Christian Horner, Zandvoort, 2022

Porsche were “getting ahead of themselves” in Red Bull negotiations – Horner

2022 Italian Grand Prix

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Red Bull team principal Christian Horner has explained why months of negotiations with Porsche over a tie-up between the two broke down with no agreement reached.

Porsche announced this morning their discussions with Red Bull had ended, but they remain interested in a future move into Formula 1.

“It didn’t take us by surprise,” Horner told media including RaceFans at Monza today. “The talks were concluded over a week or so ago.”

Horner said Red Bull is pressing with plans to manufacturer its own F1 power unit for 2026 after failing to reach an agreement with Porsche over the two joining forces.

“Porsche’s a great brand, a great company and we wish them the best of luck for the their future whatever that holds,” he said. “But obviously Red Bull’s direction is clear.

“We embarked on this journey after Honda’s withdrawal from Formula 1. Part of that was the homologated engine to enable us to complete this period.

“But we’ve created a facility in Milton Keynes and recruited some of the top talent in the sport. We now have in excess of 300 people employed in a state-of-the-art facility. We’ve run the first prototype of a full V6 engine for 2026 prior to the summer break. And our strategy to have engine and chassis all under one roof and on campus with engineers and designers sitting next to chassis engineers and designers remains absolutely unchanged.

“So at no point was this dependent on the involvement of an investor or a manufacturer. And there’s been no contribution to where we are today. So our focus is very much on 2026, on the future and we’re looking forward to the next new exciting chapter for Red Bull Racing.”

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The two parties never reached the stage of agreeing a formal commitment, said Horner. “The discussions were exactly that, there was only ever discussions. There was nothing ever signed or agreed.”

Red Bull factory, Milton Keynes, 2021
Red Bull will build its 2026 F1 engine in-house
Red Bull has co-operated with other engine manufacturers before, including Renault and most recently Honda. However Horner said he did not want to risk compromising his team’s ability to operate without outside interference.

“I’m not going to go into the detail of what those discussions were or entailed, but one of the strengths of this team has is obviously has been its independence. It instils all the virtues and values of Red Bull, whether as a challenger, as a maverick. It’s one of the core attributes that enabled us to be as successful as we have in the sport today.

“We didn’t want to diminish those or dilute those in any way and they are fundamental principles for how we will also attack the challenge of the power unit.”

A deal had appeared imminent for several weeks. There were rumours of an announcement at the Austrian Grand Prix, Red Bull’s home race, which never materialised. Horner stressed no formal commitment had been made and suggested Porsche had begun making preparations for more advanced stages of the negotiations.

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“I think big organisations, obviously they need significant planning, and I think perhaps [they were] slightly getting a little bit ahead of themselves. But as I say, there was never a binding commitment signed between the parties.”

Public documents indicated Porsche was preparing to take a 50% stake in Red Bull Technology, which manufacturers the F1 team’s chassis. “There was an expression of interest,” Horner acknowledged, “so the shareholders obviously considered it and decided that it wasn’t right for Red Bull Racing or Red Bull Technology or Red Bull Powertrains.”

Red Bull’s concern was that joining forces with a much larger car manufacturer would compromise their ability to make decisions quickly, which Horner considers a vital factor in the team’s success.

“One of our core strengths has been our independence and our quick decision-making and the lack of bureaucracy,” he said. “We’re a race team fundamentally and that enables us to make quick decisions, effective decisions and react very quickly as a race team.

“I think we’ve seen on so many occasions manufacturers have been less autonomous in their decision-making. But that was just a key aspect of protecting what we have and how we operate, which has proved to be reasonably successful.”

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2022 Italian Grand Prix

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Author information

Keith Collantine
Lifelong motor sport fan Keith set up RaceFans in 2005 - when it was originally called F1 Fanatic. Having previously worked as a motoring...
Claire Cottingham
Claire has worked in motorsport for much of her career, covering a broad mix of championships including Formula One, Formula E, the BTCC, British...

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15 comments on “Porsche were “getting ahead of themselves” in Red Bull negotiations – Horner”

  1. Based on those comments, if another engine Manufacturer was looking to get their name in the sport without a lot of headaches and was willing to let Red Bull (that is to say, Horner) run the show, there may be an opportunity for them now.

    1. They should continue their technical partnership with Honda, it’s been working… Honda has made hints recently that they’re not opposed to staying in the sport post 2026. I’m wondering if that has had anything to do with the Porsche breakdown.

      1. If Horner’s comments are to believed, they are producing their own engine and Honda wouldn’t want it done that way as they have their own facility in Japan.

        My guess is there is a deal with Andretti to take over Alpha Tauri and that’s why they want Colton Herta so bad. The deal may include using Red Bull power trains or it may see Honda continue to supply them. I honestly can’t see why Marko and Horner have used such strong language about the Herta move otherwise. The timing is right too, if talks broke down with Porsche the other week

  2. Interesting to hear that Red Bull are still backing themselves, wanting that ability to rapidly iterate and develop.

    That was the key, publicised reason for the failed project with Abiteboul’s Renault engines back in the day. It’s interesting to think how things could have ended up if Renault worked more in lock step with Red Bull.

    1. Not quite failed, they won 4 championshipa

      1. Not quite failed, they won 4 championshipa

        I think that was rather more to do with the aero design and particularly the blown diffuser design than anything Renault had built to power the car.
        In fact, when the regulations changed to stop the blown diffuser use, Red Bull performance dropped massively and the Renault power units managed to lunch themselves regularly just trying to match the performance of every other car on the track.

        So, credit to Adrian Newey for that successful era and Renault hanging on to the coat tails.

        1. Somehow, the Renault engine worked better with the blown diffuser than Merc’s, even though Merc’s was somewhat more powerful. And Seb mastered the trick, in a way Mark Webber never was able to. It is the one thing Seb was ever really good at, but it brought him 4 WDCs. Not bad at all.

      2. That was before Abiteboul was doing the Renault engines. I’m referring to when Renault gave up the race team to “Lotus” and had Red Bull as the pseudo-works relationship.

    2. We’ve run the first prototype of a full V6 engine for 2026 prior to the summer break.

      Interesting they already had a 2026 engine prototype running… before the regulations were ‘officially’ approved, August 16th. Lucky for them they knew the regulations wouldn’t change. Lucky or working closely with the FIA…

      1. It’s been clear for months that the ICE component of the 2026 power unit was going to be a 1.6 V6.

      2. I mean, it was a single cylinder, so still very early days.

        But end of days they have had the staff there for about a year now. A full compliment of staff, some of the top F1 engine builders of the past decades, top-of-the-line facilities. Just overall a huge investment and it makes sense that they’d be firing on all cylinders (heh) over at RBT.

        I think any motor partnership in the future would be a manufacturer slapping their brand on the RBT engine and paying a hefty price. I can see why the Porsche deal ended up being impossible for either party.

  3. If it ain’t broke, don’t sell it!

  4. Good for them. But I am concerned what will happen if Dr Marko can no longer be involved? He is a fit man, but he isn’t getting younger in 2026.

  5. Porsche wanted 50% of Redbull Racing & wanted to be engine supplier.

    Sounds more like they wanted a full takeover (in time) which would have been wonderful (for them) until they stop winning races/championships then VAG group would pull the plug.

    Toyota left when they finally built a decent car (lacking decent drivers for all the money they spent).

    BMW gave up developing the car when they had a chance win the WDC due to putting their resources into next years car then pulling the plug.

    No one can out do Honda though when they knew they had the magical double diffuser. Imagine if they stayed on in 2009.

    Instead they gifted it to Mercedes via Ross Brawn.

    Manufacturers are an integral part of F1 an not many private investors (Lawrence Stroll aside) are willing to blow the amount of cash needed to possibly be successful.

    Problem is as soon as there is a decline in road car sales then they drop tools & run.

    So comical that Honda wants back in again. Haven’t they learned by now to stop dropping out of F1 just as their incredible investment starts to bear fruit!!!!!!

  6. (…)diluting(…)

    That is what VAG group is known for, they come as a sponsor and get the credit.

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