Ford believes it is approaching its Formula 1 comeback “in the right way”, explaining why it partnered with Red Bull for the next set of engine regulations.
Ford has a distinguished history in Formula 1 as an engine supplier, most recently in 2004, the same year in which its short-lived works team – which operated as Jaguar – was sold to Red Bull.
It was announced on Friday that Ford will collaborate with Red Bull Powertrains to supply power units to Red Bull Racing and AlphaTauri from 2026 through 2030.
“We studied all options,” said Mark Rushbrook, Global Director of Ford Performance Motorsports.
“It started two plus years ago as we started to see and understand what the future of the sport was: the commitment to sustainable fuels, net carbon zero, the change to the regulations to make electrification an even bigger component of the hybrid power unit.
“That became of interest to us where we knew we could contribute something technically to a programme, while also continuing to learn in those areas.”
Rushbrook added that Formula 1’s growth in popularity in parallel to those thoughts “would give us an opportunity to tell our story about our company.”
Ford realised it was “looking like the right time to get back into Formula 1 – but you’ve got to come back in the right way.”
“We definitely took our time to listen to a lot of people; a lot of people came forward whether it was an existing team, or prospective teams to see if there was an opportunity to partner with them.
“We also approached some teams – but initially none of them seemed right – and coming back in as a full factory, owning a team as we had done in the past, also didn’t seem right.
“We wanted to come in strategically where it made sense, and learn where it made sense.
“With Red Bull [in] the discussions [it was] very quickly apparent that what they were looking for in a partner is something we could bring, and what we were looking for in a partner was something they could bring.
“It’s very important to us to come into the sport at the right time, in the right way, and with the right partner, and we’re doing that.”
Rushbrook explained that Red Bull not being “a rival auto manufacturer” was vital, as was the new engine regulations as “if it was a carry-over [set of rules] without this opportunity then that would have been a step backwards for us.”
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