F1 deal no threat to Ford Supercars programme
By Mat Coch
Saturday 4th February, 2023 - 8:31am
Ford motorsport boss Mark Rushbrook has stated that the brand’s return to Formula 1 does not put its Supercars programme at risk.
It was announced on Friday that Ford and Red Bull have agreed a “long-term strategic partnership”.
That will see the Red Bull Powertrains developed power unit known as a Red Bull Ford for 2026.
It will replace the Honda units currently being used by both Red Bull Racing and sister-squad Scuderia AlphaTauri.
Ford has not taken a stake in Red Bull Racing, or its Powertrains operation, but there will be technology sharing in what will be at least a five-year relationship.
While that is an addition to its motorsport portfolio, there is no threat to the Gen3 Ford Mustang Supercars programme, or the myriad of other programmes it’s involved in.
“There’s no impact to our motorsports plan based upon this, this was an independent decision,” Rushbrook, Global Director of Ford Performance Motorsports, told invited media, including Speedcafe.com.
“We’re very committed to motorsports globally.
“We have changed our strategy in terms of focus on Mustang at all different levels of racing around the world, in off road racing with Bronco with Ranger and we include Puma, as Rally1 and the full pyramid with the Fiestas underneath it as part of our off road strategy.
“Also, a strategy for our full electric demonstrators, like you’ve seen with Maki 1400, Cobra Jet 1400, and now the SuperVan 4, we’ll keep doing things like that.
“And now Formula 1, which gives us maybe the most global reach out of all those, and even more electrification with it as being the fourth pillar.
“So we’ll have those four pillars as part of our motorsport cycle plan, but no intent to change any of the current programmes that we have.”
That is not to say that Ford is prepared to tip endless money into motorport.
“We do go racing in a responsible way,” Rushbrook said of Ford’s investment in racing.
“I believe in all the different series that we go.
“We don’t have unlimited budget, as much as racing sometimes wants you to go that way, but we go in strategically with the right partners to win races.
“But also with a responsible budget,” he added.
“I think for this in the case, as an overlay or additional programme, is very special in terms of what the opportunity is and what the real benefit is to the marketing team from our company to be able to leverage motorsports in a way that we haven’t for a long time.”
On Wednesday, Blanchard Racing Team became the first operation to run its Gen3 Supercar, fielding its Ford Mustang at Winton for a shakedown outing.
The start of the new era of Supercars is little more than a month away, with the Newcastle set to host the opening round on March 10-12.
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