The last time a Porsche engine powered an F1 car was back in 1991, but it was during 1984 and 1985 when Porsche engines made a significant mark in one of the most prestigious motorsports.
Porsche engines powered McLaren to 25 victories between 1984 and 1987, with 19 for 1985 and 1986 World Champion Alain Prost, and 6 for 1984 Champion Niki Lauda. Now, the Italian sports car manufacturer has dropped its biggest hint to re-enter Formula One.
Lutz Meschke, deputy chairman of Porsche's executive board and member of the board for finances and IT, met with Ross Brawn and other F1 chiefs at the 2017 Italian Grand Prix. The brand is considering returning to F1 as an engine supplier under the proposed 2021 regulations.
At the end of 2017, Porsche will end its LMP1 program, has decided it does not get an adequate return for an investment equivalent to an F1 budget. Porsche has already confirmed to be part of Formula E for the 2019-20 season with a works-backed team.
Porsche has sent representatives to the series of recent meetings about the 2021 F1 engine regulations encouraged by F1's moves towards cheaper and simpler technology. The 2021 engine rules are yet to be finalized, and plans are to adopt a twin-turbo V6 with simpler technology.
Williams shared a technical relationship with Porsche before selling its Hybrid Power division and Red Bull which has an exclusive relationship with Porsche's parent company; the Volkswagen Group could be potential partners for Porsche engines.
McLaren which has been Porsche biggest winner in F1 might not opt for Porsche as both are rivals in road car market. Porsche is not part of the F1 grid since 1991; however, it has been in a commercial involvement with the F1 organization by returning for its Supercup one-make series to feature on the Grand Prix support program.
Porsche has confirmed to part of Formula E, the electric F1 series, to understand how to develop electric sports cars, now that they have shown interest in F1, it might be that Porsche wants to be financially healthy to fund its R&D.