Formula One is expanding its reach exponentially since Liberty Media bought the commercial rights to the sport from CVC Capital ad Bernie Ecclestone. Ecclestone took the sport from being penniless and racing at abandoned airfield to an £8 billion valuation. Yet Bernie’s philosophy was to restrict access to F1 and therefore make it an exclusive product. Liberty media have a different approach.
Gone are the days when websites like F1fanatic are threatened with law suits for trademark name abuse and Youtube channels promoting F1 race clips are now positively encouraged. Liberty realise social media is free advertising and is attracting a new young audience to the sport.
TV audiences are significantly up this season following the new regulation changes that allow cars to follow more closely and overtake more easily, though Mercedes F1 are wanting to turn the clock back on ground force design regulations because their car design is uncompetitive.
The next big step change in regulations is coming for the 2026 season, where the current supersize cars and their Dreadnoughtous dinosaur huge engines will be replaced by a new generation of power units.
The current F1 cars are almost 50% heavier than their predecessors in the late 1990’s and are 5 metres long and 2 metres wide.
This means overtaking is more difficult and even the handling of the car requires space age sophisticated tools for the drivers to manage.
However, 2026 is a new dawn. The FIA a re committed to smaller cars and smaller power units and a new generation of auto manufacturers are highly interested in joining the sport.
VAG Group brand Audi are reputed to being close to a deal to buy 75% of Swiss based Sauber [Alfa Romeo] and given the new found popularity of F1 prices for back of the grid teams are touted as no less than £1 billion.
Mercedes have for almost a decade reduced their paper based advertising spend and invested it in winning everything in F1. This has proved a far better return for their automotive sales than running Merc ads around the world. Filling the back pages of every sorts publication on planet earth with Mercedes F1 stories has been a huge win for the company.
Porsche have been rumoured for some time to be ready to announce an F1 partnership with Red Bull and an announcement was expected at the Austrian GP. However so many other deadlines of Audi and Porsche announcing their participation have passed due to the fact the regulations for 2026 are still not agreed.
Yet Germany’s Motorsport-Total.com is today reporting documents have been revealed suggesting the deal between Porsche and Red Bull is in fact done.
However Germany’s Motorsport-Total has obtained documents that appear to suggest the deal is done. It reveals there will be a merger between Porsche and Red Bull Advanced Technologies and the split being 50-50.
Due to antitrust and anti competition EU regulations this deal has been through the mill. Motorsport-Total reveals that details of Porsche’s planned entry in 2026 are confirmed in a document issued by Morocco’s Conseil de la Concurrence – and, ironically lodged on the Friday of the Austrian GP weekend – which details the intent for Porsche to acquire 50% of Red Bull Technology Ltd, the aim being the development and production of a power unit for the Austrian team.
But what have Porsche bought 50% of? The Racing team? It appears not. The website reveals;
“Red Bull Advanced Technologies was formed in the unrelenting fire of Formula 1 competition as the high-performance engineering and sister business of Red Bull Racing. Red Bull Advanced Technologies brings its exceptional engineering, design, technology, simulation and production capabilities to a hugely diverse set of industries, helping to create a smarter, better future.
The same tools, techniques and methods used to win the development race that is F1 are applied to engineering challenges across land, sea and air at blistering pace.
From Hypercars to Hydrogen racing cars and everything in between including such diverse challenges as bikes, balloons and sailing boats, with Red Bull Advanced Technologies the possibilities are limitless.”
It is interesting that Porsche have bought into such a wide brief of technological activity but the real question is who will build the engines for RBR from 2026.
The understanding is Porsche will assist in the newly founded Red Bull power trains that took on the intellectual property from Honda their previous power unit supplier. Alpha Tauri will use the same engines.
So Porsche will not in fact own 50% of Red Bull Racing but are partnering with them on a high level even above F1 in a race to develop technologies even beyond road car applications.
The collaborative effort between Red Bull and Porsche goes way beyond road car technology and could impact even energy production capabilities such as hydrogen.