Ford Returns to F1 in 2026, Signs Strategic Partnership with Red Bull

Ford Returns to F1 in 2026, Signs Strategic Partnership with Red Bull
Oracle Red Bull Racing Season Launch. New York, USA. February 3, 2023. Image Courtesy: Red Bull Racing Media. RB19.

A long-term strategic technical partnership sees American automaker Ford and Red Bull Powertrains joining forces in the development of the next-gen hybrid power unit, to be used from the 2026 Formula 1 season onwards.

Ahead of the Oracle Red Bull Racing 2023 season launch in New York on Friday, American automaker Ford officially announced it had signed a partnership with Red Bull Powertrains to return to the pinnacle of motorsport, providing the power units for both Red Bull Racing and Scuderia AlphaTauri teams from 2026 to at least 2030.

Stefano Domenicali, President and CEO of F1, outlined: “ The news today that Ford is coming to Formula 1 from 2026 is great for the sport, and we are excited to see them join the incredible automotive partners already in Formula 1.”

Ford is a global brand with an incredible heritage in racing and the automotive world, and they see the huge value that our platform provides with over half a billion fans around the world.”

Our commitment to be Net Zero Carbon by 2030 and to introduce sustainable fuels in the F1 cars from 2026 is also an important reason for their decision to enter F1.”

In 2026, the FIA will introduce new power unit (PU) regulations intended to make it possible and attractive for newcomers to join the sport at a competitive level.

The new technical rules focus on greater electrification - increasing the power unit electric share by up to 50 percent - using 100 percent of advanced sustainable synthetic fuel.

Last August, the FIA World Motor Sport Council approved the 2026 Formula 1 Power Unit Technical, Sporting, and Financial Regulations, reinforcing its commitment to innovation and sustainability, aiming to achieve the goal of becoming a carbon-neutral racing series by 2030.

Bill Ford, Executive Chairman of Ford Motor Company, stated: “This is the start of a thrilling new chapter in Ford’s motorsports story that began when my great-grandfather won a race that helped launch our company.

Adding: “Ford, alongside world champions, Oracle Red Bull Racing, is returning to the pinnacle of the sport, bringing Ford’s long tradition of innovation, sustainability, and electrification to one of the world’s most visible stages.”

The company founded by the visionary Henry Ford in 1903 is currently the second-largest U.S.-based automaker, only behind General Motors (GM).

According to the company statement, Ford will provide expertise in areas including battery cell and electric motor technology as well as power unit control software and analytics.

Jim Farley, President and CEO of Ford Motor Company, remarked: “Ford’s return to Formula 1 with Red Bull Racing is all about where we are going as a company increasingly electric, software-defined, modern vehicles and experiences.”

F1 will be an incredibly cost-effective platform to innovate, share ideas and technologies, and engage with tens of millions of new customers.”

Targeting to make Formula One a more cost-efficient racing platform, the financial regulations - into effect since early January, establish a cost cap level set at 95 USD MM for the Reporting Periods of 2022-2025 and 130 USD MM from 2026 onwards.

Ford joins German manufacturer Audi, which has also set its entry to F1 for 2026 as Sauber works team, attracted by the new regulations package.

For both, the journey to the pinnacle of motorsport has already begun.

Audi has confirmed that benches for Formula One engine testing, electric motor, battery, and control systems testing are already taking place.

The car manufacturer plans to run the first tests with the 2026 power unit in a Formula One test car in 2025.

In 2023, eyeing the 2026 season, Ford and Red Bull Powertrains will start working to develop the power unit, including a 350kW electric motor and a new combustion engine able to accept fully sustainable fuels.

One of the world’s largest and most profitable companies has been away from the series since its departure in 2004, selling Jaguar Racing, which became Red Bull Racing, and Cosworth, the British automotive engineering company founded in 1958.

From 1967 to 2004, Ford won 176 Grands Prix as an engine supplier to iconic teams, such as McLaren Racing.

It’s fantastic to welcome Ford back into Formula 1 through this partnership,” asserted Christian Horner, Oracle Red Bull Racing Team Principal, and CEO.

As an independent engine manufacturer, to have the ability to benefit from an OEM’s experience like Ford puts us in good stead against the competition. They are a manufacturer rich in motoring history that spans generations.

From Jim Clark to Ayrton Senna and Michael Schumacher, the lineage speaks for itself. For us as Red Bull Powertrains, to open the next chapter of that dynasty as Red Bull Ford is tremendously exciting. 2026 is still a while away, but for us, the work already starts as we look to a new future and a continued evolution of Oracle Red Bull Racing.”

Cecilia demartini
Sports Pundit staff writer @ceci_2812
Cecilia is a writer and journalist, passionate about motorsport and tennis.Her articles are published in newspapers and international online publications.

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