Volkswagen Group

Flirting with Formula One

Nico Rosberg
Nico Rosberg took the cup at Monaco at the weekend, but not all teams can be sure of emulating Mercedes' success.
  • Why it matters

    Why it matters

    Other huge brands, like Toyota and BMW, have tried their luck at Formula One racing and failed at great expense.

  • Facts


    • Mr. Ecclestone and Formula One have been criticized by smaller racing teams for the “winner take all” approach that means only the largest and best funded teams can cover their operating expenses.
    • Mr. Piëch personally disliked Mr. Ecclestone and always made it clear that entering Formula One was not an option for VW.
    • VW management faces an array of challenges with its core products and underperforming markets at the moment.
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Bernie Ecclestone can be accused of many things, but a lack of business sense isn’t one of them.

Volkswagen patriarch Ferdinand Piëch, who nursed a hearty dislike of Mr. Ecclestone and made sure VW had nothing to do with F1 racing, had barely stepped down from his exalted position in the car empire when the 84-year old Methuselah of racing launched a new charm offensive.

“It would be great if you would come,” the F1 chief executive said recently, openly courting favor with the Wolfsburg-based carmaker.

That’s why Mercedes driver Lewis Hamilton’s new contract was likely not the only topic of conversation when the who’s who of Formula One met in Monaco at the weekend. There were surely many conversations about possible VW scenarios.

Already, there is talk in the frustrated Red Bull team about approaching Volkswagen’s luxury brand Audi as a possible new partner. Although VW executives don’t see this as an option, Mr. Ecclestone is not letting up. He and the other F1 bigwigs would welcome Volkswagen with open arms.

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