F1 News: Are Audi Pulling The Plug On F1 Project?

Porsche stands ready in the wings, poised to potentially take the reins, though not everyone is sitting idly by, awaiting this change.


By Ben Bush
Updated on February 9, 2024

Audi Pulling The Plug On F1 Project

A rumour has emerged via France’s L’Auto Journal. It revolves around Audi, which, after initially committing to Formula 1, seems to be having second thoughts. Porsche stands ready in the wings, poised to potentially take the reins, though not everyone is sitting idly by, awaiting this change.

Looking to 2026, Audi is gearing up to make a resounding entrance into the high-octane world of Formula 1. This endeavour will unfold in a carefully orchestrated manner, involving the gradual acquisition of the Sauber team. By 2026, Audi is also set to become the team’s engine supplier. This is a momentous leap for the renowned German automaker, and the weight of this undertaking is dawning on them internally. This narrative takes centre stage in the French media.

Adding to the intrigue is the notable departure of Audi’s CEO, Markus Duesmann. Duesmann, the passionate advocate who loudly championed Audi and Porsche’s Formula 1 entry and was a steadfast supporter of the project from within, has been absent from the Volkswagen Group for some time. While operations in Neuburg continue without disruption, there are murmurs of unease at the managerial level.

Why Porsche can’t take over everything from Audi

In fact, Duesmann’s successor, Gernot Döllner, appears to harbour significantly less enthusiasm for the Formula 1 project. An inside source at Audi has conveyed to the French media that Döllner is open to the idea of withdrawing the Audi brand from Formula 1 before 2026. However, this does not imply that the Volkswagen Group would discontinue its involvement in Formula 1 beyond 2026.

Within the Volkswagen Group, Porsche emerges as a keen contender ready to assume control of the project from Audi. On the surface, this might seem like a logical transition, given that both brands share the same parent company. However, the relationship between Audi and Porsche has not always been harmonious, and a straightforward takeover by Porsche would not be well-received by Audi’s workforce.

Furthermore, Porsche’s potential assumption of control would extend far beyond merely occupying Audi’s position. This would encompass not only the arrangement with Sauber but also the management of the Neuburg facility. Every employee working there would transition under Porsche’s umbrella. Consequently, before these intricacies can be resolved, significant negotiations and background efforts must transpire, all while the clock ticks toward the crucial task of achieving competitiveness in 2026.

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About The Author

Chief Editor

Ben Bush

Ben is our chief editor specialising in F1 from the 1990s to the modern era. Ben has been following Formula 1 since 1986 and is an avid researcher who loves understanding the technology that makes it one of the most exciting motorsport on the planet. He listens to podcasts about F1 on a daily basis, and enjoys reading books from the inspirational Adrian Newey to former F1 drivers.

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