Ford confirmed on Friday it will return to the Formula 1 arena in 2026 as a technical partner to current champions Red Bull Racing.
As part of the deal, Ford will work closely with Red Bull Powertrains, Red Bull’s power unit division, to develop a power unit that will comply with the new regulations that F1 2026 will introduce. sustainable fuel and an increasing dependency on electrical energy.
Work on the new power unit will begin this year, Ford said. The automaker also said it will be able to leverage its expertise in battery cell and electric motor technology, as well as software and analytics for power unit control and development from internal combustion engines.
Red Bull is currently without aggregate suppliers. The team builds its own power units based on the design of former supplier Honda. Red Bull also supplies units to AlphaTauri, and the feeder team will also use the new unit developed with Ford in the future.
Ford said Formula 1’s focus on sustainability, coupled with the sport’s increasing presence in the US in recent years, helped his decision to seek the return. Ford’s production models, including electric vehicles, are also expected to benefit from the deal, particularly in terms of aerodynamics, materials technology and efficient energy recovery.
Red Bull Racing at the 2022 Miami Formula 1 Grand Prix
“Ford’s return to Formula One with Red Bull Racing is all about where we’re going as a company – increasingly electric, software-defined, modern vehicles and experiences,” Ford CEO Jim Farley said in a statement. “F1 will be an incredibly cost-effective platform to innovate, share ideas and technology, and connect with tens of millions of new customers.”
Similarly, General Motors, through its Cadillac division, is working on an F1 offering with Andretti Global, the parent company of Andretti Autosport. Audi has also committed to entering F1 with existing team Sauber in 2026 and recently acquired a minority stake in Sauber.
Porsche also wants to get into Formula 1. It was in negotiations with Red Bull Racing, although talks ended last September with no deal brokered. Porsche has said it remains open to an F1 entry should the right opportunity present itself.
The more distant approach Ford is taking is rumored to have been awarded the partnership with Red Bull.
Ford has a long history in Formula 1, albeit primarily as a power unit supplier. The Blue Oval was a key supporter of engine experts Cosworth, who supplied Ford-branded engines for several seasons. However, Ford became more active in the sport from 1999 when it bought the Stewart Grand Prix team and later renamed it Jaguar in 2000. Ford, which then owned Jaguar, funded the team from 2000 to 2004. Ford eventually sold the team to Red Bull in late 2004.