Ford Returning to F1 as Red Bull’s New Engine Partner: Report
GM and Ford may *sort of* be competing on the Formula 1 grid in 2026.
The rumors have reached a fever pitch. The Red Bull Formula 1 team will reportedly announce an engine branding partnership with Ford on Friday as it unveils its 2023 entry in New York City. The team, which has won the past two Formula 1 world championships, was previously in talks with Porsche about forming a similar partnership in the sport. They fell apart when the Stuttgart automaker reportedly wanted more control of Red Bull's business than it was willing to give up.
The news hasn't yet been confirmed, but signs point to a done deal already. As the BBC reports, the automaker's press organization sent a report detailing the deal to an Italian news agency which published it before Ford intended. It has since been taken down, but the beans have been spilled.
Ford apparently does not desire the level of control that Porsche did. For context, Red Bull is receiving power units from Honda until 2025. It's currently setting up its own powertrains facilities to build its own engines for the 2026 season and beyond. Ford primarily would be branding these engines. Its name would be on them and nothing else. Any further involvement on the part of the Blue Oval is not clear at this point.
The deal is far less controversial than Andretti-Cadillac's proposed entry in 2025 because it does not involve creating a new team. Therefore, existing F1 entries feel their slice of the profits pie is not being diluted.
Even though Ford's alleged investment doesn't rock the boat like Cadillac's parent company General Motors' does, two of the "Big Three" American auto brands will, on paper, be going head to head in F1. The optics will be great for Ford, and the deal will likely be an expensive one as a result. A car with the Blue Oval on the side of it could be competing for wins immediately. Andretti-Cadillac's bid, if it gets approved, will no doubt not be as competitive as a top-three team out of the box.
We will know more about the alleged deal Friday when Red Bull announces its new car—along with a new potential partner.
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