Mar 24, 2020, 12:14 pm134 ptsTop
Porsche is known for pushing the limits of speed and performance while still ensuring that their supercars are relatively affordable. That has become the standard which they have been working with for some years now, but a question remains. Why won't Porsche compete in Formula 1 races?
Porsche has Formula 1 Experience
You might not know this, but there had been times when Porsche was in Formula 1 races. They were usually there as a constructor since they are famed for their engines. However, the failure of the engine that they built for Footwork in 1991 made the company quit on this project.
Before this time, the company had been in the French Grand Prix around the late 50s to the early 60s, and they didn't do badly either. Porsche had Dan Gurney as their driver in that era, winning the races and achieving a significant feat in others before they finally decided to rest their case in 1964.
This was not to be expected for a brand that had been dominating and doing well, but they most likely pulled the plug on racing so that they can focus on sportscars. That was the decision that birthed the amazing units they have on the road today, but that is a discussion for another day.
After this era, Porsche was also commissioned by McLaren to build the engines that the latter brand would use in its racing from the 1983 season. Although Porsche was reluctant to, they did a great job and handed the engine over to McLaren. However, they didn't want to be liable and have anything backfire on them, so they did not put their name on the engine.
This turned out to be a poor decision since this engine went on to win three consecutive titles in the F1 between the years 1984 through 1986. Porsche also won the constructor titles for the first two years of these races.
If that tells us anything, it is that Porsche knows how to build a mean engine for the Formula 1 category. Of course, the fact that drivers Niki Lauda and Alain Prost were at the wheels also constituted the wins but everyone knows the place of a good engine.
That said, Porsche cannot be ruled out based on not having the right experience to build an engine that would allow them to compete right. We can also cite the 1991 incident again, but that is no reason for them to not have come back to the races in any other capacity.
Seeing as they are dominating in other racing competitions, there have to be other underlying reasons behind that choice.
Possible Reasons for Staying Away
Unless we can get behind the skulls of the decision-makers over at the Porsche company, we might not be able to make total sense of the choice to leave F1 out of their plans. That is even though they compete in other motorsports, showing that they are not averse to the game.
Looking at the bits and pieces of information that we have been able to gather from over the years, though, the most guilty culprits behind this decision are:
- Better R&D Focus
When other companies go to a race, they do so with the sole intention of winning and showing how great their cars are. Porsche also likes to win, but they see racing as a means to an end, not the end itself.
That is why they focus their efforts on racing in such a way that will allow them to learn valuable lessons in improving their road cars
That can be seen with all of the RS Spyder (for LMP1) which morphed into the 918 road car, racing 934 car (from the 1970s) becoming their 930 Turbo for the road and more.
- Volkswagen Scandal
The parent company of Porsche, Volkswagen, was reportedly in talks with Red Bull Racing on entering the F1 races before the Dieselgate scandal. They had to pay so much in fines and legal costs, getting into F1 at the same time would have been very expensive for them.
VW is not fully recovered from the scandal yet, but they can do so in time to make an entry into F1 again.
What the Future Holds
New internal reposts suggest that Porsche has an engine ready for the F1 2021 races. This means that the automaker can choose to get into the competition anytime they so wish now.
We don't know what is stopping them anymore, seeing as they have shelved F1 plans to compete in the Formula E instead. However, we believe it is just a matter of time before we live stream formula 1 races and see our beloved Porsche in there – either with another team as an engine constrictor or as a standalone racing team.
That would be something to see!