Ford chatting with Red Bull for F1 return

RED BULL RING, AUSTRIA - JULY 09: Max Verstappen, Red Bull Racing RB18 during the Austrian GP at Red Bull Ring on Saturday July 09, 2022 in Spielberg, Austria. (Photo by Andy Hone / LAT Images)

The plot thickens with an article over at Motorsport suggesting that Ford may now be interested in entering F1 as a partner with Red Bull. Ford last dabbled in F1 as the Jaguar team but then sold that team to Red Bull back in 2004.

Red Bull is committed to building it’s own power unit and I think the Renault era and then Honda leaving them when they announced their abrupt departure last year has the team focused on not putting their entire racing program in the hands of another 3rd party manufacturer. Such are the challenges of being a privateer.

Earlier this week it was reported that Honda registered to enter F1 in 2026 and many believed it was as a power unit partner to Red Bull and their engine program with Honda focusing on the electric portion of the power unit.

Now it seems that Ford have an interest in returning to F1 in a brand and marketing capacity and that could align more with Red Bull than what recent talks with Porsche produced. Apparently Porsche wanted a larger portion of control over the Red Bull team.

If Ford were to tie up with Red Bull as a brand partner using Red Bull’s engine for the shove, some wonder where that may leave Honda in the equation. The article suggests that perhaps they might be interested in a full works operation and could be interested in Red Bull’s sister team, Alpha Tauri.

That could make sense If Honda were committed to F1 in a long-term fashion but we’ve seen them leave twice in the last 13 years. As for Ford, one might think it would be a good time for them to innovate the all-new DFV power unit (yes, I know what it means but I’m borrowing the name legacy only, not its architecture).

In the end, I’m intrigued and encouraged by Ford and Honda being interested in powering Red Bull as there was a time when many fans were happy to see them leave the sport when they finally lost their cool with Renault’s failure rate. I was not among those fans as Red Bull is too big of a team and has too big of an impact on the sport to casually dismiss.

In the end, there is an appeal for Red Bull to just make their own power unit and be like Ferrari where the engine and chassis are all made under the same roof and with the same goal. They would be free of the fickle nature of manufacturers.

If Ford wants a brand and marketing position only, perhaps Red Bull is happy to make their own engines and lend it to manufacturers who would be happy to co-opt the brand and power unit for a period of time. Ford today, maybe Mazda, Toyota or Hyundai some other day.

It’d still be the Red Bull engine but since Red Bull doesn’t make cars, there is little use of their engine beyond their own racing program and selling the nameplate on the valve covers to other manufacturers is a way to monetize their engine program. Just a thought.

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Fabio

So here is another thought, could it be looking at Williams?
Dorilton bought Williams hoping to raise its value and then sell it, as they are not interested in racing per se, they just tend to buy things and then sell them to make a profit.

While the team on track hasn’t done much to improve its value, F1 in general has due to DTS, so maybe they are looking at offloading it before they need to invest even more money in it. Maybe this is why FX and Capito left?

Just a thought.

Xean Drury

As much as Formula 1 doesn’t want to admit it, there needs to be more teams on the grid. There’s just too much interest now to keep the doors closed. And what’s the reason again? Prize money? Let’s not all sit around acting as if this isn’t THE most profitable era that Formula 1 has ever enjoyed, and further act as if they can’t magic up more prize money to support one to three more teams. ~X8

MIE

When another team does a better job than Red Bull and they stop winning championships, Christian Horner is going to want a power unit supplier to blame. He has a history of this with Renault.