In an interesting development from the world of motorsports, Porsche has revealed that they had built and tested an engine that would have been Formula 1 compatible for the 2021 regulations had it committed to joining the world championship.
The German manufacturer was rumored to have given the F1 program a due consideration and had joined the process of establishing new engine rules for 2021 and beyond.
However, the prospects of such a thing materializing ended when the Parent company Volkswagen Audi Group pulled the plug on their WEC/LMP1 project and the push for simplified and cheaper engines stalled.
Porsche's head of motorsport Fritz Enzinger has revealed that before its exit from LMP1 Porsche had started work on a 6 cylinder engine that was F1 compatible.
Fritz revealed that " 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".
"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 separate 40 person team that worked on developing the six-cylinder engine. But it soon became clear that Porsche would not be using this engine in LMP1 as it committed to leaving the championship in 2017. The six-cylinder engine though was still pursued because an F1 engine without MGU-H would according to Fritz "also be very interesting for a super sports car".
Fritz reveals "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".
"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."
Fritz says that the engine is "complete and running on the test bench" as a team of 20-25 technicians analyze it and wait for further orders with regards to series relevance.
The possible use for the engine is still completely open and if Porsche decided in favor of sending it to Formula One then that can be done.
If Porsche does decide to venture into Formula One it would be great news for F1 as Porsche would be the 5th car manufacturer on the grid after Mercedes, Ferrari, Honda, and Renault.Published 01 Jun 2019, 19:52 IST