Revealed: Why Stefano Domenicali snubbed Red Bull

Red Bull announced at the launch of their 2023 livery that they'd be entering a new technical partnership with Ford from 2026.

Red Bull put the glitz and glamour of New York City to good use last Friday, as they revealed to the world the livery they’ll be using for the forthcoming season; however, the Austrians struggled to cover up an incredibly awkward moment.

The Milton Keynes-based outfit always put on an excellent display when it comes to launch season, with their 2023 launch having involved the additional bonus of announcing their new technical partner.

Following much speculation, it was officially announced during the launch that Red Bull will be partnered by American automaker Ford from 2026, when the new engine regulations are introduced.

Ford’s return to F1 will be as a technical partner to the Austrians, with the Americans somewhat comically joining the team that they sold the Jaguar F1 Team to ahead of the 2005 season.

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Given that Ford’s return to the series means that they’ll be at least two new manufacturers in the sport from 2026 (Audi were confirmed at the Belgian Grand Prix last year), F1 CEO Stefano Domenicali was in attendance at the launch to give a speech.

At least he was supposed to give a speech, with the Italian having decided at the last minute that he wouldn’t steal Red Bull’s and Ford’s moment, resulting in an awkward moment.

To put into some context how late he made his decision, the Italian was given a cue to go on-stage by the hosts of the event, who then attempted to stall whilst it was understood what on earth was going on.

Everyone was seemingly perplexed as to what was going on and where the F1 CEO was, before double World Champion Max Verstappen suddenly pointed up to a window and said, “He’s there”.

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It was later revealed to ESPN by a source that Domenicali didn’t believe it was right for him to go on-stage, as it could give a bad image to the other teams.

Whilst it’s understandable why he was in attendance, given the Ford announcement, Domenicali supposedly felt like it would give the wrong message if he were to go on-stage, at what was a huge Red Bull event.

Word finally got to the presenters who informed the audience that Domenicali wouldn’t be joining them, resulting in the launch getting back underway.