Porsche and Red Bull have been courting for most of this year, with a 50/50 deal expected to happen between the two organisations, as the German sportscar legend finally entered Formula 1, supposedly.
This went on for months, they even registered the F1NALLY trademark for the project and just a matter of time before the paperwork was finished it was thought but, to this day we wait, and now latest word from Red Bull motorsport boss Helmut Marko is that the deal is off.
At Zandvoort last weekend, he told Sport1: “Porsche won’t become a shareholder in Red Bull. We have every opportunity to build our own engines.”
In retrospect, at Spa-Francorchamps it seemed already something was amiss when Audi surprisingly announced their F1 plans to build power units for 2026, while confirming they were shopping for a partner team, apparently, Sauber (aka Alfa Romeo) to spearhead their works entry.
This was strange because before that it was felt that the Red Bull Porsche partnership was a done deal, while Audi was putting out feelers, but what transpired was quite the contrary as the latter has a plan which they announced, while Porsche does not.
Furthermore, with F1 booming, Red Bull Powertrains producing this year’s almost unbeatable F1 engine, why would the team sell off half their asset to Porsche who then want control over how they go racing? They know nothing of F1 despite their illustrious racing pedigree.
Was it all just a ploy to bolster their recently announced IPO? If it was it failed because Red Bull are not playing the game and Porsche remain the joke they have been for years regarding an F1 entry, aimless, postering and feet-dragging doing them no favours again.
What did Audi boss Duesmann say that was so revealing?
As both marques are part of the Volkswagen Group, there are hints of one-upmanship between the rival (but related) brands, Sport1 reports that internally “Audi boss Markus Duesmann caused confusion, astonishment and anger at the same time with the unauthorized and brash announcement of their entry into Formula 1.”
Duesmann revealed at the time: “We raced Porsche in Le Mans with completely separate operations and in this case as well, we will have completely separate operations. We will have our operations in Germany and, if Porsche enters, they will have their operations in the UK – completely separate.”
Keyword (in italics) there is if, depending on how you look at it. And in this instance, the use of the word by Duesmann, inadvertently or not, indicates that Porsche are still fence-sitting with their F1 foray and no RBR deal is done.
This in turn suggests that VW chiefs do not have a plan or have not thought this through, as F1 history shows that teams are remembered for their accomplishments, not the bolt-on engine suppliers.
Porsche partnering with a team will dilute their entry into the top flight. A racing institution such as they are should, or are expected, to take F1 on full gas or not at all, but hiding behind a team will do them no favours.
How many know that Porsche built the TAG engines that powered McLaren during their glory days? Only F1 anoraks!
Even at the time, mastering turbo technology at Le Mans, Porsche were afraid to badge those engines with their emblem, instead, they were badged TAG (Techniques d’Avant Garde) because Mansour Ojjeh’s company financed the project.
With that engine, McLaren won two F1 titles in 1984 and 1985 but it was TAG, not Porsche.
And guess what? Speculation is the two illustrious racing marques are talking about a 2026 deal. Watch this space.