After an almost 20-year absence, Ford is making its highly anticipated return to the Formula One grid in 2026 with the help of one of the sport’s top teams, Red Bull Racing. The American automaker and the Milton Keynes-based team have announced a headline-making technical partnership that will see them collaborate on the creation of a next-gen power unit for F1’s future engine regulations.
The partnership, which is set to run until at least 2030, will not only see Ford add another championship to its motorsport portfolio, which already includes the World Rally Championship, NASCAR, and the Australian Supercars, but it will also provide a clear advantage for the company on the marketing side.
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Mark Rushbrook, Global Director of Ford Performance Motorsports, was quick to emphasize Ford’s responsible approach to racing, stating that the company does not have an unlimited budget and goes racing in a strategic manner, with the right partners to win races, but also with a responsible budget.
When asked if Ford’s return to F1 meant they had a “bottomless pit” in terms of their motorsport resources, Rushbrook said, “Definitely not bottomless, I can attest to that. We do go racing in a responsible way, I believe, in all the different series that we go.”
The new engine regulations, which are set to debut in 2026, will see the current turbocharged 1.6-liter power unit replaced with a new power unit that features increased electrical power and 100% sustainable fuels, all while improving safety and lowering costs for manufacturers.
Red Bull Racing will continue to compete with Honda power units until the end of the current engine cycle in 2025 before transitioning to their new partnership with Ford. The two-way technology transfer that will come with the partnership will bring new opportunities for both Red Bull and Ford, making this a highly anticipated moment in the world of motorsport.
Ford’s return to F1 marks a new chapter in the sport’s history and is set to be a dramatic, strategic partnership that will have fans on the edge of their seats.