Volkswagen has ruled itself out of supplying engines for the new FIA Formula 3 category, which will replace the GP3 Series on the F1 support bill for 2019.
The German manufacturer has announced its F3 withdrawal while confirming that it will focus primarily on production-car competition, majoring on the Golf GTI TCR that will compete in WTCR and other TCR series around the globe, as well as the Polo GTI R5 rally car.
VW’s current stint in F3 began when it entered the Euro Series in late 2007, winning the 2010 title with Edoardo Mortara and then last year’s European championship crown with Lando Norris.
It also won numerous British F3 titles and was victorious in Japanese F3 in 2017. VW-powered Dan Ticktum also won the Macau Grand Prix last November.
VW motorsport boss Sven Smeets said: "In Formula 3, Volkswagen can look back on a remarkable record.
“For more than three decades, Volkswagen teams and drivers have enjoyed great success against teams from other manufacturers – we are sincerely grateful to them for this.
“We will continue to provide our customers with consistent support, in order to bring the 2018 season to a successful close in the FIA Formula 3 European Championship and at the FIA Formula 3 World Cup in Macau.”
A VW pullout from F3 does not necessarily mean the end of the lifespan of the existing engine should the category continue in its current form outside the flagship FIA series.
Famed engine tuner Spiess, which previously supplied Opel power units, has built the VW engines since 2007.
Before the latest FIA F3 engine regulations were introduced to the European championship in 2014, Spiess began work on the current powerplant before VW later decided to badge it.
It would therefore not be inconceivable for the engines to continue racing without the VW badge, although the Spiess customers would no longer enjoy any marketing benefits from association with the manufacturer.