Porsche could make a shock return to Formula 1 racing, Porsche’s new chairman, Matthias Mueller, told Autocar at the Paris motor show today.
When asked about Porsche’s motorsport plans, Mueller told us that Porsche or Audi, but not both, could compete in LMP1 prototype sports car racing; with the other brand turning to Formula 1.
However, as recently as June this year - just weeks after celebrating a third 1-2-3 finish at Le Mans in a decade - Audi’s motorsport boss Wolfgang Ullrich told German news agency SID that F1 and Audi “do not fit”.
Today Mueller said: “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.
“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 Formula 1. So we will have a round-table to discuss the pros and cons,” he said.
It’s no secret that Volkswagen Group has been contemplating entering F1 as an engine supplier in 2012 or 2013, and the newly integrated Porsche marque would give them a brand to suit.
Porsche last competed in F1 – back then as an engine supplier, too – with the Footwork team in 1991.
An engine supply deal would fit with Porsche’s recent motorsport activity, which is buoyant despite it steering largely clear of works entries.
Porsche claims to make more racing cars than anybody else. “It is important to understand we support customer motorsport and we earn money [through the 911 GT and RS Spyder programmes],” said Mueller. “We don’t spend money. We earn money.”
Mueller also said that Porsche’s motorsport division might yet support cross-country rallying, should Volkswagen walk away from the sport next January if it wins its third Dakar Rally.
“Maybe there is the opportunity to follow that model [of its customer race-car sales programme] for off-road customer motorsport,” said Mueller.
Autocar also understands VW Group's vice president for powertrains Wolfgang Hatz has been heavily involved in discussions with the FIA regarding the proposed new four-cylinder turbocharged engines the sport plans to introduce from 2013.