Volkswagen's 1.4 TSI engine

Volkswagen's 1.4 TSI engine

With BMW out of Formula 1 and Mercedes forking off from McLaren to start its own team, there's a lot of shakeup in the German side of the sport. And now it looks like there may be more coming: Volkswagen has expressed interest in building a "world engine" for the FIA, which would also see use in F1.

The idea isn't as crazy as it may sound at first. Volkswagen has a global stable of award-winning engines that outmatches nearly every other automaker, and the expertise that goes along with it. With plans for the world engine to be something along the lines of a 1.5-liter turbocharged four-cylinder, it's right in VW's wheelhouse.

According to GMMF1, Hans-Joachim Stuck, VW's motorsport representative and former F1 driver, told Germany's Sport Bild magazine that, "It is clear we are looking at Formula 1. We are waiting for the FIA's decision in respect of the use of a world engine for Formula 1. If there is [a world engine] we will discuss whther to build it." Volkswagen isn't interested in running a constructor/race team, however, Stuck cautioned.

The world engine plans, currently expected to reach fruition around 2013, are being paralleled with a strong push for a return of KERS in 2011, and both are part of a plan to improve the efficiency and green image of the FIA and F1 in particular.

We'll have to wait and see how the F1 world engine plans shake out, but VW could be an interesting addition to the mix--though what it might mean for existing engine suppliers like Mercedes, Ferrari, Renault and Cosworth remains unclear.