As we mentioned on our last podcast, Audi’s interest in F1 has been rumored to include buying a team and becoming a full works team. Some in the paddock have said that McLaren was very much a target but we suggested this did make much sense for Audi as McLaren is already a going concern with a rich history in F1 and a full road car division.
True, an Audi acquisition of the F1 team might find Audi engines in the back of McLaren road cars but I wasn’t sure that was enough. Motorsport caught up with McLaren CEO Zak Brown and asked.
“No, no. Our shareholders are very committed to McLaren.
“We did have conversations with Audi, and we’re not for sale. We’re very committed to our future and we’re doing really well on the track.
“Shareholders are making substantial investments to give our team the resources we need to get back to the front, and commercially we’re doing really well. Morale in the team is really good. We don’t have any interest in selling the racing team.”
He added: “We’re McLaren F1. That’s what we’re going to remain, and we’re going to remain owning the racing team.”
We suggested the better fit would be Sauber (now called Alfa Romeo) as a full operation with no road car division and a factory closer to Audi’s HQ. I also thought that Alpha Tauri might be an interesting choice to tie VW to the Red Bull group and give Audi a fully functioning team with terrific aerodynamic development. Either would be a more logical choice if I were Audi’s CEO.
Regardless, if Audi decided not to become a full works team, then the McLaren tie up might make more sense.