Ford is back in Formula One. Once the dominant engine in the series — with 155 wins and 10 constructors' titles (and 13 drivers' titles) through its partnership with British race engineering firm Cosworth from the mid-'60s to the mid-'80s -- the American manufacturer announced on Friday a technical partnership with Red Bull Racing. Ford was last involved in F1 back in 2004 (when it owned Jaguar) and eventually sold that operation to Red Bull, so it is a return home in more than one way. Ford will bring its expertise in hybrid and battery technology to the partnership that will culminate in power units for both Red Bull Racing and AlphaTauri under the new regulations for 2026.
"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," F1 President and CEO Stefano Domenicali told on Formula1.com. "Ford is a global brand with an incredible heritage in racing and the 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."
Part of F1's plan to be net carbon neutral by 2030, the new power units for 2026 will be based around the current 1.6-liter engine and run on 100-percent sustainable fuels with increased electrical output. Ford are said to be providing assistance in development, including batteries, electric motors, software and analytics.
"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," Ford Motor Company President and CEO Jim Farley said, per Formula1.com. "F1 will be an incredibly cost-effective platform to innovate, share ideas and technologies, and engage with tens of millions of new customers."
Ford's announcement comes after General Motors announced plans to partner Cadillac with Andretti Autosport for a new F1 team that hopes to achieve approval from the series to also compete in 2026.
"It's fantastic to be welcoming Ford back into Formula One through this partnership. As an independent engine manufacturer to have the ability to benefit from an OEM's experience like Ford puts us in good stead against the competition," Red Bull team principal Christian Horner said. "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."