German automotive company Audi has moved to end speculation regarding a possible entry into Formula One by stating it has no plans to broaden its motor racing portfolio.
Audi has a significant presence in the World Endurance Championship (WEC), DTM German touring cars series and Formula E, but has been continually linked with F1 in recent months. Speculation intensified last week when reports emerged that Audi was open to entering Formula One, potentially partnering Red Bull Racing as the team’s engine supplier.
Ferdinand Piech resigned from his long-term role as chairman of Audi’s parent company Volkswagen last month and the 78-year-old was a staunch opponent of F1 and its chief executive Bernie Ecclestone. Piech’s absence and Red Bull’s disquiet with current supplier Renault had led to suggestions that Audi was ready to make its maiden entry into Formula One – something its chief executive Rupert Stadler was quoted as saying remained an option for the firm.
However, German newspaper Handelsblatt said Stadler has now ruled out F1, quoting him as saying: “Formula One needs to solve its problems on its own.” An Audi spokesman added to the Reuters news agency: “This is not a topic for us.”
Red Bull motorsport consultant Helmut Marko last week identified a partnership with Audi as the only course to prevent them from quitting the sport.