McLaren has denied claims that Audi bought them as part of a deal to ensure the German carmaker enters Formula 1. A report released by Autocar states that Audi has agreed to a takeover that will give them full control of McLaren’s road car and racing operations.
However, McLaren has made it clear that such a report is not true. "The McLaren Group is aware of a media report stating that we are sold to Audi. This is completely incorrect and McLaren is asking for that story to be removed, "they stated from McLaren.
"McLaren's technology strategy has always included ongoing discussions and collaboration with relevant partners and suppliers, including other car manufacturers, but there has been no change in the ownership structure of the McLaren Group," they say.
Although the story of the takeover of Audi has been dismissed, Audi’s entry into Formula 1 with McLaren is still considered an option from 2026 if the German carmaker enters the premier class. Sources indicated that after last week’s board meeting, parent company Volkswagen is now seriously pursuing plans to enter F1, and are now finalizing how best to approach them with their companies.
Although there have been suggestions in the past that they could be linked to Audi and Porsche, it is understood that the decision was made to use only one of them.
Two options apply to Audi’s entry with McLaren or to connecting Porsche to Red Bull.
Porsche is not an option for McLaren because the two companies compete with each other in the same segment of the sports car market. Audi CEO Markus Duesmann, who previously worked at F1 with Mercedes and BMW, desperately wants his company to get the green light for Formula 1.
It implies that trial talks have been held with McLaren about the possibility of connectivity, but those talks remain in a relatively early stage. While the McLaren and Red Bull options have their advantages and disadvantages, the final decision will boil down to which of the two offers VW the best chance of success in the F1 move.
They are looking to be in a position to win races as soon as possible, which is why their focus is on the two main teams at the moment, while options like Williams and Sauber fall away. It is likely that such an "arrival" would bring big changes in F1 and who knows what would happen with the appearance of Audi in a completely new environment for them.