Porsche is considering returning to Formula 1 as an engine supplier after an absence of two decades.
The German company’s motorsport reputation is mainly founded in sportscar racing, but its new chairman Matthias Mueller does not want Porsche to go head to head with Audi in Le Mans’ premier LMP1 class.
Porsche has only raced in the lower divisions of sportscar racing – with huge success – since its last outright Le Mans 24 Hours win in 1998, while Audi has become a dominant force in the famous French endurance race since the turn of the century.
With Audi committed to LMP1 for now, Mueller hinted that Porsche could end up in F1 instead.
“With LMP1, there are two classes and two brands – Audi and Porsche,” he told Autocar.
“We do not like to both go into LMP1; that is not so funny.
“So therefore we have to discuss whether it makes better sense for one of the brands to go into LMP1, and the other brand into Formula 1.
“So we will have a round-table to discuss the pros and cons.”
He hinted that an engine supply deal was more likely than a Porsche-run team.
“It is important to understand we support customer motorsport and we earn money,” Mueller said.
“We don’t spend money [in motorsport] – we earn money.”
Porsche has only been involved in F1 sporadically, but sometimes with great success.
It briefly ran a works team in the 1960s, taking a single victory in the 1962 French Grand Prix with Dan Gurney.
The firm was then absent until the 1980s, when McLaren shareholder TAG paid for Porsche to create a turbocharged engine for the team – which powered Niki Lauda to the 1984 title and Alain Prost to the ’85 and ’86 crowns.
Since then, Porsche’s only F1 involvement has been a fleeting and extremely unsuccessful tie-up with the Footwork team in 1991.