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Ford Is Coming Back to F1 for the First Time in Two Decades

The American automaker will replace Honda at world champ Red Bull Racing starting in 2026.

A Red Bull racing car Mike Coppola/Getty Images for Oracle Red Bull Racing

Ford’s latest announcement sees the American marque really revving its engines.

The automaker said Friday morning that it would be returning to Formula One in 2026, ESPN reported. The company is teaming up with Red Bull, the reigning World Champs, as the sport sees increased interest in the United States, thanks in part to the Netflix docuseries Drive to Survive.

“Ford 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,” Ford CEO Bill Ford said.

The collab is being called a strategic partnership between Ford and Red Bull, in which Ford will share its expertise in categories like battery cell and electric motor technology, power unit control software and analytics and combustion engine development. Starting in 2026, F1 will have new engine regulations, and Red Bull has already started working on a power unit to meet those specifications. (Currently, Red Bull uses Honda engines, and it will continue to do so until 2025.) The new rules will see Formula One cars still powered by V6 turbo-hybrids, but they’ll have increased electrical power and use sustainable synthetic fuels in the internal combustion engine.

Ford is stepping back onto the track after two decades away. In 2004, it sold its Jaguar team to Red Bull, but prior to that it had been a pretty important player in the sport. The automaker helped fund the development of Cosworth’s DFV engine in the mid-to-late 1900s. That engine remains the most successful in F1 history, powering teams to 155 victories in just 16 years.

Ford is “a global brand with an incredible heritage in the racing and automotive world and they see the huge value that our platform provides with over half a billion fans around the world,” Formula One’s CEO, Stefano Domenicali, said. “We believe that our sport provides the opportunity and reach unlike any other and we cannot wait for the Ford logo to be racing round F1’s iconic circuits from 2026.”

The announcement comes as Ford’s stateside rival General Motors also tries to get into the game. GM is hoping to enter Cadillac for 2026 as well, and it’s teamed up with Andretti Autosport to create a completely new team.

For now, though, Ford has beaten them to the punch. We’ll have to wait and see what happens on the race track.

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