Porsche and Red Bull drop F1 partnership talks

Porsche has abandoned talks to partner with the Red Bull Formula 1 team, forcing the sports car brand to seek new routes into the global racing series.

The breakdown of talks with Red Bull, which dominates Formula One this season, is a blow to the Volkswagen brand ahead of its planned initial public offering this year.

Red Bull and Porsche failed to agree on the proposed partnership structure, according to people briefed on the talks. A person familiar with the discussions said Porsche wanted to buy 50 percent of the racing team and 50 percent of Powertrain, the maker of Red Bull’s new power units.

However, Red Bull investors were unwilling to sell a stake in the racing team. A person close to Red Bull said it was the shareholders’ decision – “they felt it was not the best investment for the F1 team at this point.”

Porsche said the racing series remained an “attractive environment” that it would continue to monitor.

“The premise has always been that the partnership will be based on equal footing, which will include not only the engine partnership but also the team,” Porsche said. “This can not be achieved.”

There are still ways for Porsche to enter the sport, with interest from other teams, but the failure to agree a deal with Red Bull highlights the difficulty of joining the 10-team competition.

Porsche and other Volkswagen-owned Audi are looking to join the sport in 2026, when teams will start racing with new engines.

The new power unit regulations will introduce next-generation engines that run on a blend of batteries and biofuels.

Audi has already confirmed that it will join Formula 1 as an engine supplier that year but has yet to confirm its partner.

The revival of F1 under the leadership of Liberty Media, the group controlled by billionaire John Malone, is attracting young fans and the interest of car manufacturers.

Since acquiring F1 in an $8 billion deal in 2017, the US group has implemented a budget cap to cut costs for teams, negotiated more revenue splits and tried to expand the sport’s appeal by embracing social media. The popularity of Drive to Survive, a behind-the-scenes documentary series on Netflix, has also raised interest, with attendance soaring amid strong demand for race weekend tickets.

Most F1 teams run on engines supplied by Ferrari and Mercedes, although Renault Alpine runs on its own. Red Bull has launched a powertrain division to build its own engine to end its dependence on rival manufacturers. Red Bull uses engines supplied by Honda, although the Japanese supplier has announced its exit from the sport in 2020.

Red Bull boss Christian Horner stressed the importance of the team’s independence.

Headquartered in Milton Keynes, Red Bull leads the F1 standings this season, with world champion Max Verstappen leading the team to the top of the designer’s championship.

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