With Audi and Porsche poised to confirm their entry into Formula 1 for the 2026 season with the arrival of the next technical regulations, the focus is on how the two German manufacturers secure a partner on the Grand Circus grid.
While it seems increasingly likely that the Stuttgart team will join Red Bull and use the new power unit division created by the Austrian team as support, the path of the four-ring brand is still uncertain.
It is understood that he was well advanced in talks with McLaren about a possible takeover, but sources suggest those discussions have stalled with the two sides disagreeing on terms.
However, while the chances of a partnership with McLaren appear to be fading, there are still other options that Audi is considering. Williams is open to an agreement with the manufacturer, but the latest information suggests that the Germans have been thinking of Aston Martin for the long term.
The Silverstone team’s progress in F1 has stalled since its name change to the British company, and questions have been raised about what it takes to bring them close to the leaders, as owner Lawrence Stroll wants.
A tie-up with Audi, either by working together or an outright buyout, could offer the team a boost, or even give the Canadian businessman a way out of the Big Circus if they don’t grow as he wants.
Earlier this year, Aston Martin hinted that it was considering the possibility of building its own engine for the 2026 regulations , a project that appears to be falling short of its current technical capabilities.
However, doing it in collaboration with a large manufacturer like Audi would be logical to get the necessary budget and knowledge. When Aston Martin was contacted by Motorsport.com over rumors of this partnership with the Four Rings firm, they denied this option.
A spokesman for the English outfit said: “We are happy with our current engine partner Mercedes-Benz, with whom we have a multi-year contract. The Mercedes-Benz power unit in Formula 1 is good.
“We have no alternative plans at the moment, however never say never in F1, and we are actively exploring options with our new strategic partner Aramco,” he explained.
In a statement from Audi and Porsche this past Thursday, after a meeting of the board of directors, it was confirmed that the final decision on entry into the highest category of motorsport will be taken once the FIA publishes the regulations.
“We have not yet made a decision, as we are in the final phase of evaluation. At this time, the new rules for 2026 and later years are not yet available, and the changes will be established in them,” they said.
One major complication of a potential deal is that one of Audi’s main rivals, Mercedes-Benz, has a 20% stake in Aston Martin’s car business.