US car giant Ford will return to the world’s top motorsport category from 2026 with the championship-winning Red Bull racing team.
After a 22-year absence, Ford will return to the top echelon of motorsport – Formula One – with the championship-winning Red Bull racing team from 2026.
The US car giant has signed up to a minimum five-year commitment – from 2026 to “at least” 2030 – to supply the next-generation of hybrid engines for the pinnacle motorsport category.
In a statement issued by Ford in the US overnight, the company said it would supply engines and hybrid technology to the lead Red Bull Racing F1 outfit and its second-tier Scuderia AlphaTauri team.
Red Bull Racing has won five Formula One constructor’s championships – and six Formula One driver championships – since 2010, the latter including the past two years in a row in the hands of Dutch driver Max Verstappen.
Ford will provide expertise in areas including battery cell and electric motor technology as well as power unit control software and analytics, the company 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,” Bill Ford, executive chairman and great-grandson of company founder Henry Ford, said in a media statement.
“Ford, alongside world champions … 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.”
Although Ford won’t be on the Formula One grid until 2026 the company says it will start working on the new hybrid technology this year.
Ford says it will “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.”
Jim Farley, President and CEO, Ford Motor Company, said in a media statement: “Ford’s return to Formula One with Red Bull Racing is all about where we are going as a company – increasingly electric, software-defined, modern vehicles and experiences.”
Although Formula One is one of the most expensive forms of motorsport on the planet, the company claims the category will be “an incredibly cost-effective platform to innovate, share ideas and technologies, and engage with tens of millions of new customers.”
“Ford will provide technical expertise in all areas where it can add value to the front-running, World Championship team,” Ford said.
“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.”
Red Bull Racing team principal Christian Horner said in a media statement: “It’s fantastic to be welcoming Ford back into Formula One through this partnership.
“To have the ability to benefit from (a major manufacturer’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.”
Ford did not disclose how much its return to Formula One would cost.
The company claims that by 2026 Ford will be the only manufacturer to be competing in racing disciplines from grassroots motorsports to Formula 1, including WEC, IMSA, Le Mans 24 Hours, the World Rally Championship, Dakar with Ranger Raptor, Baja 1000 with Ranger Raptor and Bronco, and NASCAR, NHRA drag racing and Australian V8 Supercars with Mustang.
Red Bull F1 engine partnerships
- Ferrari – 2006
- Renault – 2007 to 2018
- Honda – 2019 to 2021
- Red Bull-badged Honda derivative – 2022 to 2025
- Ford – 2026 to 2030