Ford to return to F1 in 2026 with Red Bull motor partnership

Red Bull has announced an engine partnership with Ford that sees the American giant return to Formula One after a two-decade absence.

The new deal, which comes into effect with the 2026 change in the sport’s motor regulations, was confirmed at Red Bull’s season launch in New York on Friday.

Ford ended its involvement with F1 when it sold Jaguar to Red Bull 19 years ago, but the American carmaker has been keen to capitalize on the rise in popularity of the sport in the United States following the success of the ‘Drive to Survive’ series. from Netflix. .

However, Ford’s return will mainly be a publicity exercise, with Red Bull to retain control of its own power units, built at its Milton Keynes headquarters.

Ford CEO Jim Farley appeared alongside Red Bull team principal Christian Horner and double world champion Max Verstappen as the union 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 an F1 team has launched it in the US.

“The growth of our sport in the United States cannot be ignored. There are over 50 million F1 fans in the US, 72 per cent of whom follow us, and the way the fans have embraced our team here has been very special to see.

“We also wanted to celebrate and welcome Ford back to their home country as they will become the new partner of Red Bull Powertrains from 2026. This will be a true strategic technical partnership.

“Ford will help with battery and hybrid technology and much more to keep the team ahead of the competition. I am already very excited about the possibilities this partnership will offer both of us globally.”

Farley said: “We looked at many options and wanted to go in the direction that was true for us, so we decided to have a strategic and technical partnership with Red Bull powertrains.

“We want to help Christian and the entire Red Bull Racing team to deliver the products to the track. It’s a great time for the Ford family and we can’t wait to race.”

F1 boss Stefano Domenicali, who was also in New York for Friday’s announcement, said: “Today’s news that Ford will be coming to Formula One from 2026 is great for the sport and we’re excited to see them come together. to the amazing automotive partners already in Formula. One.

“They are a global brand with an incredible heritage in the world of racing and automotive and they see the tremendous value our platform offers with more than 500 million fans around the world.

“We believe our sport provides the opportunity and scope like no other and we can’t wait to see the Ford logo race on iconic F1 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 25-year-old Dutchman opens his championship defense in Bahrain on March 5.

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