Engine development is already underway: VW boss explains Porsche and Audi’s F1 plan

The development of the engine is already underway
VW boss explains Porsche and Audi’s F1 plan

Red Bull, McLaren, Aston Martin, Williams, Alfa Romeo – they are all associated with the Volkswagen Group’s intention to enter Formula 1 for the 2026 season. VW boss Herbert Diess is now explaining that the preparations are very concrete.

What has been hypothesized, hypothesized and reported for months seems to become reality: the Volkswagen Group’s entry into Formula 1. VW CEO Herbert Diess confirmed in an appointment with “Wolfsburger Nachrichten” and “Wolfsburger Allgemeine Zeitung”, that the brands premium Audi and Porsche are working to get ready for the premier class of motorsports for the 2026 season. “It’s very specific in Porsche,” Diess said at a press conference, but “not so much” in Audi, and explained in view of both brands concerned: “There is an opportunity to start through technical changes to the rules.” Because if you look around you will see “that only Formula 1 really matters in motorsport”.

Formula 1 is planning the next major rule change for 2026, including all-new engines. The exact specifications are currently still under negotiation and during these talks there have been repeated indications that the VW Group considers the development worthwhile. It is conceivable, for example, that from 2026 up to 50 percent will be electrically powered, while the fuel should be 100 percent sustainable. Further development of the hybrid engines currently in use has largely been halted to save costs. These are also expected to decrease in the future, which is why the use of standard components is likely.

Porsche has been associated with Red Bull for a few weeks and an acquisition of up to 50% seems conceivable. World Champion Max Verstappen’s team took over the aggregates from the Honda engine partner after last season and established their own maintenance, service and further development department with “Red Bull Powertrains”.

At Audi there were rumors of a collaboration with McLaren, which have not yet materialized. Aston Martin and Williams are also said to be interested in the collaboration talks in 2026. All three teams currently get their engines from Mercedes. The Swiss team Sauber, which currently competes as an Alfa Romeo with Ferrari engines, could also be a candidate.

The advertising value should outweigh the costs

According to Diess, the development of an in-house power unit has already begun, at both Audi and Porsche. The deciding factor behind the global company’s decision to invest in Formula 1 is its strategy to become more sustainable and climate-friendly. Again and again, the series is criticized for its environmental damage. Not only for the much-quoted round-the-clock driving, but also for the countless cars, trucks, ships and planes needed to ensure the logistics for this season’s 23 races in Europe, North America, South America, Asia and Oceania.

However, Porsche and Audi see Formula 1 as an opportunity to increase their brand value. The model is expected to be Mercedes, which took over the Brawn team in 2010. Since then, the Silver Arrows have won 15 world titles (seven drivers ‘championships, eight constructors’ championships) and due to the prize pool they are sometimes said to have also achieved a profit – and the advertising value as a result of the rumor has sometimes been estimated at over a billion euros.

Diess is also rumored to have said that German drivers should also be used in Porsche and Audi teams if possible. In the 2010s, up to seven German drivers were active at the same time, in the current season they are Mick Schumacher at Haas and four-time world champion Sebastian Vettel at Aston Martin. While Schumacher is likely to be a candidate for this case at the age of 23, Vettel, who is currently in his 15th year in Formula 1, is unlikely to be involved.

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