The Volkswagen Group has confirmed its plans to enter brands Porsche and Audi into Formula 1 are in the “final evaluation phase”, with a potential 2026 arrival hailed as “great news” by Lewis Hamilton and Max Verstappen.
Porsche and Audi have long been rumoured with joining F1 and a statement from Volkswagen on Thursday confirmed that they were in negotiation over partnerships.
The famous brands are expected to join as engine suppliers rather than taking over a team completely, with the new engine rules from 2026 key to their involvement.
“The management and supervisory boards of Volkswagen AG, Porsche AG and AUDI AG have confirmed plans for a possible entry into Formula 1 by the two brands,” said Volkswagen. “The Audi and Porsche brands will provide details later.”
The statement added: “We have not yet made a decision as we are currently in the final evaluation phase. At this point, the new regulations for 2026 and subsequent years are not yet available.
“These will set out far-reaching changes to make the sport more sustainable, which is a prerequisite for Audi’s possible entry.
“Audi Sport is discussing these matters directly with the Fédération Internationale de l’Automobile (FIA). Our decision will be announced as soon it has been made.”
Who could Porsche, Audi partner? Hamilton and Verstappen hail ‘great news’
Volkswagen has not previously been involved with F1 but has worked with Red Bull in the world rally championship.
It is expected that Porsche will link up with Red Bull, who they have been linked with for several years and who have their own Powertrains Division focused on the 2026 changes.
Audi’s link-up is less clear. They were thought to be close to a deal with McLaren although both brands have denied reports, and German publication Auto Motor und Sport have reported that Sauber, Williams and Aston Martin are now more likely options.
Told of the statement on Friday in Australia, F1’s star drivers reacted.
“I knew about it a long time ago,” said Hamilton, the sport’s most successful driver. “I think it’s great that we’re going to get new manufacturers within the sport, especially as you see there are several teams who have potential to be top teams but are customer teams, so I think it’s going to be great moving forwards.”
“I think it’s very exciting and very important for Formula 1 as well,” added world champion Verstappen. “Of course we have great teams, but to have really great brands behind it is really nice. I’m looking forward to what the future will bring.”
Lando Norris, driver for McLaren, added: “It’s a bit more I guess about us and Red Bull because those are the teams who seem to be involved at the minute.
“Of course if there’s more manufacturers involved, it’s only a good thing for Formula 1.”