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Porsche Says F1 Deal Died When Red Bull Couldn't Agree to 'Equal Footing'

More than a year in the making, the worst-kept secret partnership in racing is officially dead.

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Photo: Kenzo Tribouillard (Getty Images)

Six months ago, the Porsche/Red Bull Formula 1 allegiance seemed like a done deal. The German sports car maker ingratiated itself within the FIA’s working group alongside existing teams to forge new power unit regulations. These regulations were necessary to attract Porsche’s investment in Red Bull, which was later reported to amount to 50 percent.

Official announcements were always promised by the next race weekend, if not the one after. Yet here we are, after well over a year of this, and everything has fallen apart. On Friday, Porsche confirmed it will not be working with Red Bull F1 in any capacity. How did we get here?


The sticking point, as rumors indicated earlier this week, was the 50/50 split. Red Bull soured on it, and you have to wonder if things might have turned out differently if the 2026 engine rules were ratified sooner. “The longer the talks lasted, and the deeper they went into details of how things would work, the more Porsche managers sat at the table, and the greater the skepticism grew at the Milton Keynes camp,” reported on Tuesday.

The automaker definitively ended things today with a short press release titled “Partnership between Porsche AG and Red Bull GmbH will not come about.” It reads:

In the course of the last few months, Dr. Ing. h.c. F. Porsche AG and Red Bull GmbH have held talks on the possibility of Porsche’s entry into Formula 1. The two companies have now jointly come to the conclusion that these talks will no longer be continued.

The premise was always that a partnership would be based on an equal footing, which would include not only an engine partnership but also the team. This could not be achieved. With the finalised rule changes, the racing series nevertheless remains an attractive environment for Porsche, which will continue to be monitored.


Like others, I totally bought that the partnership was inevitable, but I could never precisely understand what was in it for Red Bull. The team is already punching well above its weight for an independent operation. It recently secured its first championship in nearly a decade, and purchased all the necessary powertrain-related IP from Honda to start up its own engine-building wing. What was Porsche going to add, exactly, aside from more cooks in the kitchen?

Porsche concluded its statement by reaffirming that F1 is still an “attractive environment” for the brand. Of course it would be, considering the company just spent months shaping that environment for its own benefit. It’s hard to imagine Porsche walking away for good. For now, however, Stuttgart’s F1 dream is dead, and Volkswagen’s foray into the sport rests on Audi and whoever it plans to link up with. Who would’ve imagined that’s the bid that would’ve survived a year ago?