PORSCHE PLOTS F1 AS­SAULT

Re­ports claims Porsche is con­sid­er­ing a crack at F1

911 Porsche World - - News And Views -

We re­cently re­ported Porsche's shock plans to re­tire the in­cred­i­bly suc­cess­ful 919 Hy­brid from race du­ties and pull out of the LMP1 cat­e­gory of the World En­durance Cham­pi­onship, in­clud­ing Le Mans, in favour of par­tic­i­pa­tion in the all-elec­tric For­mula E se­ries. Now it seems Porsche could be plot­ting an as­sault on the daddy of race se­ries. Yes, Porsche could be head­ing for F1.

News from the most re­cent in­stal­ment of the F1 cal­en­dar, the Ital­ian Grand Prix, is that Porsche is con­sid­er­ing a foray into F1 as an engine sup­plier. Re­port­edly Lutz Meschke, deputy chair­man of Porsche's ex­ec­u­tive board, had meet­ings with F1's sport­ing di­rec­tor Ross Brawn and other se­nior suits.

Speak­ing to Mo­tor­sport.com, Meschke said, “F1 could be one of the right places. As you know For­mula E is very im­por­tant for us now, and F1 is al­ways a good topic to think about. And I think we are in quite good dis­cus­sions re­gard­ing the new engine."

Ap­par­ently Porsche's in­ter­est is in part a func­tion of plans to move F1 away from its cur­rent com­plex hy­brid pow­er­train so­lu­tion to a sim­pler V6 turbo engine from 2021. The main driv­ers for the new engine rules, which were agreed in prin­ci­ple ear­lier this year, are to re­duce costs and im­prove the sound­track while main­tain­ing F1's rep­u­ta­tion for be­ing the technical pinnacle of mo­tor­sport.

The com­plex­ity and ex­pense of the cur­rent hy­brid engine for­mula is thought to be the rea­son why only one new en­trant has taken up the chal­lenge of engine man­u­fac­tur­ing in F1 dur­ing the hy­brid era and in­deed why that new en­trant, Honda, has strug­gled to cre­ate a com­pet­i­tive pow­er­train. Mean­while, fan re­ac­tion to the rel­a­tively muf­fled engine note of the cur­rent turbo V6s has not been hugely pos­i­tive.

Of course, if Porsche does make a re­turn to F1 for the first time since its rel­a­tively un­com­pet­i­tive ef­forts sup­ply­ing en­gines to the Foot­work team in 1991, the big ques­tion will be which team it chooses to work with. Ferrari and Mercedes ob­vi­ously have their own in-house power units. Mean­while Red Bull is now closely aligned with As­ton Martin. Mclaren is cry­ing out for a com­pet­i­tive power unit. But now that it com­petes di­rectly with Porsche in some seg­ments of the mar­ket with its own road-le­gal sports cars, part­ner­ship with Porsche is surely un­likely. All of which seems to leave Wil­liams as the high­est pro­file team look­ing for a qual­ity works engine deal. Wil­liams-porsches win­ning world cham­pi­onships in the 2020s? You heard it here first.

Porsche’s last foray into F1 – sup­ply­ing V12 en­gines to the Foot­work team – was not a great suc­cess. Times change, though, and who would bet against Porsche de­vel­op­ing a com­pet­i­tive hy­brid engine for the new 2021 engine regs?

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