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Formula E

Porsche Formula E doubts linger as F1 decision looms

by Sam Smith
4 min read

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Porsche’s long-term future in Formula E beyond the first homologation of the Gen3 rules package was again one of the key talking points in the Diriyah paddock last month.

Within that paddock was new Porsche vice president of motorsport Thomas Laudenbach. He was visiting a Formula E event for the very first time after taking on the role following Fritz Enzinger’s retirement in the final quarter of 2021.

Laudenbach has already overseen several changes in the TAG-Heuer branded Porsche Formula E team, including the recruitment of Florian Modlinger to oversee the project after the departures of Pascal Zurlinden and Amiel Lindesay in recent months.

But beyond his and the team’s immediate mandate of ensuring that Porsche breaks through into the winner’s circle this season, Laudenbach also has one eye on how the German manufacturer conducts the coming seasons.

Presently Porsche is only committed to the FE world championship until the end of the 2024 season. That is when the next step in the FIA and Formula E’s technical roadmap will kick in as the second homologation of the rules set takes place and a likely evolutionary version of the Gen3 car comes into effect for the 2025 and 2026 seasons.

Porsche is presently undecided on whether it will see through the Gen3 era completely or exit after 2024, because a decision on whether it embarks on a Formula 1 programme is believed to be imminent.

The Race has learned that a possible final decision could come next month, although Laudenbach himself was not able to specify any details when talking in Saudi Arabia.

“I can’t say anything about F1, if it will happen or not, I don’t know,” Laudenbach told The Race.

“Hypothetically, if it happens, to me we’ll carry on with Formula E, as we really want to be successful.

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“I don’t know long term, but I think that’s something really normal. Nearly every year between you sit together and see what’s the long term goal. So, it might be the fact, but it would be far too early really to say this will happen.

“To me, we have a clear commitment and we’re going to fulfil the commitment, and we want to fulfil it because this gives us the opportunity to win, and so that’s what we’re all about.”

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Laudenbach also spoke of the expectations around Porsche’s Formula E programme, which has so far yielded four podium positions and two poles as highlights in its first two seasons but had its on-the-road win at Puebla last year taken away on a technicality.

Porsche has been working on its Gen3 programme since early 2021 and is also set to provide hardware to the Andretti team from next season in a probable deal that was first reported by The Race last month.

“Don’t forget we are working for iconic brands and there is a certain expectation, and we want to fulfil it and that’s really the first goal long term,” said Laudenbach.

“For us we are clear, we build the Gen3. We’re going to enter Gen3, but this is more to do with, let’s say, the internal things like you get a five-year permission to race, a five-year decision, which means at least two years with Gen3.

“But this is far more down to how we handle it internally. Everything that goes beyond that I don’t know.

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“It doesn’t change the approach of Gen3 for us. If we carry on, I would be happy if we will, but this is also too early. Definitely, there is no change in how we approach it.

“If we are only [entered] for two years we want to win both seasons if possible.

“I think that’s [the possibility of a pullout] also something that we don’t want to have in the back of our mind, because it influences how you work, and we should be fully focused on what we do.”

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