The Volkswagen/Audi Group is mulling over the idea of an F1 entry should costs be brought down to a sufficiently 'manageable' level, a leading representative has disclosed – with an eventual team likely to go under the banner of the legendary Porsche name.
The world's third-largest car maker currently owns ten brands – including Skoda, SEAT, Audi, Porsche, Lamborghini, Bugatti and Bentley – but has not had any F1 involvement since the halcyon Auto Union days of the 1930s, and none at all in the official world championship, in existence since 1950.
With the confirmed return of the iconic Lotus name to the top flight in 2010, it has been mooted that traditional Ferrari rival Lamborghini might similarly join the fray in the years to come in a theoretical battle of the supercar manufacturers – but Audi Singapore managing director Reinhold Carl dismissed that notion, arguing that the famous Italian-based marque neither needs the exposure nor has at its disposal the requisite financial resources, having only become profitable in recent years.
That is not to say, however, that there will be no VW/Audi presence in F1, with the FIA's cost-cutting drive proving to be attractive to the Wolfsburg manufacturer – which is reportedly swimming against the tide in managing the present economic turmoil well.
“Today, it costs well over a hundred million Euros to take part in F1,” Carl is quoted as having said by the Straits Times
at the Changi Exhibition Centre. “If the cost is lower, it will be more manageable. I think it would be [under the name of] Porsche, now that Porsche belongs to the group, or Audi – or even Volkswagen.
“We are still in the positive, while many others are in the negative. In Singapore, our sales are up seven per cent from last year, and despite these difficult times our dealer is building a new showroom.”