VW may enter F1; Audi says not yet




When the chairman of Volkswagen group, Ferdinand Piech resigned, last week, it gave rise to speculations that the group may now be willing to enter Formula One. The 78-year old chief, who quit last Satuday, had been against entering Formula One due to his personal feud with Bernie Ecclestone, Formula One’s boss.

Volkswagen considering entering Formula One

Volkswagen considering entering Formula One

His move to leave the Volkswagen group comes as a surprise to many in the group and the automotive industry. However, this is considered to be the result of an internal power struggle in the senior management level at Volkswagen. Reports say that Piech had become isolated after a majority of the board members voted against him after his attempt to remove Winterkorn from the group. Depty Chairman Berthold Huber is currently serving as the leader of the group until a new chairman is elected by the board.

The VW Group is currently racing successfully in the World Endurance Championship under the Audi and Porsche brands and in GT racing under the Bentley and Lamborghini brands. It is speculated that the brands may enter Formula One now, as under Winterkorn’s leadership, the brand has thrived and expanded rapidly in the motorsport arena.

The VW group has a lot of options in terms of brands through which it could enter F1 and Audi seems the most logical choice given it past successful history in motorsports and endurance races. Former Ferrari team boss, Stefano Dominicall was hired by Audi, last year, to conduct a feasibility study for the team, after he left Ferrari. However, Audi says that it has no plans to enter Formula One following the exit of their group chairman, Ferdinand Piech.

Should VW then take a dive into Formula One, it is considered that the group will go with a tie-up with a current team or else a buy-out. Red Bull seems to be a good choice given the vocal displeasure of the team’s boss Christian Horner and his threats to exit the sport. It has been 20-odd years that VW has been linked with entering Formula One circuit however, it has not happened yet. Perhaps the group is waiting to appoint a new chairman before they make further plans to enter Formula One.

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Anjan K Merkap

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