Formula 1 is close to finalizing its next generation of power-units’ design for 2026 and beyond, with the new power mills aiming to attract new car makers into the sport, with a new report reveals that Audi and Porsche will be in F1 in 2026.
This subject has been under speculation for a while now, as the regulations for the new power units that will power F1 cars from 2026 onwards are almost set in stone, with the major change being the removal of the MGU-H hybrid component of the current power unit.
The removal of the highly complex and expensive MGU-H from the future architecture of F1 power-units was allegedly a prerequisite for Volkswagen group to consider joining F1, as the German manufacturer believed that this component had no future road car relevance.
Audi to McLaren, Porsche to Red Bull
A recent report in CAR Magazine claimed that the decision for Audi and Porsche – both part of the VW group – to join F1 is “as good as done”, with the report mentioning that the final approval on the agreement is “waiting to get the thumbs up from the Volkswagen supervisory board”, with the two premium carmakers’ involvement being restricted to power unit supply only.
The report went on to claim that Red Bull who lost their power unit supplier Honda at the end of the 2021 season, would be partnering with Porsche from 2026 onwards, and especially after the end of the consultancy period Honda is now on with Red Bull.
Audi however is set to join forces with McLaren (more in that later), something that has been previously reported, with “the new drivetrain is reportedly a joint effort by Audi Sport and Porsche Motorsport”, as both companies plan “to fuse the F1 R&D work while retaining different set-ups and visual identities”, according to CAR.
Rumors of McLaren sale to Audi resurface
With Autocar reporting back in November 2021 that Audi has bought a controlling stake in the McLaren Group, the British company has moved to deny these reports in an email statement stating:
“McLaren Group is aware of a news media report stating it has been sold to Audi. This is wholly inaccurate and McLaren is seeking to have the story removed.
“McLaren’s technology strategy has always involved ongoing discussions and collaboration with relevant partners and suppliers, including other carmakers, however, there has been no change in the ownership structure of the McLaren Group,” concluded the statement.
BREAKING: An Autocar source says Audi has bought the entire McLaren Group with plans to enter its own team in Formula 1 https://t.co/7ZwzjLdxgz pic.twitter.com/nSCpzSFUia
— Autocar (@autocar) November 15, 2021
However, CAR Magazine claims that the collaboration between Audi and McLaren in F1 is not strictly limited to the racing part of the business as Audi is still in talks with McLaren to take over the latter, the report stating that “it’ll be a one all-in parcel, racing and automotive, lock, stock and barrel” with the “diligence phase has not yet begun”.
The report sites McLaren’s recent financial struggles as the reason behind the willingness to sell the company as Mumtalakat Holding Company, Bahrain’s investment fund owning 42 per cent of McLaren, looks to off-load their shares in the “loss-making car business”.
Audi would benefit from the exposure F1 would provide especially since it has pulled out of DTM and Formula E, with the purchase of McLaren reportedly benefiting VW Group as they aim to block a possible sale of the British carmaker to their German competitor BMW, the Bavarian company initially expressing interest in taking over McLaren, not to mention that Chinese automaker Geely also a potential buyer according to the report.