2026 drive rules could pave the way for Audi and Porsche to get into F1
A brand of the Volkswagen Group in Formula 1? The last thing we heard on this topic was the Porsche brand of the VW Group, which was about to return to Formula 1 as an aggregate supplier and was still working on an aggregate in 2017 that was designed according to the current regulations.
Fast forward to today and there are claims that the VW corporation is again seriously considering signing both its Audi and Porsche brands as engine suppliers to Formula 1, though every step would depend on it, like the sport’s new engine regulations coming in 2026 to be introduced (originally 2025) are forming.
The changes brought about by the new regulations will be at the same level as when the current V-6 hybrid era was introduced in 2014. The F1 organizers attach particular importance to reducing costs and CO2 emissions while at the same time ensuring that the units continue to be powerful and emotional.
Auto Motor and Sport reported on Friday that F1 organizers and current genset suppliers plan to decide on regulations for 2026 later this year and that certain concessions sought by the VW Group are likely to be met. These concessions are meant to be the introduction of a simpler unit that abandons the current turbocharger energy recovery system known as MGU-H and runs on 100% renewable fuel. The World Endurance Championship will switch to a renewable fuel as early as 2022.
All new power plant suppliers can also receive concessions on budget ceilings for the first seasons.
You may be wondering why the VW Group uses both Audi and Porsche as component suppliers. Corresponding Auto Motor and Sport, the cost of each brand would be roughly half that of its competitors, as the cost could be shared, but the benefits that would be gained by participating in Formula 1 would be the same as those of those competitors.
According to previous reports, the VW Group has had exploratory talks with Red Bull Racing, McLaren and Williams about potential aggregate deals. McLaren and Williams are currently using Mercedes-Benz AMG engines while Red Bull uses a Honda engine but will need a new supplier after the 2026 rules are in place. Red Bull’s team boss Christian Horner has also said in the past that the team is open to a partnership with an automaker, which means that Red Bull could even become a semi-factory team in the future.
But McLaren and Williams can’t be ruled out. Williams’ new CEO, Jost Capito, was previously Head of R-Performance and Motorsport for the Volkswagen brand and also headed VW’s successful World Rally Championship team, which won three consecutive titles over the past decade. Capito also worked at Porsche between 1989 and 1996.
McLaren’s team boss Andreas Seidl previously headed Porsche’s motorsport department and headed the automaker’s successful LMP1 program in the endurance world championship.
We should also point out that the CEO of F1, Stefano Domenicali, was previously head of the VW Group’s Lamborghini brand and before that head of the Ferrari F1 team.