Nearly one year ago, Ford announced that it would be making its long-awaited return to Formula 1 racing as part of a new partnership with the Oracle Red Bull team. The Blue Oval will produce power units for Red Bull starting in 2026, which will also help FoMoCo develop its next-generation all-electric powertrain technology at the same time. Back in September, the automaker announced that these new Red Bull Ford powertrains will utilize Oracle’s cloud technology, as well as the Siemens Xcelerator portfolio of industry software as the team aims to complete a rather daunting task – build a competitive power unit from the ground up in a short period of time, which is also a risky endeavor. Regardless, during last night’s Ford Performance 2024 season kick-off event, Red Bull Racing Team Principal and CEO Christian Horner gave us an update on how that process is going.
Right off the bat, Horner reiterated the challenges involved in this process, which are to be expected given the Red Bull team’s tremendous success in recent years, coupled with the fact that it and Ford Performance have a limited amount of time to build a competitive power unit for both Oracle Red Bull Racing and Scuderia Alpha Tauri. However, he also pointed out that the 2026 season – when this partnership set to make its debut – will see one of the most significant regulation changes in years.
These changes involve not only working to extract more power from the powertrain’s electric motor versus its traditional gas motivation, but also a switch to a new carbon-free fuel as part of F1’s commitment to becoming net carbon zero by 2030.
Horner said the exchange of ideas and technology ahead of these massive changes are now flowing between the two organizations in the lead up to the implementation of the new regulations. For now, Red Bull Ford Powertrains, as it’s officially known, is focusing on key areas such as high-voltage propulsion systems, manufacturing of the internal combustion engine and turbo unit, and working with Red Bull Powertrains on the power unit’s electronics systems.