Red Bull boss Christian Horner says his team and Ford will have a “very different relationship” to the proposed and ultimately failed alliance with Porsche.
Red Bull has been chasing a manufacturer with which to collaborate on the 2026 power unit in the aftermath of setting up its in-house Red Bull Powertrains division.
It spent several months in discussions with Porsche through 2022 but they broke down amid Porsche’s desire to take a shareholding in Red Bull’s Formula 1 operations.
Red Bull and Ford announced on Friday that they will enter into a technical and branding partnership from 2026 to supply Red Bull Racing and AlphaTauri with power units.
“It’s a very different relationship to what was discussed with Porsche,” said Horner.
“This is purely a commercial and technical deal, so there’s no exchange of any shares or participation within the business.
“It’s a very straightforward agreement where we will have the ability to share and access to R&D, particularly on the EV side, and sell technology software development and so on.
“Then on the commercial side, with Ford being so prevalent in the US. As a commercial partner, it helps us achieve even more penetration in that market.”
The Red Bull-Ford deal will mean its current partnership with Honda will end after the 2025 season.
“We’ve had an incredible partnership with Honda and when they initially announced their withdrawal from F1 in 2020, it was with great sadness,” Horner said.
“That was what prompted the creation of Red Bull Powertrains to take control of our own future. As we set off on that journey there was a change of plan with Honda, thankfully to agree to supply engines until the end of 2025. In turn we were building up our resource for 2026.
“That contract until 2025, we have a great working relationship, they are a great company, and we will be pushing all the way to the last race of the 2025 season.
“In tandem but in a completely separately entity, there is no transfer of IP or knowledge or even exchange. The Red Bull Powertrains business has been totally focused on the 2026 regulations for the past 18 months.
“Now with an OEM partner like Ford for the 2026 project, our paths are different for the 2026 season.
“We wish Honda the very best of luck for 2026 as their plans look to crystallise. But until then we’ll be working very hard to build on the success that we’ve achieved so far.”
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