Audi’s long-rumoured entry to F1 appears to have taken another blow, after Stefan Knirsch, the firm’s new member of the board in charge of technical development said that the sport “was not a topic” for the company.
Knirsch, who replaced Ulrich Hackenberg as Audi’s technical boss in the wake of the dieselgate emissions scandal, has been charged with leading the firm’s hybrid, electric and hydrogen-powered future.
“F1 for Audi is absolutely not a topic,” said Knirsch. “We are focusing on the World Endurance Championship (WEC) and DTM. We want to win Le Mans in a championship where electric and hybrid technology plays a very major role, while we are in discussions with the DTM about when we can introduce this kind of technology.”
Knirsch’s comments follow those of Wolfgang Dürheimer, who heads the VW Group’s motorsport strategy. Dürheimer told Autocar that the company could not consider entering the sport while its regulations and ownership were under negotiation.
"Formula 1 is not on our agenda right now," said Dürheimer. "The situation is not predictable enough to make the kind of investment required."
The VW Group had been rumoured to be on the verge of buying the championship-winning Red Bull F1 team, with a view to entering one of its brands - most likely Audi - into the series in 2018.