Porsche built and tested F1 2021 engine before opting against entry

Porsche has built and tested an engine that would have been Formula 1 compatible and formed the basis of a 2021 entry had it committed to joining the world championship

Porsche built and tested F1 2021 engine before opting against entry

The German manufacturer was known to be considering an F1 programme, its first for almost three decades, as it joined the process establishing new engine rules for 2021 and beyond.

However, Porsche's F1 prospects ended when the parent Volkswagen Audi Group opted to cancel its World Endurance Championship LMP1 project in favour of a Formula E entry, and the prospect of simplified and cheaper F1 engines stalled.

Porsche's head of motorsport Fritz Enzinger told Autosport that prior to its exit from LMP1 - which it had dominated with a two-litre, four-cylinder engine - Porsche had started work on a six-cylinder engine that was F1 compatible.

"In 2017 there were signals from Formula 1 that the regulations were to be changed and that energy recovery from the exhaust gases [the MGU-H] was no longer required," he said.

"As of 2017, Porsche was a member of the FIA Manufacturers Commission and was involved in the discussions about the future drive strategy in Formula 1 from 2021 and represented at the meetings.

"On the one hand, we took part in these working groups. On the other hand, the guys developed a six-cylinder for the WEC in parallel.

"Of course, we thought about what would have to change if the engine were to be used in Formula 1.

"Such things can be done in two ways."

Porsche had a 40-person team from its LMP1 project to develop the six-cylinder engine.

In 2017 it became clear this would not be used for a WEC programme because Porsche committed to leaving that championship once the rules shifted and the series failed to find a replacement for Porsche's sister brand Audi.

Though a move to FE - where Audi is also present - was an "obvious idea", Enzinger said the six-cylinder engine concept was still pursued because an F1 engine without the MGU-H would "also be interesting for a super sports car".

"At the end of 2017, we received a concrete order from our parent company to further develop a highly efficient six-cylinder engine, despite its LMP1 withdrawal," he said.

"Not only on paper but actually as hardware and with the idea that this engine will be put to the test in 2019.

"That was the order from the board to us."

Porsche has not competed in F1 since its failed engine programme in 1991 with the Footwork team, pictured below.

Enzinger said its six-cylinder engine "is complete and running on the test bench" as a team of "20 to 25 technicians" use it "for analyses and further orders with regard to series relevance".

"The possible use for this six-cylinder engine was completely open," he said.

"If it had been decided to send Porsche 2021 to Formula 1, we would have made it the way we did in 2018."

shares
comments
Video: The Ferrari weakness covered up by its 2019 F1 car issues

Previous article

Video: The Ferrari weakness covered up by its 2019 F1 car issues

Next article

Video: Who's winning the team-mate wars after F1's Monaco GP?

Video: Who's winning the team-mate wars after F1's Monaco GP?
Load comments

About this article

Series Formula 1
Author Scott Mitchell
What Ferrari must do to reach the peak in F1 again Plus

What Ferrari must do to reach the peak in F1 again

Former Ferrari, Red Bull and McLaren engineer Rodi Basso on what he’s learned about successful teams, and what the famous Italian squad needs to do to get back on top in Formula 1

The defining traits that set F1’s best apart Plus

The defining traits that set F1’s best apart

What makes the very best drivers in Formula 1 stand out among what is already a highly elite bunch? ANDREW BENSON takes a closer look at those with the special blend of skill, judgment, feel 
and attitude that sets only a select 
few apart from the rest.

Formula 1
Mar 7, 2021
How an unlikely F1 outsider gained acceptance Plus

How an unlikely F1 outsider gained acceptance

Channel 4's decision to pick Steve Jones as presenter of its Formula 1 coverage in 2016 raised eyebrows, and his presenting style grated with many fans at first. But, says BEN EDWARDS, Jones has developed into a presenter ripe for modern F1's direction

Formula 1
Mar 6, 2021
The updates Williams hopes will lead to a points-scoring return Plus

The updates Williams hopes will lead to a points-scoring return

After producing a car which demonstrated progress but lacked the points to prove it last year, Williams starts its new era of team ownership with the FW43B, its bid to continue the climb up the Formula 1 grid in 2021

Formula 1
Mar 5, 2021
How Ferrari plans to recover from its 2020 F1 nightmare Plus

How Ferrari plans to recover from its 2020 F1 nightmare

The 2020 Formula 1 season was Ferrari's worst for 40 years as it slumped to sixth in the standings. A repeat performance will not be acceptable for the proud Italian team, which has adopted a notably pragmatic approach to forging its path back to the top

Formula 1
Mar 4, 2021
Why Aston Martin’s arrival is more than just new green livery Plus

Why Aston Martin’s arrival is more than just new green livery

In the most eagerly anticipated Formula 1 team launch of the season, the rebranded Aston Martin squad’s changes go much further than the striking paint job. But rather than a restart, the team hopes to build on top of solid foundations.

Formula 1
Mar 3, 2021
The car Aston Martin begins its new F1 journey with Plus

The car Aston Martin begins its new F1 journey with

The team formerly known as Racing Point gambled successfully on a Mercedes look-alike in 2020 as it mounted a strong challenge for third in the constructors' race and won the Sakhir GP. Now clothed in British racing green, Aston Martin's first Formula 1 challenger since 1960 provides the clearest indicator yet of what to expect from the new-for-2021 regulations

Formula 1
Mar 3, 2021
The driver problems facing Mercedes in 2021 Plus

The driver problems facing Mercedes in 2021

Ahead of the new Formula 1 season, reigning world champions Mercedes will take on challenges both old and new. This also can be said for its driver conundrum which could become key to sustaining its ongoing success

Formula 1
Mar 2, 2021