"VW Group to F1" rumors have circulated for years, but now it's

Rumors that the Volkswagen Group is about to enter Formula 1 have been circulating for years. Every few months, often in a European car magazine, we'll hear about an anonymous member of the VW Group board who says it happens, and then everything calms down for a few more months. But now it really is for real, says VW Group CEO Herbert Diess, because the 2026 rule change provides the perfect opportunity.

For a while, the VW Group's move to F1 didn't even make sense. The group's two high-tech, high-engineered brands - Porsche and Audi - were both already spending F1-sized budgets competing against each other in sports car racing. It's a far more road-relevant form of motorsport, and one where both companies have proven new technology that's now commonplace in their road cars.

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But then Dieselgate happened, and Audi's diesel-powered hybrid Le Mans conqueror had to go. A year later, Porsche's even faster hybrid program was shut down, having won all there was to win. Across the group, brands have scaled back their motorsport programs, focusing on electric programs like Formula E and the Pikes Peak VW champion.

That never stopped the rumour, however, and the VW Group were a regular participant as F1 stakeholders sat down to discuss the technical future of the sport. That sees the light of day in 2026 with a new, less complicated powertrain that ditches electric harvesting when the turbocharger spins in favor of more powerful regenerative braking. It is believed that this was a condition of the entry of the VW group.