Porsche’s comeback in Le Mans was a long time in the making. As the automaker with the most wins in the race’s history at 16, Porsche returning to the scene of its glory has put the clock on its rivals.
But it wasn’t the only racing series the automaker was considering.
Before deciding on a Le Mans comeback, Porsche R&D boss, Wolfgang Hatz, told Autocar that the company also considered Formula One. In the end, however, the decision was made to return to Le Mans because conditions in Formula one were so "extreme that it cannot result in any development in our road car understanding."
It’s a valid reason, especially considering that Formula One technology seemingly has a life of its own and it didn’t make sense for Porsche to spend valuable resources and finances in a series that wouldn’t translate to its production development.
So there it is. Formula One’s loss - if it cares - is Le Mans’ gain. And with the competitiveness of the latter in the past few years, the return of the king will only make Le Mans even more fun to watch.
Click past the jump to watch Porsche’s history at Le Mans
On Monday, we let you know about our suspicions that Porsche was mulling over a return to the world of F1, as it was snagging up what seemed like every unemployed F1 engineer available and was looking for more. It looks like us media folk have kicked up a bit of dust in the Porsche offices, as its motorsport spokesperson, Oliver Hilger, spoke out in reference to the speculation.
Hilger made it quite clear that the speculation is exactly that – speculation – and there is no truth behind it. He was quoted saying “We have no ambitions for Formula One” and that “if you need good people, of course you have a look around also in Formula One.”
We’ll take Hilger at his word for now, but hiring a pile of F1 guys really seems like a strange trend if you are simply trying to hire the best people. We wouldn’t be surprised to hear Porsche singing a different tune in the future.
Image Credit: John Chapman
Rumors of Porsche making a return to Formula One took another turn for the better after another prominent figure in the company came forward and talked about the possibility of seeing the brand back in the F1 grid in the coming years.
About a week ago, it was brought to our attention that Porsche’s chief executive, Matthias Mueller, commented on the possibility of making a comeback in Formula One through one capacity or another. Now, the brand’s research and development director, Wolfgang Durhelmer has likewise come out with his own take of the growing possibility that Porsche will make a comeback to Formula One since leaving the sport as an engine supplier back in 1991. What’s more, Durhelmer also said that in the event that the company does decide to come back to the sport, it would do so by fielding its own team.
"If Porsche was to go to Formula One, then it would only be with its own team, because you need complete control over all the competition-related factors, including the car and its technology," Durhelmer said.
"Porsche is a very profitable company, we can afford that".
We certainly hope that these are more than just hearsay or cheap talk from Porsche because no matter which way you spin it, the brand’s participation will only make Formula One that much more interesting.
A rumor circulating around the floor of the Paris Motor Show involves a certain German sports car brand that’s looking to get into Formula One. Care to venture a guess which brand it is?
Ok, we already spoiled it with the title of the article, but it’s worth mentioning again that Porsche could find its way on the F1 grid sometime in the future. To be fair, there’s nothing official about this little bird that talked, but Porsche CEO Matthias Mueller was quoted by Autocar singling out Audi and Porsche, saying that there’s an unlikely chance for both brands to participate at Le Mans.
Instead, according to Muehller, “We have to discuss whether it makes better sense for one of the brands to go into LMP1, and the other brand into formula one. So we will have a round-table to discuss the pros and cons”. It’s also worth mentioning that Audi, specifically motor sport chief Wolfgang Ulrich, has already shot down the possibility of Audi venturing into the circus that is Formula One, saying that “Audi and F1 do not fit together.”
Take one brand out of the equation and you’re left with the other one. We don’t know how valid these rumors are, but if it ends up being true, it sure is intriguing to see a Porsche on the F1 grid in the future.