Audi on Wolff's radar


Mercedes boss, Toto Wolff insists that he is not underestimating the potential threat from Audi ahead of its entry to F1 in 2026.

Though he is not keen to welcome Andretti to the F1 Club, believing that it would not bring "value" to the sport, he is keen to see Audi enter in 2026.

"Andretti is a great name," he said in the summer, "they have done exceptional things in the US.

"But this is sport and this is business," he added. "We need to understand what it is you can provide to the sport and if an OEM or multi-national group joins Formula 1 and can demonstrate they are going to spend X amount of dollars in activating, in marketing and in various markets, that is obviously a totally different value proposition for all the other teams.

"We have ten franchises that we hope can increase the value and you are certainly not going to increase the value by issuing new franchises to people who cannot increase the overall value of Formula 1," he insisted.

Of course, Mercedes family tree can be traced all the way back to British American Racing, which subsequently morphed into Honda, which, like fellow-Japanese OEM Toyota, many would argue brought little to the sport at the time other than money.

Now, as Audi prepares to enter in partnership with Sauber, which currently runs the Alfa Romeo team, Wolff is adamant that, unlike Andretti, it will bring something to the sport.

"To begin, I would never underestimate the Volkswagen Group," says the Austrian, according to Speedcafe, "whether it's Audi or Porsche, when they enter into such a project.

"They have the financial strength, the knowhow, the racing expertise to come up with a great project," he adds. "And I think the marriage with Sauber is something that fits. It's in Switzerland, it's German-Switzerland, it operates under the same legislative environment.

"I have them absolutely on the radar, absolutely part of the teams that can be successful in 2026."

That said, there is talk that come 2026, Wolff, who owns a third of the Mercedes F1 operation, will have moved on.

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Published: 10/11/2022
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