Herbert Diess, the chief executive of German carmaker Volkswagen (VW), has confirmed that its Audi and Porsche marques will enter the prestigious Formula 1 (F1) motor racing series.

Speaking yesterday (May 2) at an event in Wolfsburg, Germany, where VW is headquartered, Diess said an official announcement would be made once F1’s new engine regulations for 2026 have been finalized but added “you just run out of arguments” against entering the series.

“Formula 1 is developing extremely positively worldwide,” he explained. “The marketing that is happening there, plus Netflix, has led to Formula 1’s following growing significantly in the US as well. Asia is growing significantly, including among young customer groups.

"If you look at the major sporting events or events in the world, it's the case that in motorsport, it's really only Formula 1 that counts and is becoming increasingly differentiated.

“If you do motorsport, you should do Formula 1 as that's where the impact is greatest.”

Diess added that the planned engine rule changes in 2026 represented the last realistic chance of entering the series for a decade.

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“You can't enter Formula 1 unless a technology window opens up,” he said. “Which means, in order to get in there, a rule change: so that everyone starts again from the same place.

“As [chairman of Audi] Markus Duesman always tells me, you usually make up one second per season on a medium-sized race track simply by optimizing details.

“But you can't catch up on that when you join a new team: you need five or ten 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. That 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 ten years, and our two premium brands think that's the right thing to do and are prioritizing it.”

While VW has considered the possibility of entering F1 for many years, there has been increased chatter about the possibility of late.

Various reports at the end of March suggested that VW was likely to give Audi and Porsche the go-ahead to enter F1, with Business Insider suggesting a billion-Euro investment would be approved by the parent company.

Reports in January, meanwhile, suggested that a decision about Audi’s entry into F1 would be made by around the start of the second quarter of the year.

At the time, it had been indicated that Audi and Porsche would ideally want to enter F1 as teams in their own rights, not just as engine manufacturers, but the feasibility of this is a limiting factor.

With that in mind, Porsche is understood to be developing an engine partnership with the series’ Red Bull team.

Audi may enter as a team, however, with suggestions that it may buy out another on the grid.