for F1.

    3. The move towards smaller displacement turbocharged engines is exactly what a manufacturer like VW is waiting for.

      I’d welcome such a change in the regulations, but I forsee (and am praying that they never impose such a thing) a maximum power limit being placed on these small turbos.

      1. 1500bhp from 1.5 litres in the early 80s was mental.
        I would LOVE to see that again. Won’t happen though, so unless they make the engine size about 500cc, they’ll have to fit boost restrictors, as they do to the TDi engines in sportscar (Le Mans) racing.

      2. They’ll run restricters like Le Mans.

        1. Yeah..lets throw in some ground effects in the too!!

          It would be really great to have VW in F1. And I agree that they probably would enter Porche or Lambo engines.

          It will interesting to see if F1 would consider alternate fuels by 2013. An Audi TDI F1 car sounds rather appealing!!

    4. Jean Doublet
      19th May 2010, 16:41

      Hmm… the Auto Union idea is a great one. Since one of the Auto Union brand was Wanderer (with Horch, DKW and Audi), we could foresee a Williams-Wanderer. Not sure about the PR effect though.

    5. I always said that we will miss Uncle Max when he is not here any more. He had the correct vision to lower costs dramatically so that F1 would be attractive to companies like VW. Unfortunately one or two big players like Ferrari want the present high costs to remain this way.
      As long as Bernie´s company pockets 50% of the money, VW and others will not enter F1.
      I wish for a new F1, with greatly reduced costs, with new entrants like VW, historic tracks and run by someone else different than Bernie.
      Bernie, Lou and Todt make for a boring leadership and set the wrong vibe.
      With Flava, Ron and Max there was so much more excitement on and specially off the track.

      1. It was only exciting because they made such a cockup of everything

    6. Let’s just not hope that there will be only one engine supplyer in 2013, that would be terrible.

    7. I know this is just speculation, but I read somewhere that the FIA plan on a 1.5 liter 670 bhp turbo engine. That’s crap! 670 horsepower! Most modern day sport cars have about that or even more! I do not mind small turbo engines but I do hope they have some more horsepower (at least the same they have now, the more the better of course:)). Although they probably won’t because it’s not “green”, it’s not as safe, and it is further away from production engines :(.

      1. Richard Merk
        19th May 2010, 18:03

        Good point, in addition to that, turbo engines are very quiet compared to the naturally aspirated versions.

        (although I’ve never heard a 1.5L 670hp engine rev to 18,000rpm with a short stubby exhaust)

        I remember the sweet sound of the V-10’s, howling and screaming. The V-8 sound weak, and the turbo 1.5L’s would probably sound like a violin in comparison…

        …but that’s just engine noise talk…

        1. Yeah, came acroos a video of a lap at the old Hockenhiem. Its so easy to forget just how much the V10s screamed.

        2. I don’t exactly remember how the 1.5l turbo’s of the late eighties sounded, but I though they were pretty loud still.

          They ran at much lower revs than today though.

      2. Current F1 cars only have around 750bhp though.

        It’s the power-to-weight ratio that makes them so special…

    8. A move towards smaller-capacity turbocharged engines, which would reflect trends in road car vehicle production, is widely expected for 2013.

      This does not sound good too me at all.

      How much smaller are these engines going to be?
      I found this link that says four cylinder, 1.5 litre engine equipped with a twin-turbo and direct injection are to be in use from 2013???

      I have one of those in my car! (sort of :P) Apparently they’ll use less fuel or something…..

      Sounds like the FIA are trying to satisfy all the tree huggers. I’m all on for saving the world and everything, but for God’s sake, this is ridiculous. God be with the days where we have screaming V10 engines,they sounded great.

      If it goes ahead, I may be switching off. F1 cars aren’t road cars so stop trying to make them road cars.

      1. Messed up the blockquotes there sorry!

        1. You’d be suprised just how much a 1.5litre turbocharged engine makes in an F1 car… They’re just as loud as todays engine, and dont purr like a pussy-cat!

      2. Road-going Hondas can make around 500-600 wheel horsepower from a 1.6L turbocharged engine at around 9000-10000 rpm (See Bisimoto’s D16Z wagovan). I’m sure that if engine designers are left to themselves, they can easily make 1.5L twinturbo F1 engines that make 1000 horsepower.

    9. Polishboy808
      19th May 2010, 21:51

      Oh no. Not another move to be more related to road cars. Please, leave f1 to the innovators and ones with money. Spec engines in f1 will ruin the sport, spec miata, or SRF can have one engine, but f1s diversity is what brings many to the sport. FIA love to ruin good ideas. What did the f duct do negativly? Ground effects? Sure brabhams fan car deffinetly was over the edge, but the f duct? I’m tired of ‘making it closer to the road’, this is racing, not let’s go to the supermarket to get groceries.

      1. this is racing, not let’s go to the supermarket to get groceries.

        I’d love to see Dale Winton present that

        (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Dale's_Supermarket_Sweep)

    10. It wouldnt be a surpise to see Red Bull powered by VW in the not so distant future, although I fear that may be at the expense of Renault supplying engines. I cant see them supplying engines to just one team? (The so-called “works” Renault is more like Genni-Renault due it’s ownership etc). Maybe Williams would be interested – would make more sense than pairing up with Cosworth!

      Having another engine supplier in the sport would be very healthy for the sport, and it would shut up Toyota. I cannot understand what Toyota are talking about with regards to F1 not being a good sport to be in. I’d say that is just sour grapes after an essentially pathetic stint in F1.

    11. The more the merrier!

    12. Jean Doublet
      20th May 2010, 7:20

      A turbo-diesel engine could very well be in the wings for F1 in 2013. Don’t forget that Audi has pionereed the technology, hence VW interest. I’ve been at Le Mans two times since they’re running there (with their Peugeot equivalent) and as impressive as they may be they take away one of the big factor of motor-racing which is noise. That said, their speed and acceleration is phenomenal

    13. Jack Bohica
      20th May 2010, 7:31

      Weren’t we at 1.5 turbocharged engines and slick tires back in the 80’s, now the last 2 decades of different engine developments and displacements were all for not and we’ve come full circle again…back to turbos and slicks…lol

      1. like fashion, it´s all coming back.

    14. Porsche own 51% of Volkswagen, but VW only own 42% of Porsche so I think Porsche may have a major say in naming rights for their F1 engine.
      A partnership with Williams is the most obvious entry point and a Williams -Porsche has a bit more F1 street cred to it than Williams-VW or Williams-Skoda.
      Best bet for drivers; Mark Webber and the latest German wunderkind.

    15. I would love to see Porsche back in F1.

    16. Red Bull – Lamborghini

      MMMMMMMMMMmmmmmmmmmmmmMMMMMMMMMM

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