During a livestream on the official VW Group YouTube channel named “Dialog with Diess”, Diess talked about the move into the sport and how they’d discussed VW becoming a team. But the manufacturer came to the conclusion that VW “doesn’t fit and the brand will not participate”. Instead, Porsche and Audi will take their places on the grid, with Diess adding that it was the “last chance” for the brand this decade.
With F1 committed to using fully sustainable synthetic fuel from 2026, Audi and Porsche are both doubling down on this and are already discussing engine development. Of course, this promotes the brands extremely positively, with Diess saying the sport is “developing extremely positively worldwide.” Thank you, Drive to Survive.
“If you look at the major sporting events or events in the world, it’s the case that in motorsport, it’s really only Formula 1 that counts and is becoming increasingly differentiated.
“If you do motorsport, you should do Formula 1 as that’s where the impact is greatest. 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.”
Prompted by the regulation changes coming in 2026, Diess wants to enter the sport as soon as possible, admitting that it would have taken five to ten years to compete with the likes of Mercedes and Red Bull if they’d started before these changes. But 2026 brings an all-new engines to the grid which will level the playing field and allow these VW brands to start on the same rung as every other engine manufacturer.
It’s not entirely known what VW’s strategy will look like as they enter the F1, but rumours point towards Porsche partnering with Red Bull in some way, potentially developing a powertrain for it. Audi has also been rumoured to be buying McLaren, although this has been declined by the team.
“The discussion on the Board was not unanimous. We certainly have other priorities strategically. It’s not necessarily motorsport, but our cars have to be technically up to date, we have to be able to drive autonomously, we need the software capabilities, we need batteries for our cars.
“We have enough to do and we don’t really need to do Formula 1.”
With the F1 seeing new levels of popularity this year across the globe thanks to recent marketing moves, VW will enjoy the visibility they’ll get from being part of the sport. And boy, will it be exciting to see them on the grid.