Over the past decade, if I had a quarter for every time someone trudged out the “VW’s getting into Formula One” story, I’d own VW. The rumors are always up and down with the German car company patently denying such notions to mildly toying with coy phrases such as “we’ll see” or “it could be interesting” which is akin to me answering one of my children about a request that I have no intention on doing. But sure, why spoil a PR moment right? Just keep them guessing and calling the office for quotes.
Now Sport Bild has a new story saying that not only are VW getting into Formula 1 in 2015 but they will do so with Sauber and eventually build their own chassis. Sauber CEO Monisha Kaltenborn said that team owner Peter Sauber did speak with VW earlier this year but that that’s where the story ended. Now the German press are sure it’s going to happen and what better team to link VW to than one who admitted they chatted with VW? It’ snot like HRT spoke to the VW chairman at the urinal in the train station in Zurich one afternoon and that’s grounds for a marriage made in F1 heaven. No, this is an admitted conversation between Sauber and VW so let the speculation begin.
As Autoblog’s Jonathon Ramsay points out, however, VW’s head of motor sport, Jost Capito, said that the marque wouldn’t enter in F1 but then they did not say that the group wouldn’t enter right? Are we parsing words enough here? Ramsay also points out a distinction with Jost Capito in that he worked with Sauber Red Bull Racing as COO for five years from 1996-2001. Would that have an impact on the VW decision?
I’m inclined to wonder if VW or any of their brands might take a poke at an engine supply like BMW did with Williams F1 back in the day. Mercedes has dipped its toe in the warm waters of F1 only to find a real challenge its yet to conquer so would another German car maker enter the series? BMW eventually owned their own team, built their own chassis and promptly left when the economy started to slide. They said they had a hankering for making electric cars instead. Audi and Porsche are a part fo the VW empire and both marques are squarely centered behind sports car racing at Le Mans but would either of them attempt an F1 operation?
Like always, I’ve mixed feelings about this and really can’t see what VW would gain from it if Audi and Porsche are in endurance racing as heavily as they are. The amount of money VW would spend on F1 would be large and would it really position their group brand any better than what Le Mans does? I’m not convinced but I’d welcome the arrival any day of the week folks.