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In the wake of a claim that Volkswagen is looking to enter F1 as an engine supplier ahead of entering the sport in its own right, the German company has pulled off a surprise coup.
In late January, Wolfgang Durheimer, head of Bentley, Bugatti and Motorsport within the VW Group, revealed that he would be presenting his concept to the board, a concept which includes entering F1.
"I will be presenting my concept to the board this year," he told Wirtschafts Woche, with plans that not only include the motor sport series that we are at presently represented in.
"If we considerer our planned sales in the American, Asian and Middle Eastern markets, then we are not properly represented in motor sport in these markets," he continued. "In my opinion we have to correct this."
Durheimer, who previously headed Porsche, which, following a brief flirtation with F1 in the early 60s which included a win for Dan Gurney in the 1962 French Grand Prix, and which subsequently enjoyed success in the 1980s with McLaren, securing three drivers and two constructors' titles with the Woking team, added that he believes "F1 has the most relevance and dominates motor sport in Europe and Asia".
Now comes news that the German manufacturer has recruited Jost Capito from Ford with a brief to oversee a motorsport programme that will include a full World Rally Championship in 2013.
Capito was formerly the director of Global Performance Vehicles and Motorsport Business Development for Ford, responsible for the company's global performance vehicle business. Additionally, he was responsible for the global motorsports strategy and aligning Ford's global motorsports plans and programs, leading development of motorsport opportunities for the company's future global car products around the world, working closely with its regional motorsports directors.
Prior to moving to Ford, he spent four years as development engineer for BMW's high-performance engines, followed by a move to Porsche AG to oversee organization of its various racing championship campaigns. He then became head of Porsche Motorsport Organization and in 1996 he went to Sauber Petronas Engineering HG, initially to build up their powertrain division and later he was asked to administer the Red Bull Sauber F1 operation.
There is speculation that if Volkswagen were to enter F1 as an entrant it would most likely seek to purchase Toro Rosso, which is owned by Red Bull.
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