F1 not “relevant” enough for Porsche

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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.

Hartley says debut F1 point would be ‘a dream’ from last on grid

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Brendon Hartley says scoring a point on his Formula 1 debut would be “a dream” after being resigned to last place on the grid for the United States Grand Prix following an engine penalty.

Porsche factory driver Hartley was drafted in by Toro Rosso to replace Pierre Gasly for the USGP when the Frenchman was ruled out due to clashing commitments in Super Formula.

Despite having not driven an F1 car since 2012, Hartley came within one-tenth of a second of making it through to Q2 on Saturday at the Circuit of The Americas, ultimately qualifying 18th.

“Obviously I’d love to be quicker but we knew we were starting at the back, so we put a lot of focus on long runs, getting the peak performance out of this Pirelli tire I didn’t get today,” Hartley told NBCSN after the race.

“In FP3 I had a good feeling. There’s a lot of quirky things to manage with these tires. Honestly I should be happy with how the weekend’s gone so far.”

The New Zealander will start last due to a 25-place grid penalty for changes made to his power unit ahead of practice on Friday, and is daring to dream of making the top 10 in his first race out of a sports car for more than five years.

“I don’t do the 24 hours completely alone!” Hartley joked. “It’s quick. It’s physical to drive. I’ll be happy to be done after an hour and a half.

“A point would be a dream starting from the back. If I can move forward and put a race together, I’ll be happy.”

The United States Grand Prix is live on NBCSN and the NBC Sports app from 2pm ET on Sunday.