Red Bull and Porsche are reported to be closer to striking a Formula 1 partnership than ever before, with a deal set to be signed as early as next month if there are no last-minute stumbling blocks.
Every year around this time the subject of Porsche-Audi-Volkswagen entering F1 becomes topical, until now it’s always been denials.
This time around there appears to be credence to the prospect, as not only are Porsche more enamoured with the technical direction F1 is heading, but also Red Bull provide a unique plug-and-play-and-win environment which manufacturers can buy into.
Helmut Marko instigated the idea of taking over Honda’s engine project to build engines under the Red Bull Powertrains roof. With that as a solid foundation, the badging rights to the PUs are up for grabs, to the right customers of course.
The Red Bull flyer to that effect might’ve read: “Have plug-and-play-and-win F1 PU and Max Verstappen; show us the money, put your badge on our engine and let’s win together.
The only thing missing is approval by supervisory bodies within the Volkswagen Group to seal Porsche return to F1
Motorsport-Total appear to have a handle on the latets Red Bull Porsche developments: “Porsche has been negotiating a joint Formula 1 project with Red Bull in recent months.
“The talks were never officially confirmed however in industry circles it is considered an open secret that several high-level meetings between representatives of Porsche and Red Bull have already taken place.
“Apparently these talks are now entering the home straight, the only thing missing is the approval of the supervisory bodies within the Volkswagen Group to finally seal Porsche’s return to Formula 1. This could take place in March, provided there are no surprising stumbling blocks lurking in the last stretch.”
How it will work between Porsche and Red Bull remains to be seen, should it happen; speculation is Milton Keynes is where Red Bull Powertrains is based and will remain to be able to develop the chassis and engine under one roof.
At the same time, the existing formidable Porsche Motorsport operation in Weissach would provide a host of technical and logistical benefits for Red Bull.
Should this partnership between Red Bull and Porsche happen, it would be largely thanks to Marko and VW vice-president Fritz Enzinger (formerly Head of Group Motorsport at Volkswagen) who initially developed the idea together.
Marko with his bold vision of Red Bull Powertrains and Enzinger, who has had an eye on F1 for some time, colluding to make it happen.
Porsche see goodwill in that Formula 1 aims to race with synthetic fuels by 2026
Enzinger’s conditions for Porsche/Audi/Volkswagen to begin an F1 journey are clear: “Porsche and Volkswagen AG are observing the constantly changing regulations in all relevant racing series around the world. This is also the case with regard to the emerging new engine and drivetrain regulation for Formula 1 from 2025.”
Porsche CEO Oliver Blume said recently: “Motorsport is the heart of our company and the place where we advance our innovations. We see goodwill in that Formula 1 wants to race with synthetic fuels from 2026.”
Motorsport-Total concludes that the next meeting of the Group’s supervisory board, which is the last authority to give the go-ahead, will take place in March. Enzinger played a large part in the fact that it got this far. Before him, all attempts to bring a Volkswagen brand into F1 had failed.
Should the last obstacles be cleared, that would presumably be the culmination of Enzinger’s successful career in the Volkswagen universe. Before that, as head of the motorsport at Porsche, he won Le Mans three times, including eight World Endurance Championship (WEC) sportscar titles.
What is clear is the Volkswagen Group is closer to making the F1 project a reality than ever before, and they seem to be shopping around too. So much so that late last year McLaren had to issue a denial that it had been bought by Audi.
Time will tell if and when Porsche et al enter F1, getting in bed with Red Bull seems to be the best and most logical option to fast-track them to the top of the pecking order. There they will come face-to-face with their illustrious rivals, on-track as well as car showrooms – Ferrari, Mercedes and McLaren.