Porsche supplied World Championship-winning turbo engines to McLaren in the 1980s. (LAT photo)
Porsche is to seriously evaluate a return to Formula 1, its new chairman Matthias Mueller revealed at the Paris Motor Show on Friday.
Mueller told Autocar he expected his company's motorsport activities – which encompasses Porsche and Audi through its tie-up with the Volkswagen Group – to include both top-level sports cars and F1 in the near future. He made it clear that he expected either Porsche or Audi to have an LMP1 car in the future, while the other brand would then enter F1.
Audi has competed in the Le Mans prototype class since 1999 and is working on a new car – the R18 – for 2011. Porsche ended its factory sports car program in 1998 - though it did produce the LMP2 RS Spyder for customer teams from 2005 onward – and would be the logical choice for a return to F1 for the first time since 1991.
"With LMP1, there are two classes and two brands – Audi and Porsche. We do not like to both go into LMP1 [against each other]; that is not so funny," Mueller said. "So, therefore, we have to discuss whether it makes better sense for one of the [two] brands to go into LMP1, and the other brand into F1. So we will have a round table to discuss the pros and cons."
Porsche's entry to F1 would most likely be as an engine supplier, rather than having a whole team. It would also make most sense for the company to enter the sport in 2013, when all-new engine regulations are set to be introduced.