Not long ago, rumors flared up suggesting that Audi may be preparing to enter Formula 1. The automaker picked up ex-Ferrari F1 team boss Stefano Domenicali for unknown reasons, along with two other former F1 employees, which prompted some to assume they were preparing to join the F1 fray. The only problem was chairman Ferdinand Piech’s relationship with F1 rights owner Bernie Ecclestone.
As Motorsport points out, Piech and Ecclestone have an ongoing feud. The disagreement is assumed to be the reason why Volkswagen Group has yet to compete in the highest level of motorsport despite being successful in WRC, WEC, and GT racing. However with this week’s announcement that Piech has resigned from the VW board, F1 could be in the Wolfsburg-based brand’s future.
Piech resigned from VW after him and CEO Martin Winterkorn had a falling out. Volkswagen’s poor performance in the United States had apparently turned Piech against Winterkorn, and Piech was attempting to have him removed from the VW Supervisory Board. However the board voted in favor of Winterkorn, prompting Piech to voluntarily resign earlier this week.
While Piech’s departure marks the end of an era for VW Group, it could mean the start of a new era in motorsports for the automaker. Winterkorn is a racing fan and supported Audi’s DTM program during his time as the Four Rings’ chairman. With Piech gone, Audi may have the green light to join F1, even though they’ve made no announcements suggesting they may join the racing series.