Müller’s mad matter
In recent interviews Wolfgang Dürheimer, CEO of Bugatti and Bentley stated in relation to Liberty’s proposals to change the sport:
“From my point of view, the whole topic is currently being mixed up again. It is an absolute new beginning to recognise, If such a new start is to be recognised, then one must, of course, also put the previous decisions to the test and re-evaluate it,”
Bugatti and Bentley are part of the VW-Audi group. Although Bentley has a rich past in endurance races, F1 hasn’t been part of its pedigree. Bugatti, has even less of a racing history. It does include some races in F1 (1920’s, and a single race in 1956), but would it make sense for VW-Audi CEO’s to start racing one of these 2 brands?
VW-Audi has a rich mix of brands: Audi, Bentley, Bugatti, Lamborghini, Porsche, SEAT, Škoda and Volkswagen all fall under the same umbrella. While Bentley and Bugatti surely present part of the top-end, TJ13 can spot some others brands that are F1 worthy.
Lamborghini’s CEO is none other than Stefano Domenicali, who used to manage Ferrari’s F1 team. In recent interviews he was asked his view on whether Lamborghini should return to F1:
“If the conditions are right” admits Domenicali “You are touching a very sensitive part of my heart. I want to be very honest with you: today we have other priorities and we have to be very focused on them.”
“Tomorrow? Motor sport will always be a part of Lamborghini, so if the platform changes then the answer is ‘Why not?’”
Lamborghini has a slightly richer F1 past, where it entered the sport as an engine supplier between 1989 and 1993. They even tried as a constructor in 1991 (albeit under the Modena name) with drivers Nicola Larini (Italian) and Belgian Eric van den Poele. Success was small, with Eric van den Poele losing a point scoring 5th spot with technical problems only in the last lap of the San Marino GP. At the end of the season the team hit financial problems, and that was the end.
Obviously, Audi and Porsche have F1 roots too. Audi starting to battle its rivalry with Mercedes in F1 too? It would make marketing sense.. Or still, Porsche? They entered F2 in the beginning of the 60’s, but where upgraded to F1 later. No great successes before the team retracted since they didn’t want to cover the cost of F1. Porsche returned to F1 in the 80’s as engine suppliers, and did rack up more than 20 wins. Obviously, that was before VW’s take-over.
Matthias Müller, VW-Audi Group’s CEO, has a mad matter at his hands: will they be moving into F1, and then: under which brand name?
Note from Ed, can the Jury make it known which brand should be in F1 if VW were to enter into the sport. Let us know why in the comments.
“can the Jury make it known which brand should be in F1 if VW were to enter into the sport.”
I’d vote for none of the above if I had the choice. Other than marketing reasons – the name is irrelevant.
What’s wrong with calling it Volkswagen? Renault have not resorted to branding their team anything other than Renault – a maker of cheap mass-produced cars. And winner of two F1 world titles. If the idea is to sell cars then Bugatti is hardly the place to start. They make a substantial loss on every Veyron and the market for a £1m+ car is not exactly huge.
I commented a couple of times already: F1 has nothing to do with road car development. That, per definition, makes any involvement of car manufacturers in F1 a marketing exercise,
Renault belongs to the group Renault/Renault-Samsung/Dacia/Nissan/Infinity. Although the engines were branded Renault on all cars up to 2015, Red Bull opted to rebrand their engines TAG Heuer in 2016: probably to signal they were “not amused” by the 2015 engine. That prompted Renault to remove the Infinity sponsoring from the 2016 Red Bulls. Renault thus saw the need to push the Infinity brand via F1.