Lutz Meschke, deputy chairman of Porsche's executive board and member of the board for finances and IT, has confirmed that the brand is seriously considering returning to Formula One as an engine supplier under the proposed 2021 regulations.
Porsche will end its LMP1 programme at the end of 2017, having decided it does not get sufficient return for its investment equivalent to a Formula 1 budget. It has committed to entering Formula E with a works-backed team from the 2019-20 season, but it has also sent representatives to the series of recent meetings about the 2021 F1 engine regulations.
Meschke, who met with Ross Brawn and other Formula One chiefs at the recent Italian Grand Prix, revealed that Porsche has been encouraged by F1's move towards cheaper and simpler technology. Although the 2021 engine rules are yet to be finalised, plans are underway to adopt a twin-turbo V6 with reduced technology.
Potential partners for Porsche include Williams, which enjoyed a technical relationship with Porsche before selling its Hybrid Power division, and Red Bull, which has extensive connections with Porsche's parent company, the Volkswagen Group. McLaren has a strong history with Porsche through the TAG turbo collaboration of 1983-87, but they are now competitors in the road car market.
While it has not been on the F1 grid since its disastrous relationship with the Footwork team in 1991, Porsche has retained a commercial involvement with the F1 organisation by paying for its Supercup one-make series to feature on the grand prix support programme.