American car giant Ford has officially confirmed its return to Formula 1 in 2026, ahead of the 2023 presentation of the new Red Bull car in New York. The report comes as no surprise after the news was made public by a leak on Friday morning.

After exiting Formula 1 at the end of the 2004 season, when the company abandoned Jaguar operations and branding for Cosworth engines, Ford announced on Friday it would be returning for the new engine era beginning in 2026.

Ford will partner with Red Bull and power both the Milton Keynes team and sister team AlphaTauri in Formula 1 from 2026. While Ford’s collaboration with the Red Bull team had been anticipated for some time and a partnership had been in the air since December, the situation at AlphaTauri was less clear.

Red Bull is well advanced in developing a Formula 1 power unit for 2026 and has been open about wanting a manufacturing partner who could provide technical input and potentially brand the project.

Red Bull team boss Christian Horner sees the Ford partnership as a major boost for his team’s long-term ambitions: “It’s fantastic to welcome Ford back into Formula 1 through this partnership,” he says.

“Being able to benefit from the experience of an original equipment manufacturer like Ford as an independent engine manufacturer gives us a good starting position against the competition. Ford is a manufacturer with a long motorsport history that spans generations. From Jim Clark to Ayrton Senna to Michael Schumacher – history speaks for itself.”

“For us at Red Bull Powertrains, it is tremendously exciting to begin the next chapter in this dynasty as Red Bull Ford,” said Horner.

Commenting on Ford’s return to Formula 1, Ford CEO Bill Ford said: “This is the beginning of an exciting new chapter in Ford’s motorsport history, which began when my great-grandfather won a race that led to the founding of our company contributed.”

“Ford is returning to the forefront of the sport, bringing Ford’s long heritage of innovation, sustainability and electrification to one of the most visible stages in the world.”

Ford has cited two key factors in its decision to return to Formula One: the growth of the sport, particularly in the United States, since its acquisition by Liberty Media and the increasing role that electric power will play in 2026 powertrains.

Ford’s decision to get involved in Grand Prix racing was welcomed by Formula 1 CEO Stefano Domenicali, who was present at the announcement of the decision on Friday.

Domenicali said: “Today’s news of Ford entering Formula 1 from 2026 is great for the sport and we are delighted that they are joining the incredible automotive partners who are already in Formula 1.”

“Ford is a global brand with an incredible heritage in racing and the automotive world, and they recognize the tremendous value our platform offers with over half a billion fans around the world.”

“Our commitment to be carbon neutral by 2030 and to use sustainable fuels in Formula 1 cars from 2026 is also an important reason for their decision to enter Formula 1. We believe our sport offers unique opportunity and reach, and we can’t wait to see the Ford logo on iconic Formula 1 circuits from 2026.”

FIA President Mohammed bin Sulayem sees Ford’s decision as justification for changing the engine rules of Formula 1 for 2026: “There are only a few manufacturers who have such a famous motorsport history as Ford. That they are now in the FIA ​​Formula 1 returning to the World Cup is excellent news,” he says.

“It underscores the success of the 2026 Power Unit regulations, which at its core have a commitment to both sustainability and spectacle, and of course greater interest from the United States is important to the continued growth of the world’s premier motorsport category. Ford is one of the most successful manufacturers in Formula 1 history, having won 10 constructors’ and 13 drivers’ championships.”

This article was written by Jonathan Noble, co-author: Kevin Hermann

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