Porsche 963, Porsche Penske Motorsport (#5), Sebastian Vettel (D)

WEC: Porsche delays Le Mans announcement after Vettel test (Update)

(GMM) Sebastian Vettel’s highly-anticipated return to top motorsport at Le Mans this year is now looking increasingly unlikely.

The retired quadruple world champion is still being linked with a potential return to Formula 1 for 2025, given Lewis Hamilton’s shock switch from Mercedes to Ferrari.

“I’m talking to Toto (Wolff),” Vettel, 36, is quoted by Auto Motor und Sport this week. “But I don’t know if that means I’m officially talking to Mercedes. We talk about a lot of things.

“I have a lot of ideas. I’m planning events. That’s why I’ve also spoken to a lot of other team bosses and not just about motorsport.”

The German also told Sky Deutschland: “I have some projects and ideas together with Formula 1. We’ll see if anything comes of it or not.”

Recently regarded as more likely than an F1 return for Vettel, who tested Porsche’s hypercar recently, is his participation at Le Mans in June.

But Motorsport Aktuell, another German magazine, thinks this is unlikely – with Porsche regarding using Vettel in its third entry too great a risk given his lack of experience in sports cars.

“The Porsche factory drivers have apparently already been informed that the third car will be driven by Mathieu Jaminet, Felipe Nasr and Nick Tandy as originally planned,” the publication said.

Instead, a brand ambassador role for Vettel is possible, ahead of a better preparation for Le Mans in 2025.

“Vettel himself completed two double stints” in the hypercar, Auto Motor und Sport explained, “and according to sources, it was clear that Vettel still has work to do on his consistency.”

March 27, 2024 

(GMM) Porsche has delayed a scheduled announcement about its full Le Mans driver lineup this year, ramping up rumors of Sebastian Vettel’s return to top motorsport.

Last weekend, the Volkswagen-owned German marque announced that the retired quadruple world champion was returning to the cockpit for a full test this week at Spain’s Aragon circuit in the Le Mans-ready Porsche 963 hypercar.

The 36-year-old said he will then “see what happens next”. On Tuesday, he did a full 118 laps, and afterwards declared that the outing had been “definitely fun”.

“I know many drivers who are active in the WEC and Le Mans,” said the former Formula 1 driver. “At some point, my curiosity was so great that I had the idea of trying it out myself.”

Porsche Penske Motorsport managing director Jonathan Diuguid said: “Having Sebastian here is a unique opportunity for the team. He is a four time Formula 1 world champion.

“We are happy to have him here.”

Porsche’s full driver lineup for Le Mans is already set for the regular two cars, but the manufacturer will field a third works car at Le Mans in June.

German magazine Motorsport Aktuell claims Vettel was on the pace of the regular works drivers at his initial test, while Auto Motor und Sport adds that Porsche has now postponed the planned March 28 announcement of the lineup for the third Le Mans entry.

“He came out of the car with a smile,” reveals Diuguid, “which is all good.”

Porsche 963, Porsche Penske Motorsport (#5), Sebastian Vettel (D)
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