Ex-F1 racer Ralf Schumacher has suggested talks are already taking place regarding a potential Audi buyout of the Aston Martin team.
The Volkswagen Group have been part of the talks over the new 2026 engines, with their brands Porsche and Audi increasingly likely to be entering the sport from that season.
Porsche are expected to link up with Red Bull as an engine supplier, although the plans for Audi are not as clear.
However, Sky Germany are suggesting Audi could be coming to Formula 1 as a team by purchasing one of the existing outfits.
Talk has long since been out there that McLaren could be the team in question, although both parties have denied it.
Now, Schumacher says talks are under way for Lawrence Stroll to sell the Aston Martin team to Audi.
Stroll purchased the team in 2018 when it had gone bankrupt under its former identity of Force India, initially rebranding it to Racing Point before another makeover to Aston Martin ahead of the 2021 campaign after he led a consortium that purchased a stake in the luxury car manufacturer.
“The rumours about Audi and Aston Martin are getting louder and louder,” Schumacher told Sky Germany.
“Perhaps something is in the offing when the Volkswagen Group enters Formula 1 in 2026. Apparently, there are already talks there.”
The Aston Martin team have a five-year plan to reach title success, although at the start of this new regulatory era Aston Martin were the only team without a point on the board three races into the 2022 campaign.
The report adds that Stroll is far from pleased with the direction of his team, which has actually fallen backwards in a major way since the rebranding to Aston Martin.
But Formula 1 is nonetheless in a great place with all teams carrying significant value.
So, as Schumacher points out, Stroll is an investor after all and the aim of that is to get more back than the reported €140m [£117.6m] he paid to buy Force India.
“Success in Formula 1 takes time and patience,” Schumacher commented.
“The team has to be built up first and that just takes time. At the end of the day, Stroll is also an investor.
“Audi is definitely looking for its own team and accordingly that could fit quite well.”
Aston Martin team principal Mike Krack recently confirmed the appeal of linking up with Audi, although that very much related to the suggestion of a power unit deal.
“For any team who has not got a manufacturer on his side, it is super-appealing to have this possibility,” he said when asked if Aston Martin were interested in swapping Mercedes for Audi power, quoted by GPFans.
“So we would be lying if we said we were not interested in something like that, so I would be very interested to talk.”
Haas have enjoyed very close ties to Ferrari since joining the grid in 2016, although team boss Guenther Steiner also confirmed his team would be interested in working with Audi – though no such talks have taken place.
“Obviously, as Mike said, who would not speak to them?” Steiner commented.
“But we have not had any talks.”
Things can't get much worse for Aston Martin
Things have got to start picking up for Aston Martin this weekend so they can start progressing.