Porsche came “really close” to committing to a Formula 1 engine programme according to Fritz Enzinger, Vice-President of Motorsport at Porsche and Head of Group Motorsport at Volkswagen AG.
It’s often rumoured that Volkswagen, or one of its many brands including Lamborghini, Porsche or Audi, is mulling an F1 entry, however it has never become a reality. Though rumours of an engine programme were true according to Enzinger, but VW’s decision to focus on electric motorsport spelled the end of that dream.
“Really close,” Enzinger replied when asked by SpeedWeek how close Porsche came to joining the F1 grid.
“When the Group’s Executive Board commissioned a highly efficient racing engine in 2017, Porsche had not only designed, but already built one,” he confirmed.
“We were involved in the regulatory discussions between the FIA â€‹â€‹and the F1 promoter Liberty Media. However, during the construction phase, the group’s decision was made to move towards e-mobility.”
That decision led Porsche to enter Formula E alongside sister-brand Audi, but Enzinger says the development of their F1 engine hasn’t been wasted entirely.
“The 1.6 litre V6 engine was already on the test bench. The development has not been in vain, however, as a large number of components and processes can be used for the electric series.”
Speaking about Porsche’s debut in FE, Enzinger said the results in Diriyah, where the team took a podium finish thanks to Andre Lotterer, far exceeded their expectations.
“It was really a surprise that we would finish second in the first race. It was important because our path was a brave one – we couldn’t build on an existing team like the rivals from BMW on Andretti or Mercedes on HWA.
“So we needed experience, which is why Lotterer, who drove for two years in the best team [DS Techeetah], was hired and was the reference for us. After his verdict in the first test in August, we knew we were doing really well.”