Ford: F1’s boom means it "requires consideration"

Ford’s motorsport boss says it would be remiss of the American car giant not to be considering a Formula 1 return amid the series' rapid growth in the United States.

Ford: F1’s boom means it "requires consideration"

The iconic Blue Oval brand is understood to be in advanced talks with Red Bull about badging the team’s power units from the start of the 2026 season.

There are even suggestions that the deal could be firmed up before the start of the forthcoming  campaign.

For now, Ford is remaining silent on the state of play with Red Bull.

However, it has admitted that the ramping up of F1’s popularity since Liberty Media took over has changed perceptions and means a grand prix return has to be on its radar.

Having last been involved in F1 with the Jaguar team from 2000 to 2004, having also badged Cosworth engines until 2004, Ford has focused efforts since in other racing categories like the World Rally Championship and sportscars.

Ford Performance boss Mark Rushbrook has suggested a change in mindset, though, with F1 now worthy of consideration thanks to its recent growth.

Speaking exclusively to Autosport, 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.”

Asked specifically about the rumours regarding a potential 2026 entry, Rushbrook said: “We don’t comment on speculation, but it’s the same with all these series that are out there.

“It’s our responsibility to study them and understand them, and then make decisions on whether it makes sense or doesn’t make sense.”

The Ford logo on a WRC car

The Ford logo on a WRC car

Photo by: Zak Mauger / Motorsport Images

One other element that is adding to F1’s attraction for manufacturers is the shift to fully sustainable fuel from 2026, a factor that has been cited by Audi and Cadillac as important in getting them interested.

Rushbrook felt that there was a strong value to be had from categories not rushing to shift fully electric.

“Sustainable fuel definitely is something we’re interested in, but we’re already doing that in other series,” he said.

“The WRC has it, starting last year, and that’s been a great part of the story and learning for us.

“The vehicles we sell, some regions are shifting to full electric faster than others, some will stay ICE for longer.

“But we want to be sustainable in what we do as a company, not just producing electric cars but also being more sustainable with ICE. We support all series, whether we participate or not, switching to more sustainable fuel.”

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Another spark for Ford’s interest in F1 could be if General Motors, through its Cadillac brand, gets the green light to join the grand prix grid with the Andretti squad.

Having one of its main market competitors racing in F1 would certainly deliver some impetus for Ford to take it on.

However, Rushbrook felt that what GM did would not strictly dictate Ford’s plans.

Asked if GM’s involvement would change anything for Ford, he said: “Not necessarily. But it will be interesting to watch how that progresses, whether they will be successful in joining as an 11th team.”

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