In a recent interview with Automotive News Europe, an unidentified person familiar with Audi's plans to join Formula 1 said purchasing McLaren is more unlikely. The unnamed contact explained that price expectations between the two companies are just too far apart at this point in time.
In a VW Group livestream called "Dialog with Diess" held in German on the official VW Group page on YouTube, CEO Herbert Diess revealed that both Audi and Porsche plan to join Formula One for the 2026 season. This exciting news confirmed months of rumors about both Audi and Porsche's involvement in F1.
Diess explained that both Audi and Porsche would join Formula One since this highly competitive space is the perfect way to promote these prominent luxury brands. The VW Group CEO explained that the upcoming 2026 regulation changes are the perfect time to enter the sport. This is mainly because of F1’s plan to phase in fully sustainable fuels to run their internal combustion engines which feeds into VW Group's focus on green technology.
Both Audi and Porsche have started to work on developing their own engines for the 2026 F1 season. However, it is still unclear how they plan to join the starting grid.
According to rumors, Porsche may join Red Bull Racing as an engine supplier to take the place of Honda who recently departed F1 in 2021 after Max Verstappen won the World Drivers' Championship.
As for Audi, rumors suggested they would invest heavily in the McLaren F1 team to secure a controlling stake and supply its new engine to the team. McLaren F1 currently uses a Mercedes-AMG-sourced powertrain.
This exciting new prospect seems to be in jeopardy according to the latest leak shared by Automotive News Europe as pricing has become a sticking point between McLaren and Audi. Rumors suggest that the company with the Four Rings is also looking into teams like Alfa Romeo which is owned by independent team Sauber and uses Ferrari engines.
At the same time, Aston Martin team boss Mike Krack also didn't rule out a potential tie-up: "I think for any team who has not a manufacturer on his side, it's super appealing to have this possibility."