Formula One world champion Lewis Hamilton and Max Verstappen welcomed on Friday the possible arrival of Porsche and Audi once engine rules change in 2026.
The Volkswagen Group confirmed on Thursday plans for an entry once technical regulations to make the sport more sustainable are set.
There has long been speculation about potential partnerships between existing teams and the Audi and Porsche brands, with former champion McLaren and Red Bull mentioned in particular.
“I knew about it a long time ago already,” Mercedes’ seven times world Hamilton told reporters at the Australian Grand Prix in Melbourne.
“I think it’s great that we’re going to get new manufacturers within the sport, especially as you see there are a lot of teams that have the potential to be top teams but are our customer teams. “I think it’s going to be great moving forward and so we welcome them in.”
McLaren, Aston Martin and Williams all use Mercedes power units at present with the latter two also seen as potential Audi partners. Other current engine makers are Ferrari and Renault.
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Red Bull has set up its own powertrain company to take over from Honda, which formally withdrew at the end of last season but is still assembling the units and providing trackside support.
McLaren Racing chief executive Zak Brown said last week that the Formula One team was “definitely not for sale” and not looking for further equity partners, but “very preliminary” conversations had taken place with Volkswagen.
Audi and McLaren denied reports last year that a partnership had already been formed. Red Bull has been linked particularly to Porsche.
“I think it’s very exciting and it’s very important for Formula One as well,” said reigning champion Verstappen, who has a deal with Red Bull until the end of 2028.
“Of course, you know, we have 10 great teams, but also to have really big brands behind it is really nice, to see that commitment so I’m looking forward to what the future will bring to the teams.”