Volkswagen Group suggests F1 entry in 2018

2011 F1 season

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Felipe Nasr, Carlin, British F3, Paul Ricard, 2011

One of Volkswagen Group’s top executives has suggested the company could enter Formula 1 with one of its brands – but not until 2018.

Wolfgang D???rheimer, the head of Volkswagen Group motorsport, told Germany’s Auto Motor und Sport, “I could imagine and F1 involvement in 2018, when the group is up front in the automotive industry.”

Volkswagen Group’s motor racing activity is split between different brands across a range of series, including Audi in the DTM and sports prototypes and Skoda in rallying.

The Volkswagen brand will also enter the World Rally Championship in 2013.

Volkswagen Group’s other brands include Bentley and Bugatti (which D???rheimer is CEO of), Seat and Lamborghini.

2011 F1 season

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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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64 comments on “Volkswagen Group suggests F1 entry in 2018”

  1. Talk about planning ahead…

    Seriously though, VW seem to be really expanding their motorsport operations. Skoda are also joining the BTCC next season. Another engine manufacturer in F1 can only be a good thing. Especially if Virgin and HRT also leave Cosworth and they’re forced to withdraw from the sport.

    1. Virgin won’t leave Cosworth. Not before 2014. Marussia have secured the team’s future until 2014, and Marussia road cars are powered by Cosworth engines. Hence, Virgin will keep using Cosworth so long as Marussia does. I can’t see someone like Renault or Mercedes offering Marussia their engines so that Virgin can use them.

      1. Well researched PM.

        In terms of HRT I’d say the low cost and benefits of consistency will keep them with HRT.

    2. The Skoda entry into the BTCC is not factory backed so doesn’t count in this respect.

      1. I wouldn’t be to sure about that. From what I hear here in CZ the factory team is fully supportive, just not officially involved.

        1. And the key word there is ‘official’. They haven’t decided on an engine yet. If VW/Skoda were ‘official’ there would be no question on the engine. It would be a VW plant.

  2. marc connell
    28th July 2011, 13:09

    Maybe they will do the engine side of it? there audis prototype diesel engines are immense! imagine what they could do for f1.

    1. some comments from Audi suggest they won’t be involved in F1 near future…anyway even if Audi want to in, rules don’t allow diesel engine.

      However it’s very likey they will use gasoline hybrid when new Le Mans rules are introduced(2014). also Porshce will enter LMP1 class so if VW group doesn’t want cannibalizing each branches, Audi will be turn to F1 engine supplier.

  3. VW Lupo as the safety car. Nuff said

    1. No, Lamborghini. It will really annoy Ferrari for sure!

      1. A veryon safety car would be cool…

        1. +1 :)

          However, I’d rather have an MB SLR or a Lambo Reventón. Veryon is a piece of engineering but is awful.

          1. Bugatti F1, it just sounds right.

    2. Pass, Veyron SS will do it for me. I’ll be doing a rain dance every saturday in hope of rain for sunday if this happened.

  4. I say, they should **** off, and the sooner the better! F1 doesn’t need VW group who apparently are a company with no passion for F1 and no history there either, and only using our sport as a publicity stunt.

    1. Douglas 62500
      28th July 2011, 13:34

      Well having little motorsport background may make things a little less interesting for us fans, but I don’t see how this causes problem really. Yes manufacturers like Ferrari, Mercedes, Renault, Honda, Toyota, Lotus etc. could claim that they’ve got the history, but at the end of the day, all their claims as well as being in F1, is largely for publicity and advertising(which is what keeps us interested) to be honest, perhaps the remaining investments is R&D I guess. So I think it would be quite good to see sth like “Volkswagen F1 Team” in the future. The only problem is that in F1 they may not be able to advertise their much beloved TDI engines !!

      1. Who knows what the engine rule will be for 2018 ? Maybe VW know, after all they apparently knew about 2013 before we did.

      2. Don’t you see this? Every now and then VW make noises about entering F1 if their conditions will be met. This is happening from the mid-nineties already. F1 fraternity goes to great length to appease their demands and then they bugger off after they’ve enjoyed huge amount of publicity Or they make an even more ridiculous demand that should be met for them to enter, and when F1 says no it’s the red-line they say “if so, sorry, F1 is not for us” with the same result.

        I bet, they’ll get 3 years of publicity from those rumours, and in 2015 they’ll say: “We will enter F1 in 2018 but only if their engines run on sliced dolphin instead of petrol”

        IMO. F1 should make a stand against those using F1’a popularity for their PR reasons snd say clearly: “We don’t want such a company with us”.

    2. You could say the same about the two lotus teams. The only history they have is the five letters.
      What about Ferrari when they joined F1? They didn’t have any F1 history either yet they have grown to be arguably the biggest brand in F1.
      F1 is PR, that is what keeps the sport going. Without publicity, commercials and sponsors the sport would be nothing.
      If VW can bring money to F1, then it will only be good for the sport. The more big manufactures the better.

      1. If VW can bring money to F1, then it will only be good for the sport. The more big manufactures the better.

        Until they leave again. None of the current teams are in F1 for the money, in my opinion (although Red Bull are a little uncertain – see Hamilton’s infamous ‘fizzy drinks’ comment), but Honda, Toyota, BMW, and Renault all backed out of F1 the moment the going got rough.

      2. Disagree with every point. Lotus example is not valid because both the teams are already in F1, doing their part for F1 and not only getting publicity without giving anything to F1 in return.
        Ferrari are in F1 from the very start. What’s your point again?
        F1 could do fine without those getting a free ride on it’s publicity.

        1. So no new teams can ever join F1? Don’t be ridiculous! Plus they are very much involved in motorsport with their Le Mans cars and Porsche events etc. They can’t get a F1 history unless they enter first.

          Plus Renault Lotus may already have been in F1 but Lotus Racing were a new team along with Virgin and HRT. All new teams with no F1 history! Even Red Bull can only trace their F1 history back to 1997.

          1. I’m all for teams entering F1 if they really want that. but VW don’t really want to enter. Read my reply to Douglas 62500 above for reasons I think that, I dislike repeating myself.

            And Team Lotus situation couldn’t be more different. They’ve entered F1 on F1’s(and FIA) terms in a timeframe provided by them. They didn’t start making demands to change F1 to their liking and then buggered off as VW did. What is indeed ridiculous is the apparent licking of VW’s rear by F1’a fraternity instead of saying: Hasta la vista baby, close the door on your way out and never come again!

          2. @montreal95

            Well Ferrari are entered on their own terms. They negotiated to receive a higher proportion of the money than other teams or they said they would leave. Is that any worse?

          3. @ Lee: Ferrsri’s prefential treatment finance-wise is a very bad thing. However Ferrari is by far the most popular, famous team in F1 and have been there since the very beginning and the F1’s bosses had made a calculation that the steep popularity drop-off should Ferrari leave F1 isn’t worth it. Not saying it’s right, just the logic behind it. Who are VW compared to Ferrari in F1? Nobody. F1 did well without them for 60 years and could well do so for 60 more. They’re certainly in no position to make any demands. If they wanted to enter Indycar in its present state they could make demands, but in F1 their power is weak. VW know that no doubt but they don’t care, because their objective was never that of entering F1, only gaining publicity and that’s the last time I gonna say this here.

        2. I wouldnt exactly call it a free ride. It costs How Much to run an F1 Team? 20-30 Million per Year? Obviously, the value proposition is a positive one, otherwise nobody would do it, but to call it free, or to in any way denegrate any new entrant because of petegry is a bit silly. Even USF1. I never thought they had a shot, but would have loved to see that underdog make even modest progress.

          1. 30 million is pretty much the budget for HRT. VW would probably end up closer to Ferrari’s budget, as Toyota used to be. Which I believe is more like 200 million.

            I have no problem with groups like VW and Toyota entering. As long as they don’t use their influence and resource to damage F1 and they don’t push teams like Vrigin and HRT off the grid…

            Also, they should have to start from scratch.

          2. @Javlinsharp, no one is saying it’s a free ride to run an F1 team. What Montreal95 is saying is VW have a history of making demands for regulation changes as criteria for them to enter the sport. He is also submitting for thought the notion that they do not expect their demands to be met, nor do they actually have any intention of running a team. I’m not sure I agree but I see where he’s coming from.

            Also, he is saying that no team should be able to make such demands, and ESPECIALLY not one with zero history of involvment. I agree with this. This statement also has nothing to do with precluding teams with no history of competing. Just do it or don’t. Also no whining about being important and wanting your way before entering.

  5. marc connell
    28th July 2011, 14:05

    I think lamborgini engines should come back! oh wait……

  6. If they come back on the engine side, great. Couldn’t care less about a team though, unless it’s a partnership like BMW and Williams had (hopefully less messy though).

    1. If they were to come in as a constructor, I believe Bugatti would be the most appropriate brand though. But it isn’t a brand that needs as much exposure as Seat or VW.

  7. I seem to say this every time, but I’m sure they own the name Auto Union.

    1. Auto Union GmbH is owned by Audi, Auto Union AG went into AUTANIA. If we take it very strictly AUTANIA should be the one who “owns” the racing history so … Lotus vs Lotus all over again :-D

      1. Would we then see a Renault Lotus Auto Union?

      2. Audi are using the 4 rings. How does that work?

  8. Yay. More rumour mongering from VW. In 2018? They’ll demand 2 cylinder engines by then only to subsequently not enter anyway. I’ll believe it when I see it.

    1. Yes, have you seen their 1 cylinder opposed piston engine, brilliant!

  9. Lamborghini engine will be good. I’m sure Ferrari will be very sensitive about them!

    1. Ferrari once supplied engines to Red Bull (although they couldn’t imagine them as future rivals) so maybe they won’t have to say unless they’re competitive.

    2. Or a Lamborghini team, would be nice to have the bad boy on the block

  10. dont know why people are so against VW having a team… I would rather have a VW team than both the virgins and HRTs

    1. I think the exact opposite.

      Teams like VW are destined to leave the sport in 4 or so years when their board decides its not economically feasible to continue.

      HRT, having it’s only interest be F1. Will stay as long as they possibly can.

  11. Seriously…… Settle down people, this is 7yrs into the future, Bernie might have them racing in hovercrafts by then and well all be watching via interactive headsets with Keith commentating.

  12. I would like to see Porsche in F1. Porsche’s record in motorsport is one of the best (if not the best).

  13. Just another 7 years, only 2 Olympics in between. Fast forward to 2018 – Volkswagen announces it will join F1 in 2050. Thus….Where….To?

    1. actually 3. 4 if you count socchi.

  14. yeah, Right! It is as certain as I will be owning a Formula1 team by 2018. I am seriously disappointed with VW. First they say that they will be interested in F1 when engine rules are changed and then back out by the time F1 is almost done with coming up new engine specs.

  15. Will ther be any other constructor Group in 2018? VW is a hot stock now, I’d bet they will bid for another two or three major brands soon…

  16. Personally if they do enter I think it would be great preferably as a complete team not an engine supplier. I think F1 needs to get back to having car companies in it. There is only Ferrari, Mclaren, Mercedes and Renault as car company owned teams. I know Lotus’ name is used for 2 teams but they don’t have a team in my opinion. One is Renault and one is Tony Fernandes’. I was pleased in the early 2000s when Jaguar, Renault and Toyota all entered. Personally I would prefer teams like this rather than Virgin, Red Bull, HRT and all the others. I would personally prefer VW to enter Lamborghini rather than Skoda or Audi.

  17. I believe Volkswagen will be taking over Alfa Romeo soon, another possible candidate for Volkswagens F1 entrance?

    Although it does seem to be far too early to be discussing such matters.

    1. Alfa is a FIAT brand. Where did you get that information from?

      1. It was in the news a couple of months back. Even got FIAT to officially deny they were selling it.

  18. Hardly surprising, but lovely to have it confirmed… I for one would love to see the Lamborghini name being used in F1, but I have a feeling VW are more likely to use Bentley…

    Anyway, that’s VW saying they’re interested, these new engine regs may have worked! Who else is there? We’ve got Renault, Mercedes, Ferrari and Cosworth.. GM is the only one I can think of without going obscure… Is Cosworth part of GM??

    1. No its not it used to be

      1. Cosworth was owned by Ford for a long time, not GM.

  19. The day VW enter F1 is the day it dies, it’s an elite sport for heaven sake, what’s next Skoda F1 Racing Team!

    1. What f1 will die or vw??

    2. That would be great, the Winged Arrows racing team on the grid!

      At least they have real racing heritage, be it rather in Rally sport than tracks, but its miles better then VW itelf.
      And the group would probably choose to bring in one of Porsche, Audi, Lamborghini, Bentley, Bugatti.
      Not the worst perspective, I would think

  20. If they do come then come with Lamborghini.2018 is a lone way back, I think the best will be with new regulation they should enter in 2014.

  21. Thinking of Bugatti’s history as a Grand Prix team right now. So why not bring them back to motorsports?

  22. Depressing to think I’ll be 30 if/when this happens!

    Good news though. Variety being the spice of life and all that.

  23. A Beetle F1, ha ha.
    VW Beetle design was more or less stolen from a Czech factory before WWII and VW had to pay after the war.
    Now in their commercials – at least here in Denmark, they try to tell us, that “Everyone deserves a VW!”
    What have I done to deserve a mediocre front wheel pulled means of transportation like that?
    Luckily times have changed since WWII, so I don’t have to drive a VW.
    Car manufacturers don’t last long in F1, – BMW had ambitions to win, after which they would have withdrawn. When they realized it would take too long or the win was not within their reach, they pulled out. VW is probably even worse – at least BMW had a history in F1 from the 80ties also.

  24. It sound like they are waiting for Bernie to die before entering F1. That’s why they seemed to have intentions to enter the last few years but always backed-off. They never thought Bernie will be this healthy but they are hopeful that by 2018 his time will finally come.

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