The Formula 1 boom, especially in the USA, where the premier class of motorsport has struggled for decades, continues. An American manufacturer will be coming to the three Grands Prix in Miami (Florida), Austin (Texas) and Las Vegas (Nevada) from 2026: Ford, the brand with the blue oval, is returning to Formula 1 after a 20-year break.

This is to be officially announced today as part of the presentation of the Red Bull team for the 2023 season. So it’s no coincidence that the launch is taking place in New York of all places. But the news was published in advance by a glitch in the editorial office of an Italian news agency on Thursday.

It is not uncommon in Formula 1 for press releases to be sent to editorial offices in advance, with a so-called “embargo period”, i.e. a specific time before which nothing on the topic may be published. The purpose of such an approach is that editorial offices can prepare for important publications in peace.

However, an Italian news agency erroneously published the press release on Ford’s entry into Formula 1. Although the news report was immediately removed from the network, the content had already taken on a life of its own at the time and was shared thousands of times by Formula 1 fans.

The press release quotes Ford CEO Bill Ford as saying that this is “the beginning of an exciting new chapter in Ford’s history in motorsport.” Formula 1 CEO Stefano Domenicali and FIA President Mohammed bin Sulayem also welcome the American manufacturer to Formula 1.

According to the agency report, the Ford entry will take place in the 2026 season. Decisive for the return is the electrification of the racing series and the efforts of Formula 1 to operate CO2-neutral from 2030, as well as the development of new markets, especially the increased presence on the American home market.

An attempt was made on Thursday and Friday to recapture the leaked agency report; In the meantime, however, established media such as the ‘BBC’ in Great Britain, the international news agency ‘Reuters’ or the ‘ORF’ in Austria are also reporting on Ford’s entry into the 2026 season.

What the leaked message doesn’t say is which partner Ford will do Formula 1 with. However, industry experts assume that from 2026 Red Bull will start with Ford-branded drives from Red Bull Powertrains. And the sister team AlphaTauri, which will also launch in New York on February 11, could also become a Ford partner.

It is unlikely that Ford will develop its own technology. Red Bull team boss Christian Horner made it unmistakably clear as early as 2022 that Red Bull Powertrains would develop the future drives itself. However, a cooperation with a manufacturer that bears part of the development costs and is allowed to stick its logo on the car is conceivable.

Ford was last involved in Formula 1 as a factory in 2004, at that time as the engine manufacturer of the German-German Jordan team with Nick Heidfeld and Timo Glock. The last victory was achieved by Giancarlo Fisichella (Jordan-Ford) at the demolition Grand Prix of Brazil in 2003. Fisichella was only subsequently declared the winner.

With 176 Grand Prix victories, Ford is the third most successful engine manufacturer in the all-time Formula 1 list. Only Ferrari (243) and Mercedes (213) won more than the American brand. So far, only 19 manufacturers have won Grands Prix of the Formula 1 World Championship.

This article was written by Christian Nimmervoll

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