Ford may step in as a potential partner for Red Bull Racing after negotiations between the leading Formula 1 team and Porsche came to an abrupt end in September.
Citing anonymous sources, Motorsport reported on Wednesday that Ford is considering a tie-up with Red Bull as a means to gain exposure to F1 as the sport continues to gain interest in the U.S., which hosts three races next year.
According to the sources, Ford’s involvement would be more of a hands-off approach, unlike what Porsche had sought, and what is thought to have ultimately led to the negotiations breaking down in September.
Any tie up between Ford and Red Bull would likely start in 2026, when new power unit rules are introduced.
Ford has previously been in F1. The Blue Oval was a key backer of engine builder Cosworth, whose engines in multiple seasons were branded as Fords. However, Ford became more active in the sport starting in 1999 when it purchased the Stewart Grand Prix team and later rebranded it as Jaguar in 2000. Ford, which owned Jaguar at the time, funded the team from 2000 to 2004. Ford eventually sold the team to Red Bull at the end of 2004.
Red Bull is currently without a power unit supplier. The team builds its own power units, using the design of former supplier Honda, and has said it is committed to designing and building a new power unit to meet the 2026 rules. However, the team hasn’t ruled out taking on a partner.
The new power unit rules call for lower costs and the use of 100% sustainable fuels, something that persuaded Audi to commit to an F1 partnership with Sauber starting in 2026. Similarly, Porsche was looking to partner with Red Bull. After the talks with Red Bull broke down, Porsche said it hasn’t abandoned its desire to enter F1 and will continue to monitor the situation.
Motorsport reported that even Honda, which ended its partnership with Red Bull in 2020, might make a return, potentially as a partner once again of Red Bull or of Red Bull feeder team AlphaTauri.