What’s next for Porsche and Red Bull after the collapse of the Formula One deal?

Porsche was ready to marry Red Bull for 10 years by partnering with the 2022 F1 Championship Driver’s Engine Program and buying a 50% stake in the racing team. The union was discussed to be announced at the Austrian Grand Prix in early July before the FIA ​​postponed the final drafting of the 2026 power unit regulations. Soon the Moroccan legal documents providing the August 4 date for the deal to be officially announced, only day came and went.

Ahead of the summer break in August, Red Bull boss Christian Horner began stressing how important it was for any new stakeholder to fit in “the costume’s philosophy and genes” and announced that the evaluation process was still pending. Then at Spa, Audi unexpectedly jumped on to sister group Volkswagen’s manufacturer to announce its 2026 F1 engagement (initially revealing its plans to build only an engine, with news of its investment in the Sauber operation later this year).

With negotiations faltering over how the two sides would cooperate – Motorsport.com understands this is largely due to Porsche wanting a more hands-on role than Red Bull as well as additional commercial and PR commitments – their discussions collapsed completely. Given Red Bull’s current form, the unwillingness to compromise on its current approach makes objective sense.

On the Friday morning of the Italian Grand Prix weekend, Porsche finally confirmed that the marriage was on hold. Its short statement reads: “Over the past few months, Dr. Ing. hc F. Porsche AG and Red Bull GmbH have held talks about the possibility of Porsche entering Formula 1. The two companies have now jointly joined in the conclusion that these talks will not continue yet. right Now.

“The premise has always been that the partnership will be on an equal footing, which will include not only the engine partnership but also the team. This cannot be achieved. With the final changes to the rule, the racing series nevertheless remains an attractive environment for Porsche, which will continue to monitor.”

Meanwhile, Horner told Motorsport.com: “Porsche is a great brand. But the DNA is completely different. During the discussion process, it became clear that there was a strategic mismatch.

“Red Bull has proven its capabilities in Formula 1. Obviously, as an independent team and now an engine manufacturer, we are looking to compete with OEMs with powertrain and chassis.”

Red Bull did not want to give up a stake in the F1 team to Porsche

Red Bull did not want to give up a stake in the F1 team to Porsche

Photography: Glenn Dunbar / motorsports pictures

The options available to Red Bull

Red Bull is still running the Red Bull Powertrains site, which was built and opened in just 55 weeks.

Having somewhat hedged its bets with the exact specifications of the piston and compression ratio of the 2026 engine systems, it went ahead with the development of the 1.6-liter V6 combustion engine. Ahead of the summer break, the team is already starting to make their strides on the Dyno.

Part of the reason the deal with Porsche failed is that Red Bull considered the manufacturer to be potentially too intrusive. Therefore, the ideal partner is likely to be one who invests well but keeps his distance. A return to the brand’s Tag Heuer-style exercise that Red Bull ran in place of Renault stickers between 2016 and 2018 would be enticing in that respect.

Alternatively, Red Bull could form an alliance with another manufacturer that similarly wished not to interfere. Like I did when I wore the winged Aston Martin badge. This time, for example, Hyundai could be a vehicle for exploration. The Korean company is pressing its electric car transition, but even so, the 2022 World Rally Championship switch to a hybrid was enough to keep it on the entry list. Similar F1 regulations may be enough to entice it to take advantage of its logos over Adrien Newey’s future creations.

Honda is also known to be considering a comeback, having mobilized its factory F1 engine program at the end of 2021. Max Verstappen He was crowned drivers champion for the first time. With Masashi Yamamoto, the former managing director of the Japanese Formula 1 manufacturer, joining Red Bull Powertrains and the Honda engine that lives in the RB series as a new unit until the end of 2025, this alliance has great potential to be revived.

Either way, with Red Bull Powertrains already on track to get its engine ready for 2026 and listed as a power unit manufacturer, effective sponsorship has a better part of three and a half years to be completed. Porsche does not have the luxury of time.

This kind of commercial interest seems to corroborate Domenicali’s view that Porsche aside, there are many other manufacturers with an appetite to enter Formula 1 nowadays. Speaking before the Italian Grand Prix, he said: “I can only say that Porsche is an integral part of the group that has discussed and continues to discuss the rules behind the new power unit that will come into effect in 2026.

“We’ve all read the comments from Porsche and Red Bull, and they will be the ones to decide what to do. But I think that as F1 we ​​are currently a very comprehensive platform. There are also other manufacturers sitting at the engineer table who would rather not go out into the open.”

Will Porsche still look for a path to Formula 1?

Will Porsche still look for a path to Formula 1?

Photography: Sam Bloxham / motorsports pictures

What about Porsche’s next steps?

Volkswagen Group has been clear about what F1 – which has a Netflix-run boom – can offer Porsche. The world’s second largest automaker still fully believes that the adage “win on Sunday, sell on Monday” is true.

As the Stuttgart brand is the most sporting brand under the organisation’s umbrella, it wants to compete in the premier motorsport series that offers far more public and commercial appeal than it can hope to extend its winning record at the 24 Hours of Le Mans.

Alternatively, if Porsche splits from its master and makes plans to advertise itself and list itself on the stock exchange, achieving success in Formula 1 will not negatively affect its share price at all.

Combine the advantages offered by F1 as with the signing of the 2026 engine regulations that introduce a cost cap, greater environmental credentials and a partial reset to give Porsche more of a chance to compete from the start and you’ve got the last line of the statement. Just because Porsche will not enter Formula 1 with Red Bull does not mean it will not enter a full stop in Formula 1. “With the final changes to the rules, the racing series nonetheless remains an attractive environment for Porsche, which will continue to be monitored.”

Although Porsche wants to be more than just an engine partner and wants a stake in a racing team, there are still many ways to go. When Audi was considering any racing team, it would write a huge check for it, before Sauber came along it did its due diligence and evaluated many others. takeover of McLaren He didn’t come to anything after the initial discussions before looking at the four rings Williams and Aston Martin.

After its acquisition by investment group Dorilton Capital in 2020, combined with F1’s current surge in popularity, the price of the partnership with Williams has skyrocketed. However, there is already a significant overlap with Porsche thanks to the wealth of former VW Motorsport chiefs who drive the outfit. Team Principal Just Capito, Technical Director François-Xavier Demaison and Sporting Director Sven Smits have all worked in the dominant Polo WRC and are all well known to the organization not to be negative.

Williams has a number of former Volkswagen racing employees on board

Williams has a number of former Volkswagen racing employees on board

Photography: Zach Moger / motorsports pictures

Likewise, Audi has also conducted a feasibility study for Aston Martin. While Lawrence Stroll is openly splashing money by committing to a brand-new Silverstone plant, there is noise in the field that the Canadian billionaire has his price tag to sell given the massive amounts the project has consumed so far with only limited success. It wouldn’t be inconceivable that the side of the Aston Martin on the road also benefited, reasonably far away from mercedes The investor is aligning itself and its technology more closely with that of Porsche.

Then there’s what Michael Andretti’s investment group might offer. Domenicali and the other teams have expressed resistance to the former McLaren GP driver entering the 11th team on the grounds that splitting the prize money further, they say, will devalue the current teams. However, the partnership with Porsche could provide a back-to-back route.

Mercedes team boss Toto Wolff believes Andretti has nothing to offer OEMs. But Porsche and Andretti’s relationship could allay some of the paddock’s concerns. Austrian comment: “If an OEM or an international multinational group joins Formula 1 and can demonstrate that they will spend X amount of dollars in activation, in marketing in different markets; this is clearly a very different value proposition for all the other teams.”

Porsche is offering an all-electric powertrain to Andretti’s team of Gen3 customers in Formula E, creating an existing partnership that could theoretically pave the way for a union in F1 as well.

To arrive in time for 2026, the conversations need to be fast. Porsche has until October 15 to be named as an engine manufacturer by the FIA ​​if it wants to enter.

Andretti Formula E team secured Porsche powertrains kits for 2022-23 - could a similar deal be struck in F1?

Andretti Formula E team secured Porsche powertrains kits for 2022-23 – could a similar deal be struck in F1?

Photography: Alistair Staley / motorsports pictures

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