Rumours of Volkswagen Group (re)entering Formula 1 either through Audi F1 or Porsche F1 has been in circulation for three decades since its departure from the grid. Over the course of the last 18 months, however, momentum has been steadily building, with the proverbial wheels greased by: 1. incoming (major) rule changes surrounding new technical regulations, 2. the introduction of more environmentally-friendly powertrains, and 3. revising the financial aspect of competition — to the point it would appear VW is now prepared to formally commit.
During a meeting of the World Motor Sport Council, the framework for the 2026 power unit regulations was outlined “… with the aim of using 100% sustainable fuels and a shift of focus to more electrical power”; effectively reducing the costs for existing manufacturers and newcomers by a significant margin. Shortly after, outgoing FIA President Jean Todt and Formula 1 CEO Stefano Domenicali received a letter from Audi CEO Markus Duesmann and Head of Technical Development Oliver Hoffmann, expressing approval for the motorsport’s current trajectory:
“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… We believe that it contains satisfying solutions for all the objectives.”
At this stage, details still haven’t been locked in just yet. There’s no word on whether Audi will simply be an engine supplier or gun for a full-package deal (car, engine, team) to take on arch-rival Mercedes. Fun fact: Audi’s letter also expressed approval for hosting a fair competition “literally until the last lap of the season”; directly referencing the controversial title fight between Lewis Hamilton and Max Verstappen lol.