Porsche is returning to Formula One racing with a 50 per cent stake in Red Bull Racing, with Audi still rumoured as a potential starter for 2026.
Porsche is just weeks away from confirming its return to Formula One racing with a 50 per cent buy-in to the Red Bull Racing team.
After months of rumours and speculation including its Volkswagen Group sibling Audi, Porsche is expected to confirm its Formula One plan in the first week of August.
Firm details of the deal have emerged from the most unlikely source, Morocco, after Porsche and Red Bull were forced to file anti-competitive documents in a wide range of countries including the African state.
The documents in Morocco reveal a 10-year partnership between Porsche and Red Bull, which includes a half-share in the energy drinks company’s Formula One technology division and F1 team, according to information reported by Autosport magazine in the UK.
It is also expected that Porsche will become the engine supplier for an all-new Red Bull hypercar, the RB17, which will be a track-focused car for the super-rich, powered by a V8 hybrid system.
As previously reported, Audi is also considering its first involvement in Formula One after decades of success in Le Mans sports car racing and various touring car categories.
Porsche had originally been expected to announce its Grand Prix comeback at Red Bull’s home race, the Austrian Grand Prix at the Red Bull Ring in June, but there was a delay in the necessary approvals from the FIA, the governing body of world motorsport.
The Porsche deal pivots around the supply of hybrid powertrains for Red Bull once new F1 engine regulations come into effect for 2026.
Red Bull Racing and its sister team, AlphaTauri, are currently running with Honda power but the Japanese manufacturer has effectively withdrawn from Formula One — after closing its own team at the end of 2008 — and the powertrain operation has been transferred to Red Bull.
Full details of the 2026 regulations are still being argued in Formula One, but the cars are expected to continue with some form of turbocharged engine and hybrid boost system, although likely with renewable ‘green’ fuel.
Porsche is also believed to see a profit opportunity through ownership of a Grand Prix team, as the popularity of the sport booms — helped massively by the Drive to Survive television program on Netflix.
New races are rushing to join the world championship, following the success of the inaugural Miami Grand Prix earlier this year, with Las Vegas at the top of the list.
Motorsport has been part of Porsche’s DNA since the company was founded, and it is the most successful manufacturer in the history of Le Mans, with 19 victories including its most recent success with the 919 hybrid in 2017.
But it has had mixed results in Formula One, providing race and title-winning V6 turbo engines to the McLaren team in the early 1980s but then failing miserably with an overweight V12 engine for the Footwork-Arrows team in the 1990s.
Porsche’s decision to return to Formula One with the reigning world champions will take it into direct competition with a number of other major carmakers, led by Mercedes-AMG.
It also ends Red Bull Racing’s ties to Aston Martin, after developing the British company’s headline hypercar, the Valkyrie, and running its branding on Red Bull F1 cars prior to 2021.
Mercedes-AMG had been the dominant force in the hybrid era of Grand Prix racing until it was unseated by Red Bull last year – and it has also struggled through the first half of the 2022 season with a car that has been outclassed by Red Bull and Ferrari.
Even so, it is doing better than Alpine — racing for Renault — Alfa Romeo and Aston Martin, which are only battling in the midfield against sports car company McLaren.
Paul Gover has been a motoring journalist for more than 40 years, working on newspapers, magazines, websites, radio and television. A qualified general news journalist and sports reporter, his passion for motoring led him to Wheels, Motor, Car Australia, Which Car and Auto Action magazines. He is a champion racing driver as well as a World Car of the Year judge.