No doubt the thought of GM joining F1 as a partner of Andretti Autosport is exciting news even branded as Cadillac, their premium brand. Much has been made over the thought of such a large American car brand entering F1 after all these years but as Jonathan Noble points out over at Motorsport, they may not be the only company looking at F1 from across the pond.
Before GM announced they’d be keen to enter with Andretti, Ford Motor Company had a long and rich history of competing in F1. One look no further than the Ford DFV engine that dominated the series for such a long time.
As Mr. Noble points out, Ford is interested in having a presence in F1 given the rapid growth of the series. Speaking exclusively to Motorsport.com, Ford’s Mark Rushbrook said:
“Formula 1 is certainly strong and growing, both in the United States and globally.
“What they have done well is create great racing and great competition. It’s still the pinnacle, but they’ve been able to reach new audiences with things like Drive to Survive.
“As a company we go racing for innovation, tech transfer, the learning opportunity, but also for marketing reasons as well. It’s shifted for sure, and it definitely requires consideration.”
According to the report, Ford is engaged in talks with Red Bull to badge their engine as early as this season. This brings up an important point that had some concerned about GM’s involvement—namely, is this just a badging exercise with Andretti using a Renault engine? The same, possibly, could be said of any Ford badging as well.
Badging engines isn’t new as red Bull carried an Infiniti logo when they were using Renault engines and while Nissan/Infiniti are associated with Renault, perhaps that’s a easier concept to swallow. GM using Renault engines may not be a huge stretch either as they’ve worked together in the past and there is talk about a new alliance in the future.
Ford badging Red Bull’s own engine is not as far of a stretch as it may seem. Cadillac is looking to team with Andretti who is seeking to become an 11th team and this is creating consternation within the existing teams and potentially holding the project up. Ford, on teh other hand, as a badging partner, could enter the series with immediate effect and with no pushback from the other teams.
Time will tell but some couldn’t care less while others feel a badging exercise is far from manufacturer involvement. Many believe what Audi is doing is more akin to the spirit of a true manufacturer getting “involved” in F1. As of now, both American car makers seem interested in a presence and any future development is to be determined.