Horner: Ford a ‘straightforward’ choice for Red Bull

Christian Horner has spoken about the deal between Red Bull and Ford

Christian Horner has spoken about the deal between Red Bull and Ford

Christian Horner has insisted Red Bull’s choice between partnering with Ford or reuniting with Honda from 2026 was “straightforward”.

On the day Red Bull launched its RB19 challenger for the Formula 1 season ahead, in a major coup the team also announced a long-term strategic partnership with the American manufacturing giant.

Ford’s technical expertise will be deployed in a number of areas as Red Bull Powertrains develops its maiden engine ahead of the introduction of new regulations in 2026.

Given the alliance formed with Honda over the past few years, and the part the Japanese manufacturer has played in Max Verstappen becoming a two-time F1 champion and Red Bull winning its first constructors’ championship in eight years last season, there was an argument for the two parties to reunite.

The FIA has confirmed that Honda has registered as a power unit supplier for 2026, alongside Mercedes, Renault, Red Bull Ford, Alpine Racing, and newcomer Audi.

As to why Ford and not Honda, speaking to invited media including Speedcafe.com, Horner said: “We obviously looked strategically at what would be the best partnership for 2026 onwards.

“We’ve enjoyed an incredible relationship with Honda and that relationship runs for the next three years but as we bought the power unit in-house, producing and designing the power unit within Milton Keynes, for us strategically it was important to align ourselves with an OEM that was going to support and complement that.

“With Ford, it was a very swift discussion. Their objectives are very similar to ours, they’re obviously looking to come back into Formula 1, investing massively in the EV side of the business.

“That gives us the ability to draw on their expertise, on cell technology and electrification.

“So, for us, it was a very straightforward decision to make – commercial decision and technical decision – to align the brands for 2026 onwards.”

There is the potential now of Ford going head to head with automotive rival General Motors in F1 should Andretti succeed in being granted an entry after the FIA officially launched the application process for new teams on Thursday.

GM is to utilise its Cadillac brand in tandem with Andretti, paving the way for what could be a fascinating duel in a few years’ time.

Horner does not believe Andretti’s bid is weakened simply because F1 and the FIA now have a major US manufacturer on board.

“It doesn’t change anything,” stated Horner.

“We’re delighted to have the Ford brand with us to become Red Bull Ford, with the engine badging from 2026. onwards.

“For us, that’s great news, and it’s great news that other OEMs are showing so much interest in Formula 1.

“GM, obviously another huge American automotive company.

“It just shows the strength Formula 1 has at the moment. Of course, there are going to be entry criteria and discussions for 2026, but for us, it doesn’t change anything.”

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