If Porsche enters F1…they should do so as a supplier

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There has certainly been some discussion about Porsche or Audi entering F1 after today’s announcement here. Perhaps it was just an innocent observation or maybe Porsche chairman Matthias Mueller was having fun with the media––or as SJ Skid points out, it is Oktoberfest and maybe he’d had a little too much to drink. Regardless of the motive, it has gotten us to thinking about the prospect.

First, would it be Porsche or Audi to enter the series? My bet is Porsche since they have a pedigree in the sport back in the sixties as a works team and then as a supplier to McLaren in the eighties. Why not Audi? They have a terrific sports car program that has revolutionized the sport with their Diesel TDI technology. Perhaps they would like to change gears and bring TDI to F1? Who knows but that would seem a long shot as diesel fuel isn’t an FIA equation at this point and Audi have always been comfortable in their shoes in Le Mans and at arms length with F1.

No, Porsche makes more sense at some level and while there is nothing wrong with the 911 in the GT class, it’s become a bit of a one-trick pony for the marque. Why not mix things up a bit and give consumers something to think about the next time they are looking at sports cars? Yes, I can see it now, the silver Porsche’s streaming down Eau Rouge then up the hill and down the long straight as they pass a Ferrari or two…wait…actually, no I can’t see that. Why?

I think Porsche should enter F1 as a supplier and not a manufacturer…at first anyway. The reason I think this may be a better plan is that there is little secrecy to the fact that getting into F1 is damned expensive. Just ask Norbert Haug at Mercedes, or Honda, BMW or Toyota. It costs a fortune to enter at the manufacturer level and do well and Porsche has a relationship in F1 already that makes much more sense. You’ll recall that I posted this story here about Williams supplying Porsche with their KERS unit for the 911 GT car that is racing this weekend at the Petit Le Mans.

Why not work that relationship in reverse and become a strategic partner to Williams F1? KERS will be back next year and Williams F1 could use a good partner like they had in BMW. In fact, Williams F1 had the best seasons they’ve produced in decades with BMW power and some guy named Montoya. Why not wok with Sir Frank, Patrick and Sam to become a partner and lift both Williams F1 and Porsche to the spotlight?

No question in my mind that BMW entered F1 the right way. They should have stayed and it was a mistake to bow out the way they did (from a fans perspective of course and not a balance sheet perspective). They were almost there and I fear that Porsche’s longevity in the sport may meet a quicker demise, given the length of time it takes to become successful in the sport, should they try to enter as a team.

The upside is that Porsche will have had a full season of racing with the Williams flywheel design KERS unit and that will give them an edge up. Porsche know how to take that energy and lay it down in an effective way. Williams F1 knows how to build a chassis and run a team in F1 and they have FIA credentials for the media booth (which is probably the most difficult thing to get). It seems like a good match to me but then I like Williams F1 and want them to succeed. I also like Porsche although I would be remiss in not mentioning that I love Audi and would relish the idea of the four rings entering F1 against the Mercs.

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