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McLaren confirms talks with Volkswagen Group

NEWS STORY
19/01/2022

McLaren boss, Zak Brown has confirmed that the Woking-based outfit has held exploratory talks with the board of the Volkswagen Group with a view to partnering with one of its entities, including Audi.

With the sport promising to go ever greener, especially with the new engine formulae due to be introduced in 2026, for some time there has been talk of the VW Group entering F1 courtesy one of its many brands, the most likely being Porsche or Audi. Indeed, though not a current participant, the German giant has been invited to discussions on the future of the sport's engine rules.

Though it is unclear which of the brands might enter the sport, or even both, it has been stressed that they would prefer to enter as a manufacturer and partner rather than a team in their own right.

With talk of a decision from VW by the end of February, McLaren boss, Zak Brown, who last November had to issue a statement denying media reports that Audi had bought the company, admits that talks have been held with the group.

"They've spoken with a handful of people on the grid, and we had conversations," the American told reporters, referring to the VW Group.

"I am hearing they are going to do something with Red Bull on the Porsche front," he added.

"As you would imagine we have had conversations but in the short term and medium term we're very happy where we are," he insisted, referring to the current partnership with Mercedes which he expects to run its course until 2026 and the new engine formula.

"So we are just going to wait and see are they going to come into the sport, because that's not been definitively decided. If they do, we have a contract through this term and naturally we're going to evaluate where we are and take a decision on what we do in 2026 in due course."

Brown, who at the start of the week issued a blistering, but well received, certainly by fans, attack on the confused governance of the sport and the increasing power of certain teams and their bosses, added to the Lewis Hamilton 'will he, won't he' saga by opining that the seven-time champion, who was brought into the sport by McLaren, and in particular Ron Dennis, may walk away.

"I wouldn't be shocked if he stopped," said the American. "I don't think anyone should take for granted he's coming back.

"My personal opinion is he's going to return but I don't think we should discount or not recognise his frustration, his anger," he added. "I don't think we should rule it out or make light of it. I just personally think he still has a burning desire to race and that will ultimately drive his decision.

"I don't think he's ready to retire," he said. "I don't think he's going to let an incident put him into retirement."

The American also poured doubt on F1's hopes for at least six Sprints this season, admitting that the teams are divided over increasing the budget cap in order to cover the anticipated cost should damage be incurred in any of the events.

"A couple of teams, and one team in particular, wanted a $5m budget cap increase, which was just ridiculous," he said. "And no rational facts behind it... when you challenged them, they go to 'what if' and 'could' and 'you've got to anticipate'. You sit there and go 'this is just nonsense'.

"Maybe there can be a compromise and we raise it a little bit, and we start in 2022 or we skip 2022, and a couple of these teams should have to explain to the fans why there is no sprint races," he added.

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READERS COMMENTS

 

1. Posted by Spindoctor, 23/01/2022 9:52

"@Bill Hopgood - that would be an interesting development...."

Rating: Neutral (0)     Rate comment: Positive | NegativeReport this comment

2. Posted by Bill Hopgood, 21/01/2022 20:27

"If Red Bull and Porsche are looking to do a deal, it could be that the RB PU be becomes a Porsche PU giving VAG something they can rebrand to other teams as Ferrari do with Alpha Romeo.
We could end up with Red Bull Porsche, McLaren Audi, Alfa Tauri Volkswagen. "

Rating: Positive (1)     Rate comment: Positive | NegativeReport this comment

3. Posted by Spindoctor, 21/01/2022 12:58

"The whole McLaren Group appears to have a large (but discreet!) "For Sale" sign round its neck. BMW & VAG are allegedly interested in the whole kit & caboodle. Neither currently has a competitor to Ferrari in Road Cars despite VAG's ownership of Lambo. McLaren Group would bring quite a lot of quality Engineering & innovation to either Group, along with real competition for Ferrari.

On the F1 front I'd be sanguine about McLaren partnering with VAG for PUs, though rumour has it (as Brown suggested) that "Porsche" will do a deal with RBR. McLaren wouldn't be their primary partner in such an arrangement so......"

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4. Posted by Rock Doc, 19/01/2022 20:55

"@ Superbird70 Thank you, I needed that today. "

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5. Posted by BrightonCorgi, 19/01/2022 15:33

"Red Bull & Porsche makes more sense for both parties."

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6. Posted by Superbird70, 19/01/2022 12:57

"Rumour has it that Haas is in talks with Skoda."

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7. Posted by Burton, 19/01/2022 12:24

"Concessions doubtlessly made for these marques and we won't even get more teams out of it. Lame."

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8. Posted by kenji, 19/01/2022 10:39

"What a great advance for F1 if either or both of these prestige German automakers enter the series. We need more balance in the supply side of power units and less opportunities for teams to be pressured to compromise their racing and overall competition. The best outcome would be seeing both marques represented then we'd see some real racing."

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