Ford had long been mulling a return to Formula 1 racing – for years in fact – before the opportunity finally presented itself when Porsche decided to pull out of a planned partnership with Red Bull Oracle Racing. The Red Bull team was looking for a partner that can help it develop power units for its racers once its contract with Honda expires, and Ford jumped at the chance to take advantage of that, announcing the new pairing early last year. This effort will also help Ford as it develops its next generation electrified powertrains in what is a true partnership, though it is a risky one, by the automaker’s own admission. Thus, as one might imagine, Ford Performance head Mark Rushbrook recently told Motorsport.com that the team’s sole focus is on winning races.
“With Red Bull the work is going great, they are our partners and we are focused on winning,” Rushbrook said. “We want to have the ability to win in motorsport and we hope to do so with the best possible partner. We’ve made a lot of progress over the past year, but there’s still a long way to go, with a lot of development to go to be ready to be on the starting grid in 2026.”
Red Bull has relied on an engine supplier since its inception in 2005, a tradition that will soon come to an end as it prepares to build power units in partnership with Ford at its own facility. The Red Bull Oracle team was essentially forced to make a move after Honda decided to end its own partnership with the team and move on to Aston Martin in 2026, but given the tremendous success that pairing has proven to be, replicating those efforts was always going to be a difficult task, even given Ford’s own rich history in F1 racing.
Ford dominated F1 racing back in the 1960s and 1970s, and even though it left the sport back in 2004, The Blue Oval remains the third most successful engine manufacturer in F1 history with 10 constructors’ championships and 13 drivers’ championships. Now, with Formula 1 arguably more popular than ever – largely thanks to the success of the Netflix series Drive to Survive – the automaker is set to give it another go – with hopes that it can rejuvenate its past success in that series.