Audi and Porsche have long been rumoured with joining the F1 grid and speculation  about a potential entry that would fall in line with the world championship’s new engine rules in 2026 has ramped up in recent months. 

The two brands have been heavily involved in discussions to shape F1’s 2026 engine rules alongside existing stakeholders Ferrari, Mercedes, Renault and Honda/Red Bull. 

It has already been agreed that the complex MGU-H component will be scrapped to help simplify the new power units, a decision that is considered as being key to attracting new manufacturers. 

Following a board meeting on Thursday in which a road map of its potential F1 involvement was outlined, the German automotive giant issued a brief statement confirming it will wait to make a final decision until the 2026 technical regulations are finalised by the FIA.

“The management and supervisory boards of Volkswagen AG, Porsche AG and AUDI AG have confirmed plans for a possible entry into Formula 1 by the two brands. The Audi and Porsche brands will provide details later,” the statement read. 

“This gives our company the opportunity to demonstrate the motto ‘Vorsprung durch Technik’ in the pinnacle of motorsport from 2026.

"We have not yet made a decision as we are currently in the final evaluation phase. At this point, the new regulations for 2026 and subsequent years are not yet available. These will set out far-reaching changes to make the sport more sustainable, which is a prerequisite for Audi’s possible entry.

“Audi Sport is discussing these matters directly with the Fédération Internationale de l’Automobile (FIA). Our decision will be announced as soon it has been made.”

Red Bull-Porsche? Uncertainty over Audi

It is expected that Porsche will partner Red Bull, which has already set up a new powertrains facility in Milton Keynes in preparation for the 2026 engine rules. 

Audi’s potential entry route is less clear, however. It had been strongly linked with a takeover of the McLaren team but German publication Auto Motor und Sport has reported that such a deal is now unlikely to happen. 

Instead, Sauber, Williams and Aston Martin have emerged as potential partner options for Audi. 

When asked about the prospect of Audi and Porsche joining the F1 grid, Red Bull’s reigning world champion Max Verstappen said: “I think it’s very exciting and it’s very important for F1 as well. 

“Of course we have 10 great teams but also to have really big brands behind it, it’s really nice to see that commitment. So I’m looking forward to what the future will bring.”

Seven-time world champion Lewis Hamilton said the arrival of new manufacturers would be a great thing for F1. 

“I knew about it a long time ago already,” said Hamilton. “I think it’s great that we are going to get new manufacturers in the sport, especially as you see there are a lot of teams that have the potential to be top teams but are customer teams. 

“So I think it’s going to be great moving forwards. So we welcome them in.”

Crash F1 Podcast: Episode 4 

Download and listen to Episode 4 now at the following links…