BERLIN (Reuters) -Volkswagen and its brands Porsche and Audi are open to entering Formula 1, a Volkswagen spokesperson said on Thursday, after months of speculation that the two brands were in negotiation over partnerships to enter the highest class of international motor racing.
The German carmaker, which has not previously been involved with Formula One but has worked with Red Bull in the world rally championship, did not announce how it planned on entering the sport.
The two brands will provide further information on the details at a later date, the spokesperson said.
A Formula One spokesperson was not immediately available for comment.
Audi is ready to offer around 500 million euros ($556.30 million) for British luxury sports carmaker McLaren as a means to enter, a source told Reuters last week, while Porsche intends to establish a long-term partnership with racing team Red Bull starting in several years’ time.
McLaren Racing chief executive Zak Brown said at the time that the Formula One team was “definitely not for sale” and not looking for further equity partners, but that “very preliminary” conversations had taken place with Volkswagen.
The decision comes as Volkswagen prepares for a possible listing of Porsche AG planned for the fourth quarter of this year, though sources said the entry into Formula One racing would likely only happen in a few years time.
The carmaker is also grappling with the impact of the war in Ukraine on its finances, which top Volkswagen shareholder Porsche SE said in March could also affect the timing of a Porsche AG listing.
(Reporting by Victoria Waldersee and Ilona Wissenbach, Editing by Riham Alkousaa and Ed Osmond)