Leading German marque Porsche could enter Formula 1 ahead of the next engine regulation changes in 2021, which could involve the purchase of championship winning F1 team Red Bull Racing.
It emerged during the days following the Italian Grand Prix in Monza that Porsche was in serious talks with FOM’s Ross Brawn in regards to entering Formula 1 as an engine supplier, or potentially as a works team with a collaboration with Red Bull Racing.
“F1 could be one of the right places,” Lutz Meschk, Porsche’s deputy chairman of the executive board, told Autosport.
“As you know Formula E is very important for us now, and F1 is always a good topic to think about. And I think we are in quite good discussions regarding the new engine.”
Formula 1 is set to introduce new engine regulations for the 2021 Formula 1 season. Whilst the specifics of these new engine regulations are still wide open for negotiations, some of the key objectives include lower costs and louder noise from these engines.
Mark Hughes revealed more specifics about a potential deal in his Motorsport Magazine column, wherein he suggested that Red Bull may have achieved its marketing target in the sport, and may want to take a back step; the potential Porsche deal may still mean that the team is involved in a contra-deal, such as providing its sophisticated aerodynamic and chassis parts, whilst Porsche provides power-unit related items. This may appear as quite a beneficial situation for Red Bull, as this would lower its costs that it invests in Formula 1, and realistically one of its few options of a realistic title bid.
“No one is yet confirming or denying. But it makes a lot of sense,” Hughes says.
“Red Bull might consider that its F1 programme of the last decade has achieved its marketing aims and that it no longer needs the vast expense of running an F1 team (or even two of them).
“It could continue as a sponsor to the works Porsche team and benefit from that association, but without anything like the same current spend.
“It would be a fantastic coup for F1 and Liberty to have Porsche on board as a full works F1 team for the first time since 1962 (although it provided the title-winning TAG-Porsches to McLaren 1984-87 as well as the less successful V12 to Arrows in 1991). It would also give Red Bull the potential to return to the title-winning pomp it enjoyed during the frozen spec naturally-aspirated era.”
With the ongoing McLaren engine saga, Red Bull’s overall direction could take a massive turn. Ahead of the 2018 Formula 1 season, McLaren and Toro Rosso look set to exchange engines following a messy divorce between McLaren and Honda: the Woking base would make the switch to Renault engines for 2018 whilst Toro Rosso would take on the Honda engines.
Whilst the Honda powered engines may not be currently viable in the frame of an F1 title bid, the Red Bull team will evaluate the gains made by the Japanese manufacturer over the next year, which could lead to Red Bull picking up Honda supply (2019 onwards), which will be a long-term path for the Milton Keynes team, and realistically another title gamble, with its chances with Renault quickly fading.
This potential path, if picked up by the Red Bull Formula 1 team, could affect the Porsche deal which is swinging around in the media, as Red Bull may be locked into a contract with Honda, if it decides to make the switch in 2019.