Official: Ford returning to Formula 1 with Red Bull in 2026

2026 F1 season

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Red Bull has pulled off a coup by reaching a deal with Ford which will bring the American car maker back to Formula 1 in 2026.

Ford’s return to compete in F1 for the first time since 2004 was announced before Red Bull presented its new livery for the 2023 F1 season.

The manufacturer will collaborate with Red Bull’s Powertrains division on producing power units for the new 2026 engines. They will be raced with Red Bull plus its junior team AlphaTauri.

Ford executive chair Bill Ford said its return to F1 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.

“Ford 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.”

Ford said the growing popularity of F1, plus its commitment to introducing sustainable fuels and increasing the use of electric power by its cars, were the key reasons for its decision to return.

Red Bull set up its own powertrains division following the departure of Honda at the end of 2021. It explored a tie-up with Porsche last year, but decided against forming a relationship with the German sports car brand.

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“It’s fantastic to be welcoming Ford back into Formula 1 through this partnership,” said Red Bull team principal Christian Horner. “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 took over Ford’s Jaguar team at the end of 2004
Ford funded the creation of the Cosworth DFV V8, which became one the most dominant F1 engines following its introduction in 1967, powering a succession of drivers and teams to world championships. It returned with a turbo engine in 1986 for the former Haas team, before partnering with Benetton and eventually taking Michael Schumacher to the world championship with Benetton in 1994.

After transferring its engines to the new Stewart team in 1997, Ford rebranded the operation as Jaguar three years later, but sold the team to Red Bull at the end of 2004.

“They are a manufacturer rich in motoring history that spans generations,” Horner continued. “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. 2026 is still a while a way but for us the work already starts as we look to a new future and a continued evolution of Oracle Red Bull Racing.”

F1 CEO Stefano Domenicali welcomed the manufacturer’s return. “The news today that Ford is coming to Formula 1 from 2026 is great for the sport and we are excited to see them join the incredible automotive partners already in Formula 1,” he said.

“They are a global brand with an incredible heritage in the racing and automotive world and they see the huge value that our platform provides with over half a billion fans around the world.

“Our commitment to be Net Zero Carbon by 2030 and to introduce sustainable fuels in the F1 cars from 2026 is also an important reason for their decision to enter F1. 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.”

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Keith Collantine
Lifelong motor sport fan Keith set up RaceFans in 2005 - when it was originally called F1 Fanatic. Having previously worked as a motoring...

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58 comments on “Official: Ford returning to Formula 1 with Red Bull in 2026”

  1. Couldn’t say the same for Cadillac now could you Stefano?

    1. :-) yeah, a bit of a cringy moment. Then again, Cadillac did not sign up as an engine manufacturer but rather as a sponsor using someone else’s engine

      1. The exact terms of Ford’s return are unclear. Will they be buying or taking some stake in Red Bull Powertrains? Or is it just a badging exercise, until they get bored and pull out?

      2. @bascb
        Let’s wait and see but Ford will probably have RBPT building the PUs for them.

        1. I don’t think it ultimately matters where the engine is built, it’s a works engine all the same rather than a rebadge of another team’s works engine.

          1. It’s not really a works engine if that manufacturer doesn’t actually design, build, test and develop it themselves though, is it.
            That would badge engineering.

          2. @S

            Did you see who’s missing from the 2026 PU manufacturers entry list?

            That sticker company with the Renault PU someone tried to pass off as a works entry.

          3. Did you see who’s missing from the 2026 PU manufacturers entry list?

            Yes I did. Nobody is missing, as a far as I can tell.
            All the manufacturers who have indicated that they would build or fund engine supply are there.

            If you are referring to Cadillac – I have never (nor has anyone else, as far as I know) used the words “Cadillac” and “works entry” in the same sentence.
            “Manufacturer brand,” however – yes. Just like Alfa Romeo and Aston Martin. And some could argue that Mercedes also falls into this category, as their engine business is separate to their race operation (which they don’t fully own). Alpine is also a brand, but at least they are owned by their engine supplying parent company.
            Branding one engine as another is not a new concept in F1, so I’m not sure why you’d single this one out.

        2. Yes, the engines will be made by Red Bull power and paid for by Ford.

          1. As in the cosworth days.

      3. So you’re on the less teams side too? I get this from a manufacturers point of view, but seems strange from a fans.

  2. Welcome back. The more the merrier.

  3. Good to have them back, if they commit to doing more than badging presumably RBPT products.

    1. The Ford badge ruins the look of the RBR logo. It just doesn’t look like it belongs.

  4. Manufacturer’s are great for F1 until they leave & end up leaving F1 in a significantly worse state.

    In decades past it wasn’t as much of a problem when they were just supplying engines and we had a reasonably healthy pool of independents and/or smaller manufacturers willing to partner with independent builders to fund/rebadge an engine (The Yamaha engines of the 90s were designed/built by Judd for instance).

    Now you have manufacturers buying teams & no independent suppliers anywhere to be seen. If we have another situation like in the late 60s/70s, Later turbo era 80s or 2000’s where the manufacturer’s decide to leave then F1 is going to be in a very bad state as we may lose a few teams & won’t have any independent teams or engine suppliers ready to fill the voids.

    And let’s not forget that engine manufacturer’s don’t base a decision to leave just on the current state of F1. A new CEO may not see the value, Lower sales or other financial problems could see them needing to cut costs and as we saw with Honda 2-3 years ago a board could simply decide they want to shift focus elsewhere even though the F1 program is showing signs of success.

    F1 has learnt nothing or maybe Liberty simply don’t know much about the past. Putting all your egg’s in the manufacturer basket never works out well long term and with no independents ready to bail F1 out of another manufacturer exodus is only going to ensure that down the road F1 will be in a lot of trouble.

    I’m not saying F1 shouldn’t have manufacturer’s, I just think that the situation we are heading towards with manufacturer’s owning most the teams and where all of the focus is only on bringing in manufacturers is going to hurt the sport when they inevitably opt to withdraw & all you need to do is look at the past to know that it’s inevitable that they will.

    1. there was a similar situation in 2008 – 2009

      BMW, Toyota, Honda all pulled out of F1.

      BMW and Honda were rebranded as independent teams and F1 only lost one team in Toyota.

      (crazy conspiracy: maybe they brought in those three new teams in 2010 in anticipation that manufacturer teams were on the way out)

  5. Weird fact, this is now the third engine manufacturer to have both Verstappen’s drive their cars.

    1. @sjaakfoo I just realized that Jos Verstappen drove for both teams that Max Verstappen competed in:
      Stewart –> Red Bull
      Minardi –> Toro Rosso

  6. A Ford badged Honda seems like a strange tie-up, but anything is possible in F1 I guess…. Ever since Mateschitz passed away, I’ve thought that Alpha Tauri seemed ripe for a sell off or buy in, at first I thought for Audi or Porsche, but perhaps Ford?

    1. This is about 2026, not the current engine.

      1. Indeed…. Guess the next question is where does this leave Honda?

        1. Buying Dorilton. Applying for a new team slot. Tying up with McLaren, again.

          Plenty of options.

          1. They will probably go back to Mclaren. I think Porsche will do the same as Audi and buy a share of Williams from Dorilton to have their own team.

      2. But 2026 engine is the same 1.6 litre V6 developed by Honda, but only with a more powerful MGU-K

    2. Its that awkward moment Honda realizes that they have been screwed by Redbull especially by Christian Hoener

  7. On paper it is a great return for a famous name in F1 as no doubt quite a lot of us can recall the seriousness with which the brand has conducted its previous campaignes.
    The only challenge for me as a purist is what exactly is reality.

    1. Is this similar to when Merc came to F1. Ilmor were an engine supplier and just badged Merc, in effect same now as Merc engines are built by what is in effect still Ilmor that Merc just bought out. For Merc read Ford, for Ilmor read RBPT?

  8. As expected.

  9. ‘Ford’s long tradition of innovation, sustainability and electrification’

    Hmmmm. I’ve read enough greenwashing marketing for today I think.

  10. Is this a scheme to get more engine testing time? The whole Honda branding removal into RBT yet Honda still working on it and making a random return after they’d wrapped up the championships didn’t make sense to me. Call me cynical but did that whole agreement allow RBT more testing as they were a technically new manufacturer?

    This again seems an odd one. Great to see Ford back, but does this open the door to Ford and RBT testing individually and Ford not limited to in season restrictions as RBT would be currently?

    History has told me not to trust RedBull so I’m unsure if this is good news or more corruption (sorry miss understanding of the rules not done in an intentional way…

    1. RBPT gets some benefit in preparing for 2026 for being a new entrant. (I’m sure the details in terms of budget and dyno hours are out there)

      With Ford now partnering Red Bull in RBFPT, they’ll be under the same limits already set for RBPT.

  11. A lot can happen between 2023 and 2026. Unless there is Ford badging on the car (which from the livery seems to be not the case), would it not be prudent to make a collaboration announcement closer to the date? Or is it because the news was already leaked which advanced the announcement.

    1. Why wait? Work for 2026 has been underway already, and if Ford are going to partner in RBFPT, there’s no point in not getting the benefit from announcing it early.

  12. I don’t bother considering whether news is true until I read it here :)

    Looking forward to the coverage of this topic moving forward.

    1. Maybe if Dieter was still around sure but he left.

      1. Yeah I miss his articles.

  13. Instant results and success to associate your brand AND cheaper than developing a new engine for a new team the odds are against even ever getting a single win. Not a fan of badge engineering, but I get it from a marketing standpoint. Well, not getting involved at all in F1 would be even a better use of money for Ford.

  14. Should be a fun 5 years before they leave again.

  15. They made their bed, told the world they refuse competition all the while pretetending like nothing ever happened. Liberty Media and the teams are all greedy scum as far as I’m concerned.

    1. lol that bed being a rising sports that continues to grow popular? :)

      Nothing wrong with what they’re doing when other new teams want to leech off their success after the hard work and losses of the pandemic have been covered. The potential teams are even more greedier scum.

      1. Every team currently in F1 is ‘leeching’ – as you put it. F1 has an enormous marketing space – especially during a pandemic when everyone is at home – and they wouldn’t be in F1 today either if they weren’t making enormous profits from it.
        The potential teams – as far as I’m aware – aren’t actively preventing anyone from entering any series that they participate in…. The current F1 teams, on the other hand….

        1. Every team currently in F1 is ‘leeching’

          Every single team currently in F1 has been contributing to the sport for years, the youngest being Aston Martin going into their 6th season.

          1. How do suggest that a new team contribute to F1 if they aren’t even allowed to enter?

            And let’s just be completely honest here – the existing teams are not in F1 to add to it, they are there solely to take from it.
            Yes – before you say it – that’s exactly what a new team would do too. So I guess that makes them equal, doesn’t it…

            If a new team has to prove their value to F1 to be allowed in – would you also argue that the existing ones should too?
            Everyone who doesn’t meet a given standard of value or worth to F1 should be turfed out?
            That would leave, what? 3 or 4 teams?

          2. Stop flailing. You claimed that “Every team currently in F1 is ‘leeching’”, which is patently false.

          3. You claimed that “Every team currently in F1 is ‘leeching’”, which is patently false.

            Which one is there to add to F1, and not to add to themselves?

          4. Every single team, starting from the youngest in Aston Martin, has contributed to the show for at least 5 seasons.

          5. And by 2030 or 2031, Andretti will also have ‘contributed’ for 5 seasons.
            All they need is a franchise.

            In that same time, all of the teams will have made a bucketload of money out of it – and not invested a single cent back into it.
            They participate to make money, not to make F1 better.

          6. In that same time, all of the teams will have made a bucketload of money out of it – and not invested a single cent back into it.

            Even with the budget cap in place, significantly more than a billion US dollars is being spent every year by the ten existing teams on just their part of the car, PU manufacturers’ outlay notwithstanding.

          7. Even with the budget cap in place, significantly more than a billion US dollars is being spent every year by the ten existing teams on just their part of the car, PU manufacturers’ outlay notwithstanding.

            They are spending that money on themselves to participate in F1, and to improve their performance to gain even more return from their investment (in themselves).
            Andretti, or any other new team, would be doing exactly the same.

            This is up there with the ‘long-standing’ arguments Ferrari use use to justify themselves.
            And to this day, Ferrari still haven’t spent any money on F1. It’s all gone on themselves, to make more money from F1.

          8. I’m unsure how that pertains to your erroneous claim that “Every team currently in F1 is ‘leeching’”.

  16. F1 hasn’t been F1 since 2017.

    1. Yea it’s bigger and more popular than before.

      1. And would likely be even bigger and more popular still with more teams – especially with a home-grown American one, no less. The exact market they are most focused on growing…

        1. Formula 1 has had a “home-grown American” team for the past 7 seasons.

          1. Yeah, sure….
            Haas’ primary operational base is in the UK, the staff are predominantly European, their chassis is produced by Dallara in Italy, and Ferrari supply loads of parts and have also taken on a bunch of car preparation tasks (in exchange for some additional political clout).
            I’m not saying they aren’t American, but in reality they aren’t very American…

            They are also a highly recognisable name in the US, even outside of motorsports followers – without even considering that they are an actual, established race team (and not a tooling manufacturer).

          2. They are also a highly recognisable name in the US, even outside of motorsports followers – without even considering that they are an actual, established race team (and not a tooling manufacturer).

            That would be Andretti, of course…

          3. While I will freely admit to enjoying some of the pretzels you’re twisting yourself into, that terribly failed swipe at Gene Haas is obnoxious to the point of stupidity.

          4. Okay, you’re right.
            Haas is a tooling manufacturer who spent loads of money on two race teams (one in NASCAR, one in F1) primarily to advertise his tooling business.
            Not a swipe at all – just a description.

            And I do have to apologise for ignoring the fact that two of the current F1 teams are actually in support of Andretti’s bid to enter F1.
            So I guess they aren’t all as bad as each other after all. Only the other 8 of them.

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