Both Audi and Porsche Are Joining F1 In 2026, Volkswagen CEO Says

Rising popularity, Netflix, and success in the U.S. have made F1 irresistible, says the VW group CEO.

byMay 2, 2022 9:54 AM
Both Audi and Porsche Are Joining F1 In 2026, Volkswagen CEO Says
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After several years of speculation, which intensified considerably in recent months, the CEO of the Volkswagen Auto Group has finally confirmed that Porsche and Audi will enter Formula 1. The two brands will join in 2026, when the new power unit regulations are expected to take effect. And, like it or not, Netflix also played a big role in this.

In an interview, CEO Herbert Diess confirmed that the rumors are over: Porsche and Audi are entering F1 and, yes, he specified both brands. The timing of 2026 being when the upcoming rules to remove the MGU-H and increase the electrical contribution from MGU-K, is crucial, said Diess. "You can't get into Formula 1 unless a technology window opens, you need a rule change to get in there.”

“You need a new engine development and to make the new engine development, you need three or four years,” Diess continued. It's just shy of those four years until Audi and Porsche's entries would need to hit the track, so that's the window they need to prepare.

VW Group wound down Audi's entry to Formula E at the end of last season, moving on to the Dakar Rally. While Porsche is still in FE but announced last year it wants to develop batteries in race cars, for which the only series really is F1. Last month, Audi's LMDh project was put on hold and although Porsche's is continuing, only the internal combustion engine for the mostly-spec prototypes is researched by the manufacturer.

Development for the F1 project is already underway, according to Diess' speech and both brands are looking forward to a future in F1. “We assume that in ’26, ’28 it will still be the biggest motorsport spectacle in the world, even more so than today," he said. "More in China, more in the USA than today and thus also the largest marketing platform for premium vehicles.”

That platform is what's attracted VW Group's attention and it's due, in significant part, to Netflix's Drive to Survive. "Formula 1 is developing extremely positively worldwide. The marketing that is happening there, plus Netflix, has led to Formula 1's following growing significantly in the U.S. as well," said Diess.

"Asia is growing significantly, including among young customer groups," he continued. "If you look at the major sporting events or events in the world, it's the case that in motorsport, it's really only Formula 1 that counts and is becoming increasingly differentiated."

F1 is pretty extraordinarily expensive to enter and there are no details yet on whether Audi and Porsche will be buying existing, creating new outfits, appearing only as power unit manufacturers, or even just supplying each other. It would make sense for Porsche supply the V6 engine at least, as Audi stopped internal combustion development last year.

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