When asked by Auto Express about the potential of Audi entering F1 in the next five years, Stadler gave an intriguing answer. "It's something we're looking at, but then we're always looking at it and many other things. But I can't say yes or no," he said. While not at all a confirmation, that's hardly an outright denial, either.
According to unnamed insiders speaking to Auto Express, Audi is under pressure from Volkswagen Group to leave the FIA World Endurance Championship. Right now, the Four Rings is competing directly against its corporate sibling Porsche. While that might make for a good rivalry on the track, it doesn't necessarily make sense financially.
Rumors last year suggested that Audi might leave the WEC and DTM to finance the F1 project. Two possibilities were proposed at the time: act as engine supplier to Red Bull or buy Toro Rosso to run a whole new team.
Stadler's non-denial might also indicate that Audi's view on F1 is shifting. In the past, the company's opinion has been much more obvious. Last year, Audi Sport tweeted that the rumormongering was "pure speculation." As far back as 2011, the brand's motorsport boss said grand prix racing had "no relevance to the road."