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VW Group set out demands that could see Verstappen land a German teammate

Porsche and Audi will join the F1 grid when the sport's new engine formula comes into play, the boss of the Volkswagen Group made clear on Monday.

Volkswagen Group CEO Herbert Diess wants to see Porsche and Audi enter Formula 1 with German drivers, while also calling for the return of the German Grand Prix. On Monday, VW gave their clearest indication yet that premium car brands Porsche and Audi will enter F1 in 2026. It came after a meeting of the Supervisory Board of the Volkswagen Group that moved the project into a final phase of evaluation. But how Porsche and Audi will enter F1 remains to be seen. There has been speculation that Porsche could join forces with Red Bull, while Audi plan to acquire a team of their own.

Volkswagen want German drivers for Audi and Porsche

Speaking on YouTube, Diess set out that the VW Group would like "a German driver in both" Porsche and Audi F1 teams. That could see Verstappen partnered with a German driver, should Porsche strike a deal to join forces with Red Bull in the coming weeks. Verstappen's current contract ties him to the Milton Keynes-based team until at least 2028, well beyond the date of Volkswagen's planned entry.

Which German drivers could be available in 2026?

By the time any F1 plans for Porsche or Audi could come to fruition, Sebastian Vettel and Nico Hulkenberg will be 38, with their best racing days likely behind them. The only other German to have raced in F1 this season, Mick Schumacher, will be nearing his 27th birthday, but remains, for now, close to operations at Ferrari. Former Mercedes young driver Pascal Werhlein will likely still be active come 2026, as too will Audi's very own in Formula E race winner Daniel Abt. Meanwhile, the current F2 and F3 grids count two German drivers: David Beckmann and David Schumacher.

VW Group also keen to see German GP return

Diess has also set out his desire to see the German Grand Prix return to the calendar in time for 2026, a bid that could be boosted by a strong German showing on the grid. F1 held at least one race in Germany every season between 1956 and 2014. Since then, F1 has only raced in Germany three times (2016, 2018, 2019). Speaking during the same YouTube video, Diess shared his view that "races generally belong in the major auto countries, not just Bahrain".

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