F1: Ford confirms Formula 1 return for 2026 with Red Bull and AlphaTauri (Update)

Here is the official Ford Press Release:

  • Red Bull Powertrains and Ford to partner on the development of the next-gen hybrid power unit that will supply engines to both Oracle Red Bull Racing and Scuderia AlphaTauri teams from 2026 to at least 2030
  • Ford returns to Formula 1 as the FIA and F1 deepens its focus on sustainable racing and advanced hybrid technologies, while leaving a legacy of positive change wherever it races
  • Ford will provide expertise in areas including battery cell and electric motor technology as well as power unit control software and analytics.

NEW YORK, NY, Feb. 3, 2023 – After more than two decades, Ford is returning to Formula 1. The iconic American automaker and Red Bull Powertrains are entering into a long term strategic technical partnership for the development of the next-gen hybrid power unit to be used from the 2026 Formula 1 season onwards.

Red Bull Ford will provide the power units for both the Oracle Red Bull Racing and Scuderia AlphaTauri teams from 2026 to at least 2030.

“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,” said Bill Ford, executive chair. “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.”

Starting from 2023, Ford and Red Bull Powertrains will work to develop the power unit that will be part of the new technical regulations, including a 350kW electric motor and a new combustion engine able to accept fully sustainable fuels, ready for the 2026 season.

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,” said Jim Farley, President and CEO, 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.”

Jim Farley, President and Chief Executive Officer, Ford

Ford will provide technical expertise in all areas where it can add value to the front-running World Championship team. Areas to be explored together are in the combustion engine development and key developments like battery cell and electric motor technology, power unit control 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 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 a way but for us the work already starts as we look to a new future and a continued evolution of Oracle Red Bull Racing.”

Ford is investing $50 billion to lead the EV revolution around the world. It is the number 2 EV company in the U.S. driven by the success of the F-150 Lightning and Mustang Mach-E as well as the market leader in many markets around the world with the E-Transit.  Ford is working to meet increased consumer demand and deliver an annual run rate of 600,000 electric vehicles globally by the end of this year and 2 million globally by the end of 2026 as part of its Ford+ plan.

In 2026, Ford will be the only manufacturer to be competing in racing disciplines from grassroots motorsports to Formula 1 comprising WEC and IMSA including Le Mans 24 Hours with Mustang GT3, WRC with the M-Sport Ford Puma Hybrid Rally1, Baja 1000 with Ranger Raptor and Bronco, and NASCAR, NHRA and Supercars with Mustang. Ford continues to leverage its racing efforts to speed innovations, latest technologies and software to consumers and will continue to do so through this new partnership at the pinnacle of Motorsports for future Ford electric vehicles.

“We are entering an exciting new age for Ford Performance,” said Farley. “We will be competing to win in F1, the pinnacle for motor sport, with Red Bull Racing.  You will see the world’s most popular sports coupe, the Mustang, race from the grass roots to Australian Supercars to NASCAR to Le Mans.  And will build our off-road leadership in the World Rally Championship, King of Hammers and to the Baha 1000 and more. All the while, we’ll continue to excite the world with cool demonstrators like SuperVan 4 and Mustang Mach-E 1400.”

AR1 Perspective:

Ford says this current deal will last until 2030, at which point there are likely a few choices. Ford leaves if it has gotten everything it wanted, which leaves Red Bull to find a new partner. Ford stays on in the same capacity since it finds the partnership to be beneficial on multiple fronts.

For now, F1 gets more automaker involvement. Red Bull gets more resources in engine development. And Ford gets to put its name on a front-running F1 team without spending the money or resources to set up an entirely new engine facility.

A win-win for everyone!

February 3, 2023 

Ford Motor Co. is making a comeback to the pinnacle of motorsports, returning to Formula 1 more than two decades after dropping out.  Ford officially confirmed its return to Formula 1 in 2026, ahead of Red Bull’s car launch in New York this morning.

 Chief Executive Officer Jim Farley said, “I’m more relevant to our designers and our engineers. I’m not some disconnected CEO,” Farley told auto-enthusiast magazine Road & Track. “It keeps me fresh, being around car people. I’m not at a country club playing golf. I’m with my people. The most intense users.”

Jim Farley, President and Chief Executive Officer, Ford

Speaking about Ford’s return to F1, executive chair Bill Ford said: “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.

“Ford 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 decision by Ford to commit to grand prix racing has been welcomed by F1 CEO Stefano Domenicali, who joined the company for its announcement on Friday.

Domenicali said: “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.

“We believe that our sport provides the opportunity and reach unlike any other and we cannot wait for the Ford logo to be racing round F1’s iconic circuits from 2026.”

FIA president Mohammed Ben Sulayem says that Ford’s decision vindicated F1’s change of engine rules for 2026.

“There are few manufacturers who have such a celebrated motorsport history as Ford, so to see them coming back to the FIA Formula 1 world championship is excellent news,” he said.

“It further underlines the success of the 2026 Power Unit Regulations that have at their heart a commitment to both sustainability and spectacle, and of course having more interest from the United States is important for the continued growth of the world’s top motorsport category. ”

Ford’s crosstown rival General Motors Co. also is attempting to enter F1 by partnering with Michael Andretti, the son of legendary driver Mario Andretti. The sport’s governing body opened up an application process for prospective teams on Wednesday, weeks after FIA President Mohammed Ben Sulayem said he welcomed the news of Andretti’s tie-up with GM’s Cadillac and looked forward to further discussion.

Ford and F1 scheduled a briefing for 9:45 a.m. New York time at the Ford Performance division’s website to share more details on the automaker’s return.