The senior figures from Porsche must be turning blue in the face, yet again having to deny rumours that German carmaker is contemplating a switch to Formula 1 when the new turbo engine regulations kick in next year.
According to the firm’s head of R&D, Wolfgang Hatz, Formula 1’s current regulations bare little relevance to road car technology, and it was this reason – among others – that has led it to opt to return to the FIA World Endurance Championship next year.
Porsche has had several stints in F1 – most successfully as a sole constructor in the 1960s and as an engine supplier to McLaren in the 1980s (where its motors were branded TAGs) – with its last outing being a disastrous tie-up with Footwork in 1991 that was shelved after just half the season.
“We are a sports car company,” Hatz told the German-language Autocar magazine.
“Porsche has always lived for the transfer of racing to production cars. For that reason it was clear two or three years ago that we had to be back in high-level motorsport, and it was a choice between top-flight sports cars or Formula 1. But the final decision was the only logical one.”
That justification is hardly news, and it is for this very reason that the Jean Todt-led FIA has pushed for regulations changes to try and encourage a focus on developing technology that is relevant for the automotive industry and everyday driver.
“F1 was an alternative,” Hatz admitted.
“But the road relevance is not there. Also, there is a lot of publicity around politics and tyres, but not so much about the engines and chassis.
“The aero, too, is incredible, but so extreme that it cannot result in any development in our road car understanding.”
As yet, no new manufacturer has given a concrete indication that they will enter – or return – to Formula 1 under next year’s engine regulations, which would indicate that the FIA may still have some way to go in order to encourage serious investment from those who have remained away from the sport.
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