The rumor mill that is Formula 1 seemingly never sleeps. Lately, there’s been a lot of talk surrounding F1, and today, VW added fuel to that fire by confirming rumors that both Audi and Porsche could join F1 in 2026.
Volkswagen Group CEO, Herbert Diess, acknowledged that plans for both Audi and Porsche to join the F1 engine manufacturer pool are very much in play, which is the closest thing to a direct confirmation to date. Diess shared at an event in Wolfsburg, Germany on Monday, that both companies are targeting the 2026 season for their respective debuts. This timing coincides with new cars and new engines that will utilize a sustainable, synthetic fuel.
Porsche has been investing heavily in synthetic fuels in a bid to promote the longevity of its internal-combustion road cars, and Formula 1 will give Porsche a chance to develop the technology through motorsport while tying the road cars to the team. The rule changes will also mean that all teams start from the same position, giving Porsche and Audi a better shot at being competitive right off the bat, which may not open again for a decade.
This announcement also begs the question of how each engine manufacturer will enter the series. Rumors are swirling that Porsche is most likely to become an engine supplier for Red Bull Racing, while Audi’s plans are less clear and likely involve buying an existing team.
Both Porsche and Audi have spent the past decade between sports car racing and Formula E. While Audi recently canceled both its Formula E program and put the pause on its 2023 Le Mans program, Porsche is currently pushing ahead with plans for both series and has already begun testing its 2023 Le Mans racer. However, reports indicat that Porsche would “reduce other racing activities” as part of the push for a spot on the F1 grid.
Diess explained that discussions among the brands’ board of directors regarding F1 had caused some rifts to form, but ultimately Audi and Porsche were able to assure their parent company that joining Formula 1 would net more money than it would cost.
VW has clearly noticed Formula 1’s rapid growth in the United States and around the world, and Diess cited Formula 1’s strength as an advertising platform. While his statements were not paired with an official confirmation from Formula 1, it is the closest thing yet in a long line of growing rumors, and a full announcement is expected to come later this year. Which brand are you most excited to see among the F1 ranks?