Bernie Ecclestone says he will be happy to see Audi come into F1, but cautions that the German manufacturer will – like Honda – struggle to catch up with Mercedes.
Audi/VW continues to be linked to either a future co-operation with Red Bull, or the more likely scenario of an eventual takeover and re-branding of the Milton Keynes facility, as recommended by consultant Stefano Domenicali.
“It’s good if any of these manufacturers come in, it will be super,” Ecclestone told this writer. “But it’s difficult for them to come in with the rules that are already there, and a competitor of theirs that’s already been for four or five years with an engine, and then they’re going to come in. It will take them a couple or three years to catch up.”
Asked if he thought Audi would finally make its mind up about F1, he added: “The problem is the engine situation. I believe Honda thought it wasn’t a problem. I told them it would be…”
It’s long be said that Audi has been sitting on the fence because Ferdinand Piech – recently ousted as chairman of the supervisory board of the Volkswagen Group – did not want to deal with Ecclestone. However Bernie insists that wasn’t an issue from his side.
“I don’t have any problem, really. It’s nothing to do with me.”