Ford is to return to Formula One after more than two decades by supplying engines to the Oracle Red Bull Racing and Scuderia AlphaTauri teams.
The US vehicle manufacturer, which left the sport in 2004, will rejoin the F1 World Championship from the 2026 season.
Ford will team up with Red Bull to provide the power units for both the RBR and AlphaTauri teams from 2026 to at least 2030. The engines will be made at Red Bull’s Milton Keynes facilities, with Ford employees working there.
Ford and Red Bull will this year start work on the power unit designed to meet new technical regulations including a 350kW electric motor and a new combustion engine able to accept fully sustainable fuels by the 2026 season.
Ford remains the third most successful engine manufacturer in F1 history, with 10 Constructors’ Championships and 13 Drivers’ Championships. It dominated the sport in the late 1960s and 1970s, powering drivers including Britain’s Graham Hill and Jackie Stewart to titles.
The company developed the DFV, which went on to be the single most successful F1 race engine, powering 155 wins from 1967 until its last race in 1983.
In 2000, Ford bought the Stewart Grand Prix team and renamed it Jaguar Racing, but the team was later sold to Red Bull after five unsuccessful seasons.
F1 has enjoyed a resurgence in popularity in recent years aided by tight tussles for the Drivers Championship and the Netflix series Drive to Survive, which has boosted its profile in the US.
Ford said the growing audience in the US and other “key markets” around the world was among the motivations for its return, as well as F1’s commitment to sustainability, with increased use of electric power and sustainable fuels.
The company, which was founded by Henry Ford almost 120 years ago, is listed on the New York Stock Exchange and is valued at $58bn (£48bn)0. Headquartered in Dearborn, Michigan, Ford has 182,000 employees worldwide and, in 2022, announced it was investing $50bn into electric vehicles. It has set a target of making 50% of its global sales from electric vehicles by 2030 as the carmaking industry races to go green.
“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, its executive chair. “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.”
Stefano Domenicali, Ford’s president and chief executive of F1, said: “Ford is a global brand with an incredible heritage in racing and the automotive world and they see the huge value that our platform provides with over half a billion fans around the world.”
“It’s fantastic to be welcoming Ford back into Formula One through this partnership,” said Christian Horner, RBR team principal and chief executive.
F1 has committed to hit net zero carbon emissions by 2030.
Earlier this week Geely, the Chinese owner of Lotus, said it planned to list a stake in a division of the luxury sports car group in the US as part of deal with a firm backed by the world’s richest person, the billionaire LVMH founder, Bernard Arnault.