18 September 2015
Volkswagen set for Red Bull team buyout?
The much mooted arrival of the VW Group in F1 could be just three years away as rumours of a deal to buy-out Red Bull Racing surface again.
The Volkswagen Group is close to completing a buy-out of the Red Bull Racing team and will be competing in F1 from 2018, according to former team owner-turned-pundit Eddie Jordan.
The German manufacturer has repeatedly been linked with a move into Formula 1 over the years, but numerous efforts have repeatedly been vetoed by former group chairman Ferdinand Piech.
However, his ousting earlier this year has seemingly paved the way for VW board of directors chairman Martin Winterkorn to forge ahead with detailed proposals to take the manufacturer into Formula 1,
These plans are seemingly now at an advanced stage, according to Jordan, who told the BBC that VW will 'buy out' the Red Bull Racing team and develop its own power unit in readiness for a 2018 debut. Red Bull, meanwhile, would remain involved with the team as a sponsor.
However, Red Bull has dismissed the claims as speculation according, telling SkySports the rumours are 'wide of the mark'.
Should the deal go ahead, it remains unclear which of VW's brands it would use for its F1 effort, but Audi – which has previously dominated rallying, touring cars and, most recently, sportscars – would be considered the most obvious candidate, particularly given its commercial positioning as a key rival of Mercedes.
In the meantime, Red Bull owner Dietrich Mateschitz told Speedweek.de that Red Bull Racing is working on securing an interim Ferrari engine supply as it formalises its split from Renault,
However, he stresses the deal has not been concluded, while Helmut Marko told SkySports F1 that Red Bull will walk away from F1 if it doesn't secure a competitive engine supply for 2016. Should the VW buyout prove correct, this could well speed up Red Bull's exit as a constructor knowing it would still return in a sponsor capacity from 2018.
Red Bull's actions would cause ripples across the sport, however, with 'B-team' Scuderia Toro Rosso also heavily influenced by the movements of its parent company, while even the Austrian Grand Prix at the Red Bull Ring is potentially at risk.
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