Why did Porsche leave Formula 1?

Why did Porsche leave Formula 1?

Efforts of a return to the grid were put on hold since the retirement of vice-president of motorsport Fritz Enzinger.

Porsche is a legendary name in the world of motorsports, with a long and storied history of success in various racing categories. However, the German manufacturer’s involvement in Formula One was relatively brief, which makes everyone wonder why Porsche doesn’t have an F1 operation. 

In this feature article, we will explore the reasons behind Porsche’s departure from F1 and its lasting impact on the sport as it existed in F1 racing, spanning just four seasons between 1961 and 1964.

A short stint in the 1960s

Porsche’s entry into Formula One came at a time of significant change in the sport. The introduction of the 1.5-liter engine regulations in 1961 opened up opportunities for new manufacturers to compete at the highest level, and Porsche was one of the companies to take advantage of this. The team entered the championship with its own chassis and engine, the latter being a flat-eight design that was both powerful and lightweight.

Porsche’s first season in Formula One was a promising one, with driver Dan Gurney securing five podium finishes and a pole position helping them win their only race as the French Grand Prix. However, the team’s success was short-lived, and they struggled to keep up with the dominant teams of the era, such as Ferrari and Lotus. The flat-eight engine was powerful, but it was also complex and unreliable, leading to a string of retirements for the team.

The 1962 season was even more challenging for Porsche, with Gurney departing the team and no replacement of his calibre available. The team’s best result that year was not anywhere near the previous one as they failed to score any competitive points in the championship. The following year was even more disappointing, with a degrading performance on the grid having single digits point scored.

By 1964, Porsche’s fortunes in Formula One had reached a low point. The team had failed to make any significant progress with the flat-eight engine, and its reliability issues were compounded by a lack of development resources. The decision was made to withdraw from Formula One at the end of the season, with Porsche focusing its efforts on other racing categories.