F1 not “relevant” enough for Porsche

3 Comments

Formula One technology is not relevant enough to road cars according to Porsche.

The company announced last year it will return to the Le Mans 24 Hours in 2014 having considered but rejected entering F1.

Head of research and design Wolfgang Hatz told Autocar: “F1 was an alternative, but the road relevance is not there.”

“Also, there is a lot of publicity around politics and tires, but not so much about the engines and chassis. The aero, too, is incredible, but so extreme that it cannot result in any development in our road car understanding.”

Porsche’s decision comes after several car manufacturers who left F1 in the wake of the economic downturn have joined other racing categories.

Toyota and BMW, who left F1 at the end of 2009, are now competing in the World Endurance Championship and DTM (German touring cars) respectively.

Honda pulled the plug on its F1 program at the end of 2008. It now races in the World Touring Car Championship in addition to being an IndyCar engine supplier. There are rumours it is considering an F1 comeback with McLaren in 2015.

Porsche competed in F1 as a manufacturer team between 1957 and 1962, then returned as an engine supplier to McLaren from 1983 to 1987, and later made a brief return providing engines to Footwork in 1991.

MRTI: Keith Donegan earns Mazda Shootout Scholarship

Photo: Indianapolis Motor Speedway, LLC Photography
Leave a comment

Dublin, Ireland’s Keith Donegan claimed a $200K scholarship from Mazda after emerging victorious at the second annual Mazda Road to Indy Shootout. The 20-year-old Donegan earned an at-large nomination for the scholarship based on his performance at this year’s Formula Ford Festival, in which he finished second in the final, and emerged from a pack of 17 drivers from across the globe to claim the scholarship.

“It really hasn’t hit me yet,” said an emotional Donegan, who earlier in his career actually spent two years away from racing as he focused on academics. “The weekend was really good and I enjoyed it. I have to say a huge thanks to Mazda and Cooper Tires and everyone at the Mazda Road to Indy. I enjoyed every moment. Throughout the weekend we were consistent and I kept the small things in check. I didn’t make any stupid mistakes and kept my head cool and that really paid off in the end.”

The two-day shootout was held at the Bondurant Racing School in Arizona and saw the nominated drivers tackle the school’s 1.6-mile circuit in Formula Mazda race cars before facing on and off-track assessments. Donegan was selected by a panel of judges that included former driver and current Verizon IndyCar Series TV analyst Scott Goodyear, Mazda drivers Tom Long, Andrew Carbonell, and Jonathan Bomarito, as well as Victor Franzoni – the current champion of the Pro Mazda Championship Presented by Cooper Tires – and Oliver Askew, the current champion of the Cooper Tires USF2000 Championship Powered by Mazda.

Donegan was humbled to be in the presence of drivers who have won scholarships and championships previously, and added that he is grateful to have the opportunity to continue his racing career.

“You see all these champions here today that will go on to great things in the future and I’m sure the names you see here today aren’t going to disappear,” Donegan added. “They will be back up there and I’m sure I will be racing them again some day. It is an unbelievable opportunity to be given and for Mazda to provide that for any young driver. It just gives that bit of motivation that you need because the [U.S.] is where you need to go to become a professional these days. It is such a boost to my career.”

Donegan is now slated to join the 2018 USF2000 championship, with further announcements regarding the team with whom he’ll be racing to come in the future.

Follow @KyleMLavigne