A report from the BBC says Ford is ready to announce its return for Formula 1 with Red Bull. The deal would allegedly see the US automaker join the Red Bull team in 2026, working as a partner for the engine being designed in-house at Red Bull. An official announcement could come as early as Friday.
According to the report, word of the announcement was accidentally published by the news agency Ansa and subsequently removed. Motor1.com contacted Ford regarding the news but a response wasn't received prior to this article posting.
There's certainly strong supporting evidence that an official announcement is imminent. In mid-December, our racing colleagues at Motorsport.com reported on rumours that Ford and Red Bull were at the very least talking about a partnership. At the time, the focus was on Ford joining in more of a marketing and branding role, while possibly offering technical assistance to engine development. Red Bull currently uses Honda engines, but that partnership will end in 2025 as new rules come into play for 2026.
Even stronger evidence for the partnership surfaced at the end of January. In an exclusive interview with our Motorsport.com partners, Ford Performance Motorsports Director Mark Rushbrook suggested that F1's increasing popularity in the US at least warrants consideration for a return to the series.
"What they have done well is create great racing and great competition," said Rushbrook. "It’s still the pinnacle, but they’ve been able to reach new audiences with things like Drive to Survive. As a company we go racing for innovation, tech transfer, the learning opportunity, but also for marketing reasons as well. It’s shifted for sure, and it definitely requires consideration.”
Ford as a company isn't a complete stranger to Formula 1, though it's been a while since the Blue Over graced an F1 car. Specifically, 2004 was Ford's last foray into the racing series, ironically selling its operation to Red Bull following its sale of Jaguar. Porsche was also a possible partner for Red Bull in 2026, but talks fell through last year over alleged concerns from the Red Bull team that Porsche wanted too much control of the operation.