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Porsche to Formula 1: Not Dead Yet

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The Porsche 963 LMDh preparing to its 2023 debut at Daytona

The Porsche 963 LMDh preparing to its 2023 debut at Daytona
Photo: Porsche

Today, the FIA World Motor Sport Council convened at the Royal Automobile Club in London for its third meeting of the year. FIA President Mohammed Ben Sulayem officially opened the session by addressing the members of international motorsport’s highest committee and summarizing the significant developments that took place under the supervision of the Fédération Internationale de l’Automobile since the council’s previous meeting in June. However, a single sentence in the address piqued the interest of those involved in Formula 1.

Ben Sulayem’s exact words were:

“At Spa-Francorchamps in August, Audi announced it was joining the FIA Formula One World Championship from 2026 as a power unit manufacturer. This announcement was an endorsement of the hard work by all stakeholders to develop those Regulations. We also note that Porsche are still in discussions with Formula 1 teams.”

German automakers Audi and Porsche were expected to enter Formula 1 with the confirmation of the 2026 power unit regulations. Audi officially entered as a power unit manufacturer, but have yet to state which team it is pairing up with for the 2026 season with Sauber being the widely-rumored partner. While it was believed that Porsche had ended its quest to enter Formula 1 after negotiations with Red Bull Racing collapsed in September, Ben Sulayem’s comment has reignited the rumor mill.

Could a partnership between Porsche and Williams be on the horizon?

Could a partnership between Porsche and Williams be on the horizon?
Photo: Clive Mason (Getty Images)

The number of candidates for a potential Porsche F1 partnership is small. Mercedes, Ferrari and Alpine are obviously not in the discussion. Red Bull has seemingly cozied back up with Honda after winning back-to-back world championships. Sauber has its aforementioned rumored impending ties with Audi. McLaren brutally shot down takeover Audi takeover rumors earlier this year, and I wouldn’t expect Porsche to get a warmer reception. Haas has its long-standing ties with Ferrari but could make a big switch. All that leaves is Williams, whose power unit deal and technical partnership with Mercedes expires at the end of the 2025 season.

Despite its future with F1 being unclear, Porsche will re-enter the top class of sports car racing. The German automaker debuts its 963 LMDh at the 2023 Rolex 24 at Daytona next January. Porsche’s factory team, in collaboration with Penske, is slated to compete in both the IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship and FIA World Endurance Championship in 2023. It will be interesting to see if Porsche actually faces off against Ferrari at both Le Mans and Monaco next year.

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