After being seemingly minutes away from signing a deal with Porsche for engine manufacture and supply from 2026 onward, Red Bull rescinded that deal and walked away from the table in September of 2022. Just a few months after the fact, Red Bull Racing has confirmed that it will partner with Ford instead. Why on earth would a successful racing team like Red Bull walk away from one of the most successful sports car brands in the world? And why would Ford be an appropriate replacement? Porsche was, after all, signing a deal to purchase 50% of the team and support the powertrain development on a 10-year deal.
It would seem that Red Bull and Porsche were a partnership doomed from the start. The thing that killed that pairing was ultimately a culture clash. Porsche wanted a good deal of control to go along with their naming rights, and the desire to build its own engine independent of the newly formed Red Bull Powertrains. Team boss Christian Horner voiced concerns that the freedom of the current Red Bull heirarchy [which has proven quite successful in recent years] would be impacted by Porsche pulling a chair up to the table.
For many reasons, Ford makes a lot of sense. Not least of which is that F1 is experiencing something of a renaissance in the American market, with three races in the country (Austin, Miami, and Las Vegas) this year, and a Netflix-powered high. Ford, unlike Porsche, is only interested in supporting powertrain development and has no interest in buying the team or any part of it. The Blue Oval only wants that logo on the engine cover of future Bulls, and maybe some tickets to Monaco or something.
It’s that freedom and flexibility, along with a big check, that Red Bull was looking for. If Porsche hadn’t needed to control the team, it might have worked out. But that’s not how Porsche works, right?