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

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

Red Bull, McLaren, Aston Martin, Williams, Alfa Romeo – they are all linked to the Volkswagen Group’s intention to enter the Formula 1 season 2026. VW boss Herbert Diess now gives an insight that the preparations are very concrete.

What has been supposed, speculated and reported for several months now seems to be coming true: The Volkswagen Group’s entry into Formula 1. VW CEO Herbert Diess confirmed in an agreement with “Wolfsburger Nachrichten” and “Wolfsburger Allgemeine Zeitung “that the premium brands Audi and Porsche are working on getting ready for the leading motorsport class for the 2026 season. “It’s very specific at Porsche,” Diess said at a news conference, but “not so much” at Audi, explaining to both interested brands: “There is an opportunity to get started through technical changes to the rules.” Because if you look around, you will see, “that only Formula 1 really counts in motorsport”.

Formula 1 is planning the next big rule change for 2026, including brand new engines. The exact specifications are still under negotiation, and during these negotiations there were repeated indications that the VW Group considers the development worthwhile. For example, it is conceivable that from 2026 up to 50 percent will be electrically powered, while the fuel must be 100 percent sustainable. The further development of the hybrid engines currently in use has largely been frozen to save costs. These should also decrease in the future, which is why the use of standard components is likely.

Porsche has been affiliated with Red Bull for a few weeks, and a takeover of up to 50 percent seems conceivable. World Champion Max Verstappen’s team took over the units from engine partner Honda after last season and founded its own department for maintenance, servicing and further development with “Red Bull Powertrains”.

At Audi, there were rumors of a collaboration with McLaren, which has not yet come to fruition. Aston Martin and Williams are also said to be interested in talks to work together in 2026. All three racing teams are currently getting their engines from Mercedes. The Sauber team from Switzerland, currently competing as the Alfa Romeo with Ferrari engines, could also be a candidate.

The ad value should exceed the cost

According to Diess, the development of an in-house drive has already begun, both at Audi and at Porsche. The crucial factor behind the global business’ 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 because of the much talked about driving in the ring, but also because of the countless cars, trucks, ships and planes needed to secure the logistics for this season’s 23 races in Europe, North America, South America, Asia and Oceania.

However, Porsche and Audi still see Formula 1 as an opportunity to increase their brand value. The role model should be Mercedes, which took over the Brawn team in 2010. Since then, the Silver Arrows have won 15 world championship titles (seven drivers ‘championships, eight constructors’ championships), and due to the prize money, they are even sometimes said to have earned – and the ad value due to the entrance was sometimes estimated at over a billion euros.

Diess is also quoted as saying that if possible, German drivers should also be used in the Porsche and Audi teams. In the 2010s, up to seven German drivers were active at the same time, this season it is Mick Schumacher at Haas and the 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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