VW emphasise importance of rule change as they eye Red Bull partnership

Porsche are set to join Formula 1 in 2026 with a partnership with Red Bull Racing looking most likely.

With Porsche and Audi confirmed to be joining Formula 1 in 2026, rumours have begun to circulate as to the method of which the two manufacturers will opt to join the championship.

Audi are known to be eyeing up their own team, whereas Porsche are believed to prefer the option of joining a current frontrunning competitior.

Red Bull Racing is supposedly Porsche’s CFO Lutz Meschke preferred option, with talks between the two having taken place in May.

Meschke has insisted that they will only work with a “strong partner”, with the German manufacturer wanting to make an instant impact in 2026.

“If we get involved in the top class of racing, then it will be with a strong partner,” Meschke said.

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Horner held discussions with both Porsche and Audi, following their parent company Volkswagen making the announcement about the two famous manufacturers joining the sport in four years.

“It is obviously great, the commitment that VW stated as the parent company to both Porsche and Audi that both have got the intent of coming into Formula 1,” Horner said in May.

“We are starting a new journey as a power unit manufacturer for 2026 so, of course, it would be logical for us to have discussions about potential cooperation,” the Red Bull team principal insisted.

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The sport is certainly growing faster than ever before, especially in North America.

The sport’s rise in the US is largely down to the the F1 series on Netflix ‘Drive to Survive’, which has performed magnificently across the pond.

Porsche’s CEO Oliver Blume went as far as saying that F1 is currently the sport “gaining the most interest”, highlighting this as their reason for joining the series.

“Last year, more than 1.5 billion TV viewers watched Formula 1,” he said.

“[It is] the sport that is gaining the most interest.”

This is the same reason as given by VW chief executive Herbert Diess, who discussed recently how well the sport has been growing and performing specifically in the USA.

“Formula 1 is developing extremely positively worldwide,” stated Diess.

“The marketing that is happening there, plus Netflix, has led to Formula 1’s following growing significantly in the US as well. Asia is growing significantly, including among young customer groups.

“If you look at the major sporting events or events in the world, it’s the case that in motorsport it’s really only Formula 1 that counts and is becoming increasingly differentiated.

“If you do motorsport, you should do Formula 1 as that is where the impact is greatest. What’s more, you cannot enter Formula 1 unless a technology window opens up which means, in order to get in there, a rule change – so everyone starts again from the same place.

“As Markus Duesman (chairman of Audi and former BMW F1 head of powertrains) always tells me, you usually make up one second per season on a medium-sized race track simply by optimising details.

“But you can’t catch up on that when you join a new team – you need five or 10 years to be among the front-runners. In other words, you can only get on board if you have a major rule change.

“That’s coming now, and it will also come in the direction of 2026 when the engines will be electrified to a much greater extent, including with synthetic fuels. That means you need a new engine development and you need three or four years to develop a new engine.

“That means you can decide now to do Formula 1, or then probably not again for 10 years. And our two premium brands think that’s the right thing to do, and are prioritising it.”