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Ford confirms Formula 1 return for 2026

American car giant Ford has officially confirmed its return to Formula 1 in 2026, ahead of Red Bull's car launch in New York.

Rubens Barrichello, Stewart SF3 Ford, leaves the garage

Photo by: Motorsport Images

Having quit F1 at the end of the 2004 season, when it pulled the plug on the Jaguar operation and its badging of Cosworth engines, Ford announced on Friday that it will be coming back for the new engine era that begins in 2026.

Its early morning announcement only made reference to its plans to enter F1 again, and it did not detail which teams it would be working with.

However, as Motorsport.com first revealed back in December, Ford has been in talks with Red Bull for many months and it is understood that a deal is in place and is expected to be announced during the Milton Keynes-based team's car launch later.

Red Bull is well advanced in its design of an F1 power unit for 2026 and has been open about the desire for a manufacturer partner to provide technical input and potentially badge the project.

Speaking about Ford's return to F1, executive chair Bill Ford said: "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.

"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 has cited two key factors in its decision to return to F1 – the growth of the sport, especially in the United States, since Liberty Media's takeover, plus the increasing role that electric power will play in the 2026 power units.

The decision by Ford to commit to grand prix racing has been welcomed by F1 CEO Stefano Domenicali, who joined the company for its announcement on Friday.

The Ford engine powering the Jordan 191

The Ford engine powering the Jordan 191

Photo by: Ercole Colombo

Domenicali said: "The news today that Ford is coming to Formula 1 from 2026 is great for the sport and we are excited to see them join the incredible automotive partners already in Formula 1.

"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.

"Our commitment to be Net Zero Carbon by 2030 and to introduce sustainable fuels in the F1 cars from 2026 is also an important reason for their decision to enter F1.

"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."

FIA president Mohammed Ben Sulayem reckoned that Ford's decision vindicated F1's change of engine rules for 2026.

"There are few manufacturers who have such a celebrated motorsport history as Ford, so to see them coming back to the FIA Formula 1 World Championship is excellent news," he said.

"It further underlines the success of the 2026 Power Unit Regulations that have at their heart a commitment to both sustainability and spectacle, and of course having more interest from the United States is important for the continued growth of the world's top motorsport category. "

Ford is one of the most successful manufacturers in the history of F1, having won ten constructors' championships and 13 drivers' championships.

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