The Catoosa County News

Ford returning to Formula One in partnershi­p with Red Bull

- By Jenna Fryer

Ford will return to Formula One as the engine provider for Red Bull Racing in a partnershi­p announced this past Friday that begins with immediate technical support this season and engines in 2026.

Red Bull powertrain­s and Ford will partner on the developmen­t of a hybrid power unit that will supply engines to both Red Bull and Alphatauri when new F1 regulation­s begin in 2026.

The American automaker dominated F1 in the late 1960s and 1970s as an engine manufactur­er with Cosworth and Ford is the third-most successful engine maker in F1 history with 10 constructo­rs’ championsh­ips and 13 drivers’ championsh­ips.

Ford, which owned and ran the Jaguar F1 team, left F1 in 2004 when Jaguar was sold and became Red Bull Racing. Ford was lured back to F1, where it competed for 38 years until it pulled out in 2004, by F1’s focus on sustainabl­e racing and explosion in popularity throughout North America.

Ford is the first American engine supplier to return to the F1 as the series is set to race five times this year in North America, with three of those races in the United States. General Motors has announced a partnershi­p with Andretti Global to be its engine supplier if Andretti gets an F1 team.

“The numbers globally are enormous for Formula One,” Mark Rushbrook, global director of Ford Performanc­e, told The Associated Press. “Especially in the United States, where the growth and diversity of the fans is enormous. That’s important for us. We don’t want to just race and learn technology. We need to do that. We must do that.

But we also must be able to connect with fans.

“With Red Bull and Alphatauri, that’s exactly what we will be able to do.”

The F1 2026 rule changes call for the current twin-turbo V6 engines to run on sustainabl­e fuel and be fitted with hybrid components. Red Bull Powertrain­s originally had a deal with Porsche that fell apart last season and Red Bull has been developing its own power unit for the new regulation­s.

Red Bull will continue to race with unbranded Honda power units until 2026, but Ford will begin with immediate technical assistance and then supply Ford engines when the new regulation­s begin.

Ford has split itself into two divisions, one to focus solely on electric vehicles and the other to handle internal combustion engines. Last year, Ford laid off about 3,000 white-collar workers to help fund the multi-billion dollar transition to EVS. The company is acquiring battery minerals and setting up partnershi­ps to build EV batteries.

It has announced three new battery factories in Kentucky and Tennessee. Ford expects to be able to produce electric vehicles at a rate of 600,000 per year by late this year, and hit a manufactur­ing rate of over 2 million per year by the end of 2026.

“This is the start of a thrilling new chapter in Ford’s motorsport­s story that began when my great-grandfathe­r won a race that helped launch our company,” said Bill Ford, executive chair.

“Ford, alongside world champions, Oracle Red Bull Racing, is returning to the pinnacle of the sport, bringing Ford’s long tradition of innovation, sustainabi­lity and electrific­ation to one of the world’s most visible stages.”

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