VW’s Audi to acquire F1 Red Bull Racing? Audi says no (4th Update)

UPDATEE #4 This rumor is downgraded to 'false' today. As predicted by AR1.com, the VW scandal has sent the Audi deal 'up in smoke' With the VW diesel emissions scandal worsening by the day, the Red Bull chief Christian Horner told the US broadcaster NBC: "That the Audi deal seemed to go up in smoke."

09/22/15 (GMM) Audi has denied reports it has decided to enter formula one in 2018.

Citing sources close to the Ingolstadt board, Germany's Auto Bild said on Monday that the VW brand Audi will collaborate with Red Bull, whose split from existing engine partner Renault is now almost complete.

The report said that, in the process, Audi would quit both Le Mans and DTM.

But as the usual rumor-denial pattern continued, an Audi spokesman told the German news agency DPA: "The Auto Bild report is pure speculation that requires no further comment.

"But the claim that Audi will give up its commitments in the DTM and WEC are without any foundation and are firmly rejected by us," he added.

And an Audi spokesman was also quoted by Germany's Bild newspaper: "Formula one has been discussed from time to time, but the chairman decided against it only a few months ago and nothing has changed."

09/21/15 (GMM) Audi's Ingolstadt board has given the green light to formula one, the German publication Audi Bild claimed exclusively on Monday.

Actually, the latest rumors about the Volkswagen Group putting together a F1 foray for one of its brands was broken at the weekend by Eddie Jordan, the former F1 team owner who as British television pundit now regularly breaks major stories.

"Sometimes Eddie is wrong," smiled Red Bull team boss Christian Horner, according to Germany's Auto Motor und Sport.

Horner had been asked about Jordan's prediction because Red Bull is currently without an engine supplier for the future, having split behind the scenes with Renault.

Auto Bild claims that, minus "only a few signatures", the Audi board has made the decision to enter F1 in 2018, collaborating with Red Bull as sponsor and pulling out of Le Mans and DTM.

"For me, nothing has changed," Audi's racing chief Dr Wolfgang Ullrich is quoted as saying.

The latest news follows hot on the heels of Red Bull's renewed threat to quit F1, insisting that with Mercedes not willing and Ferrari not yet agreeing to supply an engine, it could be left without horse power.

Horner said: "The fact that we currently have only two strong engine manufacturers is unhealthy for formula one. With the V8s, we had three or four engines that were able to win.

"It is important for F1 that there are several competitive engine suppliers."

09/21/15 German carmaker Audi is close to finalizing a deal for a Formula One racing team with Red Bull as its main sponsor from 2018, Germany's Auto Bild said on Monday.

A spokesman for Audi said he could not confirm the report in the magazine, which said it was only a matter of signing the deal that had already been approved by the company's bosses.

As recently as May the car manufacturer had said a Formula One entry was not an issue for them.

09/18/15 Formula One is entering one of those eras where seismic occurrences are in the offing.

Eddie Jordan who has proven over the years to reveal the occasional scoop, is claiming, "German car giant Volkswagen is close to agreeing a deal to take over the Red Bull Formula 1 team," according to the BBC

The deal apparently will see VW acquire the Milton Keynes based team, but only supply a VW branded power unit in 2018.

Jordan claims, "Red Bull and VW have been in on-and-off talks for more than a year and I understand that the fundamentals of a deal for the sale of the team have been agreed."

However, Red Bull's Dr Helmut Marko stated in June this year, "There has been no dialogue with VW or Audi."

So, if the acquisition was imminent, the next round of stories must suggest the new VW F1 team will re-brand a Ferrari engine whilst it gets its own power unit good to go for 2018.

Yet surely any 'rebranding' would be a nonsense. Everyone will know that an Audi, Porsche, Lamborghini, Bentley etc. is in reality running a Ferrari F1 power unit.

Maybe Ferrari could be persuaded that a Skoda-Red Bull-Ferrari branding would have the similar impact as did the Lotus-Cortina association of yesteryear.

Then in 2018 when VW finally build an F1 power unit – it can be registered with the FIA as F1 entrant, 'Lamborghini-Red Bull'.

This weekend the WEC has a 6 hour race in COTA, and Audi's motorsport boss Dr. Wolfgang Ullrich was questioned about the rumors linking the German manufacturer with Red Bull Racing.

He appeared to poor a modicum of cold water on the idea, stating this speculation was "nothing new," adding, "This story has been discussed for 20 years".

Whilst all this is plausible, and Skoda may be about to debut in Formula One – there are no details as to when this transaction will take place.

So do we really believe that a VW will acquire Red Bull racing tout suite and one of their brands will run an F1 team in 2016/17 with a Ferrari engine?

And if the reality is that VW are considering acquiring Red Bull for the 2018 season, the 2017/18 regulations are yet to be agreed and in two years much water will pass under the bridge.

Interestingly, Reuters have just revealed that the USA Environmental Protection Agency says nearly 500,000 Volkswagen cars violate clean air standards after the carmaker used “illegal" software to bypass emissions tests.

"VW could be subject to a maximum civil penalty of $37,500 for each of 482,000 cars that are affected", an EPA official told Business Insider.

If you do the math, that adds up to $18 billion.

And these fines must be paid as BP found out when they agreed to pay $5.5 billion for violations of the Clean Water Act, as part of a much larger federal and state settlement.

There are two ways of looking at this news.

The first – is that in terms of deviousness – VW and Red Bull are a perfect partnership fit.

The second perspective, is that VW may be rather skirt for a year or two.

Red Bull are clearly ahead of the F1 field in producing chassis, and their performance with an underpowered Renault power unit looks to be impressive in Singapore.

Maybe all this is just a tall tale to entice Renault to perform a reverse takeover, and buy the Milton Keynes based team with its $80 million a year championship performance payments – instead of Lotus? thejudge13

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