Skip to main content

The Manual may earn a commission when you buy through links on our site.

Everything we know about Ford’s return to Formula 1 as Red Bull’s engine partner

The American automaker will be in charge of developing Red Bull’s next-gen hybrid power unit for the 2026 season

It’s been nearly two decades since Ford last raced in Formula 1. But with Drive to Survive and Formula 1 set to have three races in the United States for the 2023 schedule, the American brand thinks now is a good time as any to announce its return to the most prestigious racing series in the world. Earlier this month, Ford officially announced that it would partner with Oracle Red Bull Racing and Scuderia AlphaTauri to provide both teams with hybrid power units. Ford will also be helping the teams with technical and strategic support starting for the 2026 season and running until “at least” 2030.

While we won’t see anything concrete about the partnership between Ford and Red Bull Racing anytime soon, the partnership will officially begin in 2023. At the moment, we know that Ford will be working with Red Bull Powertrains to help develop a 350-kW hybrid power unit that will become a part of the new technical regulations for the 2026 F1 season. Ford will also be helping Red Bull Powertrains with its combustion engine, which will be required to run on sustainable fuels.

Our Time | #FordReturns | Ford Performance

“Ford’s return to Formula 1 with Red Bull Racing is all about where we are going as a company — increasingly electric, software-defined, modern vehicles and experiences,” said Ford CEO Jim Farley. “F1 will be an incredibly cost-effective platform to innovate, share ideas and technologies, and engage with tens of millions of new customers.”

As a Formula 1 fan, it’s exciting to see an American automaker return to the sport. There was a lot of hoopla about General Motors and Andretti Global attempting to get an F1 bid with Cadillac, but existing teams have reportedly voiced a lot of pushback to a new team joining the F1 grid. It seems like Ford found an easier route to return to the world of Formula 1 at a great time with increased interest from American racing fans. Either way, Ford returns to Formula 1.

The partnership is also a good way for Ford to develop and engineer future electric powertrains and components for its road vehicles. The brand is investing $50 billion into electrification and recently split the company into two major divisions – Ford Blue for its internal combustion engine vehicles and Ford Model e for its EVs.  Motorsports have always been a way for automakers to develop and test automotive components for future road-going vehicles. With Ford looking to come out with more EVs and focus on electrified vehicles, it makes plenty of sense for the brand to get involved with F1 as the racing series looks to expand on its hybrid race cars.

Ford CEO Jim Farley speaking at Oracle Red Bull Racing 2023 F1 car reveal in New York City.
Oracle Red Bull Racing

“It’s fantastic to be welcoming Ford back into Formula 1 through this partnership,” said Christian Horner, Oracle Red Bull Racing Team Principal and CEO. “As an independent engine manufacturer, to have the ability to benefit from an OEM’s experience like Ford put us in a good stead against the competition.”

Specifics on the partnership are sure to come out closer to the 2026 season. Plus, the announcement was made at the same time Red Bull showcased their new livery for the 2023 season, which totally doesn’t look like last year’s livery in any way, in New York City. We’re sure it’s a hard topic to discuss when “HONDA” is plastered on the back of the 2023 car. But, as far as Formula 1 news for American racing fans, seeing Ford in F1 is certainly exciting.

Editors' Recommendations

Topics
Joel Patel
Former Digital Trends Contributor
Joel Patel is a former contributor for The Manual. His work has also been featured on Autoweek, Digital Trends, Autoblog…
The first electric Ferrari: Everything we know so far
Ferrari EV due in 2025
2024 Ferrari Roma front end angle from driver's side parked in front of house with cliff in the back.

While EVs were once a purely environmental option, performance vehicle manufacturers like Porsche, Lamborghini, and even Ferrari are also firmly on board with the concept. The hype surrounding Ferrari's electric effort has been ongoing for a while now, with fans wondering how it will compare to the likes of a Rimac Nivera or the Ferrari EV's spiritual cousin, the Pininfarina Battista.
When will the electric Ferrari arrive?

The prancing horse will have to hurry up a bit if it wants to meet its ambitious goals. In 2023, Ferrari claimed it would be carbon neutral by 2030, and 60% of its offerings would either come with all-electric or hybrid powertrains by 2026. Based on this and Ferrari CEO Benedetto Vigna’s insistence that the first electric Ferrari will launch in the last quarter of 2025, we may not have much longer to wait. Given that the launch date is roughly a year and a half away at the time of writing, there’s every chance that announcements, leaks, and revelations will begin to pile up over the coming months.

Read more
2025 Mercedes Benz EQG: Everything we know about the electric G Wagon
Get ready for a G-Class EV
Rendering of side profile of Mercedes-Benz EQG in front of blue skies.

Over the past few years, Mercedes-Benz has unveiled electric vehicle models such as the EQS, EQB, and EQE models. As is tradition, you also have the option to choose Mercedes-Maybach and AMG electric models to suit your taste. The AMG EQE SUV starts at $109,300, while the Mercedes-Maybach EQS SUV will cost you around $200,000.

However, the all-electric G Wagon, dubbed the EQG, is missing from the action. The last time we caught a glimpse of it was back in 2021 as a concept car. Well, it’s expected to be produced later this year, and Mercedes-Benz teased it at the 2024 CES technology show in Las Vegas. Here is what you can expect.

Read more
What engines do Formula 1 cars use?
F1 engines will be carbon neutral starting in 2026
Lewis Hamilton (44) driving for Mercedes-AMG PETRONAS F1 Team during The Australian Formula One Grand Prix Race on April 02, 2023, at The Melbourne Grand Prix Circuit in Albert Park, Australia.

F1 race cars routinely exceed 200 miles per hour during Grand Prix races, which begs the question, "What engines do Formula 1 cars use?" If you expect to hear that F1 race cars use exotic V16 or V12 engines, you may be surprised to learn that they don't even run with V8s. All F1 race cars have a power unit comprising a 1.6-liter V6 hybrid internal combustion engine (ICE) with two on-board electrical energy recovery units. Like almost everything in Formula 1, the engines teams can use in their race cars are strictly defined by the FIA F1 Rules and Regulations.
Why Formula 1 car engines matter

Formula 1 is considered the pinnacle of elite motorsports, which puts the organization in a powerful position to influence other competitive automotive groups. Also, in 2019, F1 committed to being carbon-net-zero by 2030. F1 race cars currently have hybrid gas and electric power units, but starting in 2026, all F1 cars will run on biofuel, a renewable energy source with significantly lower carbon emissions than petroleum-based fuels.
What engines do Formula 1 cars use today?

Read more