Ford has confirmed its plans to make a Formula One comeback when new engine regulations are introduced in 2026.
The American automotive giants’ return means the famous Blue Oval badge will grace the grid again from the 2026 campaign, some 20 years on from their last involvement in 2004.
The US carmakers will partner reigning world champion Red Bull through its in-house engine division, Red Bull Powertrains – the company established to build future engines for Christian Horner’s team and sister team AlphaTauri.
Ford’s return will come as Formula One shifts to fully sustainable fuel and the use of a greater electrical component from the 2026 campaign following a revamp of the regulations.
The news was confirmed at Red Bull’s 2023 Season launch in New York Friday, where Ford CEO Jim Farley said: ‘We looked at a lot of options as good business people and we wanted to go in the direction that was authentic to us.
Ford has confirmed its plans to make a Formula One comeback from the 2026 campaign
Ford will partner Red Bull Powertrains, the team’s in-house engine division, on return to F1
‘So we’ve decided to have a strategic partnership and a technical partnership with Red Bull Powertrains to enter Formula 1 in 2026.
‘We want to help Christian [Horner] and his fantastic drivers, the entire Red Bull Racing team to deliver the goods on the track. It’s a huge moment for the Ford Family. Around the world we have almost 200,000 employees and we’re real excited to engage a whole new generation of customers with our electric vehicles.
‘It’s a big deal for us. We’re really excited about the sustainable direction of the sport. We’re on the same mission at Ford. And we cannot wait to go racing with you.’
Before the launch, Bill Ford, Executive Chairman, Ford Motor Company, had echoed Farley’s excitement, saying: ‘This is the start of a thrilling new chapter in Ford’s motorsports story that began when my great-grandfather [Henry Ford] won a race that helped launch our company.
‘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.’
Stefano Domenicali, President and CEO of F1, said: ‘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.
‘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.
‘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.
Ford CEO Jim Farley (right) pictured with President and CEO of F1 Stefano Domenicali
The news was confirmed at Red Bull’s 2023 launch where it unveiled its new car (above)
‘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.’
Formula One’s governing body on Thursday formally started a process that could lead to new teams entering the championship from 2025.
Ford’s return comes after they sold their Jaguar team to Red Bull for one dollar in 2004. They have since concentrated on other categories including the World Rally Championship and sportscars.
But a surge in F1’s popularity has caused Ford to revive their interest and Mark Rushbrook, global director of Ford Performance Motorsports, had recently hinted at the company’s plans when he said Formula One ‘requires consideration’.
Mark Rushbrook, global director of Ford Performance Motorsports, had hinted at the plans
Ford previously owned the Jaguar team (above) before selling it to Red Bull in 2004
He added: ‘What they have done well is to create great racing and great competition. It’s still the pinnacle, and they have been able to reach new audiences with things like Neflix’s Drive to Survive.’
The announcement follows a similar move from rival General Motors and its Cadillac brand to team up with Andretti Autosport, who are seeking to become Formula One’s 11th team.
The sport’s American expansion sees Las Vegas added to the schedule this year, complementing races in Miami and Austin.
Red Bull established their Powertrains division in Milton Keynes to address Honda’s ‘withdrawal’ from Formula One in 2021. The intention is to be self-sufficient in a few years’ time. Nonetheless, Honda are still due to supply the team with engines until the end of 2025.
Red Bulls team principal Christian Horner with the trophy at the Yas Marina Circuit in 2021
The American carmakers have a rich history in the sport, stretching all the way back to he 1960sand the DFV (Double Four Valve) engine, built in partnership with British engineering firm Cosworth, which took 155 wins from 262 races between 1967 and 1985.
Ford has played a role in 10 constructors’ championships and 13 drivers’ championships – making it the third most successful engine manufacturer in F1 history.
Its first title wins came with Graham Hill and Lotus in 1968, while its last came in 1994 with Michael Schumacher and Benetton,