Audi recently made the official announcement that it will compete in Formula 1 for the first time, which is a significant development for Audi, the Volkswagen Group, and the sport overall. It’s tremendously exciting for me as an F1 fan to see Audi join the league. As a fan of automobiles, I think it’s fantastic that more brands participate in motorsport since it advances their technological capabilities and advances the industry. What about BMW supporters, though? Are they upset that a competitor is returning to a sport that many of them had hoped BMW would rejoin? And now that two of BMW’s key competitors are present, should it rejoin?
The largest competitor to BMW is Mercedes, which has been extremely successful in Formula One for many years. Mercedes has a bit more motorsports renown and legitimacy than BMW thanks to its world championship wins, which must irritate the M Division. Audi, BMW’s primary German rival, has recently joined F1 and will also contend for a title. In 2026, even Porsche will take part in the sport. So, does BMW decide to make a comeback or does it continue to be the lame German duck out of the race? It’s also important to note that Markus Duesmann, the current CEO of Audi, is a BMW alum.
Starting in 2026, Audi will compete in Formula One alongside Sauber, BMW’s former F1 partner, and will provide the vehicle’s engines. Audi will need to put in a lot of work if they want to be even remotely as successful as the current Alfa Romeo Sauber team (Alfa will depart in 2026). Although current drivers Valterri Bottas and Zhou Guanyu are both capable drivers (Guanyu is a very promising young driver), their vehicles simply cannot compete with those made by Ferrari, Red Bull, and Mercedes. Perhaps the engineers and engines from Audi can change that. However, new drivers are also anticipated to exist in 2026.
Audi sought a partner when it made its joining announcement. Instead of forming a brand-new team, it preferred to collaborate with an existing one. If BMW were interested in another F1 entry, it would probably take the same action. It might try to court a few teams, like Williams, Haas F1, or even bigger fish like McLaren.
Even though it is quite doubtful, it would be awesome to see BMW return to Formula One. BMW is still very active in motorsport, but not in anything as well-known or well-known as Formula 1. As it switches to electric vehicles, Audi decided to enter F1 because it will give its cars legitimate motorsport credentials. Fans would like it if BMW did the same. Will that occur? Nothing has come to our attention that would indicate BMW is even considering it. But imagining it is enjoyable.
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2026 will see Audi and Porsche enter Formula 1. How will BMW respond?
Why did Porsche and Audi chose a Formula 1 entry when BMW is concentrating on Le Mans Daytona Hybrid (LMDh), also known as IMSA GTP more recently? According to Diess, the decision-making process demonstrated how positively the F1 championship is “growing significantly worldwide.” Additionally, he thinks that the exposure of F1 in the United States is a positive development for the championship.
In motorsport, only Formula 1 really matters and is differentiating itself, according to Diess, if you look at the major sporting events or events in the globe. “If you compete in motorsports, you should focus on Formula 1, as it has the biggest impact. In addition, you cannot enter Formula 1 unless a technological window opens, which requires a rule change to allow entry: everyone must restart from the same position.”
Although Porsche and Audi have each begun their own engine development, the specifics are still a mystery. particularly with regard to how the two brands will contend in F1. Porsche and Red Bull have been linked in rumors, while McLaren was rumored to be up for acquisition by Audi, a claim that has been refuted by the McLaren PR department.
Diess adds that not all board members supported the businesses’ entry into Formula 1. According to the senior executive of VW, the brand’s current goals include autonomous driving, battery development, and new software capabilities. However, the board recognized the value of the brand exposure that Formula 1 offers.
Will BMW now reevaluate their Formula One plan? One thing is clear, though: starting in 2026, the world’s premier motorsport championship will feature competition between all the major premium vehicle brands.
In Formula One, BMW
This article discusses BMW’s participation in Formula One and the BMW Sauber racing team. See Sauber Motorsport for the independent racing team.
Since the World Drivers’ Championship was established in 1950, BMW has been involved in Formula One in a variety of capacities. Before developing the BMW M12/13 inline-four turbocharged engine in the 1980s, the business competed in sporadic races in the 1950s and 1960s (typically under Formula Two rules). The team’s chassis were powered by BMW engines from 1982 to 1987 as a consequence of an agreement between BMW and Brabham. Nelson Piquet won the 1983 title while operating a Brabham BT52-BMW during this time. ATS, Arrows, Benetton, and Ligier teams were also given the M12/13 by BMW during this time, with varying degrees of success. Brabham briefly left the sport in 1988, and BMW stopped officially supporting the engines, which were still being used by the Arrows team under the Megatron moniker. The 1989 revision of the Formula One Technical Regulations outlawed turbocharged engines, making the M12/13 obsolete.
In the late 1990s, BMW made the decision to return to Formula One and entered into an exclusive agreement with the Williams team, which was in need of a new long-term engine supplier following the departure of Renault in 1997. A new V10 engine was developed as a result of the initiative and debuted in competition in the Williams FW22 in 2000. The collaboration advanced from the midfield to contending for race victories the next year, but the desired title remained elusive due to Michael Schumacher and Ferrari’s domination in the first half of the 2000s. BMW decided to sever ways with Williams in 2005 as their relationship had deteriorated, and instead decided to purchase the rival Sauber team outright.
The BMW Sauber project, which ran from 2006 to 2009, significantly raised the Swiss former privateer team’s competitiveness. A strong third place performance in the Constructors’ Championship in 2007 followed two podium places in the inaugural season (which became second when McLaren was disqualified). Robert Kubica won the team’s lone race in 2008, the Canadian Grand Prix, and briefly held the lead in the Drivers’ Championship, but the team decided to concentrate on 2009 car development and fell back in the standings at the end of the season. Due to the F1.09 chassis’ lack of competitiveness, the 2009 season was a significant letdown. BMW decided to leave the sport, returning the team to its founder, Peter Sauber, in addition to the global financial downturn and the company’s displeasure with the constraints of the current technical standards in developing technology relevant to road cars.
A higher priority is LMDh.
Herbert Diess, the CEO of the Volkswagen Group, recently reaffirmed the German conglomerate’s aim to compete in Formula 1 alongside Porsche and Audi. Combustion engines won’t switch to fully synthetic fuel until 2026, when a new set of laws will restructure the market (again). In about four years, our colleagues at BMWBLOG were interested to learn if Bayerische Motoren Werke AG intended to reenter the game.
Unfortunately, the folks from Bavaria don’t have such plans, as BMW M chief Frank Van Meel stated that the M division’s motorsports branch “had no ambitions for Formula 1.” According to the M CEO, restrictions governing powertrains are the reason the firm won’t make a comeback after splitting with Sauber in 2009:
“It’s crucial for us that the [electrification] narrative of transformation is accepted as soon as feasible. The regulations pertaining to electrification are still being discussed in Formula 1. Therefore, it was extremely evident to us. Let’s go quickly into the electrification section.”
Since a 2023 entry has been ruled out, the business is now significantly investing in its Le Mans Daytona hybrid (LMDh) racer, which is now anticipated to debut for the 2024 season. Since Lamborghini, Porsche, and Audi are all engaged in LMDh projects, BMW will still have to compete with the VW Group even if it decides not to return to Formula 1. Acura, Cadillac, Alpine, and Peugeot will accompany them.
BMW’s motorsport division also includes the M4 GT3 race vehicle, which will be launched in mid-June at the Virginia International Raceway during rounds five and six of the 2022 SRO Americas Championship. In addition to the LMDh program, this division also runs the LMDh. The entry-level M2 CS Racing, which is based on the previous M2 F87, is another option. In the upcoming months, the small sports coupe will become the G87 vehicle in its road-going configuration.
A fresh teaser image for the LMDh race car will reportedly be unveiled in June as well, according to reliable sources at BMWBLOG.
Does BMW compete in Formula One?
Have you ever pondered why some manufacturers, like BMW, choose not to participate in Formula One despite the sport’s rising popularity? Knowing a team’s history can often help you appreciate them more, in my experience as an F1 and BMW enthusiast. Does BMW compete in Formula One?
BMW does not participate in Formula One and does not have any immediate plans to do so. Due to a poor performance, the global financial crisis, and their desire to raise the technological requirements for their road vehicles, they discontinued their participation in F1 in 2009.
BMW has historically been one of the strongest racing competitors, despite not participating in Formula 1. Let’s look at where they started, what they think about Formula One, and why they still don’t want to compete.
Check out the great products from the official F1 store here if you’re looking for some F1 memorabilia.
Will BMW rejoin Formula One?
Numerous automakers will join the fray as the Formula 1 racing championship gains in popularity. In 2026, Audi and Porsche will make their Formula 1 debuts, but BMW has largely remained silent. Frank Van Meel, the head of BMW M, stated in an interview today that the Munich-based automaker has no plans to compete in Formula 1.
Van Meel was certain, saying, “We have no ambitions for Formula 1.” The forthcoming LMDh project is where the business continues to concentrate its motorsport efforts. “It’s crucial for us that the [electrification] narrative of transformation is accepted as soon as feasible. The regulations pertaining to electrification are still being discussed in Formula 1. Thus, everything was crystal plain to us. Let’s move more quickly into that section on electricity “says Van Meel.
Will Audi ever compete in Formula One?
It follows the publication earlier this month of new power unit regulations, which were created expressly to make it practical and appealing for newcomers to enter the sport at a competitive level.
The 2026 power units will retain the current V6 internal combustion engine architecture but will have more electrical power and only use 100 percent sustainable fuels, according to Audi, two elements that were important in it joining.
Audi, a member of the Volkswagen Group, also stated that it supports F1’s goals to become more cost-effective and environmentally friendly. F1 has set a target of becoming Net Zero Carbon by 2030 and will establish a cost cap for power unit makers in 2023.
It also marks a significant acknowledgment of the importance of the automotive industry’s transition to hybrid engines powered by sustainable fuels in 2026. We are all anticipating seeing the Audi insignia on the starting grid and will learn more about their plans in due course. a
In advance of this weekend’s Belgian Grand Prix, Audi made its 2026 entry official at a press conference at Spa. Speakers included Domenicali, FIA President Mohammed Ben Sulayem, Member of the Board of Management for Technical Development Oliver Hoffmann, and Chairman of the Board of Management of AUDI AG Markus Duesmann.
The manufacturer stated that by the end of this year, they will disclose their choice of team for 2026.
The engine will be constructed at Audi Sport’s Neuburg factory, the first time an F1 powertrain has been made in Germany in more than ten years.
According to Audi, its Neuburg base already has test stands for evaluating F1 engines as well as electric motors and batteries. By the end of the year, they are working to have the necessary individuals, structures, and technical infrastructure in place. After that, they will have three years to perfect the PU before moving on to F1.