Volkswagen is almost everywhere! They’re truly the People’s Race Car in some respects. They’re just not in Formula One. Rumors of a VAG-backed F1 effort pop up from time to time, most recently under the Audi brand. Now that supposedly anti-Ecclestone chairman Ferdinand Piëch is out, will we see VW in F1?
According to Fox Sports, F1 boss Bernie Ecclestone was asked about the longstanding rumor that as long as Bernie was the chief executive of F1, Piëch would never consider bringing a Volkswagen AG brand into the series.
“Nobody has told me that,” Ecclestone told longtime friend and BBC broadcaster Eddie Jordan at the Bahrain Grand Prix, as quoted by Fox Sports. “But if that’s the case, I’ll leave. I’d be happy to step down immediately.”
Now Martin Winterkorn is seen as Piëch’s likely successor, and he’s actually pretty good with the idea of a Volkswagen brand in Formula One. According to Fox Sports, Eddie Jordan said that Winterkorn “always believed that F1 is a great platform for the group’s brands.”
Jordan then added, “I am told he privately believes VAG (Volkswagen AG) should be a part of F1.”
That would be one way to explain the hiring away of Stefano Domenicali from Scuderia Ferrari, or perhaps the billing code for a secret Audi Sport engine department no one’s quite certain about.
Audi is always eager to squash these rumors, most recently with a Facebook post declaring, “Audi in Formula 1? These rumors keep appearing with regularity since years. It’s pure speculation again this time and without any foundation. We are committed to the FIA WEC, DTM and GT racing.”
While they’re so ingrained in the fabric of modern WEC racing (and so good at it) that it’s hard to imagine that championship without them, Audi’s R18 is a tad long in the tooth, and now VAG sister-brand Porsche is in the mix with the Porsche 919.
As with any wild rumors involving new teams in Formula One, though, I’ll believe it when I see it.
Photo credit: AP Images
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