Porsche's plans to move into Formula 1 have been formally put on ice, with the German manufacturer now focusing its racing activities on sportscars and Formula E.

According to a report in Motorsport.com's sister site, Motorsport-Total.com, Porsche has now decided against pursuing options in grand prix racing.

The decision has been made after it came very close to a deal with Red Bull last year before talks fell through when the Milton Keynes-based team grew concerned about losing its independence.

At the time, Porsche was clear that it would continue to evaluate other options on the grid as F1's new sustainable fuel rules from 2026 were attractive to it.

However, since the retirement of vice-president of motorsport Fritz Enzinger - who was regarded within the company as the driving force behind Porsche's Formula 1 ambitions - in December 2022, the topic of the premier class has been quiet.

As of September 2022, after negotiations with Red Bull broke down, the official line was that Formula 1 would remain "an attractive environment" that would "continue to be monitored."

This prompted widespread speculation about many options being on the table, including with the Williams team or even a partnership with Michael Andretti, who has been trying for several years to get into F1.

However, none of these routes was seriously evaluated and instead, Porsche's efforts were quietly wound down.

Now, Porsche itself has confirmed that the F1 project has been shelved for the time being as the company's motorsport focus will be elsewhere.

"Motorsport will always be at the core of our brand identity," said a statement from the company. "Formula 1 remains an interesting racing series for us."

But with it currently committed to racing in WEC and IMSA, as well as FE, Porsche added about its other activities: "There, we want to fight for overall victories. That's our tradition and our main focus."

Porsche's wording offers an intriguing choice of language, as the phrase "remains an interesting racing series" doesn't slam the door shut on it ever entering F1.

On the other hand, the phrase "for the coming" years in regard to sportscars and FE makes it clear that it is not seriously evaluating options elsewhere.

This fits in with information obtained by Motorsport-Total.com, which suggests those employees who were tasked under Enzinger's leadership with driving forward the preparations for Formula 1 entry have since been reassigned to other tasks within the Group.

This makes it very obvious that there will be no Formula 1 entry by Porsche in the next few years.

McLaren partnership

Lando Norris at Bahrain GP 2023

However, one interesting new aspect has emerged about Porsche's options after the Red Bull talks collapsed.

It was that talks with McLaren, who had discussed an Audi partnership, were briefly resurrected. However, this was not primarily on the racing side but more with its automotive division.

McLaren Automotive, a sister company of the F1 team within the McLaren Group, has had a new CEO since July 2022.

Michael Leiters came from Ferrari, where he was Chief Technology Officer (CTO), but he had previously worked at Porsche for 13 years before his Ferrari stint, most recently as project manager for the Cayenne and product line director, among other positions, until 2013.

The idea of taking a stake in McLaren, using the magic of the Porsche and McLaren brands to develop joint special editions and an SUV, was briefly considered.

However, it is understood that the discussions did not get very far before being rejected.

The F1 team would not have been the focus of such a deal anyway, but of course, options could have opened up beyond 2026.

As a result of Porsche's decision to call time on its F1 evaluation, Audi remains the only brand from the Volkswagen Group that will compete in grand prix racing from 2026.

The Ingolstadt-based company already has a 25% stake in the Sauber team and will act as Audi's factory team in 2026.

Incidentally, before Audi finally reached an agreement with Sauber, there were also serious talks between Audi and McLaren about acquiring team shares.

This was initiated by Gerhard Berger at the time. He confirmed this in August 2022 when asked by Motorsport-Total.com: "I established contact with McLaren."

The royal family from Bahrain, which holds a stake in the McLaren Group via the Mumtalakat sovereign wealth fund, was put in touch with Audi through Berger.

Ultimately, however, these talks, which lasted for months, also failed to reach a conclusion.

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