Ford CEO arrived at Red Bull pitch meeting in a Perez cap – Horner

2023 F1 season

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Red Bull team principal Christian Horner says it became clear early in their negotiations with Ford how keen the American car-making giant was to return to Formula 1 with them.

Ford will assist Red Bull in developing the new power units which will be raced in F1 from 2026. The deal was agreed late last year and announced at the team’s launch in February.

Horner recalled his initial meeting with Ford CEO Jim Farley, who arrived wearing a Red Bull driver cap. “It really started in the autumn of last year,” Horner told a Financial Times conference.

“Everything happened very quickly because I heard that Ford were contemplating a re-entry into Formula 1 and we were looking for a partner in this new project for the engine that we’re producing for 2026. So on the way to to Brazil, I went via Detroit. I met Bill Ford and and Jim Farley.

“I suppose when Jim walked in, in a Sergio Perez cap, to the first meeting, it felt like it was going to get off to a good start.”

The F1 team and automaker quickly decided they were well-placed to work together, said Horner.

“We had a great meeting. Sometimes you can tell just from the get-go if the feeling is right. Ford were keen to come back into the sport and were impressed with what we’re doing.

“They had technology that we could only only dream about [because of] their whole shift towards electrification and the investment that they’re making, so for us it was very natural, a very easy partnership to bring together. And already we’re seeing some of the some of the fruits of that in the engine development that we’re conducting.”

Red Bull established its own engine design and production facility in 2021 after Honda, which developed its current power units, announced its plans to leave F1. The new Red Bull Powertrains division has begun work on their new engines for 2026, when F1 will increase the units’ electrical power generation and switch to what it calls a fully sustainable fuel.

While Horner believes the team is well-placed to handle the combustion engine portion of the new power unit, he said Ford’s expertise on the electrical side will be invaluable.

“Ford and Jim really came to us and said, look, you guys are the specialists, get going, get on with it and if there is anything that we can help with, we’re here to help and assist.

“Making a bespoke combustion engine under Formula 1 regulations with fully sustainable fuel, that’s something that the skill set of people that we have are very confident in. But the the cell technology, which is going to represent 50% of the power of these cars moving forward, is something that that we have very little knowledge in.

“So I think that’s where Ford, particularly in the electrification, are going to play a key role in helping us to deliver in 2026.”

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Author information

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...
Hazel Southwell
Hazel is a motorsport and automotive journalist with a particular interest in hybrid systems, electrification, batteries and new fuel technologies....

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15 comments on “Ford CEO arrived at Red Bull pitch meeting in a Perez cap – Horner”

  1. Looks like Ford chose the right approach to the meetings (especially after Porsche big manufacturer controlling attitude hit it wrong with Red bull’s lets go and disrupt leitmotif)

  2. Christian’s inner dialogue: “Rube alert. Rube alert!”

  3. Ford will be their 8th engine partner since 2005. Is it a record or not?

    1. Mclaren has had 11 different engine builders/partners…

      1. Indeed, and Williams has had ten. Red Bull has had quite a few though, considering they’ve been in F1 a lot shorter than those two teams

    2. Tommy Scragend
      17th May 2023, 13:11

      Stretching a point a bit to say it’ll be their eighth engine partner.

      Cosworth, Ferrari, Renault, Honda, Ford.

      Renault customer/Renault works/Tag Heuer aren’t different partners – they were all Renault.

      RBPT isn’t a partner either – you can’t partner with yourself.

      1. Coventry Climax
        17th May 2023, 13:40

        Even Cosworth/Ford is a bit debateable, like Mugen/Honda.

  4. Oli Gendebien
    17th May 2023, 13:18

    Came here to see the cap. I’m disappointed.

    1. Coventry Climax
      17th May 2023, 13:43

      Find it here.

      Happy now?

  5. It seems odd that Ford would bother with F1 considering they don’t even make cars anymore aside from the Mustang and the electric obscenity that shares its name.

    1. The 2026 IC engines are strictly regulated, to the point where it’s possible for a group with zero experience like Red Bull to ‘build’ one according to the specs laid out in the regulations.

      Ford also doesn’t have to bother with the MGU-H, which is a rather complex piece of equipment. And the other part, the MGU-K is of interest to them. Their involvement will probably focus on marketing that one aspect that does line up with their move to making battery vehicles.

    2. Thomas Bowman
      18th May 2023, 20:46

      They do in other markets, just not NA.

  6. Electroball76
    17th May 2023, 16:54

    Was it a cost cap?

  7. Trevor G Lunn
    17th May 2023, 21:29

    Love it!
    Ford better get Mike Costin and Keith Duckworth on the line. LOL

  8. Checo bringing Red Bull a nice bit of cash it seems.

Comments are closed.