The two entities simply can't see eye to eye.
Late last month, Audi officially announced its Formula 1 entry for 2026. During the following live Q&A session, there were numerous indications that Audi was aware of a forthcoming entry from fellow Volkswagen Group automaker Porsche. This fit with the Stuttgart-based automaker's earlier filing of a trademark for the word "F1nally" and it seemed that the rumors of a partnership with Red Bull would be announced imminently. Leaked legal documentation even supported that a 50% stake in Red Bull had been acquired by the German sports car manufacturer. However, in the following days, more and more comments from senior Red Bull figures like Christian Horner and Helmut Marko seemed to suggest that an agreement was far from being reached.
Now, Porsche has officially announced that it will no longer pursue a collaboration with the Austrian energy drink brand.
The short statement issued by Porsche reads as follows:
"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."
In a recent interview with Sky Sports, Red Bull's Christian Horner indicated exactly what Porsche has said above - that the two entities simply cannot see eye to eye.
"Our train has left the station, and we have circa 300 people working on our 2026 engine," said Horner. "They [Porsche, or any other potential partner] need to decide whether they want to join that party or not. But they would have to be within the culture of the way we go racing." He also noted that "anything Red Bull would consider would have to fit in with the long-term strategy of the team."
Basically, Porsche wants to be more than just an engine supplier and would want to be a big part of the running of the team. Meanwhile, Red Bull knows how attractive its team is and is unwilling to relinquish control. After all, it's the direction of Horner and the insight of Marko that has helped the team achieve what it has so far. Furthermore, Red Bull has invested a fortune in its own powertrain development company with its own factory. Porsche is simply not needed, and Red Bull holds all the cards.
So what's next? Well, Red Bull will likely continue as it has, while Porsche is still evaluating options. The statement from the automaker concludes thus: "With the finalized rule changes, the racing series nevertheless remains an attractive environment for Porsche, which will continue to be monitored."
Porsche understands that entering F1 adds further credibility to the brand and creates opportunities for numerous highly profitable special editions of the 911 GT3 and other models.
The rumor mill is now suggesting that McLaren could be a potential partner for Porsche, but this could be totally false. Whatever happens, Porsche is not the only automaker interested in joining the sport.
Ahead of this weekend's Monza Grand Prix in Italy, Formula 1 CEO Stefano Domenicali revealed that "there are also other manufacturers sitting at the table of engineers who prefer not to come out into the open." Who these may be remains a mystery, but BMW, for one, has said F1 is not in its future. Perhaps Honda could return as a standalone works team. Perhaps Lamborghini could enter. We'll let you know as soon as we learn more.