The Volkswagen Group is getting into Formula 1 in a big way.
Group CEO Herbert Diess overnight confirmed both Audi and Porsche will join the grid in some form for the 2026 season.
Mr Diess pointed to the new regulations coming into force in 2026 as a driver, along with the category’s bigger push into synthetic fuels. The growth of F1 in markets such as the USA and China is also a factor.
Porsche in particular has positioned itself as a leader in the eFuel space, so running a Formula 1 program using the technology is a natural fit. It supplied TAG-branded engines to McLaren in the 1980s, although its F1 history pales alongside its endurance racing pedigree.
“If you do motorsport, you should do Formula 1 as that’s where the impact is greatest,” Mr Diess said, as reported by Motorsport.
“What’s more, you can’t enter Formula 1 unless a technology window opens up which means, in order to get in there, a rule change: so that everyone starts again from the same place.”
It’s not clear whether the German giants will each field a factory-backed team, or whether they’ll be engine suppliers, development partners, or merely naming sponsors for an existing outfit.
Porsche has previously been linked with Red Bull Racing, which has bought engines from Renault and Honda in the past.
Mr Diess confirmed Audi is still looking for a partner, but recent media reports have tied it to the McLaren Group. Along with the Formula 1 operation, the reports have linked Audi with the McLaren road car operation.
It’s also been tied to Williams, which was recently bought from the Williams family by investment firm Dorilton Capital, and the currently Alfa Romeo-backed team Sauber.
Porsche is heavily involved in motorsport, with everything from the 911 to its bespoke Formula E car.
Audi has withdrawn from Le Mans, but remains active in TCR, sports car, and (until the end of the current season) Formula E motorsport.