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SBD Global/December 17, 2013/Franchises

Volkswagen Rules Out Interest In Bidding For F1's Open Vacancies In 2015-16

The Volkswagen Group "has played down suggestions" that it may be interested in bidding for the one or more F1 vacancies "hinted at by last week's call to arms by the FIA," according to CRASH. The FIA "surprised the motorsport world" last week by opening up an opportunity for prospective F1 entrants to submit proposals, which "automatically led to a retread of suggestions that VW -- or one of its group brands -- would be interested in expanding its motorsport programme into the top flight." However, the German company "has since told ESPN that it will not be bidding for a place." A VW spokesperson said, "Currently, there are no plans or intentions for the Volkswagen brand or any other brand of the Volkswagen Group to join F1." VW, which has motorsport brands such as Porsche, Audi, Bugatti, SEAT, Skoda and Lamborghini under its umbrella, "has repeatedly stated that it is not interested in starting an F1 programme, a claim echoed by its subsidiaries, most of which have competition arms active in other series." Audi "has also been connected to various openings in the F1 field," and as a potential engine partner to existing teams, but has "regularly denied interest, and VW's latest dismissal completes the set." Last summer, then-Audi Research & Development Head Wolfgang Duerheimer said that F1 "could be an option in the longer term." Duerheimer said, "I could imagine involvement in F1 in 2018, when the company is at the forefront of the industry. We have enough brands that could do that" (CRASH, 12/16).
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