Porsche and Audi, premium brands of the Volkswagen Group, are poised to enter Formula 1 in 2026, according to the company’s CEO Herbert Diess.
Last month, Audi confirmed in a statement that it was in the closing stages of discussions regarding a project for the 2026 season.
Speaking at a conference on Monday, Diess delivered the message, stating that F1’s current focus on sustainability, growth in the United States and Asia, and popularity among young viewers were the motives behind its increased interest.
It is not yet known in what capacity the manufacturers would join the grid, but it is believed that Porsche is pursuing an agreement to collaborate with Red Bull Racing.
Honda is the only Power Unit supplier that has entered the sport after the start of the turbo-hybrid era, however it backed out of F1 at the end of the 2021 campaign.
Red Bull took over its IP and rebranded the units to ‘Red Bull Powertrains’, with an engine development freeze now in place for all teams.
But new engine technical regulations are set to be introduced in 2026, which is the era that Volkswagen has set its sights on re-entering F1.
Audi and Porsche have been linked to F1 returns for some time, however all interest up to now has come to naught.
Porsche has not been associated with F1 since the 1991 season, when it worked with Footwork in a project that was marred by retirements and failures to qualify.
Audi, however, is yet to make the leap into F1.
The German manufacturer has been rumoured to be interested in fielding its own works team going forward, however it is unclear if this would mean purchasing a current outfit on the field or building its own outfit from scratch.
Unsurprisingly, the latter option would be far more expensive, but it would mean that there would be an 11th team on the grid, something that F1 has not seen since the 2016 season.
Porsche and Audi are currently heavily involved in various other motorsport categories, however it may have to dial back their participation elsewhere in order to facilitate an F1 entry.