I have just got home from Germany and have had a little look around to see what is being reported, and I have had a good laugh, particularly about Sauber and Volkswagen. There was the marvellous suggestion that ex-Mercedes Benz boss Jurgen Hubbert might have been an intermediary with Volkswagen talks. I could not find the logic in that one. Peter Sauber could have just picked upon the phone and rung Martin Winterkorn, the boss of the Volkswagen group, rather than asking an ex-Mercedes CEO to put him in contact with the VW boss.
However as everyone knows in F1 circles, the German company is not going to come back to Formula 1 as long as Ferdinand Piech is in charge of the Supervisory Board. For some reason or other, he is not a big fan of F1 and never really has been. He likes competition activities, indeed he worked on the Porsche 917 programme before moving on and up through the VW empire, which started by his grandfather Ferdinand Porsche, who was also the man who created Porsche after he had been ousted at Volkswagen. Piech’s life ambition has been to united the two companies under the control of the family, and to create the world’s biggest car company, and he has just achieved that with the news of the VW-Porsche merger.
The other thing that caused me a wry smile was the fact that the rumour-mongers missed the paddock visitors: Hans Stuck, the motorsport advisor to the Volkswagen main board; and Jost Capito, the head of Volkswagen Motorsport. But none of this means anything. Capito used to work for Sauber, but before people start jumping to conclusions, it was not an easy relationship and ended quite swiftly.
There is always talk of Volkswagen and Formula 1 and often of Porsche and F1 as well, so it is logical that there is now talk of Volkswagen-Porsche and F1. But suggesting that Sauber would be the first choice for engines is a bit like suggesting that Coca-Cola should go to Ferrari because they have red cans. I hear nothing serious about Volkswagen-Porsche. I would love to see it happen, but I have been hearing the same Volkswagen stories over the years and nothing has ever happened. Porsche has dabbled on occasion, but that was in the days when Piech had moved on to VW.