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Porsche was 'really close' to joining F1 as engine supplier

  • Published on 29 Dec 2019 10:17
  • comments 7
  • By: Fergal Walsh

Porsche was "really close" to joining Formula 1 as an engine manufacturer, states Fritz Enzinger, Vice-President of Motorsport at Porsche and Head of Group Motorsport at Volkswagen AG.

When the 2021 regulations were still in the planning stages, it is believed a number of global manufacturers attended meetings to hear about F1's plans. 

No new manufacturers will enter F1 as an engine supplier in 2021, as the power unit regulations will remain unchanged.

"Really close," Enzinger told Speedweek via MotorsportWeek when asked how close it was to joining the F1 field.

"When the Group's Executive Board commissioned a highly efficient racing engine in 2017, Porsche had not only designed, but already built one.

MOREPorsche built 2021 engine before F1 interest diminished

"We were involved in the regulatory discussions between the FIA ​​and the F1 promoter Liberty Media. However, during the construction phase, the group's decision was made to move towards e-mobility.

"The 1.6 litre V6 engine was already on the test bench. The development has not been in vain, however, as a large number of components and processes can be used for the electric series."

The "e-mobility" that Enzinger speaks of refers to Formula E, which launched six years ago as an all-electric alternative to racing. 

Porsche is currently going through its rookie season in the Formula E championship, taking a podium finish at the opening race of the year in Ad Diriyah.

MOREBird wins as Mercedes and Porsche take debut podiums

Enzinger admits that it was a surprise to be as competitive as it was in Ad Diriyah, saying that Porsche's "brave" path of entering the sport is paying off. 

"It was really a surprise that we would finish second in the first race. It was important because our path was a brave one - we couldn't build on an existing team like the rivals from BMW on Andretti or Mercedes on HWA.

"So we needed experience, which is why Lotterer, who drove for two years in the best team, was hired and was the reference for us. After his verdict in the first test in August, we knew we were doing really well."

Replies (7)

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  • Hmm, a part of me shouted kvatsch the instant I read the header, but on a second thought I kinda believe them. It may look like the VW group was just blueballing us while trying to impact how F1 would move to their favour and then maaaybe consider doing the move, and for all we know that might be, but I kinda always thought a branch of Porsche/VW were very eager to join, and struggled to gain enough support to join F1, a struggle that had headwind as is and wasn't helped by the defeat device scandal and VW's economical losses following it.

    • + 0
    • Dec 29 2019 - 15:03
    • The VW group had a 2012 spec engine in 2013, they were using the ferrari eturbo on the lmp project... i believe there was serious consideration to join F1 which led to audi quitting LMP but then dieselgate happened. Also don't underestimate how involved prosche are with Williams F1, still....

      • + 0
      • Jan 2 2020 - 14:56
    • I would, but fact remains that it is kinda hard to see just how dedicated they were. Dieselgate no doubt impacted the decision greatly, but remember that even before then, they were kinda looking for excuses for not joining, always saying that "if they do X, then we miiiight just join".

      • + 0
      • Jan 3 2020 - 20:46
  • xoya

    Posts: 538

    In other news: I almost won millions in lottery. The guy next to me has won it.

    • + 0
    • Dec 29 2019 - 20:21
  • 2GRX7

    Posts: 91

    Yeah, they're full of sh8 ! They've already spent the build/development costs and didn't jump in? They could have had one works and several customers to help amortize those costs and THEN eventually phase out of Formula 1 to their "Strategy 2025" all-electric motorsport program.

    Ferdinand Piëch didn't want it then (2014 hybrid era) and the Piëch-aligned board members/protégé wouldn't allow for it now! It all boils down to Piech strongly disliking Eccelstone-that's it!!!

    His ego over-ruled common sense and I've never regained respect for them since.

    • + 0
    • Dec 29 2019 - 23:59
  • 2GRX7

    Posts: 91

    Wrote a response and it disappeared!...Anyway, Fk'ing ridiculous! Had an engine developed and built, but chose not to jump in? Could've had a works team and several customers to amortize the costs!

    It also would've aligned with their, "Strategy 2025" where they could have slowly phased out I.C.E.s in favor of Formula E full-time.

    This all comes down to Ferdinand Piëchs' hate for Bernie Eccelstone-that's why they didn't jump in back in 2014 (start of hybrid area), and why his mush aligned board-members/protogees' wouldn't allow for it now.

    Since then, I've lost respect for their, "Big fish, small pond" mentality and know if they'll ever get it back. SMH!

    • + 0
    • Dec 30 2019 - 00:19
  • It hardly makes any sense for a new engine supplier, where they will throw away their finding in the upcoming decade. Perhaps it was a ploy to extract the beat deal or move away to a more relevant series.

    • + 0
    • Dec 30 2019 - 05:49

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