It seems increasingly likely that Audi is planning on ditching the thriving World Endurance Championship in favour of an entry into Formula One for the 2018 season.
While speaking with Car Magazine at the IAA Frankfurt Motor Show 2015, a senior manager from Audi revealed that the Germany company has discovered just how important Formula One is to a brand’s prosperity.
The unnamed official said “Market research has recently confirmed once again the significance of F1 . The rub-off effects are substantial; we see enormous potential for the brand once the race series invents itself in 2018.”
If Audi’s management gives the green light for it to enter Formula One, the automaker will leave all other forms of motorsport. That will include DTM and the World Endurance Championship where Audi has proven so successful, particularly at the 24 Hours of Le Mans.
Formula One itself is currently in a state of decline but thanks to a number of dramatic rule and regulation changes for the 2017 and 2018 seasons, it is hoped that the sport will be back to its best, hence why Audi is targeting 2018 for its entry. An Audi insider recently revealed that the company is hoping to fight for the Formula One world championship by 2020.
Car Magazine reports that Audi is interested in joining Formula One with Red Bull Racing thanks to the team’s previous success and experience within the sport. Initial funding is said to be coming from a number of Middle Eastern entrepreneurs.
While discussing this, an insider said “The biggest chunk of the up-front investment will be provided by a bunch of Middle East entrepreneurs. Instead of pedalling a marque or a specific product, they want to tap the commercial opportunities new F1 is offering. The idea is to use the Red Bull team as a door opener. Why Red Bull? Because of their success and experience, because of their top-class infrastructure and of course also because of the pending sponsorship agreement.”