What In the World Is Going on With Porsche and F1?

The tumultuous tale of Porsche’s interest in F1 took another turn after reports that it was walking away from entering the sport in 2026.

byAaron Cole|
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Porsche’s on-again, off-again relationship with F1 is drama fit for its own series on Bravo. Reports speculating that the German automaker will sideline its bid to enter the world’s richest form of motorsport don’t necessarily confirm Porsche won’t line up on the grid in 2026—the report from The-Race.com doesn’t point to any source of the information—but it certainly doesn’t help. And if we’re left to guess whether Porsche is going to race in 2026, we’ll reach for our nearest 8-ball. (The toy, people.) Porsche told us that F1 remains an "interesting racing series" but will concentrate on WEC, IMSA, and Formula E for now. "There, we want to fight for overall victories. That is our tradition and main focus."

Here's the recap up until now: In November 2021, Porsche’s motorsports boss reportedly helped to develop engine regulations for the 2026 season, which will emphasize hybrid technology. Working on F1 tech isn’t new, the company also allegedly built and tested a powertrain as far back as 2017 before shelving the program. Complicating Porsche’s interest was fellow VW Group-brand Audi’s foray into F1, which materialized in a controlling interest in Swiss-based Sauber, and will lead to Audi entering the sport in 2026. Nonetheless, VW boss Herbert Diess told the world in May 2022 that both Audi and Porsche would take advantage of the new rules to compete. Porsche even went as far as trademarking “F1nally,” although the landing page laughably told the world, it was definitely “not Porsche.” (Eds note: A-plus smokescreen, Porsche.) 

That best-laid plan met its eventuality in September 2022 when Red Bull and Porsche announced they wouldn’t continue to talk further, like a celebrity divorce. The reason why became clear in February, when Ford announced it would partner with—or at least write checks to—Red Bull to become an engine supplier in F1, seemingly taking Porsche’s place. Reportedly, Red Bull wanted a check more than a partner, and Porsche wanted to tell a five-time constructor’s championship winner how to build engines. Porsche reportedly approached McLaren, but branding spiked any potential deal. 

That brings us to about now. Porsche’s bid could transform into a fully-fledged F1 team on its own, although that’s significantly more expensive than being an engine supplier. It’d hardly be a surprise if Porsche walked from potentially competing in F1 for a second time, but it wouldn’t be surprising if it was yet another plume of smoke to keep us guessing at what comes next from Stuttgart.

Update: This story has been updated with comment from Porsche.

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