Porsche: lack of road relevance in F1
23 April 2013 – A lack of relevance to road cars discouraged Porsche from returning to Formula 1, according to the firm's head of R&D Wolfgang Hatz. Although a future move had been mooted, the German marque has instead opted to make a sportscar comeback and will contest the LMP1 category of the World Endurance Championship (WEC) in 2014.
Porsche's new hybrid car is scheduled to begin its testing programme later this year, with certain elements being carried over to its latest road projects. With this aspect in mind, Hatz believes it was the only logical route for the manufacturer to take.
"We are a sports car company," Hatz explained to Autocar at the Shanghai motor show. “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. F1 was an alternative, 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."
Red Bull's Mark Webber was said to have signed a long-term deal to race for Porsche in the WEC from 2014, although a spokesperson for the brand denied the rumours and explained that its driver line-up would not be confirmed until later in the year.