SportF1Why it seems that the Red Bull-Porsche union will...

Why it seems that the Red Bull-Porsche union will not come in F1

Initially, the partnership between Red Bull and Porsche was going to become official during the Austrian Grand Prix, and everything had progressed enough for the Germans to request permission to buy part of the team from the anti-cartel authorities, but when the other manufacturer of the Volkswagen Group, Audi, announced its entry into Formula 1 from 2026 at Spa-Francorchamps, rumors appeared that the Stuttgart firm and those of Milton Keynes could have broken off negotiations due to last-minute complications .

Those hurdles now appear to have turned into brick walls, and point to any possibility that a partnership between Porsche and Red Bull, involving the sale of shares in the team, is ruled out.

The Austrians’ motorsport adviser, Helmut Marko , told in Zandvoort quite convincingly that “Porsche would not be a shareholder” in the team. Thus, there will be no formal purchase by the Germans, and in the best case, an agreement would only be reached as a supplier of power units.

Porsche seems to have been disappointed by the situation, and there is also some debate that if the approval of the FIA engine regulations had been ratified earlier, as planned, it could have changed the negotiations. Reportedly, between the delay in announcing the 2026 rules and tinkering with new entrants’ concessions, Red Bull bosses both Christian Horner and Helmut Marko backed down thinking the 50/50 partnership with the German brand from that season was the best option.

At first, the talks were uncomplicated, but the longer they lasted and the deeper the interests of both parties with the details of how it would work, the more Porsche executives came to the table, and the more skepticism there was in Milton Keynes.

Red Bull has its star driver, Max Verstappen, and one of the biggest technical figures, Adrian Newey , as well as an experienced racing team with a great car, so what would they gain by sacrificing some of that for have the outside influence of a vehicle manufacturer?

Those of energy drinks have never been stronger as a team than when they have been independent and capable of reacting to any challenge that may arise. Examples of the big brands are in teams like Toyota, BMW and Honda , where all the bureaucratic processes hamper sporting decision-making and a lack of agility that has made Red Bull a dominant force in Formula 1.

That was a key point Horner made in Zandvoort on Sunday night when asked if the Porsche deal was done or not: “We are independent, that’s the way we’ve always operated in terms of flexibility and ability to moving quickly and efficiently. I think that’s part of the DNA of what Red Bull is.”

The boss of the Austrian team also made it clear last weekend that his and Marko’s doubts about Porsche’s participation were not related to their fear of losing their jobs and being replaced by directors of the German company: “There are always wild rumors in this paddock.

“I recently made a long-term commitment to this team, and indeed any discussion we’ve had has been conditional on the management structure being the same, which has always been accepted,” he said. “So I think I don’t really need to comment on crazy speculation.”

While Red Bull doesn’t seem interested in sacrificing ownership of its Formula 1 team, things are changing when it comes to its new powertrain division, and that could offer the structure an opportunity to rebrand its engines as Porsche.

“The powertrain is obviously a different challenge. Of course, if it had been a partner that you could potentially work with on the power units, it would make logical sense. Our position is that, the team is the team’s greatest asset. marketing globally for Red Bull, why would we compromise on that long-term?” continued Horner.

“For 2026 we are fully committed, we have hired some of the best talent in Formula 1 for Red Bull Powertrains, we have created a factory in 55 weeks, with power banks that we have already put in place,” he explained to the Briton. “We have made our first prototype engine for 2026 and fired it up before the summer break.”

What may also have influenced Red Bull’s decision on the Porsche project is the speed with which its powertrain division has been created, something that has given confidence in its own ability to build a high-performance engine by 2026. whether or not you have a motoring partner.

The energy drinks no longer consider it impossible to manage the entire power unit plan themselves, and the fact that they have commissioned the first propellant on the test beds in Milton Keynes shortly before the summer holidays summer has reinforced the idea that they can go it alone.

Although there is still a long way to go, Horner stresses that Red Bull Powertrains has the capacity to design and build a complete engine: “The specialists we have cover the entire power unit, including the electrical and mechanical parts.”

“We’re on a really exciting path that doesn’t depend on outside involvement if you have the right partner strategically, and of course that’s something the group would be very interested in,” he revealed.

Whether or not Porsche is open to that idea, however, is another question. It has been clear for months that the German manufacturer wants to enter Formula 1 as a team partner , not just as an engine supplier.

With that tie-up looking to be walking away with Red Bull, the options elsewhere are pretty limited, which has thrown up the question marks as to whether the Porsche project will go ahead. For the Germans it is a bitter setback, since they were preparing their IPO .

A future entry into the millionaire business of Formula 1, which has never been so profitable for the teams since the introduction of the budget cap [which will also apply to engines from 2026], would have been perfect, and now they have to think on what to do.

For Red Bull, what Porsche does or doesn’t do doesn’t change anything in the short term. It seems almost certain that they will win the championship with Max Verstappen in 2022 and they have Newey in charge of a car that has been born very well with the new technical rules, as well as a partnership with Honda until the end of 2025.

They also have the funding to further develop their own power unit, and there is at least another three years to find a potential partner if they wish. As Horner said: “One of our strengths is that we have thought outside the box, a team that is never afraid to take on new challenges.”

“First we entered Formula 1, and now we build an engine. Our way of working is very different, and it is part of our DNA to be able to do great things,” said the head of the team.

Additional information from Luke Smith

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