Volkswagen could be set to buck the trend and make a move into F1 as early as the 2013 season.
While the likes of Honda, BMW and Toyota have walked away from the sport due to the global financial crisis, VW motorsport boss Kris Nissen has revealed that the Volkswagen Group – which also includes Audi and Porsche – could look at an F1 programme, although such a move would be dependent on the confirmation on new engine regulations.
“All I can say at the moment is that nobody is aware of the new regulations for formula one engines,” he told the Brisbane Times
. “Until that is clear I think nobody, including Volkswagen, can do any comments on their interest. First we need from the FIA to know exactly the regulations from 2013 or '14 and we also need formula one [in general] to recover a bit.
“Formula one has been, I would say, in a crisis. It has been very expensive, manufacturers have been pulling out and a lot of political discussions and stories. Which I think, personally, is really a shame because I think formula one is number one in motorsport. Formula one is very attractive for everybody.
“I personally believe that every big, successful manufacturer should always do a good motorsport program, point one. Point two, they should always consider if formula one could be possible or interesting because this is where you have the biggest and the highest awareness worldwide. But it's also, of course, the most expensive one. And it's also the one where if you are not successful it is the one where you can create, more or less, a bad image; you take a risk being there.”
Nissen added that if Volkswagen did elect to start supplying F1 engines, there were three possible options in terms of branding.
“I'm in charge of the motorsport for the brand Volkswagen,” he said, “and I'm not in charge of the strategy for the group.
“Within the group, for sure, it could be Audi, it could be Porsche and might also be Volkswagen. I think it would not suit so well Skoda or SEAT or Bentley.”