Ford is returning to Formula 1. The American automaker and Red Bull Powertrains are partnering to develop the next-generation hybrid power unit for the 2026 regulations. The new engines will power cars for both Oracle Red Bull Racing and Scuderia AlphaTauri until at least 2030.
“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,” said Bill Ford, the automaker’s executive chair.
Ford and Red Bull Powertrains will begin developing the new power unit this year, which will have to meet the upcoming technical regulations being implemented. The powertrain will feature a 350-kilowatt electric motor, and it has to accept sustainable fuels. The automaker will provide RBP with technical expertise where it can, including combustion engines, battery cells, electric motor technology, power unit control software, and analytics.
“As an independent engine manufacturer to have the ability to benefit from an OEM’s experience like Ford puts us in a good stead against the competition,” said Christian Horner, Oracle Red Bull Racing’s team principal and CEO. “From Jim Clark to Ayrton Senna and Michael Schumacher, the lineage speaks for itself.”
Ford exited F1 in 2004 with its Jaguar and Cosworth operations. However, the automaker has been quite successful in the sport, winning 10 constructors’ championships and 13 drivers’ championships during its campaigns.
Ford’s return to Formula 1 comes as the automaker pushes heavily into motorsports during what feels like a racing renaissance. The automaker is involved with grassroots motorsports, WEC, IMSA, WRC, NASCAR, NHRA, and so much more. “We are entering a new age for Ford Performance,” said Ford CEO Jim Farley. The Blue Oval is already teasing the 2024 Mustang GT3 race car.
Formula 1’s growing popularity in the US has made other American automakers interested in the sport. Last month, Cadillac and Andretti announced their plan to enter F1, adding a new team to the paddock. However, the proposed expansion is facing pushback.