Porsche considering F1 return as engine builder

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In the round-up: Porsche is considering returning to F1 as an engine builder when new regulations come into force in 2021.

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Keith Collantine
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62 comments on “Porsche considering F1 return as engine builder”

  1. For once I agree with Guenther Steiner.

    1. yeah, what he says makes huge sense.

    2. Funny, I commented on a previous article with the same arguments as Steiner now has. Even funnier is the fact that there were still people thinking a one-grid-place penalty was better than the current situation.

      Although I do think there’s a solution that doesn’t harm the drivers, like punishing the teams by deducting their manufacturers championship points for each component they use beyond the limit of 4.

      1. @addvariety
        My concern is that such a rule, i.e. replacing grid penalties with point deductions in the Constructors’ championship, would definitely be exploited. The Constructors’ championship has never been considered as highly as the Drivers’, therefore it’s absolutely conceivable that a team find themselves in a situation where they decide to sacrifice one championship in favour of the other.
        If we look at Vettel, for example: He’s starting to struggle in the Drivers’ championship, and it looks as though Mercedes have out-developped Ferrari a little bit (or the track layouts tend to favour Mercedes). At the same time, Ferrari’s chances of winning the Constructors’ championship are slim, at best, but at the same time, Red Bull are too far behind to be a serious threat. If I were them, I’d give Vettel a brand-new engine every race, to give him that little bit of extra performance of a fresh engine that doesn’t have to be conserved for the next few races. Maybe Räikkönen too, when it looks as though he could finish ahead of Hamilton.
        And it doesn’t stop there: Mercedes could react to Ferrari’s strategy and sacrifice constructor points for fresh engines, as long as the gap is large enough. We’d end up in a situation with two very undesirable consequences:
        – The Drivers’ championship would devolve into an unrestricted spending competition
        – The Constructor’s championship would become meaningless, not much more than a glorified token system for the introduction of new components.

        And if I can come up with something like that from my armchair, chances are the clever people at Ferrari, Mercedes, and Red Bull will come up with something worse still. Grid penalties are far from perfect, I especially dislike how the order of their application further distorts the starting grid, but I’m afraid a better system for that purpose (cost control by means of limited use of drive train components) does not exist (yet).

        1. – The Drivers’ championship would devolve into an unrestricted spending competition

          … and by ‘devolve’, I meant ‘degenerate’.

          1. There is no prize money for the drivers’ championship – prize money is allocated only for the constructors’ championship, so that is actually the more important championship for the teams. In 2016 the winning constructor received $76.5M, reducing down to $14M for tenth place.

        2. I also posted this elsewhere, my thought was to get rid of engine penalties all together. If it blows it blows, put in a new one and go.
          The whole limited number of engines was brought in as a cost cutting messure (and then they come up with a formula that is thrre times as expensive, go figure :)). What about if they set a fixed price for customers, regardles of the manufacturer, lets say 15 milion a year as an example. The manufacturers know how many engines they can make for 15 milion, so they know they have to supply x number of engines that last x amount of races. But with the rule that they have to deliver the same hard and software to the customer that they will be using themselves. This is to prevent them making ‘customer engines’ that last an entire season but are down 300bhp, while fitting a new engine every race them selves. This way the when an engine blows, wich is the manufacturers responsibility, they have to suply an extra engine for that car that year.

          As some reacted, the manufacturers will nog go for this. But one can only hope they come to threir senses.

      2. Cannot seperate driver and car. Its a team, driver is part of it. Without current rules drivers can benefit over others by having new engines every race. Looking at it from a drivers perspective, as drivers benefit from their cars performance why are drivers in lesser cars not given a handicap score so Sauber in 10th gets same points as the winner if winner is from a top team. If Sauber win they get double points…it would be stupid. Driver and team is one for better or for worse.

      3. Ms Appropriate
        7th September 2017, 5:38

        Pay every other team below your team on the Constructor’s table 100K per new engine (component).

  2. Hearing that the thing that is holding the McLaren-Renault deal up is that Renault don’t want to supply 4 teams, STR have yet to agree to switch to Honda & Honda are desperate to stay with McLaren.

    Renault feel that supplying 4 teams would compromise development on the 2018 engine due to having to shift resources that would otherwise be put on new developments onto ensuring enough units to supply 4 teams with as current spec engines as possible. With more time they feel they could supply 4 teams, But there 2018 plans (Including budget) are already in place & are all geared towards 3 teams.

    STR are unsure if the money from Honda would be worth the possibility of losing points opportunities should Honda continue to be down on power & unreliable.

    And Honda want to stay with Mclaren as they see it as there best opportunity to achieve success as they really feel a big step is right around the corner. They want to fix there problems & start challenging for podiums & wins & don’t feel that STR would be able to give them that.

    1. @gt-racer they’re also likely wary of being even vaguely associated with Red Bull, given how ready they are to throw their engine suppliers under the bus if they’re not super fast & reliable.

      1. given how ready they are to throw their engine suppliers under the bus if they’re not super fast & reliable.

        And Honda can count themselves lucky that the current team and driver never do that :p

        1. Well you havento give it to McLaren man. Imagine the amount of noise from RBR in this situation. I dont think there’s any other (big) team that would’ve behaved much better than McLaren.
          And even Alonso has actually done much better than I would expect from him in this situation.
          They all have been super PR-patient and made a lot of effort. And even now they are pretty polite officialy, just saying that “they need to evaluate other options” and “cant afford being slow anymore” – not exactly insults either. Although Honda may kinda deserve them dont you think? :)

          1. Good point! Just imagine what Horner, Marko and Mateschitz would have been saying…

          2. There is always the possbility of Honda getting it right, but based on their track record in 21st century F1 (taking into account 2000 to 2008 as well) they probably won’t.

            Back in 2000 they re-joined the sport as an engine supplier together with BMW (well kind of, since Honda was somewhat present in the late ’90s via Mugen), but whereas BMW managed to produce the most powerful V10s from 2001 – 2005, Honda never got it together (always behind BMW and Ferrari, and never best of the rest above McLaren and Renault).

            From the looks of it, I don’t think they are going to hit it big this time around either: every race, they keep saying they’re improving, but only at a tenth of a second at most when they are 2 seconds behind Mercedes/Ferrari. Apart from less than minimal gains, they are not even reliable. So it’s possible they’ll come good, but their history says otherwise.

          3. @rafael-o, in terms of raw power, Honda were closer than you think – if anything, towards the latter part of the V10 era Honda were thought to have the most powerful engine.

            Whilst you claim that BMW had the most powerful engine from 2001-2005, there were questions at the time about the performance of the 2005 BMW V10 – the original P85 engine had to be scrapped at a fairly late stage because it couldn’t hit the longevity requirements, which meant that BMW had to hastily modify their 2004 engine to produce the P84/5.

            By their own admission, that late change meant that the P84/5 was underdeveloped to begin with, and with BMW cutting their ties with Williams to create their own team from Sauber, they didn’t really bother developing the P84/5 since they were focussing more resources on Sauber and on the upcoming V8’s.

      2. they’re also likely wary of being even vaguely associated with Red Bull, given how ready they are to throw their engine suppliers under the bus if they’re not super fast & reliable.

        Unlike McLaren who has nothing but praise for Honda?

    2. With Honda, a worth while engine is always just round the corner. After hearing that for 3 years, it gets tiring to say the least. And seriously, are they guaranteeing to match Renault. I don’t think so.

      They came in with the best of intentions, its just not going to work is it.

    3. @gt-racer Honda’s problem is that they’ve been feeling that “a big step is right around the corner” for too long without actually doing anything.

      McLaren will be gutted if they split up and then find that Honda were right this time (the Alonso Effect? ;-)

      Red Bull don’t have much to lose here: STR is their development team so they don’t have to be competitive, and if (when?) Honda comes good they can make RBR the Honda works team. On the other hand Renault are improving so they’re not desperate to switch engines and can play negotiating games.

      Lastly, I have a lot of respect for Honda, but they just don’t seem to “get” Formula 1.

    4. I’m sure you would like some help to avoid making mistakes. It’s ‘their’ – possessive.

  3. I recommend to everyone to read the full Joe Blogs article. It’s got some really great pieces of information in it :)

  4. Fikri Harish (@)
    6th September 2017, 1:05

    So Hulk and Perez once again then?
    Dang it, I knew I shouldn’t have gotten my hopes up with Kubica.

    Still, Leclerc getting a seat at Sauber isn’t what I had in mind considering that’s going to happen at the expense of Gio. Ferrari really doesn’t have any interest in getting another Italian driver into F1, do they?

    1. @fihar Before the start of this season it would have been Giovinazzi, however Leclerc performance in F2 this year has been stellar and clearly he has stepped past Gio in Ferrari’s eyes.

  5. I don’t understand why Renault would want TWO journeyman drivers.

    A works team featuring 2 drivers totalling 250+ races for 0 wins.

    1. Exactly. I had figured out already that Perez was waiting for alonso, and that was the key for the market rather than Massa who has no bearing at all on his future. Renault say they can’t handle Alonso right now which means Renault themselves are happy to give McLaren PU and maybe get Alonso that way, either way they risk the main team’s viability, Renault may decide to save a few millions by leaving f1 as a constructor, again. Renault to settle for 2 competent but nameless drivers means they are on a limbo.
      Honda want McLaren but they might have to settle for STR, only if RB can forget what Ron did to them.
      I still think that Alonso may have a go at Williams and Paddy Lowe.

    2. @kazinho This indicates where Renault (and most people) expect the team to be in 2018 – a step forward for sure, with an outside chance of the odd podium. They can afford to bide their time for another season as they continue to build the team and hone the development, trying to entice one of the top drivers, or going with Kubica is either too costly or too risky for the team and their current capabilities. Hulk and Perez (or possibly Sainz), while not being among the top tier of drivers will give them consistent point scoring results across a season.

    3. Id also be surprised if Force India let him go easily (or as easily as Hulk) given their current position on the constructors table unless they can get someone with a proven pedigree.

      Not certain Wherlein fits that bill? It would be a risk And now they have a lot on the line, something that may not change given the PU they have.

      1. I am surprised that Renault and Perez are being linked. I thought they were after Sainz which makes sense as it would fit nicely with the McLaren, Alonso, STR, Honda deal. Surely there has to be something in this for Renault and why would they want to involve another team in the arrangement i.e. Force India.

        This all leads me to wonder what is going to happen at Williams. If Williams want a driver older than 25 to go alongside Stroll then their options are limited. I can think of three potentials…Perez, Grosjean and Magnussen. I am not sure if the last two are under contract. In which case, if Perez is going to leave Force India then Williams might be his best bet?

    4. Sundar Srinivas Harish
      7th September 2017, 4:26

      They may be journeymen, but the two of them are reliable and consistent. Perez has only dropped the ball this year when he was fighting for position with a rookie, I guess his ego can handle someone who is considered to be at least as experienced and competent as he his.

  6. Porsche considering 2021 F1 engine programme

    Hahaha lol. With simpler engines and the right chassis behind I can see how it could work, other than that why the renewed interest from vw, they never thought they could do f1, they can’t match mercedes in f3 let alone f1.

    1. Well @peartree since the most prominent obstacle to entry for VW has long been the management of F1 (i.e. Bernie) since it has changed, it really is only a question of how much money they have to throw at it and what are the chances of success.

      With the 2021 engines planned to be somewhat less complicated and cheaper, it might well be that they finally do decide to enter. With the current engines, they would surely fear to end up struggling like Renault or Honda are, not something one signs up to willingly :-)

      1. Hardly surprised that Porsche have announced their interest in F1.

        For Porsche, it will be a marketing exercise more than anything. They’ve already tested and proven their technical nous with the 919. Point to note is that they are stating that the WEC doesnt offer the commercial reward for all its cost, which is in top tier F1 territory or more.

        All of Porsche’s direct competitors in the Sports/Super car market are present on the F1 grid. From a brand exposure perspective, it would be sensible to start an F1 program. Keep in mind that although viewership of F1 has dropped, there is no denying that it still offers relatively large exposure. Couple this with the proposed “simpler” engine formula, its a win win.

        FE will offer them reasonable exposure, but Porsche aren’t selling electric sports cars yet, they may eventually, but thats going to be a few years away. F1 makes sense for Porsche, and Porsche back in F1 will be massive.

        Christian Horner will be smiling ear to ear.

        1. @jaymenon10, on the other hand, Porsche also mentioned in the past that they were considering building an engine for the current regulation package – so it is hardly the first time that we have heard such promises being made by them.

          As for Formula E and electric Porsche’s, Porsche have already committed themselves to producing an electric car by 2020 (why do you think that they are entering Formula E in 2019?), and are planning on scaling that up quite quickly after that.

          1. The Mission E is actually to be ‘introduced’ in 2019.

            In their case to enter the WEC I believe they had an estimated $20k influence on each car, that was not achieved and thus WEC was deemed a higher cost for less the marketing effect they had hoped. So entering F1 would be indeed a good idea, as it might reduce the overall spending yet improve the overall marketing influence.

    2. @peartree Shall I picture three stories?

      Japanese Nissan comes into LMP1 – leaves after not even doing half a season after they saying they will revolutionise the sport and engine building. GT-R programme gets hidden on the attic to be never talked again.

      Japanese Honda comes into F1 – Three years further down the road and they still can’t come close to guaranteed points finishes despite throwing money at it like there is no tomorrow.

      German Porsche comes into LMP1 – Almost wins Le Mans on debut, wins first race at the end of debut season, claims title the next two (very likely three) years and wins Le Mans on each occasion.

      So I think it’s fairly straightforward to assume Porsche wil do good. Even after their V12 ending in the sport some 30 years back. Obviously it is not guaranteed but if there’s any manufacturer I’d put my money on, it’s Porsche.

      1. if there’s any manufacturer I’d put my money on, it’s Porsche.

        Or you could use their logo as your profile image ;)

        1. Well, I do prefer that above no picture at all.

      2. @flatsix, that said, it could also be pointed out that the Porsche chassis and engine benefited from technological transfer from Audi, effectively giving them the benefit of more than a decade’s worth of Audi’s work in the WEC as a starting point.

        1. That’s not entirely true, Porsche designed the V4 themselves. The aerowork was also developed completely by Porsche. Sure, it’s easier if you have examples driving around to which you can look at but it’s not like they just had to copy and paste. The radical differences between the two cars would indicate just that.

          Also under the VAG family all departments fund their own racing and development, so just copying and then racing another part of the family is not really what was going on.

          1. Everyone claims that but the VAG bosses have always disputed those claims and have said outright that teams share information and time so we can stop pretending they were wholly independent no communication teams. It is getting old and has been refuted many times.

          2. @flatsix, the problem there is that, as Ex F1 fan has pointed out, that has been contradicted by comments made by members of VW’s motorsport division, not least by Dr Ullrich himself.

            During an interview discussing sportscar racing, he was asked whether Porsche had benefited from Audi’s development work – his response was that, whilst officially Porsche and Audi had separate motorsport programs, he was certain that engineers from both companies were unofficially sharing information with each other.

      3. Great breakdown @flatsix !

        Japanese Honda comes into F1 – Three years further down the road and they still can’t come close to guaranteed points finishes despite throwing money at it like there is no tomorrow.

        And to add insult to injury, the best teams in both F1 and IndyCar want to get out of their relationships with Honda.
        What an awful promotion is that, huh?

      4. No @flatsix or flat 12 for Porsche in LeMans, though the engine rules the ACO(audi really) chose didn’t suit many cylinders. I think that’s indicative of Porsche’s presence in Le Mans. Le Mans isn’t what it once was and even back in the 60’s, Le Mans was no F1 and porsche wasn’t winning in either championship. Porsche was never good enough to beat the top manufacturers, it was when Ford went away that semi private efforts from well designed Porsches won. The new Porsche was immediately very successful because as anon pointed out the technological transfer. Porsche won and the joest team almost looked proud. VW chose what team they wanted to win, the 919 was brought because of Toyota and the 919 was made to win in a perfect dry and quick race where the Audi was built for better reliability and more downforce, eventually VW was confident enough to just race Porsche. The real Porsche not the new VW group, doesn’t exist anymore and the real Porsche was never capable of great success.

        1. @peartree So are you saying they have 19 overall victories and many many class wins by accident? By luck? Of which the last three by simply copying Audi?

          Also I did not deny there might have been any data or information transfer but these two really had the intention of competing and I find it rather diminishing of their achievement to just say ‘oh they had to copy form Audi’ whilst on many obvious things they went in a completely different direction. You’re so called idea about how VW planned Porsche to win is something I also can only describe as a fairy tale you seek evidence for yourself and then start to believe and see what fits the story.

          Audi had to withdraw thanks to Dieselgate, and so will Porsche partially. That hardly has anything to do with a pre set plan where they were going to win everything with Porsche. I mean they won 16 out of the last 23 events amongst which Le Mans 3 times, and some 18 other podium finishes. That’s very much Porsche, and not a B-rated Audi.

          I mean it’s rather hard to have a healthy discussion when the first thing you start of with is accusing the ACO of being just Audi. Or are you also going to say Ford only start winning because Ferrari went? The WEC is much more than F1 no longer a workable marketing strategy where both Audi and Porsche hope FE and maybe F1 is.

          So again, I’m fairly sure there will have been a data sharing at some point but saying that was all they had to do and follow a IKEA like step process to win Le Mans is a little too easy. It fits right in the ‘Hamilton only wins thanks to Mercedes engine’-kind of fantasies.

          The real Porsche not the new VW group, doesn’t exist anymore and the real Porsche was never capable of great success.

          I also not sure how I am to interpret this. Are you saying Porsche no longer exists and it’s now a VW boil off? Which would be wrong considering in the VAG Porsche very much operators as a stand alone, unlike Lamborghini for examples that shares most of its tech with the R8.

          1. @flatsix I’m not discrediting the victories or the work, I’m discrediting the competition, for example Ford made an assault for Le Mans they hired British engineering to do so and when they did they beat Ferrari, and then went away, what followed was Porsche, Porsche wasn’t big enough to win, but when Ford lost interest, they did win with the 917 and so forth, often on semi private teams, they made the car like a true racing team, I saw a documentary on youtube, just a couple of guys designed it, that ethos though it’s gone, even the urge to go for flat engines, boxer engines it’s gone. When Porsche was in f1, they were no match for the top, and when Porsche was in Le Mans before Le Mans got sold out, Porsche had no chance, it was only when somebody wealthier gave up on Le Mans that Porsche won. YOu must admit that having Audi banners, billboards all over Le Sartre and then having to watch audi ads when eurosport goes for a break, is a little narcissist, I mean for a while they were racing against 2 other of their cars but thankfully they got to race a couple Peugeot and 3 toyotas in a couple editions.
            About the new Porsche racing team, I repeat in my opinion the PU and the aero package; the chassis looks almost identical, were all designed to suit different track/race conditions than the Audi, that’s my opinion. No matter what you say every man with insight, not porsche or Audi people will tell you that the new Porsche Le Mans effort is borne out of Audi joest, by the new porsche I mean the people that made the 919, not the car company, although one has to admit Porsche and Audi and Vw interiors look very similar, though I agree with the Lambo thing, the company still makes the cars in Italy but the character is gone, Porsche though still has it’s senior people, ceo and coo and what not.

  7. Interesting read that motorsport magazine article.

    I can’t really fathom what is happening. McLaren are willing to give up
    1) to give up the manufacturer backing to Red Bull,
    2)give up the money, plus perhaps pay a little bit more to TR as well,
    3) go up against RB on the same engine and risk losing the mantle of the best chassis on the grid;

    And all this for a customer Renault engine and to retain Alonso (who frankly has no other option in F1 unless he drops his asking price).

    What Mark Hughes is calling as mischievous (Red Bull asking for money from McLaren) seems to be a very cunning strategy of Red Bull to dupe a frustrated and angry McLaren. Unless I am missing something..

    1. 3) go up against RB on the same engine and risk losing the mantle of the best chassis on the grid;

      There’s no championship points awarded for that mantle, or is there? Bragging rights don’t pay your bills.

      1. True, no championship points for that. But Mclaren has been claiming that mantle for 3 years now and everyone believes it already. By going up against Red Bull, there are two possibilities:
        1) They are faster than Red Bull: Which just re-proves what everyone believes
        2) They are slower than Red Bull: Which means that they were never really the great chassis builders they claim to be. This will be a huge loss of credibility for Mclaren

        1. This will be a huge loss of credibility for Mclaren

          Nah, a new season is a new car. You can’t reassess a car from the past based on a new car.

          And there’s more credibility in scoring 400 WCC points in a season although finishing behind RBR than scoring 10 points, finishing behind everybody, and boasting about how good your car was.

        2. True, no championship points for that. But Mclaren has been claiming that mantle for 3 years now and everyone believes it already. By going up against Red Bull, there are two possibilities:

          Nope. Not everyone believes it at all.

          The shortcomings of McLaren have been well documented alongside Honda’s failures.

          I believe they have a VERY GOOD chassis this year but this is the first year in the partnership that I have truly received that impression. Still not convinced it is the best.

  8. @keithcollantine nothing on the story about Hamilton volunteering to do the 2018 Pirelli tyre test tomorrow?

    I thought it was an interesting development given the flack he and Mercedes received for not doing as Seb did last year and was blamed for his early season inability to get on top of the tyres…

  9. Bring in Porsche. Then we essentially have all leading sports car makers, oh and BMW…

    If anything f1 is fast becomming attractive. It is one engine rule change away from being good for any engine maker.

    Also news Lewis Hamilton will test 2018 Pirelli rubber. I applaud his new dedication to win at all cost.

  10. Porsche is, at the moment in the automotive world, synonymous with combining cutting edge technologies with real analogue driving appeal (new turbo’d 718’s possibly notwithstanding, I turned down my dealership invite to drive one)

    F1 is much more fitting to their brand image than FE, it would be great to have them in the sport and their engineering prowess is really second to none.

  11. So………McLaren-TAG?

    1. Quite possible!

    2. Quite doubtful, if Porsche builds the engine it will be PORSCHE branding and definitely not sold off to another.

  12. Ganassi needs Alonso in the worst way in the 10 car. He hasn’t had even an average 2nd driver since Dario retired. Alonso would be Dixon’s equal and for a 1-2 punch that even Penske couldn’t match. But will it happen?

    1. And I can’t see why they’d give Kanaan another year after the season he’s had.

    2. Didn’t Ganassi already pass once on Alonso? Everyone in Indycar has reported Alonso and Honda approached Ganassi first and he passed without even a rebuttal offer. And apparently conversations this summer have been lackluster at best with no interest from Ganassi’s side, even with him dropping to potentially 2 cars and one having no sponsorship as of yet.

  13. Biskit Boy (@sean-p-newmanlive-co-uk)
    6th September 2017, 21:42

    Porsche are attracted by the new engine rules for 2021. Hopefully there will be more independent engine builders come in. The more the better. I’d love to see a specialist builder like Cosworth enter the fray.

    I have my doubts regarding grid penalties. I know ostensibly they were brought in to save costs but I can’t hep thinking there was a hidden side agenda to spice things up a bit.

    Why not frame the engine rules so they are 25% the cost they are now with more power and noise. Don’t tell me it can’t be done. I know it can. Then the cost would be the same for one expensive engine for four races against four cheap engines, changed every race. Hey presto – No grid penalties required.

  14. hope the rules change so audi and others can implement whatever hybrid tech they want. imagine true audi e-tron design vs mercedes hybrid design vs ferrari hybrid vs honda hybrid.

  15. If Porsche goes for supplying engines to Red Bull, I hope for their sake they make sure to get a better contract than Renault did/does. Renault only got smeared for underperforming even when they were winning back to back championships. Let alone when things didn’t go well. They even removed the name Renault from the team by replacing it with Infinity sponsoring.

    Mercedes rightly understood that supplying Red Bull with engines was only going to give them negatives so they backed out of it. Also because Red Bull first ran to Ferrari after getting an offer from Mercedes to try and better the deal of course, but still.

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