Why Porsche’s Red Bull F1 plans seem dead in the water.
And those hurdles now appear to have become solid brick walls, and indicate that any possibility of an F1 team joint venture between Red Bull and Porsche – which involved a sale of shares in the Milton Keynes F1 team – will not is no longer topical.
Red Bull’s motorsport adviser told the F1-Insider.com website in Zandvoort definitively on Sunday evening: “Porsche will not become our shareholder. »
Autosport and its sister site Motorsport-total.com have obtained confirmation from several sources familiar with the situation that Marko’s statement is the reality of the situation.
There will be no formal takeover of the F1 team by Porsche as originally planned – and at best all that is available is a deal with Red Bull’s powertrains which could result in engine rebadging.
It is understood that behind the scenes at Porsche there is great disappointment over the failure of the deal. And also a debate that if the approval of the engine regulations by the FIA had been ratified earlier than expected, to open the door to the announcement of the Austrian GP, things could have been different now.
What appears to have happened following the postponement of the rules – and the final tweaking of the 2026 rules regarding newcomer concessions – is that Red Bull chiefs Christian Horner and Marko have given up thinking that the 50-50 partnership with Porsche from 2026 was the best thing for the F1 team.
Initially, it is understood that the negotiations were not complicated. But the longer the talks dragged on and the deeper they got into the details of the operation, the more Porsche executives sat at the table, and the more skepticism grew in the Milton Keynes camp.
Red Bull knows it has a star driver, Max Verstappen, a top designer, Adrian Newey, and a top notch racing team and car. What would be gained by sacrificing all of that for greater outside influence from a major automaker?
Red Bull has never been stronger as a team than when it has been completely independent and able to react in an instant to any challenge thrown at it.
Examples of the big manufacturers that have their own teams – like Toyota, BMW and Honda – all show more bureaucratic processes that only serve to stymie competitive ambitions, and a lack of agility that has made Red Bull such a force in F1.
It’s a key point Horner made in Zandvoort on Sunday night when asked whether the deal with Porsche was dead or not.
“We are an independent team,” he said. “That’s always been the way we’ve operated in terms of flexibility and the ability to act quickly and efficiently. And I think that’s part of the DNA of what Red Bull is. »
Horner also made it clear last weekend that he and Marko’s second thoughts about a Porsche involvement were unrelated to their fear of losing their jobs and being replaced by managers from the German company. .
« There are always crazy rumors in this paddock, » Horner said of those theories.
“I recently made a long-term commitment to this team. And indeed, all the discussions we had were conditional on the management structure remaining the same, which has always been fully accepted.
« So I think I don’t really need to comment on the wild speculations. »
While Red Bull doesn’t seem interested in sacrificing ownership of its F1 team, it’s another matter when it comes to its new powertrain division: and it could offer the opportunity for a common ownership to rebadge Red Bull engines as Porsche.
Horner added: “The powertrain is obviously a different challenge. And of course, if there was a partner we could consider working with on the powertrains, that would make sense.
“Our position is that obviously the team is the greatest global marketing asset for Red Bull. And why should we compromise this strategically in the long run?
“For 2026, we are fully committed, we have recruited some of the best talent in Formula 1 within Red Bull Powertrains, we have created a factory in 55 weeks, with dynos fully commissioned. We built our first prototype engine for 2026 and got it running before the summer holidays. »
What may also have played into Red Bull’s opinion of the Porsche project was how quickly its powertrain division came together. It gave her confidence in her own ability to build a top-tier engine for 2026, whether she has an engine partner or not.
Red Bull no longer considers it out of the question to manage the entire engine project itself. The fact that the first Red Bull engine was running on one of AVL’s new test beds in Milton Keynes shortly before the summer break reinforced his belief that it can go ahead on its own.
Although there is still no battery, Horner points out that Red Bull Powertrains is able to design and build a complete power unit in-house.
« The specialists we have cover the entire powertrain, including electrical and mechanical, » he said.
“We are on a really exciting trajectory that is not dependent on outside participation or investment if there is strategically the right partner. And, of course, that’s something the band would be very interested in. »
But whether or not Porsche is open to such an idea is another question. It has been clear for months that the German automaker only wants to enter F1 as a team partner, not just as an engine supplier.
With this plan seemingly collapsing at Red Bull, options are extremely limited elsewhere, making it debatable whether the Porsche project will continue or not.
For Porsche, it’s a bitter failure. The company from Zuffenhausen is currently preparing its IPO. A future entry into the burgeoning, multi-billion dollar Formula 1 business which has never been more profitable for teams than since the introduction of the budget cap (which will also apply to engines from of 2026), would have been perfect. She must now think about what she will do next.
For Red Bull, what Porsche does or does not do does not change anything in the short term. It looks almost certain to win this year’s world championship with Verstappen, it has Newey in place, a solid car for the new rules era and a technical partnership with Honda until at least the end of 2025 – and a extension is not totally excluded.
It also has the funds to continue developing its own engine and has at least three more years to find a potential partner on that front if it chooses.
As Horner said: “One of our strengths is that Red Bull has always been a brand that thinks outside the box, a team that is never afraid to take on new challenges.
“First we entered F1 and now we are building an engine. The way we work is quite different, and it’s part of our DNA to be able to do great things. »
Additional reporting by Luke Smith