Will Audi Finally Break Into The World Of Formula One?

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Today, the popularity of F1 and other motorsports has increased drastically, assisted by the advent of things such as Netflix’s Drive To Survive series. As well as this, the social media presence of drivers has transformed many of them into influential names outside of the sport, too, regardless of their results on the track. Take Daniel Ricciardo, for example. He may not get a podium anymore, but he is one of the most popular men in the world of sports, thanks to his personality being showcased via Netflix and social media. Because of the increased popularity of the sport, even more companies are starting to turn their attention towards Formula One, be they sponsors looking for some prime advertising space or car manufacturers looking to buy their way into this most prestigious of motorsports. It’s heavily rumoured that the car manufacturer Audi is looking to buy one of the teams and therefore secure a space on the F1 track. But who, if anyone, are they likely to buy? And what does this mean for the sport?

The State Of Formula One Today
As of writing this article, a lot has been happening in the world of Formula One. Fans will be well aware of the recent trials and tribulations that have been experienced by Toto Wolff’s Mercedes team this season, with the world-class driver Lewis Hamilton and his teammate George Russel being subjected to a slew of awful results compared to previous years. This is largely in part due to changes made to the Mercedes cars. These changes had led to an unfortunate bounce in the cars. This was an issue with the ground effect of the cars, which is related to aerodynamics. This essentially helps cars stay low to the track, improving their grip and cornering speeds. Unfortunately for Mercedes, the new design of their car was forcing the floor lower at higher speeds which were cutting the airflow underneath the vehicle, which in turn raises the ever so slightly. This up-down motion would occur on a cycle, resulting in a bounce that reduced concentration and control over the car. This has shifted the playing field, making the battle for podium positions much more interesting.

Which Drivers Are Confirmed For 2023?
Drivers occasionally change in Formula One, but more often than not, they at least stay for the entirety of the season. While there is nothing stating that contracts cannot be negotiated at any point during the year, a driver will sign a contract for a specific period of time. There are a number of drivers that are basically guaranteed to be racing in 2023 based on the contracts we know about. First, we have Lewis Hamilton, and George Russell confirmed for Mercedes. Red Bull is hanging onto Max Verstappen until 2028 with his huge contract deal, alongside Sergio Perez, who is on a contract until 2024. Ferrari has Leclerc and Sainz staying on until 2024 too. Past the big three teams, things get a bit more uncertain. McLaren is keeping Norris until 2025, but Daniel Ricciardo is contracted until 2023 unless he chooses to leave this year. And then we had the shock news of F1 racing legend Sebastian Vettel announcing his retirement from the sport, leaving Aston Martin at the end of 2022. He has chosen to focus on his family and his interests outside of F1, most notably his dedication to helping the environment.

Why Is F1 Becoming So Popular?
As mentioned above, the primary reason for Formula One’s immense popularity is largely influenced by the documentary series Drive to Survive on Netflix. Of course, it’s important to remember that Formula One has always had a great following of fans, attracting people from all over the globe to follow the races and visit the tracks for entire race weekends instead of simply for main events on a Sunday. Formula One, as with other forms of motor racing, brings a lot of revenue to betting sites as players can make some decent money from a well-placed bet, not dissimilar to a big payout you can get from an online casino. The docuseries has inflated the popularity of the sport, however, by dragging the personalities of racers much more into focus. Watching the series, many people developed a love and admiration for some of the racers, following their journey through the world of F1, and some also became villains too. As well as the racers, however, the team principals were put under the spotlight too, adding another layer to the sport entirely as it showed the rivalries and friendships that brew behind the scenes too.

What Have Audi Said?
The rumours circling the sport in the past few months are that two members of the Volkswagen group, Audi and Porsche, are vying to get into the sport soon. It was recently revealed, prematurely, that Porsche has proposed a huge stake to buy into the Red Bull Racing team and that positive discussions are taking place between the two. But at the same time, sister company Audi has also been making moves to get onto the scene. It’s rumoured that Sauber, who are currently under the name of Alfa Romeo, their title sponsors, may be ditching this deal to work with the German powerhouse car manufacturer. It’s said that both Porsche and Audi intend to get into F1 as late as 2026, so we might not necessarily be seeing a change anytime soon. These things do take time, so we’ll have to wait and see.

How Would This Move Impact The Team?
It’s hard to definitively say what would change here. Ultimately, the sky is the limit, depending on how much Audi decides to invest in the team. If Audi buys a controlling share and essentially takes over the entire team, they could theoretically change whatever they want, within reason. Team changes, depending on contracts and clauses, changes to the car, and a new engineering team. In theory, they could take a team that sits at the bottom of the table regularly into a podium position if they’re lucky. Of course, there is no guarantee that they will find considerable success, and it’s important to remember that the top teams right now, such as Red Bull, Mercedes, and Ferrari, continue to dominate the sport, with very few others ever getting a chance of a top spot. Time will tell if we’re to see Audi colours gracing the F1 circuits, and nobody can predict whether their foray into this sport will be a success either.
 

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