Ford to make F1 return in 2026 with Red Bull engine partnership
Red Bull has announced an engine partnership with Ford which sees the American giant return to Formula One after two decades away.
The new deal, which comes into force with the sport’s 2026 change in engine regulations, was confirmed at Red Bull’s season launch in New York on Friday.
Ford terminated its involvement in F1 when it sold Jaguar to Red Bull 19 years ago, but the American car maker has been keen to jump on the surge in popularity in the sport in the United States following the success of Netflix’s ‘Drive to Survive’ series.
However, Ford’s comeback will primarily be an advertising exercise, with Red Bull to remain in control of its own power units, built at its Milton Keynes headquarters.
Ford chief executive Jim Farley appeared alongside Red Bull team principal Christian Horner and double world champion Max Verstappen as the tie-up was confirmed in Manhattan.
“At Red Bull Racing we always strive to do things first and do things differently,” said Horner.
“This is the first time we have launched our season outside of the UK and the first time any F1 team has launched in the USA.
“The growth of our sport in America cannot be ignored. There are over 50 million F1 fans in the USA, of which 72 per cent follow us, and the way the fans have embraced our team here has been very special to see.
“We also wanted to celebrate with, and welcome, Ford in their home country, as they become Red Bull Powertrains new partner from 2026. This will be a true strategic technical partnership.
“Ford will assist with battery and hybrid technology and much more to keep the team ahead of the competition. I am already very excited about the possibilities that this partnership will offer both of us globally.”
Farley said: “We looked at a lot of options and we wanted to go in the direction that was authentic to us so we decided to have a strategic and technical partnership with Red Bull powertrains.
“We want to help Christian and the whole Red Bull Racing team to deliver the goods on the track. it is a huge moment for the Ford family and we cannot wait to go racing.”
F1 boss Stefano Domenicali, who was also in New York for Friday’s announcement, said: “The news today that Ford is coming to Formula One from 2026 is great for the sport and we are excited to see them join the incredible automotive partners already in Formula One.
“They are a global brand with an incredible heritage in the racing and automotive world and they see the huge value that our platform provides with over half a billion fans around the world.
“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.”
Red Bull’s Verstappen secured his second title with four races remaining last year, while his team comfortably took the constructors’ crown.
The Dutch driver, 25, opens his championship defence in Bahrain on March 5.
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