VW chief claims Porsche, Audi will enter F1 in 2026

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Audi and Porsche have decided to enter Formula 1 in 2026, Volkswagen chief Herbert Diess declared on Monday.

The two brands, which are part of the wider VW Group, have been considered near-certainties to join the grid when F1 introduces its next-generation power units in four years' time.

An official announcement has yet to be made, with the consensus being that will only happen once the final engine regulations for 2026 are confirmed this summer.

But Reuters cited an interview on YouTube on Monday by the VW boss during which he confirmed Audi and Porsche's decision to enter Formula 1 noting its rising popularity around the world.

“At Porsche, this is already relatively concrete, at Audi not so much,” Diess added of the respective plans for both manufacturers.

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It is understood Porsche will form a partnership with Red Bull and their new Powertrains division, which is set to become operational in the coming months, to create their 2026 engine.

Meanwhile, Audi could form a similar partnership elsewhere or go even further and buy out an existing team - with McLaren, Sauber, Williams or Aston Martin all named - to create a works entry.

If confirmed, it would see Porsche return to F1 for the first time since 1991, when it supplied engines for Footwork. Audi though has never competed in F1 before.

Asked why VW has opted to enter both brands into F1 now, Dreiss explained that not doing so could rule out any possible entry for another decade.

“If you do motorsport, you should drive Formula 1, that’s where the effect is greatest," he added.

“But you can’t get into Formula 1 unless a technology window opens. You need a rule change to get in there.

“We assume that in ’26, ’28 it will still be the biggest motorsport spectacle in the world, even more so than today. More in China, more in the USA than today and thus also the largest marketing platform for premium vehicles.”

To entice Porsche and Audi to enter, F1 has agreed on some key changes to the engine regulations in 2026:

  • The 1.6-litre V6 ICE stays but the MGU-H part of the ERS will be dropped
  • Electrical power is set to be almost tripled from 120kw to 350kw
  • 100% sustainable fuels will be used, up from the current 10%
  • A budget cap (rumoured to be around $140m) will be implemented

These compromises are understood to meet Volkswagen's demands for F1 engines to be cheaper, more efficient and environmentally sustainable.