Aston Martin’s owner Lawrence Stroll has said that he would embrace the entry of the Volkswagen Group (VW Group) to the pinnacle of motorsport — Formula One. This comes after VW Group CEOs Markus Deusmann and Oliver Blume of Audi and Porsche respectively met with senior F1, FIA and F1 engine manufacturer representatives during the Austrian GP weekend. The purpose of the meeting was to discuss the next engine formula which came into force by 2025. Stroll hosted a special round table for select journalists which was attended by various UK based motor sporting publications and blogs. He was wholeheartedly supportive of the idea of the VW Group entering the sport, something which the Group has tantalised the F1 management with earlier but never come through on its explorations.
“I would certainly welcome and embrace the entry of the VW Group. I just think it would show us the strength of the sport. The stronger groups that are in the sport, the better for everyone involved, whether it be fans, whether it be team owners, whether it be FOM or FIA. So I know they’re quite engulfed in conversations about returning with one or two of their brands, and I am very excited and supportive of them coming into the sport. I think it would be great,” said the billionaire owner of the Aston Martin F1 team and the executive chairman of Aston Martin Lagonda.
The Audi CEO is also the boss of Olive Blume as Audi owns Porsche
Most manufacturers are open to the idea of the VW group entering the sport especially after the pandemic induced exit of Honda at the end of this year. Honda’s exit triggered the engine development freeze as Red Bull agreed to acquire its IP but since it had to build factories, hire staff and basically create an organisation from the ground up it was never going to be in a position to develop Honda’s power unit which from next year onwards will be rebranded to Red Bull in likelihood.
It also helps that Formula One is littered with ex VW Group staff. In fact, Stefano Domenicali, the CEO of F1, was the CEO of Lamborghini and before that was at Audi. Jost Capito the CEO of Williams was the motor sporting head at VW. In fact, even McLaren’s team principal Andreas Seidle has worked under Capito.
In the wake of the diesel gate fiasco, the VW group abandoned all plans to enter F1. The key for the new engine formula will be sustainability as most manufacturers want a fully sustainable power unit based on renewable energy with a combination of electrification and biofuels. Cost is also a huge issue, so many folks also want many of the technologies that are in the current V6 turbo hybrid internal combustion engines to be carried forward.
Jost Capito led the VW group to its success in WRC
“When you look where the automotive industry is going, the CO2 discussion is an issue. I am absolutely convinced that Formula 1 has to go to zero CO2 as well from 2025, but there are more technical options than just full electric. E-fuels is something that has to be investigated, has to be looked at, and also in combination with hybrid,” said Williams CEO Jost Capito recently
“In my view, these systems and technology have a future on mobility, and therefore I think the regulations should go in that direction but should investigate all options. Therefore it is right that car manufacturers have to be part of the discussion. They have to be attracted to the new regulations or they wouldn’t join,” he added.
His comments are in line with what Ferrari boss Mattia Binotto has said and as well as Toto Wolff who leads Mercedes. Though there is an indication that Red Bull may not fully agree with these views.
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