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Ford to launch Formula 1 comeback after 20 years

Jordyn Grzelewski, The Detroit News on

Published in Automotive News

Ford Motor Co. on Friday is returning to Formula 1 after more than 20 years, and just weeks after crosstown rival General Motors Co. said it was joining forces with Andretti Global to launch a bid to compete in one of the world's most prestigious motor races.

Ford is partnering with Red Bull Powertrains to develop a next-gen hybrid power unit for the 2026 Formula 1 season, according to a news release. Red Bull Ford will provide the power units for the Oracle Red Bull Racing and Scuderia AlphaTauri teams starting in 2026 and continuing at least up to 2030.

Work on developing the new power unit is slated to begin this year, the companies said.

Ford's return to the FIA Formula One World Championship comes amid a surge in popularity in F1 racing, and as the sport transitions to a "more electrified future," the automaker said in a news release.

"This 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," Bill Ford, Ford executive chair, said in a statement. "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 left the sport in 2004 but noted that the company remains the third most successful engine manufacturer in F1 history.

"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," Stefano Domenicali, president and CEO of Formula 1, said in a statement.


"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," he added. "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."

Meanwhile, Ford CEO Jim Farley said in a statement that the comeback reflects Ford's direction as a company: "increasingly electric, software-defined, modern vehicles and experiences. F1 will be an incredibly cost-effective platform to innovate, share ideas and technologies, and engage with tens of millions of new customers."

Ford and Red Bull Powertrains said that some areas of collaboration include combustion engine development, battery cell and electric motor technology, power unit control software and analytics.

"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," Christian Horner, Oracle Red Bull Racing Team principal and CEO, said in a statement. "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"

The move also marks an expansion of Ford Performance's ambitions and ventures.

"We will be competing to win in F1, the pinnacle for motor sport, with Red Bull Racing," said Farley. "You will see the world's most popular sports coupe, the Mustang, race from the grass roots to Australian Supercars to NASCAR to Le Mans. And will build our off-road leadership in the World Rally Championship, King of Hammers and to the Baha 1000 and more. All the while, we'll continue to excite the world with cool demonstrators like SuperVan 4 and Mustang Mach-E 1400."

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