Suggestions that the Volkwagen Group will enter the F1 arena have been going strong for more than a decade, but the credibility and frequency of these reports have been overdriven in recent months.
Audi had been tipped to take over the McLaren F1 team, with a post going so far as to say it was a done deal. At the time, McLaren denied that there had been a change in its ownership structure, but, perhaps revealingly, added that the company has always been involved in discussions with “relevant partners and suppliers. , including other car manufacturers “.
A report of Automotive Review now claims the deal is almost done. In addition to Audi’s entry into F1 via a McLaren takeover, Porsche is reportedly in the process of preparing a partnership deal with the Red Bull F1 team once Honda’s advice ends. The article suggests that one scenario is that the two teams, Audi / McLaren and Porsche / Red Bull, would then team up to fight Ferrari and Mercedes. The other teams vying for “fallback” options are an Audi and Williams and a Porsche and Alpha Tauri or Haas team.
Audi and Porsche have already shown interest in Formula 1. The appeal of German brands is being boosted by F1’s move towards sustainable fuels, while the simplification of powertrains will be another important aspect.
Earlier reports had suggested that the road car division would follow Bavaria’s path, effectively dividing the British company between VW and BMW, much like Bentley and Rolls Royce. However, Automotive magazine The latest report suggests that despite a meeting with McLaren’s major shareholders, Bahrain’s Mumtalakat Holding, the talks have been cold. BMW had also denied a report that it might buy the British sports car maker.
Mumtalakat, meanwhile, is said to be keen to get rid of the loss-making automaker. Despite a positive start to 2021, which saw the company double its sales in the first half of the year, McLaren is in a difficult financial situation. Sales fell 64% and measures to keep the company afloat included 830 layoffs, the sale and lease of its headquarters and the issuance of Â£ 550million ($ 747million) in new shares .
If Audi were to take the whole group, which includes both the road and Formula 1 divisions valued at Â£ 1bn ($ 1.36bn), it would potentially create a pretty big sports car alliance, with Lamborghini, McLaren, Porsche, Rimac and Buggati all with potential for synergies.