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Audi and Porsche set to make F1 entry — Reports

The race winning #8 Audi Sport Team Joest LMP1 car driven by Oliver Jarvis, Lucas Di Grassi (top) of Brazil and Loic Duval on the car during the 6 Hours of Spa-Francorchamps, the second round of the 2016 FIA World Endurance Championship's at Spa-Francorchamps Circuit, Belgium. (Photo by Dean Treml/Red Bull via Getty Images)
The race winning #8 Audi Sport Team Joest LMP1 car driven by Oliver Jarvis, Lucas Di Grassi (top) of Brazil and Loic Duval on the car during the 6 Hours of Spa-Francorchamps, the second round of the 2016 FIA World Endurance Championship's at Spa-Francorchamps Circuit, Belgium. (Photo by Dean Treml/Red Bull via Getty Images)

With F1’s next engine regulation overhaul set to be implemented in 2025, automakers Audi and Porsche are speculated to enter the sport by 2026. According to German publication Auto Motor und Sport, the two car manufacturers are looking to enter the sport on one condition: the MGU-H element on the power units has to be dropped.

Round 7 and 8 of the 2021 Porsche Mobil 1 Supercup at Autodromo di Monza on Septe in Monza, Italy. (Photo by Lars Baron/Getty Images)
Round 7 and 8 of the 2021 Porsche Mobil 1 Supercup at Autodromo di Monza on Septe in Monza, Italy. (Photo by Lars Baron/Getty Images)

It remains to be seen whether an independent entry or team buyout is the right way forward for new entrants. Porsche is being linked with the Williams F1 team and a potential Audi takeover of McLaren is being suggested by reports from Italian website Formula Passion.

The sport has been trying to lure engine manufacturers since the dawn of the V6 era. However, its technological irrelevance in the future direction of the automotive industry has often made F1 an unattractive opportunity for manufacturers.

Many of them have often often expressed the need for more teams in F1, with Alpine F1 being the most recent to voice their opinion. Marcin Budkowski, Executive Director of the French outfit, spoke on the matter during a press conference at the Turkish Grand Prix. He said:

“It would be good to have more teams in Formula 1. I think we would all welcome that. But they need to be the right teams and they need to bring value to the sport.”

Audi and Porsche set to enter F1 depending on 2025 engine regulations

F1 Grand Prix of Russia start - Sochi Autodrom on September 26, 2021 in Sochi, Russia. (Photo by Bryn Lennon/Getty Images)
F1 Grand Prix of Russia start - Sochi Autodrom on September 26, 2021 in Sochi, Russia. (Photo by Bryn Lennon/Getty Images)

Audi and Porsche are apparently willing to enter F1 in the capacity of engine makers, for which they demanded the MGU-H element be removed from the powertrain. According to Auto Motor und Sport, talks between the Volkswagen group and F1 have gained momentum post the series stakeholders' meeting to decide the future of the F1 engines.

Italian publication Formula Passion has reported F1 journalist Joe Saward as saying:

"Audi and Porsche seem to have different ideas, with the first that could aim at buying a team and the second more interested in an exclusive partnership with an existing team on the model of Mercedes with McLaren a few years ago."

Auto Motor und Sport’s writer Michael Schmidt explained that there has been a compromise between F1 and the Volkswagen Group. He said:

“The MGU-H will only be given up if Audi and Porsche are coming. Both are coming.”

Seems like just a rumour for now, but according to @joesaward through @FormulaPassion, Audi prefers to purchase an existing F1 team versus Porsche’s idea of exclusive partnership with a team. The team ripe for the takeover: McLaren. This will be something to keep an eye on. https://t.co/FPtvk5VqrR

According to Toto Wolff, Executive Director of Mercedes F1 team, the MGU-H could well be on its way out. He was reported as saying:

“The MGU-H will be dropped if we can find alignment of many other points. I think it’s a compromise that – I can’t speak for anyone else – but at Mercedes we are prepared to enter in order to facilitate the entry of the Volkswagen Group”.

Schmidt explained that F1’s new engine will remain mostly unchanged, however, its electrical output could be increased to 350 kilowatts. He added:

“Stefano Domenicali says things are looking good at the moment. The engine of the future will most likely be a V6 and there are also rumours that all of the power will centre around the rear axle.”

With F1’s cost caps and efforts to make engines cost-effective and sustainable, the new engine will have to drop its hybrid recovery system, the MGU-H (motor generator unit-hybrid). The current V6 engines are considered an expensive option for teams with Mercedes being the only manufacturer to supply four teams, including their own.

The top bosses of Mercedes, Renault, Audi and Porsche will be joined by Red Bull for a crunch discussion on F1's future power unit rules in Austria tomorrow: autosport.com/f1/news/audi-a…

Other power suppliers in F1 such as Ferrari supply three teams, Honda supplied two, while Alpine, who supplied engines to approximately four teams in the V8 era, have no customers in the current season. The French manufacturer supplied themselves and McLaren in 2020, however, by 2021, they are left with their own factory team being their only customer.

With Honda withdrawing and Red Bull set to produce their own engines under the Red Bull Powertrains badge, there are many future opportunities for new engine suppliers. Having more teams and manufacturers in the sport will only enhance its value, which until now has been an unattractive and expensive option for most automotive companies.

F1 v6 hybrid turbo engine- Mercedes championship winning engines (Photo by- Mercedes AMG Motorsport)
F1 v6 hybrid turbo engine- Mercedes championship winning engines (Photo by- Mercedes AMG Motorsport)

The new engine regulations are set to come into effect for the 2025 season and beyond, and their development is being observed closely by the automotive industry at large.

Technical changes in the 2025 engine regulations will decide the future of the sport. For F1, Audi and Porsche’s entry might boost to its value as both manufacturers were limited to the World Endurance Championship and Formula E in the past.

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Edited by Sandeep Banerjee
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