It's official now: Ford is returning to Formula 1 after more than two decades of absence from the pinnacle of motorsports. Starting in 2026, the Blue Oval will be the engine and technical partner of Red Bull Racing and AlphaTauri, providing both teams with hybrid power units as well as technical and strategic support through "at least" 2030, Ford confirmed.
The American automaker will start the development of power units this year, specifically a 350 kW electric motor and a new internal combustion engine able to run on sustainable fuels. According to the FIA rules for the next-gen cars, this package should debut in the 2026 season.
"The 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,” said Jim Farley, CEO of Ford Motor Company. “F1 will be an incredibly cost-effective platform to innovate, share ideas and technologies, and engage with tens of millions of new customers.”
Given Ford's enormous push toward electrification and numerous investments to develop the necessary technologies for these future drivetrains, it makes sense that it would want to get involved in F1. Per Ford's statement, the automaker will provide technical expertise where it can add value, specifically in battery cell technology, electric motor development, and power unit software and analytics.
“It’s fantastic to be welcoming Ford back into Formula 1 through this partnership,” said Christian Horner, Oracle Red Bull Racing Team 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."
Neither Ford nor Red Bull offered more specifics on their future partnership, likely given that it's still several years away. Or perhaps it didn't want to take away from the new F1 car's unveiling happening Friday morning in New York City, where Farley was also present.
With Michael Andretti and General Motors' strong bid for making the F1 grid in the near future, it's a unique moment for American racing fans to see the two biggest automakers pushing to compete in F1. Such is the power of Netflix and having three grands prix stateside. Only time will tell if we'll actually get to see Ford fight Cadillac in 2026.
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