Red Bull-Porsche deal faces a major setback

Red Bull-Porsche deal faces a major setback

Red Bull and Porsche’s long-rumored Formula 1 alliance is apparently having some issues.

Porsche may have had ambitions to buy a portion of Red Bull Advanced Technologies which is the F1 team’s technological division, according to legal documents filed in Morocco. However, reports indicate that this is not yet finalized.

The arrival of the VW Group brands Porsche and Audi has long been anticipated, and it appears that Audi will buy a majority stake in Sauber in order to prepare for its own power unit (PU) entry in 2026.

However, the latter’s efforts to collaborate with Red Bull have run into a significant roadblock and are likely to be abandoned. What Red Bull is actually willing to sell, which is a deal with Red Bull Powertrains rather than ownership of the team or Red Bull Technology, differs from what Porsche thought it had agreed upon with Dietrich Mateschitz.

A partnership with Porsche appears to be only one of several options under consideration by Red Bull as it evaluates its choices for 2026 and beyond.

Honda is rumored to have already partially reversed its decision to leave the sport by continuing to be identified on the Red Bull engine cover, but ongoing rumors suggest that Honda may still change its mind.

Honda is reportedly in disagreement on whether the company should take part in the new PU formula starting in 2026. However, in order to be eligible to vote on future rule changes, a company must register by the middle of October this year if it plans to start supplying power units after that date.

This would appear to put Porsche and Honda in a tight spot in terms of time. Porsche, which had planned to work with Red Bull Powertrains, may not have a powertrain or a squad.

Ironically, Porsche’s initial R&D project for a non-ERS-h hybrid F1 unit from a few years ago, before dieselgate and before that technical division was disbanded, will form the basis for Audi’s power unit ironically with many of the personnel transferring to Audi.

If the Red Bull contract falls through, the Audi unit might be the center of any Porsche PU effort with a new team but it is not possible. A common power unit across two brands cannot be badge-engineered.

However, F1 is the exclusive owner of these two ostensible requirements: the date of registering for voting rights and the badging of power units. They had no trouble meeting those requirements because Honda wasn’t coming and Porsche was.

Now that they do, they run the risk of losing the support of two automakers. Therefore, it wouldn’t be surprising if F1 relaxed those standards or at least made an effort to reduce the time crunch.

Recent engine testing by Red Bull Powertrains, which has hired substantially from Mercedes, Renault, and other companies, was successful. This is the foundation of the ’26 power unit, which was initially intended to be badged as a Porsche but which, if Porsche keeps to their ‘no team/no agreement position,’ might still be badged as either a Honda or a Red Bull.

It is clear the Red Bull powertrain will remain to be behind the 2026 Red Bull regardless of badging,

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