Ford boss Jim Farley speaks on the work being done behind the scenes with Red Bull Powertrains towards F1 2026.
Ford are back! Well, not yet but in two year’s time the famous name will reappear on the grid with Red Bull Racing as we know. The history behind the brand is unprecedented. It is hard to believe that it is all of 20 years since they appeared on the grid. Running their own team that season under the Jaguar brand.
Then there was a sell up to Red Bull and the rest, as they say is history. But 2026 sees the return with Red Bull, who of course have walked away with and dominated the 2023 season accumulating 21 wins from 22 events. Before the 2023 season began, the 2026 tie-up had been announced.
Ford’s CEO Farley is confident of success from the word go when speaking at Ford Motorsport’s season launch. He noted about visit to Milton Keynes to check on the facilities. “I had a chance to spend a lot of time with the team in Milton Keynes and with Adrian Newey, I think we’re on track,” he said.
“Even though  sounds like a long way away, we have a lot of work to do on the powertrain, but I’m really happy with the progress. I wish I could tell you more, but I would say we’re on track,” summed up the Ford chief, who detailed on the reason behind this return where they are going back to the old days of tech transfer.
The move towards electric and sustainable fuel has brought motor racing championships as the forefront for R&D work. “We are going back to Formula 1 for in a way that we haven’t in the past,” said Farely. “It turns out that the best aerodynamics in the world are in Formula 1, the best telemetry, the best digital diagnostics.
“And, actually, we need all those things for electric cars. So it’s actually going back to the 70s with a pure tech transfer. This is not like owning our team. We’re going there to literally transfer technology. We can offer battery tech for them, because in 2026, they’re going to go to like 50% electric, and they need high discharge batteries.
“We do that in NHRA, for example. And, on the other hand, we can get telemetry, digital diagnosis, as well as aero, which we can put in our production, electric cars to make the battery smaller. It is a lot of R&D and they are the best in the world for lot of these technologies and we need them desperately as a car business as the car business changed.
“So it’s literally going back to where we were all those years ago: tech transfer. It is a lot of R&D. And they are the best in the world in a lot of these technologies and we need them desperately as the car business changed. So it’s literally going back to where we were all those years ago: tech transfer,” summed up Farley, as he is confident of success with the tools they have.
“We’ve got the best drivers, we’ve got the best technical support,” he continued. “We have the best of Ford and around the globe to support them. But the team, the powertrain team that they’re building in Milton Keynes is absolutely top notch. We are going first class to the very top of the podium.” It will be an exciting time for the Ford return. Their history is second to none with a litany of success in the past, far too much to mention.
But for one their success as an engine supplier in the 1960s and 1970s is so well known with the DFV Cosworth dominating F1 in that period as Farley compares that period then to the return two years down the road. The name Ford is not just part of F1 folklore but look at their success everywhere else in Motor Sport i.e Rallying, Nascar, IndyCar, Truck Racing.
From a Red Bull viewpoint, team Principal Christian Horner added his bit from a recorded video, giving an update on Red Bull powertrains from their side of their fence. Sergio Perez was the representative of the F1 team for his first media event of 2024.
“Its been almost a year since we announced a partnership with Ford,” said Horner. “Last 12 months have been exciting because we have been introducing the various departments within Red Bull Powertrain and within Ford. The exchange of ideas and technology has been fantastic for a brand new set of regulations for 2026.
“From the executive level, right through our engineers, everyone at Ford is committed to helping this team to succeed. Myself and the drivers have had so much fun driving all the awesome Ford vehicles. 2026 is not far away and there’s a lot of work to be done between now and then.
“The clock is ticking, Oracle Red Bull and Ford Performance Team have been collaborating on the new power unit and we are continuing to grow our strategic partnership.” Red Bull will continue using Honda for the 2024 and 2025 campaigns, after which they will join Aston Martin for 2026 when Ford starts at Milton Keynes.
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