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Volkswagen F1 announcement in New Year?

NEWS STORY
23/12/2021

Pleased with the recently announced plans for the 2026 engine formula, Audi hopes to confirm its F1 entry "early next year".

Last month, Thomas Laudenbach, the vice-president of motorsport at Porsche, which like Audi is part of the Volkswagen Group, admitted that the terms on which the manufacturer would enter the sport were "coming true".

In the wake of last week's confirmation from the FIA that the next generation of F1 engine, due to be introduced in 2026, will witness a "shift of focus to electrical power", Audi CEO, Markus Duesmann and Oliver Hoffman, a member of the Board of Management of Audi AG Technical Development, have written to the sport's governing body expressing their satisfaction at the news.

Autocar cites a letter from the pair in which they assure Jean Todt: "Thanks to your efforts we are now close to the finish line.

"Recently, we saw another milestone being reached, the first draft of the technical, sporting, and financial regulations", they add. "We believe that it contains satisfying solutions for all the objectives".

The letter ends: "We look forward to working with you and your team, to complete this important process and to confirm our Formula 1 entry early next year."

Following last week's meeting of the World Motor Sport Council, at which it validated the framework for the 2026 power unit regulations four key objectives were identified. They were that the sport needs to send a powerful environmental message, with 100% sustainable fuel, overall efficiency, and a shift of focus to electrical power. Also, significant cost reduction, in terms of the technical, operational and financial regulations, the ability for newcomers to join the sport at a competitive level and 'protecting the show', in terms of a powerful and high-revving power unit, car performance, sound, drivers’ ability to race and avoiding excessive differentiation.

In order to achieve this, the 2026 power unit regulations will be built on four so-called pillars. These are the retention of the 1.6-litre V6 engine, increasing electrical power to 350kW, dropping the MGU-H and the introduction of a power unit cost cap.

With Porsche and Audi both expressing interest it is unclear which brand Volkswagen will give the green light to, however only last month, Williams CEO, Jost Capito, who was previously boss at Volkswagen motorsport, said the manufacturer is serious about entering the sport.

"I believe it very much depends on the regulations," he told Motorsport.com, "and the engine regulations for '26 are not yet out. I think it all depends on that.

"If they have been serious, they have been part of the engine regulation discussions, I don't think they waste their time in going to these meetings, especially also the CEO coming to those meetings, and not being serious," he added.

"But finally, it depends on what the final regulations are if then the Volkswagen Group thinks it makes sense, they might go to the board and ask for a decision."

Seemingly, last week's news from the FIA has ticked all the right boxes.

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READERS COMMENTS

 

1. Posted by Defiant, 28/12/2021 17:50

"@kenji I agree with you, but the back story of Lambo beginning to build cars was also sparked by a disagreement with Enzo over one of those red things that he sold (recently reminded of this by Top Gear), so it'd work for PR on that aspect too."

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2. Posted by kenji, 28/12/2021 1:03

"@ Defiant...when it comes to telling a story of 'motor sport from inception' as a raison d'etre, one needs to take into consideration the origins of Lamborghini...they were a tractor company!! Hardly an edifying concept but one which a clever PR company could weave an interesting story like ..'.Look how far we've come so far'!!! Interesting days ahead..great fun for all and quite exciting as we've had no new entries for quite some time."

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3. Posted by Defiant, 27/12/2021 17:38

"@kenji & BrightonCorgi, dont forget Lamborghini is in their stable too. They had a brief play in F1 as an engine supplier. Even as a constructor although it was under a different name, Modena"

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4. Posted by kenji, 26/12/2021 2:28

"@ Brighton Corgi...If you are interested have a look at the images of the Auto Union 1934 series Type A [ Rosemeyer ] through to Type D [ Nuvolari ] 1938. These cars are stunning and revolutionary as they were all rear engined !!!. They were simply stunning cars and the engineering was superb. Great history."

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5. Posted by kenji, 26/12/2021 2:14

"@ BrightonCorgi....Depending on who you follow/talk to, the origin of the name 'silver arrows' is at best questionable. There is a very good argument put about that in '34 it was Audi/Auto Union who were the first to remove all the lead based paint from their GP cars to save weight. As a long time client of Audi i received a very nice coffee table publication from Audi with images of these stunning cars. Porsche also have history with the TAG/Porsche successes in the McLaren 4/2/3. sometime around the mid to late eighties. Either marque would be a good choice as they both have advanced engines already well under way as it has been reported sometime ago. A smart promotional campaign based around the Audi/Auto Union history would be an excellent basis for their return. IMO equally as well respected as that of Mercedes."

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6. Posted by BrightonCorgi, 25/12/2021 15:15

"I don't think they'll run under Porsche; only Audi makes sense. If they are not successful, why tarnish the Porsche name?

Even though Audi has plenty palmares under its marque; they are not a "grand prix racing name" to most. A premium car brand with rally and LeMans heritage for sure. Even those two discipline's are lost on most. "

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7. Posted by kenji, 24/12/2021 0:28

"@ R1Racing71...Who knows? Maybe they are entering as an engine supplier first up with options..I mean there are lots of possible avenues but in order to avoid the ridiculous '$200M up front advance they may just take over an existing franchise then expand later. My personal opinion is that they will enter into an agreement with an existing top player but no matter what, they are not going to be there as 'trundlers'. They will have a plan to win from the very earliest. I would like to see them hook up with McLaren as they are an ideal partner with Seidel already a very successful past Porsche man of note!. "

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8. Posted by @R1Racing71, 23/12/2021 21:59

"So, who are they buying?
McLaren or Williams? "

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9. Posted by kenji, 22/12/2021 22:57

"@Defiant...Thank you for your comments. Like you, i welcome a new player to the game. Whichever marque it is will be a serious contender IMO. I am reminded of Spa fastest laps which were posted over the past couple of years. Porsche's unleashed WEC beast took it from Bottas in '18/'19 and held it until '20 when Hamilton was able to beat it by an extremely low margin in quali trim!! I expect Audi will be on the same level by the time they hit the track if they are chosen.

As for whether or not Sulayem will be an effective leader I would prefer not to make any forecasts as I know very little about him. What I do know is that he was challenged in the vote by a formidable opponent and that Sulayem's contemporaries chose him rather than other English chap, Stoker. I guess only time will tell. Todt never struck me as being particularly effective and I fear he was more concerned with other branches of the FIA realm rather than F1. "

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10. Posted by Defiant, 22/12/2021 20:12

"@kenji, you make some good points there.
I'm hoping VAG do join, as I'm also hoping, more power unit options will benefit the sport in the long term.
Where I do agree completely is, the governing body needs to govern. This years debacle has proven that that is not happening currently. However, I doubt that Sulayem is going to be a positive step for the future, more like a negative influence like mad Max was.
Having an engine supplier come in already expecting to dictate can only make things worse too.
What we dont want is another manufacturer like Honda, Toyota or BMW coming in, offering so much hope and then pulling the rug out when they didn't succeed as fast as they'd hoped."

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11. Posted by kenji, 22/12/2021 13:01

"At first glance this is good news. The arrival of VW via either Porsche or Audi will be most welcome to the series...IMO. Both of these marques have illustrious backgrounds and their contemporary involvement in the WEC series certainly upholds their fine traditions in motor sport. What this does though goes further as it weakens the stranglehold of other massive manus. Hopefully it will bring to F1 some drastically needed balance. Without balance the scales are mostly tipped in favour of a select few. That is something sadly lacking in F1 ATM. What really makes me mad, at times, is when a team principal announces publically he is 'going to hold the sports governing body, the FIA, to account'. Tell me that that is not sheer arrogance!! The FIA is not perfect, we are all aware of that but when a competitor states 'he' intends to take this proposed action then the FIA need to crush this quickly and let it be known that no team is bigger that the governing body. Failure to do this will be an albatross for the future. Sulayem is a new broom... time to start sweeping."

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