Porsche on the verge of announcing Formula One partnership: Report

The Volkswagen Group is reportedly quite likely to give both Audi and Porsche the proverbial green light to pursue partnership entries in Formula One. With new engine regulations set to go into effect for the 2026 season, this gives Audi and Porsche an opportunity to step in and make their mark. An Automotive News Europe source was quoted as having confirmed the decision would be made official at a meeting this week, and that there was “a good chance” of a decision in the affirmative. Apparently the going discussion is that Audi will put in an offer to purchase McLaren, while Porsche will be joining forces with defending World Driver’s Championship-winning Red Bull Racing on a long-term basis.

At the moment Red Bull is building its own engines, based on the formerly Honda-built design. Honda backed out of the sport and left Red Bull without an official engine supplier. Red Bull chose to purchase the intellectual property to the Honda engine design and continue building them as Red Bull Powertrains. The current engine regulations are frozen until the 2026 engines come into effect, so it is possible that the engines-formerly-known-as-Honda could power them for the next three seasons until the Porsche supply begins. It would be a good opportunity for both entities to partner for Formula One. Porsche has a long history of motorsport success, though it has not even attempted to enter F1 since the early 1990s. Red Bull has won a number of championships, though has been largely overshadowed by Mercedes-AMG since the current engine regulations were instituted in 2012. It only just managed to catch up to the Silver Arrows in 2021, and seemingly has surpassed Porsche’s cross-town rivals in 2022.

Red Bull as a brand has a long history with Porsche and the Volkswagen group, having been a major sponsor of many of Porsche’s drivers, and partnered with VW for a long run of success in the World Rally Championship.

According to Reuters, the Volkswagen’s decision will rest on F1’s commitment to a planned switch to “carbon neutral” synthetic fuels by 2026. The Audi/McLaren pair-up will also depend on the British brand’s progress in getting its fleet of vehicles electrified. Apparently Volkswagen is extremely interested in doing anything it can, up to and including racing in Formula One, to clear its image from the Clean Diesel fiasco of a few years ago. That’s why the company is so interested in synth fuels and hybridization.

The one thing that could throw a wrench in this whole works? Part of the meeting this week is to discuss the long-term financial implications the brands will face as the war in Ukraine continues to rage on. Not only is war in Europe detrimental to the supply chain, but it is seriously disrupting production of several VW group models, and keeping production lines closed. If the company can’t stomach the price of F1, this situation certainly isn’t helping matters.

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