Audi to F1, End is Nigh, Eat at Joe’s

Every time there is the slightest breeze that rustles the leaves in Audi Forest, the machine that is speculation rattles with the sound of “Audi’s coming to Formula 1”.

It seems inevitable that this week’s announcement regarding the resignation of Ferdinand Piech from the VW Group’s board would immediately set off an Audi-to-F1 alarm and so it has. It just got the same answer it has always received every time it is asked:

“The current situation is that Audi definitely has no intention to enter F1,”

I can’t recall a more begged-after marque than Audi/VW in the history of F1 and you’d think with all the unrelenting desire for them to enter F1, they would just once cave to the idea but no, this German giant is keeping F1 at a safe distance.

Why not? It’s not like they are hurting for sales and motorsport domination given their sales numbers and punishing record at Le Mans. The rumor mill always churns with certain board members keen to get into F1 and Piech turning it down. Who knows?

At this point, the trope has become so common place it’s like those “The end of the world is here” sandwich board folks—but like those doomsday predictors, if and when it actually happens, won’t we all be really shocked?

Hat Tip: BBC Sport

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darkslide_77

I wish somebody else would get in there…you know damn well nobody is going to go to Honda any time soon. Am I the only one that thinks that more engine suppliers would necessarily bring down costs?

Paul KieferJr

In an ideal world, that would be the case, but this world has never been “ideal”.

Negative Camber

Well, there is the concept of competition and commoditization :)

jakobusvdl

Hi darkside, I don’t know if I’ve correctly understood your question, but I don’t think more power unit suppliers would bring the costs of F1 down. Its going to cost a new team or supplier Mercedes type money to develop a competitive unit (especially as Renault lesser investment has produced an uncompetitive unit).

darkslide_77

What I meant was exactly what Negative Camber commented…competition and commoditization…let’s just say that VW/Audi/Porsche does come in and they say, “hey, we’re new, and whatever Mercedes is charging you, we’ll only charge you 2/3 of that” (not that anyone would buy that being an unproven supplier in F1, but also getting it completely right in WEC) Mercedes would necessarily have to at least think about it. Also, I’m pretty confident that they wouldn’t enter with the current formula in serious doubt (engine/power unit spec change or format change all together in 2017 after Bernie pulled a Mosley) I just… Read more »

jakobusvdl

Thanks darkside. So a potential cost reduction for customer teams, and another big gorilla in the paddock? I still don’t buy that an additional power unit supplier would make F1 cheaper, any new power unit configuration will cost money to develop, and if the current p.u’s were ditched before their planned development cycle is complete, you’re asking the current suppliers to swallow a lot of sunk cost.
And don’t forget that F1 is already set to commit the teams to another huge development cost with the likely change to larger diameter wheels and low profile tyres from 2017.

Paul KieferJr

I think the popular desire amongst the general public is to drag Porsche / VW / whatever car company exists kicking and screaming with a gun pointed at their collective heads to F1 to determine who is the best one in an all-out, knock-down, drag-out “King-of-the-Hill” type of fight. Be honest, you’re thinking of that right now, aren’t you? (The only exception would be for the ones that are already there.)

Will Irwin

If I was VW/Audi I would not go anywhere near F1 in its current disarray. They have waited on the outside for many years and can afford to wait a few more until a new more stable framework for the sport might emerge.

F1 needs them a lot more than they need F1.

MIE

The last time a car appeared in a Grand Prix with four rings as a badge, F1 had yet to be invented. The only member of VW/Audi to have entered into F1 is Porsche. Their success has been very sporadic, and their last appearance compares very badly to Honda’s current effort.

As many discover, F1 is hard, there are a lot of talented individuals spending a lot of time developing their product for F1. Success in other series is no guarantee of success in F1.

Tom Firth

Does the dominant TAG – Mclaren not count then?

MIE

Yes it does count, but when they came back with what was effectively two of those engines stuck together in the back of the Footwork, the engine was heavy compared to the opposition and so uncompetitive. Relying on past successes isn’t a guarantee of future performance. Don’t forget that Toyota were also very successful in other branches of motorsport before trying F1, and they weren’t exactly short of budget. If Audi come into F1 they may well do very well, but they may also fail spectacularly and pull out. Is it better to have them as a potential saviour of… Read more »

tfirth392

I don’t see why Audi would want to enter f1 myself anyway or any VW group brand for that reason.

The only two giants aren’t coming, why should VW.

jakobusvdl

According to Wikipedia, VW are the largest auto manufacturer, by revenue.
Maybe as the 220 billion dollar gorilla they might want to put those 140 and 100 billion dollar gorillas in their place (Mercedes at 6th, and Honda at 8th respectively).
Perhaps Bernie can persuade the Koreans (kia @ 5th ) or Chinese (SAIG @ 9th) that F1 is the way to raise their brand image.

runnah

It’s an insane proposition.

“Hey stockholders, we are going to dump billions into a project that will at best case break even.”

A very hard sell. Even more so considering how well they have done with WEC, why bother starting a whole new program?

peterriva

Auto Union and formula racing… they still have the history if not the current affairs.

Rafael Vieira

Audi already won in WEC, DTM, LeMans, so, now is time to step ahead. Other important item to be considered is another Germany winning. BMW has failed and Mercedes is winning, so, Audi/VW would like to show their power. ;)

PM

I don’t think it makes sense for Audi to enter until they know exactly what the next iteration of PUs are gonna be. They will want to make their own engines and without knowing what the engine formula will be in the next few years, it will be foolish to start preparing for an entry into f1. In order to sell it to the board, they will need to guarantee success to their board within an x amount of years. We have seen how little patience these big manufacturers can have and if they are not winning shortly, they will… Read more »