BMW comment on F1 return as Audi discuss Aston Martin takeover

Audi and Porsche are both set to enter Formula 1 in 2026.

BMW motorsport boss Frank van Meel has declared that his company do not have any intention to return to Formula 1 and compete with Audi and Porsche.

BMW’s adventure in F1 began in 1952 when they entered a team into the German Grand Prix that year, and then again in 1953.

They did not score any points in either of those races, with 12th being their best finish through Ernst Klodwig, while the AFM team that they provided power for in the same race in 1992 finished ninth with Helmut Niedermayr.

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The manufacturer would return in 1982 with Brabham, and their engines power a total of eight victories for Nelson Piquet Sr and Ricardo Patrese, with the Brazilian winning the title in only their second season together.

These wins came while up against established big hitters such McLaren, for whom Niki Lauda both won the title in 1984 and 1985 respectively.

Brabham still won races in both of those years though, and such was their impressive form that Benetton and Arrows both decided to become customers for 1986 but, while Benetton claimed a victory through Gerhard Berger that year, Brabham and Arrows were left at the foot of the championship.

Manufacturing more engines had become an issue for BMW, especially when Ligier cut their ties with Renault and switched over for 1997 when the engines were branded Megatron motors, and the French team only achieved one points finish through Rene Arnoux in San Marino that year.

By 1998, Brabham had left F1, and Ligier and Benetton had moved on to Judd and Ford respectively, and their season powering Arrows to fourth in the Constructors’ Standings would be their last until 2000.

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Ralf Schumacher and Juan Pablo Montoya took 10 wins between at the start of the 21st century for Williams with a BMW engine in the back of the car, but a winless 2005 saw Williams depart for Cosworth ahead of 2006, but the German manufacturer was picked up by Swiss team Sauber.

 Over four seasons between 2006 and 2009, Sauber scored points 56 times with a combination of Robert Kubica, Nick Heidfeld and Sebastian Vettel, who was given his points scoring debut at the 2007 United States Grand Prix.

They scored points in every single race in 2007, and in all but one in the 2008 season during which Kubica took the team’s one and only win in Montreal.

However, a hapless 2009 left BMW disenfranchised with the pinnacle of motorsport, and they have not been seen in F1 since then.

2009 coincided with a greater push for sustainability in F1 with the introduction of the KERS system, which was a key step into the electrical influence that we see in the sport today.

Now, BMW would only like to consider re-joining when the engines are fully electric so would, for now, prefer to continue with their electric prototype Le Mans Hypercar in the World Endurance Championship.

“Formula 1 is still discussing the regulations around electrification. So for us, it was very clear. Let’s go faster into that [electrification] segment,” explained van Meel.

The M boss at the company reiterates that he wants to see “the [electrification] story of transformation embraced as fast as possible.”

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Until then, BMW has “no ambitions for Formula 1.” 

Volkswagen have given the go ahead for Audi and Porsche to enter F1 in 2026, with Porsche expected to supply powertrains for Red Bull, while Audi are said to be in talks with Aston Martin about a takeover.