F1: Unlike scared BMW, Ford picks F1 over IMSA/WEC

We covered how BMW are afraid to enter F1 and get beaten like a drum again in this article.

On the opposite spectrum is Ford, who have partnered with Red Bull Racing for a Formula 1 program that will hit the track in 2026, when a new hybrid power-unit rules package comes into effect, has now ended speculation the company might be interested in entering Le Mans Prototype racing any time soon.

That’s according to Ford CEO Jim Farley and Ford Performance Motorsports global director Mark Rushbrook.

IMSA and WEC use a socialist government system of running things where the inferior are given a boost in performance, so they have a chance, and the superior manufacturers are given a reduction in performance, so the inferior are not crushed too badly – under Balance of Performance (BoP) rules. BMW needs a BoP boost to win, hence prefers IMSA and WEC over F1, despite F1 delivering 100 times the exposure of its brand.

Ford officials as recently as the IMSA season-opening Rolex 24 at Daytona less than two weeks ago have been diplomatic but noncommittal when questioned on the Prototype subject. However, with the company’s F1 move now public, in retrospect it’s apparent Ford knew for quite some time where it planned to be in order to use top-flight racing as a learning platform and development ground for advancing its electrification, software, analysis, simulation, and aerodynamic capabilities. Those are the core technical areas it intends to focus on with Red Bull (and with its existing WRC effort) to improve its series-production electric cars for the road.

“IMSA and WEC Prototypes would add an element of electrification,” Rushbrook said, “but we’re very satisfied with the electrification, both [on the] technical and marketing [sides], we will have in WRC with the Puma hybrid and now in F1.”

Farley already confirmed to MotorTrend that Ford is working with Red Bull Racing on an undisclosed but “most strategically important” electric car project.

Mark Cipolloni reporting for AutoRacing1.com