Porsche and Audi bosses will join Formula 1’s existing engine manufacturers, championship bosses and the FIA in a meeting over the 2025 engine rules in Austria this week.
F1’s next-generation engine will be introduced in 2025 and while all parties involved have identified a desire to reduce the cost and complexity of its engine rules there is still no clear path to achieve this.
The FIA and F1 have a high-level working group in operation that comprises current and potential engine manufacturers and fuel suppliers and includes representation from the Volkswagen Audi Group.
The VW Group’s two likeliest brands to enter F1, Porsche and Audi, will join senior Mercedes, Ferrari, Renault and Red Bull corporate personnel as well as F1 CEO Stefano Domenicali, F1 managing director of motorsport Ross Brawn and FIA president Jean Todt at a meeting this week around the Austrian Grand Prix.
It is part of an ongoing evaluation process and spokespeople for Porsche and Audi have confirmed to The Race that their participation in these meetings does not mean a decision to enter F1 will be taken in the near future.
The VW Group’s current position is somewhere between treating it like a fact-finding mission and having serious potential interest in F1.
A spokesperson for Porsche reiterated CEO Oliver Blume’s comments from earlier this year: “The VW Group is looking at whether entry into Formula 1 would be attractive for us. But no decision has been made yet.”
Previously Porsche has gone as far as building a test version of a hybrid F1 engine and still never went through with a commitment.
Porsche and Audi both compete together in Formula E and will return to the Le Mans 24 Hours in 2023 in the LMDh category.
Though Porsche has committed its medium-term future to FE as well, Audi is withdrawing as part of a restructured motorsport programme it says is based on “three pillars”: the Dakar Rally, LMDh and customer racing.
On the automotive side, Audi is phasing out combustion engines and plans to make its range all-electric from 2026.
“Of course, Audi is always monitoring the global development of all of the racing series,” an Audi spokesperson told The Race.
“For this, we are also holding general talks with the FIA about the future of F1.
“A decision about possible involvement is not pending at the moment.”
The final decision will be a VW Group one rather than one of the sub-brands.
This week’s meeting, which will take place on Saturday ahead of the Austrian GP, is believed to have a fairly open agenda and it is likely to take several more months to finalise the 2025 engine regulations.
The specific objectives F1 has previously outlined for its next-gen engine are environmental sustainability and social and automotive relevance; fully sustainable fuel; creating a powerful and emotive power unit; significant cost reduction and attractiveness to new power unit manufacturers.
A key part of the ongoing discussions has been which technology to adopt, to satisfy F1’s desire to remain relevant for automotive manufacturers and promote sustainability.
Using so-called carbon-neutral fuels as the sustainability focal point appears to be a guaranteed element of the new rules, married to a V6 hybrid engine.
Domenicali said earlier this year that combining hybrid technology with fully sustainable fuels would create a “win-win” as an alternative to fully-electric powertrain while still having “costs under control and being aligned with our value of being sustainable for the future”.
Exactly what composition that hybrid technology takes is to be decided, but it is likely the electrical power output will increase.
This has been opportunistically targeted as up to 50%, with a possible adjustment to the energy recovery system to place more emphasis on kinetic energy.
To keep costs under control, all existing manufacturers – and Red Bull, which has created a new Powetrains division to build its own engine for the first time for 2025 – have identified an engine development cost cap as an important element.
This is also likely to be key to bringing in a new brand like one of the VW Group entities.