OCTOBER 1, 2010
Porsche to look at F1 programme
New Porsche chairman Matthias Muller has said at the Paris Motor Show that the company will consider a future F1 programme.
Both Porsche and Audi are owned by the Volkswagen Group, with Audi having contested the Le Mans Prototype sportscar class since 1999, using it as a showcase to promote its diesel technology.
Audi is currently developing its new R18 for 2011 and Mueller said: "With LMP1 there are two classes and two brands - Audi and Porsche. We will have to discuss whether it makes better sense for one of the brands to go into LMP1 and the other into F1."
There is also likely to be discussion about whether Porsche, if it does decide on an F1 project, is best served by doing it as a works entity or merely as an engine supplier. F1's engine group met in London this week to further discuss the potential direction for 2013, when F1 is expected to have new engine regulations based around small capacity, most likely 1.6-litre turbocharged units. Porsche may see it as sensible to dovetail a new programme around the introduction of the new engines.
While Audi has not participated in F1 since the world championship began in 1950, Porsche has something of a checkered history, contesting 35 grands prix between 1958 and 1964, which included victory in the 1962 French GP for Dan Gurney.
The company then built the TAG V6 turbo engines for McLaren in the mid eighties, with Niki Lauda and Alain Prost achieving a hat-trick of world titles in 1984-6. A return with Footwork-Arrows in 1991 was ill-starred, however, when designer Alan Jenkins recalled taking delivery of the overweight V12 as "one of the most depressing days of my life…" The team started just four races with the Porsche before reverting to a Cosworth.
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