Germany's Audi rules out entry into Formula One racing

Mon May 18, 2015 7:25am EDT
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FRANKFURT (Reuters) - Germany's Audi has no plans to enter Formula One, the company said on Monday, seeking to end speculation that the sportscar maker was tempted to broaden its commitment to motor racing.

"This is not a topic for us," a spokesman for the premium brand, which is owned by Volkswagen VOWG_p.DE, said.

German daily Handelsblatt on Monday reported that Audi Chief Executive Rupert Stadler had ruled out an entry into Formula One after speculation of a partnership with former champions Red Bull.

"Formula One needs to solve its problems on its own," Handelsblatt quoted Stadler as saying in its Monday edition. The sport, in which Ferrari and Mercedes race, is seeking to make cars faster and louder again to maintain its allure.

Last week Stadler was quoted as saying Formula One remained an option for Audi. He told Britain's Auto Express magazine website that "in life you must keep things open", in response to a question about the sport.

There has long been speculation about whether Audi might be tempted into Formula One, and it increased after Volkswagen's VOWG_p.DE Chairman Ferdinand Piech quit last month.

Piech was seen as being strongly opposed to Formula One where top teams have annual budgets of over $200 million.

Audi competes in the Le Mans annual endurance race, the German Touring Car series and the fledgling Formula E competition for electric powered cars.

(Reporting by Edward Taylor; editing by Susan Thomas and Keith Weir)

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