Audi maintains it has no firm plans to consider entering Formula 1 imminently following the exit of VW Group Chairman Ferdinand Piech earlier this week.

Piech stood down from his position after losing out in a power struggle with the VW Group board, with Martin Winterkorn set to assume his position as the head of the world's second largest car manufacturer.

The exit of the 78 year-old, who was a staunch opponent of any VW brand entering F1, has given rise to renewed suggestions that it could reconsider its position, particularly as Winterkorn has been instrumental in Audi's substantial success in World Endurance racing, as well as Volkswagen's dominance in World Rally and as an F3 engine supplier.

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Though Audi - which also competes in DTM against BMW and Mercedes - would be considered the most likely candidate to represent the VW Group in F1, a spokesperson for the manufacturer told the BBC "the current situation is that Audi definitely has no intention to enter F1."

Despite this, there is understood to be support behind the VW Group progressing into F1 in some capacity.

Should VW Group take the plunge and move into F1, it is considered a tie-in with an existing team - or a complete buy-out - would be preferred, with Red Bull Racing earmarked as the most natural candidate given the team's increasing disillusionment with current engine supplier Renault and their strong tie-ins elsewhere, most notably in WRC.

However, though Red Bull owner Dietrich Mateschitz has suggested Red Bull could exit F1 if it doesn't rediscover its competitiveness and sources suggest he is keen to off-load the Toro Rosso 'B' team - potentially to Renault -, it is unclear whether VW is a possible factor in its future plans.

It is not entirely beyond possibility that VW may circumnavigate the pressure of success that would levied on Audi, by considering representation of another brand in a stable that also includes Porsche - which last year returned to premier prototype sportscar competition -, Bentley, Lamborghini, Skoda and SEAT, though it position in the car market as a direct rival of Mercedes would suggest it is most fitting.

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Why would they? Audi and Porsche both get great exposure from WEC (and DTM for Audi), VW same from WRC.
There's nothing in F1's technical regs they aren't already using in WEC - and without the artificial restrictions that exist (in F1).