Ford Performance Head Says F1 Project Has One Big Advantage

Ford is hard at work preparing for the 2026 Formula One season, having officially started work on an F1 power unit with sights set on getting Oracle Red Bull back to Victory Lane. Although Ford has been out of the F1 game for over two decades now, Ford Performance head Mark Rushbrook says he’s not worried, as The Blue Oval has an advantage over the rest of the grid, according to a recent report from Motorsport.

2023 Ford Puma M-Sport race car

Ford’s lofty plans for F1 include helping Red Bull produce its own power units in-house, rather than relying on a third party. They may be at a disadvantage to teams like Ferrari, which have decades of experience building their own power units, but Rushbrook says that’s not a concern. In fact, Ford is able to solely focus on the future and building next-gen power units instead of having to divert its resources toward developing power units under the current guidelines as well.

“It is absolutely true that at Ferrari they have the knowledge, all the people and all that experience in a system that already works. So yes, they might have an advantage with that,” Rushbrook said in an interview. “But I would say that one of the things though where we have an advantage is the team that is working on the power unit for us, for 2026, is only working on the power unit for 2026. They are not working on the power units for today.”

Ford F1 race car in 2002

Ford Performance is getting a bit of a fresh start with Red Bull in F1. Longtime engineer Adrian Newey recently announced his departure from the team, but Ford says it’s pushing ahead with its current plans anyway, even though the partnership is risky. However, there will be a payoff for The Blue Oval beyond collecting trophies, as track-tested tech will prove invaluable to the development of retail vehicles.
We’ll have more on Ford’s return to F1 soon, so sure and subscribe to Ford Authority for more Ford motorsports news and continuous Ford news coverage.

Alexandra is a Colorado-based journalist with a passion for all things involving horsepower, be it automotive or equestrian.

Alexandra Purcell

Alexandra is a Colorado-based journalist with a passion for all things involving horsepower, be it automotive or equestrian.

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  • There's clearly a lot riding on the relative success of this program. If it doesn't go well, sure Ford will have gained valuable knowledge regarding these power plants, but at what potential injury to their brand? Guess we'll find out.

    • I'm not sure any perceived failure in F1 could hurt Ford's brand, at least not in the US. I can't speak to that in Europe. I would be more concerned with it being a money pit, although the R&D might be worth it alone, don't know. I do hope they do well, though.

  • Mark, trust me, Ferrari, Honda, Mercedes and Audi are working on 2026 engines now.
    The big worry is if Red Bull team implodes..