UPDATEPorsche are leaving the LMP1 class of the World Endurance Championship at the end of the season and are preparing to join the fast-growing Formula E series in 2019, but are seriously considering entering Formula 1 as a engine supplier as opposed to a full works team.Porsche's financial boss Lutz Meschke has said they are "encouraged" by the ongoing engine discussions for 2021 and beyond, and are open to joining Formula 1.
Regular meetings about engine regulations have taken place between F1 bosses, FIA and numerous potentially interested new parties.
And Porsche met again with F1 chiefs at the Italian Grand Prix last weekend, with Meschke hopeful that a path to Formula 1 is becoming clearer.
"F1 could be one of the right places," Meschke told Motorsport.com.
"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."
A change to simpler twin-turbo V6 engines is the ultimate objective, and that it is what it would take for Porsche to continue to be interested in Formula 1.
|Porsche Developing High-Performance Engine That May Or May Not Be F1-Related|
08/12/17 Porsche is pulling the plug on its LMP1 program and the end of this year's WEC season but will be plugging in and starting up their Formula E team, which should join the series in the 2019/20 season. With Porsche going to Formula E, why then are they developing a high-performance gasoline engine with engineers who worked on the LMP1 engine program?
Porsche's head of research and development, Dr. Michael Steiner recently chatted with Auto Motor und Sport. He was asked if Porsche could enter Formula One now that the LMP1 program is over.
"Like other manufacturers, we are participating, at the invitation of the FIA, in the discussions on the future Formula 1 Powertrain," said Steiner. "The team at Weissach is not working on an F1 engine at the moment, but it is working on a high-efficiency engine, on concept levels – without a decision about what we are doing with this engine, of the series or in racing. We would have worked on efficient high-performance engines in the continuation of the LMP1 program and are now driving this development forward. This development contract to the engineers will run over the next 18 months."
Auto Motor und Sport then asked very bluntly "I'm still trying to nail you: you're not going to enter Formula One in 2021?"
Steiner replied "Davon gehe ich nicht aus, aber es gibt keine Aussagen dazu."
The syntax doesn't translate very well, but he basically said: "I'm not going to go there, we have no comment at this time." For clarification, the word-for-word translation is: "I do not go out of it, but there are no statements."
What makes this curious is that Porsche has attended several meetings of the FIA and Formula One teams where the discussion has been the next F1 engine. Several other automakers have been to these meetings, but Porsche is in a unique position to realistically be a Formula One engine supplier starting in 2021.
Porsche knows what Formula One wants as far as the next generation of power units goes, which is loud, affordable, and simple (which could mean ditching the hybrid systems). Porsche is also using its top racing engineers to develop high-performance, high-efficiency engine over the next 18 months. That 18-month period is up right around the time that a new engine design would have to be submitted to Formula One for approval to run in the 2021 season.
To a lot of people looking in from the outside, it sure seems like Porsche is working on a Formula One engine, which of course they cannot comment on.
08/08/17 (GMM) Porsche is not denying that a "high efficiency engine" already under development could become the basis of a F1 project.
The German sports car maker shocked the world of motor sport recently by announcing that it is leaving the top Le Mans category LMP1.
However, Porsche's entire Le Mans team is being kept together, ramping up speculation that after a move into Formula E, the next step could be F1.
"We need all of these (LMP1) people in the future," Porsche's research and development chief Michael Steiner told Auto Motor und Sport.
"The great team we built for LMP1 is highly motivated and represents an enormous wealth of knowledge," he explained. "So it is a good idea to have a concrete plan for the engineers, mechanics and even for the drivers."
Exactly what the whole LMP1 team will be doing, however, is unclear, and only adds to the rumors that the next step for Porsche is a F1 engine for the post-2020 rules.
"Like other manufacturers, we at the invitation of the FIA are participating in the discussions about the future formula one powertrain," Steiner admitted.
"The team at Weissach is not working on an F1 engine at the moment, but it is working on a high-efficiency engine at the concept level — without a decision about what we are doing with this engine," he said.
07/28/17 (GMM) Cosworth, Porsche and now Ilmor are all eyeing a potential move into F1 after 2020.
2021 is when new, cheaper, simpler and louder engines make their debut at the conclusion of the controversial current 'power unit' era.
Cosworth has this week signaled its interest in re-joining the sport it was once synonymous with, and renowned F1 engine guru Mario Illien has now followed suit.
The Ilmor founder told Blick newspaper that a project for 2021 is possible "depending on the regulations, the cost and finding a partner".
As for Porsche, 2015 Le Mans winner Nico Hulkenberg said in Hungary that it's a shame the Volkswagen brand has decided to quit the top sports car category LMP1.
"They're probably looking for a new challenge now. It was only down to two manufacturers, so they probably need something new, something more challenging," said the German.