Horner: Porsche got 'a bit ahead of themselves' during Red Bull talks

Christian Horner (GBR) Red Bull Racing Team Principal. 10.07.2022. Formula 1 World Championship, Rd 11, Austrian Grand Prix, Spielberg, Austria, Race
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Christian Horner believes that Porsche's plans to enter F1 with Red Bull were a few wishful steps ahead of where the latter was prepared to go.

For several months, Red Bull and Porsche were engaged in talks over setting up a joint venture to work together in Formula 1.

But Red Bull's determination to remain independent and the master of its own destiny ultimately encouraged the two parties to bring their negotiations to an end, a fact that was confirmed by Porsche on Friday.

"It didn’t take us by surprise, the talks were concluded over a week or so ago," Horner told the media ahead of this weekend's Italian Grand Prix.

"Porsche’s a great brand, a great company and we wish them the best of luck for their future whatever that holds. But obviously Red Bull’s direction is clear."

Red Bull has now set up its own engine department – Red Bull Powertrains – that resides on its campus at Milton Keynes.

The unit that now includes over 300 members of staff is proceeding with the development of a next-generation F1 engine that will power Red Bull's cars from 2026, although badging rights may be acquired by an outside partner.

"We embarked on this journey after Honda’s withdrawal from Formula 1," Horner explained. "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 and on campus with 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. And there’s been no contribution to where we are today.

"So our focus is very much on 2026, on the future and we’re looking forward to the next new exciting chapter for Red Bull Racing."

While recent leaks linked to regulatory documents filed by Porsche detailed how the German manufacturer intended on structuring its partnership with Red Bull, Horner says the talks between the two parties never resulted in any hard agreements.

"The discussions were exactly that, there was only ever discussions," he said. "There was nothing ever signed or agreed.

"I’m not going to go into the detail of what those discussions were or entailed, but one of the strengths of this team has obviously been its independence.

"It instils all the virtues and values of Red Bull, whether as a challenger, as a maverick. It’s one of the core attributes that enabled us to be as successful as we have in the sport today.

"We didn’t want to diminish those or dilute those in any way, and they are fundamental principles for how we will also attack the challenge of the power unit."

Regarding the regulatory documents filed by Porsche with several institutional and anti-trust bodies around the world, and which suggested that a deal with Red Bull was imminent, Horner explained that Porsche – as a large corporation – had perhaps felt compelled to undertake the necessary paperwork.

"I think big organisations, obviously they need significant planning, and I think perhaps [they were] slightly getting a little bit ahead of themselves.

"But as I say, there was never a binding commitment signed between the parties."

As for a prospective deal that would have seen Porsche acquire a 50% stake in Red Bull Technology – the entity that operates its main F1 team – again, Horner suggests no such deal, while it was considered, was formally agreed upon by Red Bull.

"There was an expression of interest, so the shareholders obviously considered it and decided that it wasn’t right for Red Bull Racing or Red Bull Technology or Red Bull Powertrains.

"One of our core strengths has been our independence and our quick decision-making and the lack of bureaucracy," he added.

"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.

"But that was just a key aspect of protecting what we have and how we operate, which has proved to be reasonably successful."

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