Ford Motor Company will be returning to the Formula 1 grid in 2026 under a new powertrain agreement with Red Bull Racing. The two companies announced the collaboration earlier today alongside the launch of Red Bull’s 2023 car, the RB19.
Officially, the American automaker and Red Bull Powertrains are entering into a long-term strategic technical partnership for the development of a next-gen hybrid power unit to be used from the 2026 Formula 1 season onward. Catalysing Ford’s involvement is F1’s explosive growth in the US and the incoming 2026 engine regulations which are due to feature 100% sustainable fuels and a significant increase in hybrid electrical powertrain components.
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. The union is quite fitting considering Red Bull Racing rose from vestiges of Jaguar Racing F1, which Ford sold to Red Bull in 2004.
Ford says it will provide technical expertise in all areas including combustion engine development, battery cell, and electric motor technology, power unit control software, and analytics.
“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.”
Following Honda’s withdrawal from competition in 2021 Red Bull struck out on its own, forming Red Bull Powertrains with an eye toward self-sufficiency for 2026. Red Bull Team Principal, Christian Horner, said collaborating with an OEM would be acceptable as long as it was on Red Bull’s terms.
Porsche ran afoul of those desires when it tried to purchase a large stake in the operation and control the cadence of the project. Comparatively, Ford is happy to make a financial commitment and a technical contribution while allowing Red Bull to chart the course.
Ford’s participation in F1 runs much deeper than the ill-fated Jaguar project. Engines designed and manufactured by Cosworth and stamped with the Blue Oval were active on the grid for more than 40 years, tallying 176 victories, 13 drivers championships, and 10 constructor world championships– making Ford the third most successful engine builder in F1 history, sitting just behind Ferrari and Mercedes. In fact, Michael Schumacher’s first-ever race in Formula 1 was in the Ford-powered Jordan 191 way back in 1991.
Unlike Cadillac’s recent announcement of an intent to explore the possibility of becoming an F1 constructor alongside Andretti Autosport, Ford’s move is much more solidified and welcomed with open arms by the F1 community. Ford not only has a longstanding history of success in the sport, but the company will also deliver value to a successful and existing F1 entrant, unlike Cadillac and Andretti Autosport which both have sum total zero experience in the world of Formula 1.