German automotive giant Audi is in discussions to takeover the McLaren Group, which would include its automotive and Formula 1 departments.
Audi, which is owned by the Volkswagen Group, has been exploring an F1 entry for some time, but are now taking the idea much more seriously with the brand involved in F1 stakeholder meetings to discuss the next generation of power unit for 2025.
Another VW marque, Porsche, is also “seriously considering” an F1 entry, with both brands looking to enter motorsports premier class, although there are suggestions it could be a combined effort, with Porsche supplying engines to a joint Audi-Porsche branded team, or a more likely scenario would be supplying an existing outfit, such as Red Bull.
“It’s not a secret we are talking to the FIA and it’s not a secret that we are, let’s say, seriously considering it. From what I know, a lot of things are going in the right direction concerning Formula 1,” Porsche vice president of motorsport, Thomas Laudenbach, commented recently.
Sources have confirmed talks have been held between Audi and McLaren, and whilst Autocar reports a deal is done, it’s believed discussions are actually ongoing between the two parties, with an initial offer rejected by the McLaren board.
Such a deal, if it goes ahead, would give Audi control of a second supercar manufacturer as it also owns the Lamborghini brand, but most importantly secures it a coveted F1 entry with an existing and established team, meaning it would take little to no extra effort to be competitive almost immediately.
It’s not however known how Audi would brand the team, whether it would continue to run with the McLaren name and supply engines, or completely rebrand the outfit.
McLaren has endured a tough time in recent years, with it needing to take on hundreds of millions in loans to stay afloat, whilst also selling and leasing back its impressive Woking headquarters.