Ford announces F1 return in 2026 with Red Bull
NEW YORK — Ford has confirmed it will return to Formula One in 2026 as it joins forces with world champions Red Bull.
The American automotive giant announced its return to the sport on Friday morning at Red Bull’s launch event in New York.
The deal will see Ford team up with Red Bull’s recently formed engine company, Red Bull Powertrains, which is based at the F1 team’s factory in Milton Keynes, England, and is already working on a power unit to meet F1’s new engine regulations for 2026.
Ford’s involvement has been labelled as a strategic partnership and “will provide expertise in areas including battery cell and electric motor technology as well as power unit control software and analytics” and “combustion engine development.”
Red Bull decided to set up its own power unit facility in 2021 after current engine supplier Honda showed uncertainty about its long-term commitment to F1. Red Bull and its sister team, AlphaTauri, will continue to use Honda engines until the end of the current regulation cycle in 2025.
The new power unit regulations for 2026 mean F1 cars will continue to be powered by V6 turbo-hybrids, but with increased electrical power and the use of sustainable synthetic fuels in the internal combustion engine.
“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 CEO Stefano Domenicali 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.”
Bill Ford, the car manufacturer’s executive chair, added: “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.”
The Ford deal will mark the American manufacturer’s first involvement in F1 since it sold its Jaguar team to Red Bull for a nominal fee in 2004. It also coincides with the booming popularity of the sport in the U.S.
Reigning champions Red Bull are still based at the same factory Ford helped set up in 1996 as the main backer of the then-Stewart Grand Prix team.
Ford has a rich history in F1, most notably through its funding of Cosworth’s development of the legendary DFV engine in the 1960s, 1970s and early 1980s. The Cosworth DFV remains the most successful engine in F1 history, powering a number of different teams to 155 victories over a period of 16 years.
Following Ford’s announcement, F1’s governing body, the FIA, confirmed six engine manufacturers are lined up to power the grid under the new regulations in 2026, including Red Bull’s current supplier Honda.
The news is significant as Honda had initially planned to leave F1 to focus on all-electric technology. Ford and Honda will join existing manufacturers Ferrari, Mercedes and Alpine, as well as new entrant Audi.
Ford’s return to F1 also comes at the same time as its historic rival in the U.S. automotive sector, General Motors, attempts to enter its Cadillac brand for 2026.
GM has joined forces with Andretti Autosport in the hope of setting up an entirely new team, but its entry is dependent on it succeeding in a formal selection process that was launched on Thursday.