Rumors are circulating within the motorsport community that South Korean manufacturer Hyundai is considering an entry into F1. If these rumors hold true, Hyundai’s foray into F1 would mark a significant development, not just for the brand, but for the entire landscape of Asian motorsport.

By the Asian Motorsport Team

Hyundai has an established presence in the motorsport world, particularly in rallying. The brand has been competing in the FIA World Rally Championship (WRC) since 2014 with its i20N model. Under the leadership of Cyril Abiteboul, former Renault F1 Team Principal, Hyundai’s WRC team has achieved notable success, winning the manufacturers’ championship in 2019 and 2020. This success in rallying demonstrates Hyundai’s commitment to high-performance motorsport and lays a strong foundation for a potential entry into F1.

According to paddock insider and journalist Joe Saward, Hyundai is keen on entering Formula One by purchasing an existing team. However, this path is fraught with challenges. Currently, no F1 teams are publicly available for sale, making a straightforward acquisition difficult. Despite this, Hyundai’s interest aligns well with Formula One Management’s attraction towards established automotive manufacturers over standalone entrants such as Andretti, whose recent bid to join the grid was met with resistance.

One of the immediate hurdles for Hyundai would be securing a competitive power unit, as developing their own F1 engine from scratch would be a monumental task. Historically, F1 has seen manufacturers form alliances with existing Original Equipment Manufacturers (OEMs). For instance, Honda will supply engines to Aston Martin from 2026, as will Ford after having partnered with Red Bull Powertrains. Therefore, it’s possible that Hyundai could strike a similar partnership to facilitate their entry.

Hyundai, Kia, or Genesis? The question of brand representation

The Hyundai Motor Group comprises multiple brands under which it could compete as, including Hyundai, Kia, and Genesis. Each of these brands has their own distinct market positioning and identity.

  • Hyundai: As the parent brand, Hyundai has the most extensive global recognition and a solid motorsport history, making it a logical choice for an F1 entry.
  • Kia: Known for its dynamic image, Kia has been increasing its presence in various motorsport categories. An entry under the Kia brand could appeal to a wider audience and reinforce its sporting credentials.
  • Genesis: As Hyundai’s luxury division, Genesis is focused on competing with premium brands. Entering F1 under the Genesis name could elevate its prestige amongst names such as Ferrari and Aston whilst still aligning with its high-performance aspirations.

Each option presents unique advantages, and the final decision would likely reflect Hyundai Motor Group’s strategic goals and brand vision for the future.

A white Hyundai logo is mounted on a steel frame against a black background, which is illuminated by a green light in the distance.
The Hyundai Motor Group consists of several brands under which a potential Hyundai F1 entry could compete as | Credit: Hyundai Motor Group

Alignment with F1’s electrification goals

Formula 1’s ongoing focus on electrification, as seen in the recently-released 2026 regulations, aligns seamlessly with Hyundai Motor Group’s ambitious goals. The Korean conglomerate has announced its objective to become one of the world’s top three EV manufacturers by 2030 and plans to invest KRW 24 trillion (approximately $24 billion) by 2030 into increasing production, boosting exports, and fostering EV-related industries.

The group aims to have a total lineup of 31 EV models by 2030. Notably, Kia will launch the EV9, its first three-row seat electric flagship SUV, this year, and Hyundai Motor plans to introduce the Ioniq 7 in 2024. This large-scale investment is aimed at upgrading Korea’s EV ecosystem and establishing it as a hub for innovation in the global automotive industry.

Expanding F1’s footprint in Asia and beyond

Hyundai’s potential entry is significant for the sport’s ambitions in Asia. South Korea, Hyundai’s home market, has expressed interest in hosting a Grand Prix in Incheon. The last time South Korea was on the F1 calendar, from 2010 to 2013, Hyundai considered entering the sport but was deterred by a bribery scandal. Now, with renewed interest and a robust automotive sector, a Hyundai-backed South Korean Grand Prix could provide a perfect synergy, boosting both the sport and Hyundai’s brand presence.

Additionally, the rise in popularity of Formula 1 in one of Hyundai’s key markets, the United States, adds further value to their potential entry. F1’s growing U.S. fanbase presents a strategic opportunity for Hyundai to leverage its motorsport involvement to enhance brand visibility and market penetration in a region where it aims to expand its footprint significantly.

Hyundai’s rumored interest in joining Formula 1 marks a pivotal moment for both the company and Asian motorsport. As the fourth-largest auto manufacturer globally, Hyundai’s entry would not only add a new dimension to the F1 grid but also enhance the sport’s appeal in Asia and other key markets like the United States. Whether under the Hyundai, Kia, or Genesis brand, their entry into F1 would be a significant milestone. With strategic planning, alliances, and leveraging upcoming regulatory changes, Hyundai could soon find itself competing at the highest level of motorsport, potentially setting the stage for a new era of Asian influence in Formula 1.

Header photo credit: Hyundai Motor Group

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