Wolff: Audi as a new entrant could offer additional value to the F1 network

Filip Cleeren

American racing stalwart Michael Andretti’s bid to expand his multi-series operation into F1 has met with strong resistance from most of the discipline’s current 10 participants.

Concerned teams are tired of having to share F1 prize money with an extra competitor and feel the current dilution fund of $200 million is not enough as the value of having an F1 entry has increased significantly since this price was established, due to the growing global interest in the sport. and the newly implemented budget cap.

But amid Audi’s interest in joining the sport, Mercedes boss Wolff believes the German manufacturer’s size and marketing power would make it a more suitable 11th entrant than Andretti, despite that the American team has become a global powerhouse active in IndyCar, Formula E, Extreme E. and Australian Supercars.

Asked explicitly in light of the uncertainty surrounding the Andretti team’s situation whether a new Audi entry would change the outlook of the existing teams, Wolff said: “I think whoever joins as team 11, whoever gets a entry, must demonstrate creativity. may be for business.

“Andretti is a big name, and I think they’ve done some exceptional things in the U.S. But this is sport and this is business and we have to understand what you can bring to the sport.

“And if an OEM or an international multinational group joins F1 and can show that they’re going to spend X amount of dollars on activation, on marketing in the different markets – obviously that’s a totally different value proposition for everyone the other teams”.

Michael Andretti, CEO and President Andretti Autosport

Photo by: Andreas Beil

Wolff says F1 wants to continue increasing its value over the coming years and believes any new entrant must contribute to that process.

“With 10 franchises we hope they can add value, and you’re certainly not going to add value just by issuing new franchises to people who can’t add to the overall value of Formula 1.”

As well as Audi, VW Group’s sister brand Porsche is poised to agree a major shares and power unit supply deal with Red Bull Racing from 2026, when the new F1 engine rules.

Meanwhile, Red Bull’s current engine partner Honda, which has officially left F1 but still cooperates with the Milton Keynes-based outfit, is considering rejoining F1 in 2026 as the sport shifts to sustainable fuels and a simplified hybrid system.

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