In 2026 Formula One will see the next breed of power units enter the fray. Anyone wishing to participate in the shaping of the rules must register with the FIA by October. This will contractually commit those members to deliver F1 power units or face sanctions, so D-Day is coming for the Likes of Porsche.
Audi have declared they will be at the party and it is believed when the Alfa Romeo sponsorship ends with the Swiss based team, Audi will buy a significant portion of the former F1 Sauber outfit.
Porsche have been looking for a similar deal most intensely with Red Bull Racing, however Christian Horner has gone to great lengths to insist repeatedly stating Red Bull Powertrains must drive the culture – and presumably the decision making.
Red Bull Powertrains was conceived following Red Bull Racing’s disastrous relationship with Renault where coming off the back of 4 titles wins the Milton Keynes team realised the new Renault V6 hybrid was in every way no match for the Mercedes power unit.
TJ13 has repeated reported this is not a done deal and even looks shaky based on the lack of enthusiasm from Christian over the tie up.
Red Bull deal with Porsche is surely off
Horner again today following FP1 in Zandvoort reported how well Red Bull Powertrains. “It’s making great strides with the fire upon the first ever Red Bull engine a couple of weeks ago.”
“2026 is a long way away and we’re very focused on OUR plan for the engine we’re producing, with the talent we’re bringing into the team.”
Christian then makes the point, “It’s great to see Audi coming into the sport”.
Yet when pushed about a tie up with Porsche Horner again insists the next generation power unit must be done the Red Bull way.
“Anything that Red Bull would consider would have to fit with the long term strategy of the team – as I said there’s plenty of time ahead.”
“Any relationship with any manufacturer or partner would have to fit Red Bull. We’ve got a great team we’ve got strength and depth, we’ve got this exciting new chapter we’re entering on the powertrains side of the business.”
“We’ve got some phenomenal talent that have joined the company. So we’re in good shape.
Time will tell whether we embrace a partner into that programme or not. As the plan is at present we’ll continue on our own”.
The Porsche board in Stuttgart are known to want to do things their way and it’s clear from Horner’s comments that this is a no go for Red Bull.
The Red Bull boss addressed the Honda issue who extended a consultancy contract with Red Bull recently until 2025, yet it appears the Japanese manufacturer is in the same boat as Porsche as Horner explains.
“Honda obviously withdrew from Formula One. They’ve kept a toe in with the agreement we have with HRC. They’re making noises about 2026.
“[But as for Porsche} Our train has obviously left the station. We’ve committed to Red Bull Powertrains, we’re circa 300 people now working on that 2026 engine.”
“So any agreement with any potential partner or OEM would need to fit with that. We now have the whole team under one roof – with the synergy benefits that has with chassis designers sitting next to engine designers.”
It appears strange Porsche didn’t grasp the nature of the preferred style of relationship Red Bull and this ‘control’ clearly remains an issue.
Even more given those who intend to participate as a 2026 power unit supplier must make the decision in less than 8 weeks time.
A cynical viewpoint could suggest tat Red Bull racing have made the Porsche discussions protected knowing that the clock is running down and the German manufacturer has not explored in depth any other options for a 2026 partner.
Of course Gene Haas appears to have lost interest in his much vaunted F1 dream, so would be open to an offer from Porsche. Yet the board I Stuttgart understands all too well the technical abilities in there Haas team a chalk and cheese from those Red Bull Racing can deliver.