Ford is returning to F1 to build a hybrid engine with Red Bull

Red Bull's teams will start using the next-gen power unit in 2026.

Ford/Formula 1

After almost 20 years away from the motorsport, Ford is returning to Formula 1. The automaker is teaming up with Red Bull to develop a next-gen hybrid power unit for Red Bull Racing and sibling team AlphaTauri. The teams will use the Ford-powered engines between 2026 and at least 2030. Ford will supply "expertise in areas including battery cell and electric motor technology as well as power unit control software and analytics," according to a statement.

Ford has a long history in Formula 1 dating back to the 1960s. As an engine manufacturer, it played a role in 13 drivers’ championships and 10 constructors’ championships before it stepped away from the sport in 2004. However, upcoming rule changes regarding increased engine electrification and fully sustainable fuels prompted Ford to make a comeback.

“Ford’s return to Formula 1 with Red Bull Racing is all about where we are going as a company — increasingly electric, software-defined, modern vehicles and experiences,” Ford president and CEO Jim Farley said. “F1 will be an incredibly cost-effective platform to innovate, share ideas and technologies and engage with tens of millions of new customers.”

Red Bull started building its own F1 engine for the first time as Honda, its current partner, is leaving the sport to place more of its attention on fuel cell and EV technology. Although Honda officially departed F1 at the end of 2021, it's continuing to support Red Bull until new engine rules come into force in 2026, as The Race notes. It was expected that Red Bull would need some assistance to build a hybrid system.

Audi announced last year that it will build a hybrid F1 engine. This week, it was revealed that the automaker has bought a minority stake in Sauber, which will become its works team.

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