Is Porsche Really Planning a Formula 1 Comeback?


Porsche Formula 1 McLaren Tag

There is a rumor being circulated by German Magazine Auto Bild that might be of particular interest to racing fans everywhere. That rumor: Porsche is coming back to Formula 1.

That’s right- after another convincing win at the 24 Hours of LeMans earlier this month, Porsche seems to be setting its sights on other racing series. The all-electric Formula E series is particularly interesting, sure- but the budget there (even on the high side) is barely a tenth of what a full-fledged assault on Formula 1 would cost. Even so, Porsche execs will be sitting in at the next engine manufacturers’ meeting in Baku, where they’ll discuss future options with Renault, Mercedes, Ferrari, and Honda.

Speaking of Honda, Porsche has to be looking their way. Especially since, after Honda’s very public failure since returning to the sport with McLaren back in 2015, would Porsche’s corporate masters at VW might be willing to take a similar risk of public failure Would they risk it?

Of course they would- and they’ve been planning the move for years.

Simply put, Volkswagen needs to move away from its diesel legacy. That means all of Volkswagen- and especially Audi and Porsche. Audi backed away from its dominant diesel racing program and is going all-in with Formula E. Porsche might go down that road, too- but a partnership with a real chance for success in F1’s hybrid formula could help establish Porsche as the go-to guys for go-fast hybrids in the same way that Audi’s wins at LeMans helped it become a posh brand internationally.

Yeah, yeah- Porsches are already pretty well-respected cars. Still, if Porsche wants to push back the AMG GTs of the world and make a case for a relatively pedestrian 911 over a more exotic Ferrari California, Formula 1 might be the place to get that done.

What do you guys think? Is a move back to F1- maybe even with their former partners, TAG (now with RedBull) or McLaren (now with Honda)- the right move for Porsche? Let us know what you think in the comments section below.


Sources | Images: Auto Bild, via Planet F1, Wikipedia.

About the Author

I've been in the auto industry 1997, and write for a number of blogs in the IM network. You can also find me on Twitter, at my Volvo fansite, or chasing my kids around Oak Park, IL.
  • Steve Hanley

    After watching Honda’s utter humiliation, why would any company want to get involved in Formula One? Maybe the rules package for 2021 will be designed to encourage more manufacturers to join the circus — if Ross Brawn and Liberty get their way.

    Making F1 “relevant” may wind up killing the sport.

    • Jack Hoade

      Steve while I agree that Honda’s humiliation made the eventual addition of anymore engine providers look unlikely, if there is any company that could make it work, its Porsche. To put it in perspective, Porsche has proven to be a more than competent wielder of hybrid tech in racing and with the 918, while all Honda had done is toy with the NSX for what seemed like a decade and even that lacked the luster it seemed to prematurely garnish.

      With that being said the relevancy of F1 is an interesting topic. I doubt the powers at be are begging manufacturers like Porsche to come in to make he sport relevant again. No this is a money play and a relevancy plan on Porsche’s part instead. However with the silver arrow domination, the relevancy of F1 is somewhat dwindling but, if any company knows how to revive it, its liberty media. I firmly believe that the key to the sports success is the US, look at NASCAR, huge viewer numbers but dwindling with the millennial generation. F1 brings a tech side of the sport and a strict time limit, both of which could win the new younger generations over, especially state side.

      • Steve Hanley

        Interesting input, Jack. Thank you.

        Liberty is the wild card. Bernie was a disaster for the sport for the past 10 years. Maybe the new blood will be the tonic the sport needs.

        I agree that Porsche has a ton of experience with hybrid powertrains, but the current F1 engine rules seem to be terra incognita for everyone except Mercedes. It took Ferrari three long years to figure it out. Renault is still struggling. Honda is nowhere. I think the truth is that no one will figure out the current rules package. The only hope is to wait for 2021 and see if the sport can come up with a new package that more than one manufacturer can deal with.

  • Ed

    Porsche’s real battle is to find customers for performance cars among the world’s younger buyers. While we older guys grew up in a car-centric world, cars are not very important to today’s younger set. Porsche’s Experience Centers are part of trying to engage them and show the sport, fun, prestige, etc. of performance car ownership. But, with reduced disposable income and a higher percentage of younger people living in our cities, these “Device Culture” buyers don’t need a vehicle as much as in years past.
    So….does Porsche Formula 1 participation change any of that? I really don’t think so.

    • Steve Hanley

      I see your point. But I would point out that Ferrari sells every one of its ubermobiles. There are a lot of wealthy people in the world (none of them known to me, I might add) who crave these expensive baubles.

      • Ed

        I can remember a time when a Porsche was a desirable possession to nearly everyone I ever knew. I don’t see/hear that among the young today. As you know, Porsche was saved by putting their badge on VW’s SUV family, and those vehicles continue to feed the company today.