The prospects of the Volkswagen Group entering Formula 1 could be scuppered by the news that Martin Winterkorn is to resign as its chief executive in the wake of the US car emissions scandal.

Winterkorn was known to be the driving force behind a bid to convince Volkswagen board members to sign off a move into F1, a passage made clearer by former chairman Ferdinand Piech - who was against the proposal - exiting the firm earlier in the year.

However, the revelation that the world's largest car maker manipulated US diesel car emissions tests to give more positive results has claimed its first victim in Winterkorn, who said the company needed a 'fresh start' to rebuild consumer confidence even if he insists he had no knowledge of the wrongdoing.

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The news is a swift and potentially decisive blow to the suggestion that VW could finally green light a move into F1 at least in the short-term, particularly as it says it will be setting aside ?4.7 billion to cover costs of the scandal and has already had upwards of 40 billion euros wiped off its value on the stock market.

News broke over the Singapore Grand Prix weekend that VW was close to a deal to take over Red Bull Racing's F1 effort from 2018 and was set to construct its own power unit, only for the scale of the emissions scandal to emerge too.

German media is reporting Porsche boss Matthias Mueller will be named as Winterkorn's replacement on Friday.