Red Bull deal with Porsche has hit a stumbling block – reports

Jamie Woodhouse
Max Verstappen, Red Bull, in FP2 for the Belgian GP. Spa August 2022.

Red Bull driver Max Verstappen makes his way around Pouhon during practice. Spa-Francorchamps August 2022.

The issue of control is reportedly putting a halt on any partnership between Red Bull and Porsche from the 2026 season.

The new power unit regulations for 2026 have now been finalised, that followed by the announcement that Audi will enter the series from that season.

However, it had been expected that another Volkswagen Group brand, Porsche, would be the first to announce their upcoming entry into Formula 1, having been so heavily linked with a Red Bull partnership.

Red Bull has extended its support from Honda through to 2025, at which point Red Bull Powertrains will then take over to kick-off the new era of power units.

 

 

But, if Porsche are to get involved with Red Bull, then it would seem that a power struggle must be overcome.

According to Auto Motor und Sport, Porsche wants a 50% stake in Red Bull Technologies, and has received the blessing of Red Bull co-owner Dietrich Mateschitz, though Red Bull Racing’s officials are not completely sold on that prospect.

With Porsche reportedly likely to demand influence to match their prospective half ownership, Red Bull advisor Helmut Marko, team principal Christian Horner and design chief Adrian Newey are not keen on the idea of losing that independence.

Auto Motor und Sport state that Honda are also considering a comeback from 2026, though if they were to partner with Red Bull again, then it risks rendering the new Red Bull Powertrains division redundant, since Honda will have everything which they need in place to produce the power units.

Autosport have suggested that the plan for Porsche’s involvement with the Red Bull power units revolves around naming rights, ‘with only a small number of Porsche engineers eventually working at Red Bull’s facility’.

If the deal with Red Bull does not come to fruition, then there is reportedly no ‘Plan B’ for Porsche.

Horner described the ongoing discussions with Porsche as “constructive”, but regardless of the eventual outcome, the Red Bull Powertrains project is full steam ahead.

“Obviously, we’re pushing ahead with Red Bull Powertrains,” Horner told Autosport. “They fired up the first engine prior to the summer break. 2026 is still a while away.

“We have plenty of time, and of course, strategically, we will have to do what’s right for the team and for the company. And obviously that’s between the shareholders. And there’s constructive discussion ongoing discussions obviously with Porsche.”

As for a possible official Honda return, Horner replied: “I think that for 2026, nothing is fixed. I mean, obviously, Red Bull Powertrains is established, we have more than 300 people recruited. So, that is our path.

“We don’t have time pressure, because ’26 is still three and a bit years away. So, we don’t need to be in a rush. And therefore, obviously, constructive discussions are ongoing.”

Porsche logo seen on a parked Porsche car in South Edmonton. England August 2021

There is a deadline of October 15 by which any prospective power unit supplier must confirm with the FIA their intention to join Formula 1 from 2026, with Audi having already ticked that box by making their entry official.

The situation for Porsche though is a little more complicated, since their plans appears to be a collaboration with the Red Bull team, rather than outright producing the power units.

Autosport report that the FIA and current power unit manufacturers are now discussing this deadline, though Horner stressed that this does not act as a cut-off on any deals for Red Bull, as Red Bull Powertrains will be supplying the Red Bull and AlphaTauri teams regardless.

So, whether Porsche come on board or even if Honda make a return, the Red Bull Powertrains project is in place and ready to power Red Bull’s two teams.

“There is a date. But that doesn’t preclude a deal being done after the 15th,” said Horner. “So Red Bull Powertrains will be supplying two teams in 2026.

“It fundamentally won’t change anything, because the way that the company is constructed, we have Red Bull Powertrains that will be producing an engine for 2026.

“And the whole purpose for that was to have an integrated solution between engine and chassis to bring it all under one roof, being the only team other than Ferrari. So that is the absolute clear plan.

“It’s great that there’s manufacturers that are interested in coming into the sport, or remaining in the sport, but Red Bull Powertrains, it’s made the commitment, we have the facility, we have the dynos, we have the capability, we recruited some of the best talent in F1. And we believe we’re in a very healthy place for the future.”