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.”
9 responses to “Ecclestone: Engine will be big challenge if Audi enters F1”
i would like to see Bernie leave before he can welcome Audi
Well, that’s one reason to show Piech some respect. Whenever Bernie makes these sort of mercurial statements its a cinch there’s some other direction or angle he’s working. I think he’d be good with Ferrari, Mercedes providing cars and engines for the rest of the field.
I can’t see the value for Audi.
At the moment they have a development platform for their primary diesel technology, and a marketing platform racing in the WEC / LM24.
I don’t see them needing the technology from an F1 engine for their future road engine philosophy, so it’s a development dead end and only marketing gain … IF, and only if they manage to get it right before they arrive. If they end up in a Honda situation, then marketing benefits go out the window and they’ll end up doing damage control instead. Why would Audi roll that dice?
Then there’s the costs for all of the above.
F1 is going to cost them at least 3-4 times what they spend in WEC /LM24. While they might gain some Red Bull sponsorship, they will also lose Shell who are already with Ferrari and never going to jump ship, & the RBR team is unlikely to benefit from prize money too much during the 2017 season. Shell will want to stay in the WEC / LM24 with a top team to develop their diesel fuel and lubricants, so that could mean a new relationship variable for Audi there too.
I take it that you’ve not actually read the regulations for the WEC then?
This is what it says about the supply of fuel for the LMP1 class:
“The Organiser will supply only one type of fuel for the gasoline engines and one type of fuel for the diesel engines”.
In other words, whilst Shell might sponsor Audi, they don’t actually supply them with fuel – that is supplied by the ACO.
I wouldn’t align myself with Red Bull(shit) because they’ll throw you under the bus if it doesn’t work out and Red Bull(shit) doesn’t win the championship.
Audi isn’t going to “align'” itself with Red Bull. It’s going to buy it and Red Bull will disappear back into rallycross, air racing, free ride cycling and other extreme sports more in line with its marketing scheme.
I take it that you dislike Red Bull
The Audi/VW to enter F1 “rumor” has been circulating since the heyday of manufacture involvement in the early 2000’s. I will believe it when I see a Audi lump on the grid. Piech’s ousting does not necessarily equate to an F1 entry, either as a engine supplier or a full team effort.
When Mercedes decided to come into F1 as a full factory effort, it went against the trend. BMW, Toyota & Honda had recently exited the sport.
What is the use of having the two biggest car manufacturers competing in a sport like F1 where hybrid technology is the main technology. Hybrid is not and will not be the thing of the future there will be alternative fuels that will replace gasoline. F1’s path is so delusional and expensive that if I was a big manufacturer I wouldn’t touch it with a 1000 foot pole.