Possible Porsche return to F1 as engine supplier or more?


About 10 days ago an F1 Power Unit Working Group met to discuss the future of power units. Main topics of discussion according to Mercedes boss Toto Wolff were weight, simplicity, sound, cost and availability. The price is an important factor for smaller teams. The usual gang were present, Mercedes-Benz, Ferrari, Renault and Honda. Aston Martin was there, as were Lamborghini, Ilmor and Cosworth. Nothing surprising there. However making a guest appearance was Porsche. This is the first time the German manufacturer have attended.

Naturally, this gets the rumour mill spinning. As a PR machine they have done well in the World Endurance Championship, and their back to back successes have revived the brand’s racing heritage. However, some commenters have suggested that a fourth world title lacks further impact. It is no secret that their sports program is being evaluated. One would assume to keep it fresh and to seek additional kudos from other formulas.

Would it be a shock if the Stuttgart firm started a career in F1, even as an engine supplier?

The Mercedes boss also stated that discussions were “all very positive” and there was “pretty much” alignment in the way the delegates all felt the future of F1 power units should be. He went on to say the need to “make sure the mistakes that we have done go away” Reliability comes into my mind when I read that. I could be wrong.

Next year’s FIA regulations see the number of engines per driver drop to three for the season and the number of races likely to increase and reliability is likely to become a key factor in both constructors and drivers future championships. It is possible that this is going to become a big deal when the drivers are keeping an eye on what seats are becoming available over single lap speed. Slowly and surely perhaps wins the championship. Perhaps the season will define what the individual races never show.

Of course, Porsche is well experienced in long running, high output, energy recovery, turbos and hybrid engines. It actually makes a lot of sense. After many years out of the sport, Formula 1 may have just come back into Porsche’s sweet spot, much of the cost of development has been done.

All this, of course, is the talk of the future. It would be foolish (perhaps) to think that they could come in sooner, and many of the top teams are under contract anyway, that is of course unless people like Honda fall foul of performance clauses in such contracts. Big question is, will it be affordable, and if it was, would it be as good as a works team? Could they buy Force India? Would they want to?

The team despite the uncertain financial future of its owner have recently registered a number of companies in the UK. GP2 MOTORSPORT LIMITED (10662830) is a company registered March 2017 which could indicate a structure that supports lower formulas and junior driver lineups which is an odd thing to do at the moment…


2 responses to “Possible Porsche return to F1 as engine supplier or more?

  1. With all due respect to Porsche, their car in the WEC is uncompetitive compared to Toyota, and is winning because of Toyota’s unreliability. But the Toyota is a far better car. If they stay in the WEC it will require a complete new car / engine package, so there is no way they compete in the WEC and as an engine supplier or as a full team in F1. So watch if they stay in the WEC. If they do then F1 is out of the question.

    Porsche also resemble Honda in F1. They had great success with the mid-80’s with McLaren in their Porsche designed. TAG branded engine. Then they produced a real dud in 1991 with Arrows, a V12 that was 100 pounds heavier and produced 75 less HP than Ferrari’s V12. Arrows ditched it after 6 races and Porsche has never returned to F1 since then.

    Porsche also had a rather disastrous foray into IndyCar in the late 1980’s, producing an uncompetitive car for four years before pulling the plug on it and selling off the assets.

    While Porsche is a famous name in motor sport, outside of endurance racing it doesn’t have the stomach to stick it out. As soon as they start losing or can’t win they look to exit.

  2. In order to win you have to finish the race. If Toyota makes a faster/better car for WEC but DNF their car is not better than Porsche. I do not spec many firms to be able or interested in the new F1 engine regulations. Ilmor or Cosworth needs a major car manufacturer to pay the development and update cost. I do not see Porsche and Lambo both entering but maybe Audi (they are all the same)

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