Christian Horner on potential Porsche link-up: It has to be on Red Bull’s terms

Thomas Maher
Red Bull's Max Verstappen on track at the Dutch Grand Prix. Zandvoort, September 2022.

Red Bull's Max Verstappen on track at the Dutch Grand Prix. Zandvoort, September 2022.

Red Bull boss Christian Horner says a potential link-up with Porsche would have to fit in with the team’s long-term strategy.

Horner appears to have cooled talk of a potential link-up between Porsche and Red Bull as rumours about a partnership beginning in 2026 have swirled in recent months.

Horner has previously said any partners that come on board with the independently-owned team will have to cede to Red Bull’s operating style – a point he reiterated as he spoke to media over the Dutch Grand Prix weekend.

While recent rumours suggested Porsche were set to purchase a major stake in Red Bull, Horner said the focus of Red Bull remains on their own engine programme.

“There’s not really too much to report,” Horner told Sky F1 at Zandvoort.

“We’ve consistently said we are pushing on with Red Bull Powertrains. It’s making great strides, with our first fire-up of the first ever Red Bull engine a couple of weeks ago.

“So 2026 is a long way away and we are very focused on our plan, on the engine we are producing, with the talent we are bringing into the team.

“It’s great to see Audi coming into the sport and anything Red Bull would consider would have to fit in with the long-term strategy of the team. There’s plenty of time ahead.”

Christian Horner: Partners have to fit with Red Bull

Given Red Bull’s tremendous success in F1 since entering the sport in 2005, Horner made it clear any potential partnerships would have to take into account the strength of the team given their style of operating is yielding proven results.

“Any relationship with any manufacturer or partner would have to fit with Red Bull,” he said.

“We’ve got a great team, we’ve got strength in depth. We’ve got this new exciting chapter we are heading into on the powertrain side of the business.

Red Bull's Max Verstappen at the Hungarian Grand Prix. Budapest, July 2022.
Red Bull's Max Verstappen at the Hungarian Grand Prix. Budapest, July 2022.

“We’ve got some phenomenal talent that has joined the company. So we are in good shape and time will tell whether we embrace a partner into that programme or, as the plan is at present, continue on our own.

“Red Bull have always been an independent team, it’s been one of our strengths. It’s been the backbone of what we’ve achieved and our ability to move quickly and it’s part of the DNA of who we are.

“We are not a corporately-operated organisation and that’s one of our strengths and how we operate as a race team and that’s an absolute pre-requisite for the future.

“They (potential team partners) need to decide whether they want to join that party or not. But they would have to be within the culture of the way we go racing.”

While the Porsche partnership appears to have hit a roadblock, Horner said there are still possibilities of an engine partner coming on board – pointing to Honda, who officially left F1 as a supplier at the conclusion of 2021 but are continuing to manufacture Red Bull’s 2022 engines from their base in Japan.

“Honda withdrew from F1, they have kept a toe in with the agreement we have with HRC (Honda Racing Corporation),” said Horner.

“They are making noises about 2026, but our train has left the station. We’ve committed to the investment within Red Bull Powertrains.

“We’ve circa 300 people now working on that 2026 engine, so it would need to fit – any agreement with any potential partner or OEM – with that.

“With the whole team under one roof, that has synergy benefits with chassis designers sitting next to engine designers.”