Porsche, Audi ‘will try’ to sign German drivers

Henry Valantine
VW CEO Herbert Diess. Porsche Audi Munich September 2021.

Volkswagen chief executive Herbert Diess speaks at a conference. Munich September 2021.

Volkswagen CEO Herbert Diess says he expects Porsche and Audi to try to put German drivers behind the wheel of their respective teams, when they join Formula 1.

The company confirmed that both brands have already begun work on Formula 1 engine projects, ahead of a proposed entry to the sport from 2026 onwards.

Their arrival in F1 has long been rumoured, but Diess confirmed earlier in the week that both Audi and Porsche will be set to join – although the form of their entry is yet to be decided.

What the VW boss does expect, though, is to try and put home talent behind the wheel as a result of their involvement in the sport, in the same mould as Alpine looking to use a French driver at all times, with Esteban Ocon tied to a long-term deal there.

Sebastian Vettel and Mick Schumacher are the current German representatives on the Formula 1 grid, but Diess hopes to further increase that presence to “revive” German interest in Formula 1.

“Formula 1 has not been successful in the US until now, but of course it is coming now,” Diess said, as per Motorsport.com Italy.

“Of course, it is always the case that a driver from the right country can be very successful there and Formula 1 becomes very popular. I assume we will try to employ German drivers in our two teams for sure.

“It helps in the home country, and I also know of plans that we will have a Grand Prix in Germany again, which should then also revive Formula 1 in Germany once more.

“So it makes sense internationally, but also for Germany. Obviously it needs to strengthen in the US and China to become global. Asia as a whole.”

The discussions surrounding Porsche and Audi have been mostly centred on the sport’s environmental credentials, with talks surrounding the new proposed engine formula from 2026 being central to that.

An agreement on the new engines themselves is thought to be getting closer to completion, and Diess explained what he knows will be changing in the future.

“Both premium brands believe F1 will also be very sustainable,” he said. “Formula 1 will run on synthetic fuels, it will be CO2 neutral and it will have a much higher percentage of electrification.


“And we assume it will still be the biggest motorsport spectacle in the world in 2026, 2028. Much more than today.

“More in China, more in the United States than it is today. And therefore also the biggest marketing platform for premium vehicles. That is the prerequisite.”

Porsche are strongly rumoured to be looking to partner Red Bull in some capacity, most likely through a power unit deal, while Audi are thought to be weighing up a move to buy shares in McLaren.