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Inside Ford’s return to Formula One after 22 years

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Ford Formula 1 return
Ford Formula 1 return. Photo/Sky Sports
  • Ford partnered with Red Bull
  • Its engines will roar in Red Bull cars starting 2021
  • The deal will go up to 2030

Ford Formula 1 return after 22 years in the cold is now a reality following a new deal with Red Bull.

From 2026, the American car manufacturer will partially fund Red Bull’s engine, taking the place of Honda. The Japanese car manufacturers struck a deal with the F1 team to supply them with engines starting 2019. At a presentation event in New York on February 3, Red Bull unveiled their brand-new car livery for the 2023 Formula One season powered by Honda.

Red Bull team principal Christian Horner said that it is an amazing thing to welcome Ford back to Formula 1. He said that the two entities enjoy a great relationship and he is looking forward for the four years they will be together.

From 2026 till at least 2030, Ford—which last competed in Formula One in 2004—will work on the powertrain for Red Bull and sister team AlphaTauri. Ford cites its commitment to sustainability as one of the main reasons for returning. This is consistent with F1’s ambition to be carbon neutral by 2030 and to use sustainable fuels in F1 cars in 2026.


Ford Formula One return

Ford Formula One return. Photo/The New York Times

Red Bull’s envisaged partnership with the American automobile manufacturer raises questions on Ford Formula 1 return. One of them is whether Ford will join F1 as team. In short, Ford’s return to Formula One is not solely as an independent team but as a strategic partner.

There is a long-term strategic technological relationship between the venerable American carmaker and Red Bull powertrains being established. It is for developing a next-generation hybrid power unit that will be deployed in the 2026 Formula 1 season.

Then, from 2026 till at least 2030, Ford will supply the engines for the Scuderia AlphaTauri and Oracle Red Bull Racing teams, respectively. Ford will provide knowledge in fields including powertrain control and analytics. It will also lead in the development of battery cell and electric motor technologies.

Red Bull will put these technologies test which is part of the reason Ford Formula 1 return in 2026 is highly anticipated.

Jim Farley, the CEO of Ford says the new Formula One era is exciting for him because the company is all out to winning F1 championships starting in 2026. Horner on his part remarks that having Ford back through a strategic partnership is of great benefit because it puts Red Bull in a highly competitive setting.

Further, the fact that Ford is an autonomous engine manufacturer with a decorated history is reassuring to the team.


Ford Formula 1 return comes after 22 years. The last time Ford raced in F1 was in 2004. The American automaker owned the Jaguar team, which Red Bull eventually purchased in 2004 and ended its reign. The Red Bull collaboration, incidentally, completes a circle.

Jaguar’s factory team was still a member of the company at the time Ford sold it to Red Bull. Then, the automaker decided it could no longer fund the team owing to its lack of success. Nevertheless, world championship victory in 1994 as a supplier for the Benetton team, driven by Michael Schumacher, was Ford’s final significant achievement in Formula 1.

Ford formula 1 return

Ford formula 1 return. Photo/Ford Hybrid

Ford continued to compete at the highest level in motorsports while away from Formula 1. These sports include rallying and sports car racing. However, with the updated power unit regulations in 2026, F1 pushed for a greater focus on electrical power and sustainable fuels. And this turned out to be a game-changer for Ford.

The change in engine regulations for 2026 rekindled interest from automakers in joining the F1 grid. It coincides with the ongoing global success the championship is experiencing. Further, the upgraded power units will provide 350 kW more electrical power from the MGU-K, about a tripling of the MGU-K and MGU-present H’s capacity.

From 2026, F1 vehicles will also run on totally sustainable fuels. Nonetheless, there is no popular belief that these modifications would affect on-track performance. Ford will work with Milton Keynes’ Red Bull Powertrains department to integrate their technical know-how.


There is no F1 team currently using a Ford engine. However, Red Bull is the team marking Ford Formula 1 return in 2026 by using its engine.

Teresa is a journalist with years of experience in creating web content. She is a wanderlust at heart, but an outgoing sports writer with focus on tennis, athletics, football, motorsports and NBA.

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