There's nobody left to partner with.
Porsche has reportedly given up its efforts to join the F1 grid. The report comes via The Race, which doesn't quote a source but appears to have insider information on this latest development.
The German brand's decision to stop shopping around for a partner makes sense, as it essentially missed the deadline. When Porsche and Audi first announced their intentions to join the grid, VW's then-CEO said that the 2026 regulations were the only way for a new team to enter and be competitive.
The 2026 engine regulations will put all teams on equal footing while providing a way in for other manufacturers. The new regulations are substantial, but it boils down to cheaper power units and a power split that's 50% ICE and 50% electric. By then, the F1 cars will also run on 100% synthetic and sustainable fuel, which was a major drawcard for Porsche.
This provided Porsche with the perfect opportunity to showcase what it could do with electric motors and synthetic fuel. Considering F1's large following, it was simply the easiest way to get the message across.
Audi eventually found a partner in Sauber and purchased a minority stake that will increase in years to come. But Porsche seemed to struggle, even though it was in talks with two of the biggest names in the business. The most famous potential partnership was between Red Bull and Porsche, which fell flat because the German brand wanted too much control. Red Bull eventually partnered with Ford. Oddly, Ford will have some sway at Red Bull, as the deal is far more than just a branding exercise.
Porsche also approached McLaren, but the Brits would not allow naming rights to be given up and their cars branded with Stuttgart's logos alone. You also have to wonder how that partnership would have worked, as there is some overlap in the two automakers' product portfolios. For example, the McLaren Artura is a direct rival to the Porsche 911 Turbo.
The manufacturer teams can be ruled out for the same reason. We can't see Porsche teaming up with Ferrari, Mercedes-AMG, Aston Martin, or Alpine. That leaves Haas and Williams, who already have power unit suppliers they're happy with. Well, at least Williams is satisfied with its Mercedes engine. The jury is still out on whether Haas will stick with Ferrari, given its widely publicized reliability problems. Andretti Autosport is partnered with Cadillac, though its entry into F1 is still up for approval.
As late as December 2022, Porsche still said that F1 is an area of interest, but now it's too late. While the new regulations are three seasons away, work on the new power units is underway. That's why all the teams made their announcements so far ahead of the actual regulation change.
It's a pity Porsche couldn't find a partner, and entering by itself would be too expensive and nearly impossible, given the general attitude towards new teams.
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