How Ford will finance Red Bull F1 programme

Ford will return to F1 with Red Bull in 2026

Ford will return to F1 with Red Bull in 2026

Ford motorsport boss Mark Rushbrook has shed further light on how its F1 return will be financed when it joins Red Bull in 2026.

The American giant announced a five-year partnership with Red Bull when the world championship-winning team launched its 2023 car on Friday in New York.

It will see Ford branding appear as part of Red Bull’s in-house powertrain programme ahead of Formula 1’s new power unit regulations for 2026.

Mark Rushbrook, Global Director of Ford Performance Motorsports, emphasised that the deal was additive and that its existing programmes, which include Supercars in Australia, are not under threat.

Other racing programmes to continue

“There’s no impact to our motorsports plan,” he declared to invited media, including, as part of Red Bull’s launch.

“Based upon this, this was an independent decision.

“We’re very committed to motorsports globally, we have changed our strategy in terms of focus on Mustang and all different levels of racing around the world, and offroad racing with Bronco, with Ranger, and we include Puma, as Rally1 and the full pyramid with the Fiestas underneath it as part of our offroad strategy.

“Also, a strategy for our full-electric demonstrators, like you’ve seen with Maki 1400, Cobra Jet 1400 and now the Supervan4. 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 intention to change any of the current programmes that we have.”

As previously reported, Ford Performance has a motorsport budget from which it runs its programmes, though that is not, as Rushbrook pointed out, bottomless.

“We do go racing in a responsible way,” he explained.

“I believe in all the different series that we go, we don’t have an unlimited budget, as much as racing sometimes wants you to go that way.”

Red Bull F1 deal a marketing expense for Ford

Formula 1 comes in addition to Ford’s global programme, with Rushbrook explaining that it sits to one side in terms of budget and therefore does not detract from the current allocation of resources.

“This, budget-wise and action-wise, does not have any impact on our other programmes,” he explained when asked by how the F1 project would be funded.

“I guess one way to think about it, is there’s a lot of different ways of bucketing money in our personal lives as we budget, and also certainly as a company, and there are different ways of spending the money for marketing.

“So from a marketing perspective, we can redirect some of that money in different directions, depending on where we think we’re going to have the best return.

“It doesn’t need to be walled off as motorsports only.

“I would say that it’s a combination because there is a strategic technical element to it, but also a marketing element to it,” he added on the breakdown of cash versus kind investment.

“It’s a combination.”

Rushbrook added there is a financial aspect to the Red Bull deal, with Ford paying for the rights to brand the power unit.

There are other aspects to the partnership, however, which effectively equate to internal costs with engineers set to work on the development of the internal combustion engine element of the power unit.

“The biggest emphasis for us is on the electrified element of it,” Rushbrook said of the F1 project.

“But there is still an opportunity for us to contribute to the combustion engine portion of it with designers, with modelling, with efficiency, with some test facilities as well, so certainly there will be some collaboration and sharing there.”

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