Volkswagen motorsport director Kris Nissen believes that Formula 1 will need more stability and a better image before his company considers entering.
The German car manufacturer revealed at the end of last year that it was evaluating the potential benefits of moving into grand prix racing when new engine regulations are introduced from the start of 2013. Although the situation remains completely open, Nissen says that the sport will need to make some changes before VW feels ready to commit.
"Formula 1 is facing one of the most difficult situations it has had for many years," Nissen told AUTOSPORT. "They need to handle that, and I really believe that [FIA president] Jean Todt and the teams will do that. I think that for manufacturers to come back, or for new manufacturers to enter Formula 1, you need to have stability, you need to have a slightly different image, and you need to bring the costs down.
"But this has been said many times, people are aware of it, and now I think the right people are working on it."
Nissen also said that if VW did opt for an F1 program, it was unlikely that the company would choose to run under the "Volkswagen" brand name – meaning it could run as Audi, Bentley, SEAT or even Bugatti.
"There is a difference between the brand Volkswagen and the Volkswagen group," said Nissen. "The VW group has a lot of brands, 10 now, with different images. If the group enters Formula 1, they would need to decide which brand, and I personally think that they would decide on another brand than Volkswagen.
"If it was to happen, it would be 'the VW group enters F1' with whatever brand. But I can promise you that there will be at least a couple more Dakars to come before this decision is taken."