Rumors Suggest Audi Might Drop Everything to Race F1
In terms of winning, Audi has a good thing going. The German auto giant just wrapped up a manufacturer’s championship in the 2014 DTM series and currently sits a close second with three races to go in the World Endurance Championship. Nevertheless, rumors persist that Audi – the winning make of 13 of the last 15 races of the 24 Hours of Le Mans – may ditch its endurance racing and touring car programs to pursue Formula 1. We say, “doubt it,” but some sources suggest it’s imminent. RELATED: Check out Audi's 2014 R18 e-tron LeMans prototype racecar
According to the UK’s Auto Express, Volkswagen Group insiders hint that Audi will combine its racing budgets in addition to a Red Bull sponsorship package to ply its expertise in Formula 1 for 2016, leaving fellow VW Group's Porsche to tackle endurance racing alone.
The rumors have existed for years, going back to the FIA’s 2010 Audi-backed proposal of shifting Formula 1 towards turbocharged four-cylinder engines, though it’s Audi’s latest reported hire, ex-Ferrari team principal Stefano Domenicali, which has substantially fueled the F1 flames given Domenicali’s significant grand prix background.
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The rumored Red Bull sponsorship – linked between VW Group chairman Ferdinand Piech and Red Bull founder Dietrich Mateschitz – could see Audi replace the Renault or Infiniti partnership at Red Bull Racing, or even acquire the Toro Rosso program entirely. Red Bull currently sponsors Audi in its DTM efforts. Furthering the gossip, insiders claim that Audi and Volkswagen Group’s 1.6-liter turbo V6 Formula 1 engine has been in development since early 2014.
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Audi DTM and endurance fans – before you throw your hands up and scream “nicht, nicht, nicht,” know that all is not lost. Audi Sport recently tweeted the following obligatory message, denying the rumors of a move to Formula 1 and in a later tweet confirmed its expansion of the Audi Sport TT Cup to its racing program.
#Audi in F1? There rumors keep appearing with regularity since years. It's pure speculation again this time and without any foundation — Audi Sport (@Audi__Sport) October 25, 2014What do you think, Internet? Should Audi abandon two championship-winning racing programs in the pursuit of an ever-competitive Formula 1? PHOTOS: This is what a Red Bull racecar of the future could look like