Audi has a long history in motorsports, with 13 Le Mans 24 hours endurance race victories under their belt. Now word has it that Audi could quit both its Le Mans and DTM programs in order to move up to the pinnacle of motorsports – Formula One.
Formula One usually pays dividends for manufacturers with hefty wallets, as proven by Mercedes this year. Audi once toyed with the idea to join F1 in 2010, but the executives from VAG choose to run both Audi and Porsche in the FIA World Endurance Championship instead. Now, VAG could leave Porsche to take over Audi’s seat in endurance racing.
However, it was the new F1 engine regulations that prompted Audi’s re-interest to join F1, with Audi reportedly secretly developing its own 1.6-turbocharged V6 powerplant. More interestingly, Audi has a solid relationship with drinks company, Red Bull, as seen in WRC where the Volkswagen squad bears the Red Bull logos. Audi could supply its engines to either Red Bull Racing or Torro Rosso, as the frustrating 2014 season has forced the Milton Keynes-based squad to look for an alternative engine supplier.
Other strong evidence to prove Audi’s plausible path to F1 is that they just hired former Ferrari F1 Director, Stefano Domenicali. With VAG’s strong financial status, they could easily buy over any of the existing F1 teams and rebrand them, just like how Mercedes did with Brawn GP. If this becomes a reality and with Ferrari’s former director is onboard, only time will tell if unsettled two-time F1 champion, Fernando Alonso will drive for Audi F1 team in 2016.
[Source: Road & Track]