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Porsche: F1 could be right for us

NEWS STORY
05/09/2017

Porsche deputy chairman, Lutz Meschke, met with F1 bosses at Monza over the Italian Grand Prix weekend as the German manufacturer continues to mull a possible return to the sport.

The iconic manufacturer first entered Formula One in 1961 with its F2 car, returning a year later with the purpose built 804, which, in the hands of Dan Gurney, gave the company its sole F1 win as a constructor. In the early 80s, Porsche returned to F1, this time as engine partner to McLaren, the TAG badged units taking the Woking team to successive constructor titles in 1984 and 1985, and driver titles for Niki Lauda (1984) and Alain Prost (1985 and 1986).

In an echo of Honda's current problems in attempting to recreate history, Porsche’s return to F1 in 1991 was a disaster, the Footwork Arrows regularly failing even to qualify and subsequently switching to Cosworth leaving Porsche to quit F1 seemingly never to return.

However, as the sport strives to cut costs and becomes more environmentally aware, the German manufacturer has been a regular attendee, along with Cosworth and Aston Martin, of meetings of the Power Unit Working Group as it seeks to agree the engine formula for 2021 onwards.

Porsche recently announced the termination of its LMP1 programme while at the same time announcing its foray into Formula E, however the German manufacturer fully appreciates the kudos of F1.

"F1 could be one of the right places," Meschke told Autosport. "As you know, Formula E is very important for us now, and F1 is always a good topic to think about. And I think we are in quite good discussions regarding the new engine."

Asked if the plans for a more basic twin-turbo V6 might make F1 even more attractive to Porsche, Meschke said: "Absolutely. We have to cut costs in F1, and it's a good way to reach this target."

However, he insisted that his company, which is part of the VW Group, has no intention of returning to F1 as a constructor, merely as an engine supplier.

Despite Meschke's obvious enthusiasm however, just two weeks ago VW Group director, Bernhard Gobmeier, claimed that F1 is on a "dangerous path",

"It is expensive," he said, according to Motorsport.com. "Most of the teams, apart from the big four, have financial problems. And tracks cannot pay what they are asking for. Due to its expensive nature, they are walking a very dangerous path in my personal opinion. We see it everywhere."

"Mercedes has over 1,500 people working on the F1 project," he added. "That is not even considering the suppliers, though it is not so much. It is probably 2,000 people on two cars. You should consider how expensive wages are in England and how expensive material is.

"In America, they have cost control on their minds. They manage it well. In Europe, there are a lot of different categories. In some of them, cost control is really good. But, F1 is completely out of range and so is the WEC.

"The number of sponsors is going down," he continued. "The big sponsors, like the cigarette companies, are not there anymore. The small sponsors are also reducing. The number of sponsors is going down and so are the spectator numbers. At the same time, the cost is increasing. Something is not fitting there. They have to make the races more spectacular.

"MotoGP is above F1 from the show point of view. It is one hundred times better. There is no comparison. MotoGP, its supporting races and World Superbikes are way better than F1."

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1. Posted by BrightonCorgi, 07/09/2017 15:31

"Our company is partners with Ferrari and Mercedes AMG. We are quite important to both from their perspective, I hope we get into F1 advertising, but maybe MotoGP makes more sense? Meschke makes some good points, but I don't think the viewership of MotoGP is nothing close to F1; or is it? The last 2-3 seasons of F1 have been down to the last races to decide the champion, so it is better in that regard than when Schumi as his height."

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2. Posted by Spindoctor, 06/09/2017 17:17

"More political stirring from VAG! I'm surprised he didn't suggest turbo'd diesels - oh in light of dieselgate, maybe not.

If all these people are really SERIOUS about "cheaper" F1 let's knock-down all their wind tunnels and force teams to use a standard shared facility for wind tunnels and limit their CFD time by using a Cloud-based system controlled by FIA.

If they all bolted V8s in the back of the cars tomorrow the cost of F1 would change hardly one jot: they'd just spend more on aero..."

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3. Posted by Paul C, 05/09/2017 17:38

"F1 is too expensive and it doesn't have good racing some of the time, like the Monaco F1 parade. Focus on safety but make the rest less expensive. Testing/practice is more important than hospitality facilities. Improve the show and the sport. If Porsche wants to jump in, good for them. They might even save Sauber and McLaren."

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