Ah, Paul Tan – a cool gearhead from Malaysia who always seems to write up interesting stuff. One of his latest pieces of reportage concerns interesting rumors about what Volkswagen might be doing about Grand Prix racing.
Now, there have been rumors flying around about Volkswagen entering F1 for a number of years. About a decade ago, it was said they were planning on going GP racing with their Audi brand as the marque. Turns out that Audi went on to kick some serious ass in Le Mans racing instead, but the word that VW is going GP racing has been bubbling away for years and years.
Now comes word from Paul Tan (and Autocar in England, which quotes German publication Bild), that Williams Race Engineering might be trying to do a Brawn GP and sell the team to the Volkswagen Group. The sources say that boss Frank Williams is dangling his F1 team in front of the Wolfsburg boys, who, yet again (according to rumors) “is expected to enter the pinnacle of motor racing from 2013.”
“We are stronger with a manufacturer than as a private team. No question. And of course we have an affinity with Germany. I remember well, quite early on, we went to the races with VW buses – we sometimes even slept in them. German cars are great. With Mercedes, Brawn won the title last year, and with McLaren in the previous year. And now they are up there with their own team,” Williams told Bild.
Bild says that Williams sold a 20% stake in his team to Austrian investor and race driver by the name of Toto Wolff last year (great name huh?). And Bild says that Frank could sell his remaining stake to VW “if Wolfsburg decides to enter the sport.” For a little word, “if” can take on such big connotations, no?
Kris Nissen, VW’s motorsport head honcho, supposedly wants to go F1 racing, but first he wants to improve the company’s image, drive down costs and improve its stability before the Volkswagen commits itself. In the meantime, VW will carry on with its successful Dakar Rally program for at least two more years, where VW is currently the team to beat.