Porsche: LMP1 drivers not guaranteed Formula E seats
Porsche's LMP1 drivers are not guaranteed seats for when the German manufacturer enters Formula E for season six in 2019/20, but will be at the front of the queue.
Andreas Seidl, Porsche's LMP1 team principal, explained that the policy of recruiting from within would be carried over from its FIA World Endurance Championship programme, which finishes at the end of this season.
All six of its LMP1 drivers will remain under contract and be offered race programmes for next season, although Brendon Hartley's situation is complicated by the fact he is likely to be racing in Formula 1 full-time for Toro Rosso in 2018.
"The idea is that we will continue the history that we have built up with these guys in the next programme," explained Seidl.
He stressed that it was "not a given" that two of the six will land its Formula E seats, but he said Porsche would "look in-house first like we did when we entered P1".
Timo Bernhard, Romain Dumas and Marc Lieb were already Porsche drivers when they joined the LMP1 squad on the marque's return to the top flight of sportscar racing in 2014.
Nick Tandy and Earl Bamber then stepped up from Porsche's GT roster to drive the third 919 Hybrid at the 2015 Le Mans 24 Hours, before landing full-season WEC drives for 2017.
Seidl suggested that Andre Lotterer and Neel Jani's respective deals to race for Techeetah and Dragon Racing in season four would not necessary mean they jump ahead of the other LMP1 drivers in the queue for seats in season six.
He described their arrangements as "private deals" that were "good for Porsche".
Porsche had a presence at the official Formula E pre-season test at Valencia earlier this month, embedding engineers with the Dragon team.
Seidl would not be drawn on whether this arrangement would continue or whether it would seek a partnership with an existing team as it gears up for its own entry.
"We had guys in that garage [Dragon's] and we were looking around other garages, too," he explained.
"We used Valencia as an opportunity to have a first look and get an idea of what Formula E is, so that once this season is finished we can create a new structure."
On the subject of an alliance with one of the teams not affiliated to a major manufacturer, he said: "We could, but everything is open at the moment."
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