Porsche and Audi have decided to enter Formula 1 in 2026, according to Volkswagen Group CEO Herbert Diess.
The announcement comes amid a rapid rise in popularity of the sport, combined with the expansion of races into the United States and Asia.
Formula 1’s focus on sustainability and appeal among younger demographics has also been cited as key reasons behind the decision.
“You just run out of arguments [against entering F1],” Diess said at a company event on Monday.
Volkswagen Group re-joining the sport through either Audi or Porsche has been a constant talking point since their departure over 30 years ago.
“Formula 1 is developing extremely positively worldwide,” Diess said.
“The marketing that is happening there – plus Netflix – has led to Formula 1’s following growing significantly in the U.S.
“Asia is growing significantly, including among young customer groups.
“If you do motorsport, you should do Formula 1 as that’s where the impact is greatest.”
Diess revealed Porsche are in a stronger position to enter Formula 1 compared to Audi, explaining that new engine regulations have – and will continue to – play a key role in their decision making.
“As [Audi Chairman] Markus Duesman always tells me, you usually make up one second per season on a medium-sized race track simply by optimising details,” he said.
“But you can’t catch up on that when you join a new team – you need five or 10 years to be among the front runners. In other words, you can only get on board if you have a major rule change.
“That’s coming now, and it will also come in the direction of 2026, when the engines will be electrified to a much greater extent, including with synthetic fuels, which means you need a new engine development and you need three or four years to develop a new engine.
“That means you can decide now to do Formula 1 or then probably not again for 10 years. And our two premium brands think that’s the right thing to do, and are prioritising it.”
New engine regulations for 2026 haven’t been set in stone yet, but will most likely involve the same 1.6 turbo hybrid engine, with a shift towards 100 per cent sustainable fuels.
Both Porsche and Audi are not predicted to enter the sport as brand new teams, but rather partner with existing teams.
According to the BBC, Porsche has held talks with Red Bull in regards to potentially acquiring a 50 per cent stake.
McLaren and Aston Martin have also been touted as potential partners.
Porsche last competed as an engine supplier in 1991 as part of the struggling Footwork project.