Formula One an option for Audi, says CEO

Mon May 11, 2015 1:19pm EDT
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By Alan Baldwin

LONDON (Reuters) - Formula One remains an option for Audi, the German carmaker's chief executive Rupert Stadler was quoted as saying on Monday amid speculation about a partnership with former world champions Red Bull.

He told Britain's Auto Express magazine website that "in life you must keep things open.

"We’re already well stuffed with successful motorsport projects. But with F1, wait and see. It’s an option for Audi. Not at this moment, perhaps. But it is still an option."

There has long been speculation about whether Audi might be tempted into Formula One, but it has grown louder now that Ferdinand Piech has quit as chairman of parent company Volkswagen.

Piech was seen as being strongly against Formula One.

Audi last year recruited former Ferrari F1 team principal Stefano Domenicali but not for an obvious motorsport role. They also made clear that the focus remained on Le Mans and the German Touring Car series.

However, the return of Audi stablemate Porsche to Le Mans as a works team, and Red Bull's fraught relationship with engine partner Renault, has also left people wondering whether a repositioning of brands might be in the offing.

That talk was given further impetus on Monday when Red Bull motorsport consultant Helmut Marko, who is close to company owner Dietrich Mateschitz, sent what sounded like an open invitation to Audi.   Continued...

Audi Chief Executive Officer Rupert Stadler poses with an Audi R8 sports car at the annual news conference in the Bavarian city of Ingolstadt March 10, 2015.           REUTERS/Michael Dalder