Red Bull team principal Christian Horner says Porsche was getting ahead of itself believing a deal was almost agreed and that negotiations failed to protect his team’s independence from “bureaucracy.”
Porsche and Red Bull had been in negotiations regarding a partnership from 2026 onwards for some time, but on Friday the iconic sports car manufacturer released a statement explaining the deal would not proceed. Horner says that release did not come as a surprise and that disclosures from Porsche to certain authorities about its plans painted a false picture of how advanced talks were.
“I think big organizations need significant planning, and I think were slightly getting a bit ahead of themselves, but there was never a binding commitment signed between the parties,” Horner said. “That must have been subjective on their part.
“The discussions were only exactly that — there were only ever discussions, there was nothing ever signed or agreed. So I’m not going to go into the detail of what those details were or entail, but one of the strengths this team has has been its independence; at times it instills all of the virtues and values of Red Bull — as a challenger, as a maverick — and it’s one of the core attributes that has enabled us to be as successful as we have in the sport to date. We didn’t want to diminish those or dilute those in any way and they’re fundamental principles for how we will also attack the challenge of the power unit.
“One of our core strengths has been our independence and our quick decision-making and lack of bureaucracy. 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 and that was a key aspect of protecting what we have and how we operate, which has proved to be reasonably successful.”
Porsche’s statement highlighted how it wanted equality in the partnership across both power unit and team, but Horner suggests Red Bull didn’t feel enough expertise was being brought to the table that would warrant giving up so much.
“I think what we were interested in, when you are building a power entity from scratch, with an OEM, is what can they potentially bring to the party that we didn’t have access to? I think, having done our due diligence, we felt that actually we were in good shape and with the recruitment we’ve made technically, we don’t feel at any disadvantage to our competitors.
“Porsche is a great brand, a great company and we wish them the best of luck for their future, whatever that holds. 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 in one campus — with engine 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 or an OEM, and there’s been no contribution to where we are to date. So our focus is very much on 2026, on the future, and we’re looking forward to that next chapter — this new and exciting chapter — for Red Bull Racing.”