Ford’s Global Director of Performance Motorsports Mark Rushbrook, insisted the company’s plans to join Formula 1 in 2026 with Red Bull is far from being a marketing exercise.
Ford and Red Bull announced last week that they will be partners on the power unit side in F1 come 2026, but it is “purely a commercial and technical deal” according the Red Bull boss Christian Horner.
Recently, Red Bull had talks with Porsche regarding an F1 partnership, where Porsche were targeting to buy a controlling stake in the Milton Keynes outfit, something the latter refused, meaning the talks broke down, but Horner insists it’s totally different with Ford.
“It’s a very different relationship to what was discussed with Porsche,” he said. “This is purely a commercial and technical deal, so there’s no exchange of any shares or participation within the business.
“It’s a very straightforward agreement where we will have the ability to share and access to R&D, particularly on the EV side, and sell technology software development and so on.
“Then on the commercial side, with Ford being so prevalent in the US. As a commercial partner, it helps us achieve even more penetration in that market,” the Red Bull boss added.
But does that mean the project is merely a marketing exercise for Ford? Far from it according to the company’s Global Director of Performance Motorsports – Mark Rushbrook.
It’s not a marketing exercise
“Everything is on the table, in terms of resources from Ford Motor Company to contribute to this, where it’s going to add value and benefit,” Rushbrook said of the partnership with Red Bull.
“The initial areas that have been identified, where we’re working, are certainly in the battery cell technology, in electric motor itself, the controls, software. I certainly expect that we will have employees located full-time in Milton Keynes, but not yet, at this point.
“We don’t go racing just as a marketing exercise, anywhere, and especially in F1,” the Ford executive insisted.
Rushbrook added that the growth F1 is now enjoying in the Unites States, where three races will be held in 2023, was a catalyst driving the deal with Red Bull.
“[The US growth] certainly helps,” he admitted. “As we’ve said, it was that combination of the technology, and the opportunity for two-way transfer.
“It was the opportunity for marketing, and connection with diverse fans globally, but yes, the specific growth in the US certainly contributed to that – but it wasn’t the only reason [for Ford’s return].
“And it is great to see more races in the United States, and three very different races in three different parts of the country. I was at COTA last year and it was fantastic.
“I hadn’t been there for races before. It was a fantastic atmosphere and feel, and the number of fans there, and the passion of those fans – it is important for us to be part of it,” Rushbrook concluded.
Couldn’t have said it better if we tried. See you on the track 🏁 pic.twitter.com/BPLZLIMET4
— Ford Motor Company (@Ford) February 3, 2023