Porsche and Audi have decided to enter F1 in 2026, says VW CEO

2026 F1 season

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Porsche and Audi will enter Formula 1 when the series introduces its next major technical rules change in 2026.

Volkswagen Group CEO Herbert Diess confirmed the two premium brands “have decided to enter Formula 1” due to the rising popularity of the championship.

“At Porsche this is already relatively concrete, at Audi not so much,” said Diess in an interview broadcast by Volkswagen. Porsche is rumoured to be exploring a tie-up with Red Bull while Audi has been linked to other teams including McLaren, Williams and Sauber, which runs Alfa Romeo’s entry.

Porsche will end a 30-year absence from the top flight of motor racing while Audi has never previously competed in F1. Diess said their entry has come about now because “Formula 1 is developing extremely positively worldwide” under the management of Liberty Media.

He pointed to the rising popularity of Formula 1 in the USA, which he attributed to the success of Netflix series Drive to Survive, and growing interest among younger customer groups in Asia. “If you do motorsport, you should drive Formula 1,” he said. “That’s where the effect is greatest.”

The manufacturers will take advantage of a coming change in the rules to ensure they are in a competitive position when they enter the championship. “You can’t get into Formula 1 unless a technology window opens,” Diess explained. “You need a rule change to get in there.”

F1 plans to replace its current V6 hybrid turbo power unit rules in 2026. It will increase the electrical power generation of the current engines and introduce synthetic fuels in order to reduce emissions.

Diess pointed out that if the two manufacturers did not take advantage of this opportunity to enter F1, another might not arise for another 10 years. “You need a new engine development and to make the new engine development, you need three or four years,” he said. The current engine regulations are now in their ninth season.

Porsche and Audi have begun development work on their F1 engines, Diess added. “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 thus also the largest marketing platform for premium vehicles.”

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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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58 comments on “Porsche and Audi have decided to enter F1 in 2026, says VW CEO”

  1. Well I never. I guess it’s a sign of how healthy F1 is at the moment. But both brands, working independently of each other and competing against each when they’re essentially the same business? Logic suggests, only one of them can win, and the cost will be doubled. Though I’ve never ran a huge automotive conglomerate before, I’m sure they know what they’re doing.

    This would have been unimaginable ten years ago.

    1. @bernasaurus Double the cost, double the exposure.

    2. Won’t Porsche have beetled away from VW by 2026 (with the IPO), as Ferrari did from Fiat?

      A lot of hype for a couple of new engines. Wish they’d do it properly and give us new teams. Hope it’s better than the Footwork-Porsche.

      1. @bullfrog Oh, I didn’t know Porsche had plans to do a Herbie and drive off on their own accord. Makes a bit more sense.

        1. I remember why they tried to buy VAG and almost went bankrupt.

        2. I understand that VW indeed plans to spin them off much like Fiat did with Ferrari as @bullfrog mentions – they can use the money to invest in BEV tech @bernasaurus

    3. Coventry Climax
      2nd May 2022, 19:22

      I wouldn’t call F1 ‘healthy’, when ‘newcomers’ (who were already allowed to join the talks and co-define future regulations / conditions under which to enter – yuk!) want to buy into existing teams instead of starting up their own, all new teams.
      It’s just to get a piece of the marketing pie, for the lowest possible entry fee and at the lowest possible risk. So, purely a commercial decision instead of a decision out of love for competition, the desire to pick up the towel, or love of motorsports in general.
      It will change nothing, apart from a couple of logos, and certainly won’t add to it.
      But maybe we have different definitions of the word ‘healthy’?

      1. Jose Torres
        2nd May 2022, 23:07

        That’s because it’s a business decision.

      2. I’m pretty sure ‘adding at least one new engine manufacturer’ to the pool will be more than just a badging exercise, given they can’t legally share the IP…

        1. IP rights is something which was, and still is, an issue amongst other teams.

          Whilst, on paper, there’s not meant to be collaboration, there are questions over whether that can be enforced easily. After all, Dr Ullrich indicated that, when both Porsche and Audi were in the WEC, they were officially operating independent teams, but there was in practice some unofficial collaboration and transfer of information between both teams that perhaps should not have been taking place.

    4. @bernasaurus there is still some caution to be had though given the timelines involved and Diess’s position at VW.

      This article misses out some additional comments that Diess made during that interview, because he confirmed that the Supervisory Board was split on the idea of entering F1 and that there is a faction within VW that thinks entering F1 is a waste of resources that VW should be putting towards different priorities (particularly toward their electrification drive and software development for self-driving vehicles).

      In particular, workers unions at VW dislike this proposal and seem to see this as a vanity project by Diess – especially since Diess has already forced 4,000 job cuts at VW in early 2021 and, in November 2021, was talking about potentially cutting another 30,000 jobs at VW in the coming years. It is why, towards the end of last year, the workers unions not only managed to get the Supervisory Board to hold a no-confidence vote in Diess, they also managed to win the vote – in the end, a compromise was reached where Diess stayed on as CEO, but had to hand over some of his powers to Brandstätter.

      For now, it seems Diess has enough support from the Piech and Porsche families to secure his place at VW, but the indication is that there is also a quite sizeable faction within VW that is critical of Diess’s plans for the future – and, if VW has a rough time in 2022 or 2023, Diess might well lose his role as CEO, particularly if he does trigger mass job cuts at VW. If Diess falls, it’s possible that any prospect of an F1 entry by the VW Group would fall with him given that he’s the main supporter of this project.

      1. Possible sure but from what I have read this sounds like a union issue and of course they are always wanting companies to employ more and more union members, so their motivations need to be examined closely at all times too. From what I have read Diess admires Elon Musk for his Tesla model and how he is managing to do his business with half the workers of VW Group. While not mentioned in what I read I’d have to assume some of this is due to electric vehicles containing far fewer components than ICE/hybrid vehicles. But still it sounds to me like Diess is trying to look out for the best interests of the company, not the unions.

  2. Scotty (@rockonscotty)
    2nd May 2022, 12:32

    I truly hope that we end up with 12 teams on the grid.

    1. Porsche is working with Red Bull as an engine supplier and Audi is looking to buy Sauber/Aston Martin, or maybe McLaren if they stop turning them down. So no dice. At least not on this deal.

      1. As @sjaakfoo mentions, both are looking at getting together with existing outfits @rocksonscotty. Thing is, it is just a huge amount of money, and a higher risk as well (since you have to start from scratch, learn everything for yourself) to start a new team.
        The way Haas did it worked, more or less, but that is not a route that either of these manufacturers could go, since they cannot just rock up to Mercedes or Ferrari and buy the package (it would be unthinkable for the branding, but also, they would be almost certainly turned down by the current teams).

      2. @sjaakfoo “Porsche is rumoured to be exploring a tie-up with Red Bull…”

        I think you are jumping the gun wrt a relationship between these two, although of course it is what authors of articles keep repeating. But in this case I think it is accurate. It is a ‘rumour’ and at that just a rumour about an ‘exploration.’

        I have yet to hear or read a single thing from RBR about anything to do with VW Group specifically, other than Horner saying that if a potential partnership (he wasn’t referring to any specific entity) seems to have some potential to adding something to the team they would certainly explore that, but that it was their highest priority to be independent of any pu maker come 2026.

        I suspect what would be more accurate to say is that if anything Horner would sit and have a conversation with Porsche about what they might be able to bring (keeping in mind they’re newbies to F1), that RBR isn’t already on top of, or certainly will be by 2026.

        I think it is pretty safe to say there’s no way RBR are going to be a customer of unproven Porsche PUs, nor a customer of anyone’s, and if Porsche does end up contributing something in some sort of partnership it will be by them bringing something to Red Bull’s Powertrain Unit so that everything is being done under one roof wrt design and build and marriage of pu and chassis.

        1. @robbie No he’s not jumping the gun at all, there have been multiple ‘rumours’ about a Porsche RB hook up. In 2026 Redbull will be running either a Porche PU or possibly they could convince Honda to stay on but they will not be designing and building their own PU for the reasons I’ve stated previously.

          1. @johnrkh Multiple rumours is exactly my point. @sjaakfoo claims ‘Porsche is working with Red Bull as an engine supplier’ and that simply has no basis in fact. I doubt you will find any actual quotes from VW Group nor from RBR that even hints at there actually being work done between the two entities.

            But I can see where you believe this but for some speculative reasons that have never convinced me. I see no reason whatsoever why RBR will not be capable of designing and building the next spec pu for 2026 onward if they are motivated and have put together the infrastructure to do so, and both of those things are well in the works as we know.

          2. @robbie except that we now know from Honda’s side that Red Bull Powertrains doesn’t quite have as much of the resources as you seem to believe they do.

            We know that Honda has refused to transfer the construction of their power units to Red Bull – production will remain in Sakura and the power units are transferred as sealed units to prevent Red Bull acquiring Honda intellectual property that could be transferred to the VW Group, such that Red Bull isn’t going to have the production capabilities that you seem to think they do.

            Similarly, at least some of the staff who were originally going to move from Honda to Red Bull are now not going to Red Bull either (for example, Yamamoto is acting as an independent contractor between Red Bull and Honda, rather than taking on a senior role at Red Bull).

            It is also worth noting that the other manufacturers have raised questions about the structure of any deal between Red Bull and Porsche, and the indication is that the way you think the relationship would work may not be legal under the 2026 regulations.

            Binotto, for example, has been raising queries around the legality of any intellectual property transfer between Red Bull and Porsche, if that were to be the partnership that is formed, and there have been questions raised over whether such transfers of information from Red Bull to Porsche would violate the rules on what would and would not be classified as a new manufacturer under the 2026 rule set, or if such information transfers would comply with the restrictions on the transfer of IP between different organisations – with the possibility that the model you envisage would not be legal.

          3. anon Just to be clear I don’t believe RBR has the resources at this time, but they have already made huge moves to get there. Of course today they couldn’t start building their own pus, but that seems to be their goal for 2026 and they are obviously serious about that at this point in time with the construction of the Powertrains Unit, the addition of staff that is not insignificant, and now the talk that they are going to be building their own wind tunnel on site.

            I find it interesting your wording about Honda ‘refusing’ to transfer the construction of their power units to Red Bull etc etc which connotes some sort of friction, or like RBR has been insisting on it or something, when I think in fact this is just Honda wanting to stay more involved than they had previously said, due to Max’s Championship. So of course they own their own IP. And of course by staying more involved than they had previously said they would, as per Max’s win, that has changed what RBR had planned for their staff for their Powertrain Unit, for now.

            I think this talk of them with their IP and this alleged fear of VW Group getting said IP is way too speculative and premature, and is based on us in our armchair knowing very little of what is actually going on, and I don’t think VW Group even knows yet what their participation is going to look like and with whom. It is far from a given that RBR will be taking on Porsche as a partner of some sort, to me at least. So your wording that implies I’m thinking of some sort of relationship between RBR and VW is awkward as I actually will be surprised if RBR needs unproven-in-F1 Porsche for anything. If there are legal issues wrt IPs etc, then all the more reason I can see RBR being independent by 2026.

    2. There will never be a truly new F1 team because there are no people in their right mind who would pay 200 mln dollars to their competitors for no obvious reason.

      1. Sviat No obvious reason? Of course the reasons are obvious. They need to pay so that existing teams don’t lose out on money from having the pie cut up into another piece. And there has always been an entry fee of something around in the tens of millions. Then when they enter F1 they will immediately be gaining huge marketing value globally, not to mention the money they will start to get back from said pie. As well, we are to understand that if a new team came in and was also set up to supply customers with their pu, then they wouldn’t be paying anywhere near the 200 mill.

        I know 200mill sounds like a lot from our armchairs, but from everything I’ve read about it it makes sense and has been agreed within F1 as the right way to go. So yes there are ‘people’ or more accurately business entities, that will see that 200mill as an investment, not a liability.

      2. Andretti certainly seems willing and able to cough up the money. The real question is whether the current teams will allow a new team to enter; it appears they won’t.

  3. TheEngineer
    2nd May 2022, 12:48

    I wonder if Mercedes losing its dominance had anything to di with it. After all, no OEM would willfully spend hundreds of millions to be crushed by their direct competitors. Mercedes’ utter dominance was always a huge risk for other german manufacturers.

  4. At least afford measly 200m and allow us to keep the existing teams. I’d rather have McLaren than Audi in F1, even if the difference is cosmetic. I mean, if such a ultra-giga-mega conglomerate can’t enter as a new team than this championship’s doomed anyway.

  5. Michael Quinn
    2nd May 2022, 13:00

    Really not that overly excited about two new brands / sponsors coming into F1. It sounds great but reality is they are just joining / buying existing teams. F1 needs new teams, not more sponsors.

  6. Porsche and Audi have begun development work on their F1 engines, Diess added. “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 thus also the largest marketing platform for premium vehicles.”

    It will be interesting what other changes will be made besides the fuel will be made that have changed VW’s mind on F1.
    Also, what will Mercedes and Renault do now?

    1. The biggest thing is ditching the thermal energy recovery part of the engines as I understand. And then they plan on putting in more kynetic energy potential etc more or less to make up for that.

    2. @johnrkh I think the main changes that have encouraged VW Group to enter have already been made. It starts imho with BE being gone. Then there’s the budget caps, the fairer money distribution, the new cars, and the invigorated popularity of the sport, and hence the greater marketing impact for being in the sport. Other than that VW Group just needed to see that come 2026 F1 wouldn’t be going backwards in terms of energy recovery systems ie. hybrid technology and it sounds like synthetic fuel is important to them for the future as well.

      What will Mercedes and Renault do. Imho they should stay in F1 as the bang for the buck marketing wise is only growing, with it being much more affordable to be in F1 and to be in front of a bigger than ever global audience at the same time. No-brainer as far as I’m concerned, obviously from my armchair.

      1. @robbie I’m stating the bleeding obvious here. Manufacturers will only stay as long as the returns are worth the outlay and for Renault, that’s questionable, to say the least.
        As for Merc, they’ve been on top for nearly a decade. BMW and Merc are ahead in luxury car sales in China the US and their home market, that’s after 7 WCCs. I’m sure the cost cap will be a factor in whether Merc stays on or not, but it won’t be the only one.

        1. @johnrkh Sure it’s complicated and many factors come into play, but I don’t think it is a stretch to say the marketing bang for buck has likely not been this attractive in F1 for a long time as costs to play in F1 have diminished and popularity, including finally on social media, is only growing.

  7. Great news for F1. Hopefully by that time RB Powertrains will be seasoned and we can have engine wars. Now F1 needs tyre wars again Goodyear, Michelin etc.

    1. I think we already have a pu competition going on, and for sure I would welcome a tire competition as well.

  8. Michael (@freelittlebirds)
    2nd May 2022, 15:12

    Yeah, that’s great news! I guess Tesla will be unofficially entering F1 in 2038, followed by Toyota in 2048, and Ford in 2058. Any idea who’s joining in 2068?

    1. Hyundai in 2068
      Tata in 2073
      JCB in 2079

      I hear rumours that Boeing is considering an entry in 2234 but they are waiting for an advantageous set of engine regulations.

    2. Dyson

      1. Michael (@freelittlebirds)
        2nd May 2022, 18:51

        @napierrailton JCB, Boeing – Good ones! :-)

      2. Michael (@freelittlebirds)
        2nd May 2022, 18:52

        @sonnycrockett oh man, I’m lucky I had set my coffee down when I read it… You may want to warn me next time.

        My Dyson vacuum would have been of no use there.

  9. Peres_Mircea
    2nd May 2022, 16:00

    PLEASE MCLAREN DONT SELL THE TEAM OR THE MAJORITY OF THE STAKES TO AUDI!!! The team is doing well. And with the new wind tunnel al simulator they can go only better and better. It would be a shame that the Mclarne team would be swallowed by the Volkswagen Group. If they want this route they could have sell to Daimler in 2009 and today they would still have Hamilton and a Mercedes works team status. But not to Volkswagen I HOPE THEY DON SELL TO AUDI.

  10. “Porsche and Audi have decided to enter F1 in 2026, says VW CEO”
    Porsche and Audi will enter Formula 1 when the series introduces its next major technical rules change in 2026.
    Volkswagen Group CEO Herbert Diess confirmed the two premium brands “have decided to enter Formula 1” due to the rising popularity of the championship.”

    What happened to the VAG official statement that said the a final green light would come after F1’s new engine regulations for 2026 were finalised???

    I understand Audi & Porsche have already commenced preparations, but that can be stopped, just like the Porsche F1 PU that was built & dynoed after they pulled out of WEC.

    1. @ancient1

      What happened to the VAG official statement that said the a final green light would come after F1’s new engine regulations for 2026 were finalised???

      Good point, I suspect Liberty/FIA are bending over backwards to meet the requirements of the manufacturers to enter or continue in F1.

      1. @johnrkh As they should, for they want manufacturers to be happy to be in F1 and for new entrants to be happy to join.

        I suspect that with their last meeting they had last week, that even if the final regs for the new pu haven’t been formally put to paper and signed off on, the likes of VAG must be very confident that what has been discussed will be formalized before long. And now they can work towards formalizing exactly how it is they see their participation in F1 unfolding.

        1. @robbie You just don’t get :/

  11. Coventry Climax
    2nd May 2022, 18:58

    “Porsche will end a 30-year absence from the top flight of motor racing while Audi has never previously competed in F1.”

    From some quick searches:
    Between 1935 and 1937, Auto Unions won 25 races, driven by Ernst von Delius, Tazio Nuvolari, Bernd Rosemeyer, Hans Stuck and Achille Varzi.
    Auto Union AG, Chemnitz, was an amalgamation of four German automobile manufacturers, founded in 1932 and established in 1936 in Chemnitz, Saxony. It is the immediate predecessor of Audi as it is known today. The four ring logo, symbol to the four companies combined effort, is Audi’s logo up to this day.

    So, Audi, never previously competed? Strictly speaking, that maybe true. Most companies would try, any way they can, to stretch the truth, and show their ‘heritage’ in motorsports.
    Don’t be surprised if this will be the narrative for Audi too – when and if they get into F1.

    That said, it’s as silly as the “Est. 1827” on a shop window. As if it’s still the same store, under the same management. It means nothing.

    1. Some other quick searches also lead to first official F1 championship being held at 1950. That is decade and a change after the years you mentioned.

  12. the largest marketing platform for premium vehicles

    A part of me, besides the great news, is quietly concerned about F1 being nothing more than a marketing platform.

    1. Yes, it is sad but F1 has been devolving in that direction for some time.

      1. @skipgamer @johnrkh Come on, F1 has always revolved around money and marketing, particularly in the modern era, and that’s fine, for in exchange we get to see the pinnacle of cars and racing. Now that Liberty is bringing F1 into the current era that BE didn’t understand, of course there have been and will be changes.

        Oh sure, I can see some entities, some sponsors, ‘just’ being in it for the money, including BE’s CVC of course, but those inside F1 are doing it for much more than that, namely the love of Motorsport and F1.

        I think folks need to get past the concept of companies wanting to make profit, and in this case via the marketing impact from F1. That’s ok you know, and doesn’t automatically mean entities are evil money grubbers only looking to use F1.

        F1 is fantastic and enthralling, and seems to be growing. Bring it on. Marketers and all. My focus is by far mainly on the cars and drivers on the track.

        1. @robbie

          Come on, F1 has always revolved around money and marketing,

          Not to this degree, with VW entering every team will be owned or have a controlling commercial connection to a corporation.

          My focus is by far mainly on the cars and drivers on the track.

          Well, one particular car/driver combo anyway :))

          1. @johnrkh Corporate involvement has been going on for decades and it still remains that those that get involved do so because it makes sense for them and the teams with whom they get involved.

            One particular car/driver combo for sure, but it wouldn’t be any fun if the Leclerc’s of the world weren’t putting up some resistance so I do enjoy other drivers success too. I’ve been happy for Leclerc as well as Perez as a couple of examples.

    2. @skipgamer Hasn’t this always partially been the way though, ever since “win on Sunday, sell on Monday”? Though I agree that corporates and sport are intertwined more than ever before, unfortunately.

  13. What a joke. So rebadging a couple teams for the Drive to Survive crowds sake and keeping a guy in Andretti that actually could be a replacement to Frank Williams out.

  14. Call me dramatic but if this does go through in a manner beyond buying out existing teams, it would be the single biggest achievement of the Liberty era so far. His words on F1’s popularity would have been unthinkable even a few years ago. Though I still can’t figure out the appeal of potentially investing two separate brands into F1 and pitting them against each other, especially with the anti-dilution clause?

    1. @ciaran I agree that would be big but for me I’m not sure if bigger than the budget caps, the money distribution, and the cars, for those are what has attracted the likes of VW Group, not to mention the rise in popularity in F1 that is happening as you mention.

      As to pitting brands against each other it was pointed out in recent weeks that they have done that before, but really I think we just have to wait and see what comes of Audi’s participation and of Porsche’s. They may not even know at this point, as much discussions and negotiations will ensue from here on in, likely to me at least between entities we haven’t even heard of and that may not be the rumoured ones.

      Who knows for sure, when they themselves may not. Eg. I’ll be very very surprised if Porsche is going to make pus for RBR, so if that rumour has any modicum of truth it will be fascinating to see what that alleged relationship will look like, as RBR wants to do everything under one roof.

  15. Luke S (@joeypropane)
    3rd May 2022, 9:26

    I think a big part of this is the position Mercedes is in currently – VAG were never going to join while Mercedes was so dominant, but now they could feasibly take over RBR and be wiping the floor with their biggest competition right off the bat, it makes sense.

    On that subject, I would rather we have the RBR and McLaren names on the grid than Audi and Porsche, though…

    1. VAG were never going to join while Mercedes was so dominant,…”
      VAG has been in the FIA F1 discussions for a few years, &, like so-o-o many, caught off-guard by Merc’s lack of performance so far in ’22.

      Mindful that the VAG bean counters would have done their homework to the ‘N’th degree, as an Audi owner still coming to grips with VAG entering both Audi & Porsche. VAG is totally about $$’s, and this can only be about the win on Sunday, sell on Monday.
      Yes, they competed in WEC, but F1 is a completely different ball-game.
      Also since WEC the cross-over of parts/technology has escalated markedly, incl. cross-sharing with VW, Bentley & Ors. VAG is a prime example of Economies of Scale.

    2. @joeypropane I agree VAG were never going to join while Mercedes was so dominant, and while it would have cost them an absolute fortune just to come and play and not have a hope of beating Mercedes.

      But as to taking over RBR, I highly doubt that, or at least at a bare minimum there is nothing based on fact that suggests this would happen. If anything RBR are heading towards being a totally independent team, no longer needing a partner come 2026, as they are working towards making their own pus in house in their Powertrains Unit alongside their chassis manufacturing.

  16. There are two paths for manufacturers in F1
    The Toyota way
    The Mercedes way

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