F1 / Tough Marriages – Gianluca Calvarese

After several weeks of waiting for the seemingly obvious news, a cold shower arrived at the weekend from the Monza Grand Prix: Porsche has officially announced that it has abandoned its project to enter Formula 1 in 2026, in partnership with the Red Bull team. The constant postponement of invitations to the marriage between the Anglo-Austrian house and the Stuttgart brand, initially appeared due to the lengthy approval of building specifications for the new power units that will debut from the 2026 season. At least that’s what both Red Bull and Porsche have leaked abroad. Today we know officially in practice that the problems were with controlling the majority of shares in Red Bull Technologies which is in fact the company that designs cars for the official Formula 1 team and which also supports the AlphaTauri satellite team. Porsche wished they weren’t the majority, at least 50% in control of the Red Bull team, but that request was eventually rejected by the team.

In addition to Red Bull Technologies, the second newly formed company in the galaxy of companies owned by Dieter Mateschitz is powertrain red bull, Born after withdrawal Honda from Formula 1. The latter was designed to run the Japanese power units installed on Red Bulls in Formula 1 until 2025 whose design was frozen under regulations in the similar version in September 2022. Who would have thought that the Red Bull Powertrain was designed as perhaps that of a company The facade that Honda still runs behind is all the more reason to change its mind today. Honda’s presence in Milton Keynes still going strong this season is no mystery, but the fact that even Red Bull Powertrain hasn’t been sold in the majority to Porsche reflects the fact that the world champion team has every intention of defending. ‘Leave it on foot’ by the duty engineer who decided to retire from Formula 1. After all, Red Bull has conducted a massive acquisition campaign among engine engineers in the recent past, one above all Ben Hodgkinson design director for Mercedes power mechanics units. It is clear that this recruitment program, which is still ongoing, must be driven by a medium to long-term project in that most likely Red Bull aims to have its own cars Or at least to be a team with all the assets needed to race in Formula 1, significantly increasing its value in the market in the event of a future sale. From a certain point of view, it was probably easy to give in to Porsche’s generous hug, but Red Bull’s interest in racing appears real and long-standing. After all, their best driver and current world champion Max Verstappen Contracted with them until 2028.

It is worth considering the fact that The long-awaited project for the entry of Audi and Porsche into Formula 1 has been significantly reduced in a few weeks. Audi has already announced its entry into the weekend at Spa as in the extreme formula in 2026 but has not yet decided on the team. As is known, the general opinion is that this entry should be made with sauber, It is also believed that by taking possession of it, which will permanently give up the care Alfa Romeo. However, the announcement of this partnership is slow to arrive for reasons that seem hard to read from the outside and which, over time, make the urgency on the part of the circuit house to formally announce the entry into Formula less understandable. .1, albeit only in 2026, with a program still apparently incomplete.

Therefore, Formula 1 appears to be once again a victim of its infatuation with big car manufacturers Which in the past has cost her as painfully as sudden defections in the grid. Even the technical regulations written under the strong influence of the two Volkswagen Group brands could not, at least for the time being, guarantee its entry into the category with great fanfare. The slightly arrogant attitude taken by Formula 1 towards the Andretti team’s intentions to enter the circus today, in light of the difficulties faced by Audi and Porsche, seems somewhat dubious.. It will be said that Andretti is not an engine engineer but a potential team that would in turn need an engine supplier, and that entering Team Eleven would have forced the ten pioneers to split the relevant economic bonus cake into eleven. Participation in the Formula 1 World Championship, but it is the independent teams such as Andretti, Sauber, Haas, Williams, McLaren, Red Bull, etc. that ensure the cars are on the grid in the medium-long term. Whether their participation is partly or wholly driven by economic aspects is not of much interest to those interested in seeing enough individual seats and drivers on the track. As long as Formula 1 guarantees independent teams sufficient profitability, continuity on the grid can be seen as reasonably clear. It’s different when dealing with manufacturers who certainly don’t need Formula 1 to stand up and for whom a change in the global economic scenario or in the mood of the board of directors could lead to a cold and grateful withdrawal from circuits or even just planes landing on the track.

FP | Gianluca Calvarisi

All rights reserved