There is growing speculation that Red Bull will announce a 2026 partnership with American manufacturer Ford this Friday at the launch of their 2023 challenger, despite it having been previously downplayed.
It had been informed that the launch was taking place in New York due to fashion week, according to AlphaTauri boss Franz Tost; however, it appears that there might be another reason why the Austrians have gone across the pond for their 2023 launch.
Speculation regarding a potential 2026 partnership between Red Bull and Ford has been growing, especially after FIA president Mohammed Ben Sulayem told reporters at the Dakar Rally that: “In a short time, maybe as early as next week, another manufacturer could sign for the 2026 engine regulations.”
It is looking increasingly likely that Ben Sulayem might have been referring to Ford, with F1 business reporter Vincenzo Landino from The Qualifier having written on Twitter: “Red Bull’s livery launch date is 3 February in New York City.
“I have word from some of my contacts that Ford is sending some content creators and influencers to NYC on the same date. Coincidence?”
Should Ford be partnering with the reigning Constructors’ Champions, then it will see the Americans return to the sport for the first time since 2004, where they partnered Jordan.
Ford Performance boss Mark Rushbrook has admitted that the Americans are “interested” in the upcoming engine regulation changes coming in 2026 but that some of the things being introduced are already being done by Ford in other championships.
“We don’t comment on speculation, but it’s the same with all these series that are out there,” he told Motorsport.com.
“It’s our responsibility to study them and understand them, and then make decisions on whether it makes sense or doesn’t make sense.
“Sustainable fuel definitely is something we’re interested in, but we’re already doing that in other series.”
Should Ford be announced on Friday as Red Bull’s partner for 2026, then the American manufacturer will become the second new automaker to be announced for the new engine regulations, with Audi having been confirmed last year.
With General Motors looking increasingly likely to join the sport with Andretti Global then 2026 could see three American manufacturers in Formula 1; however, Ford won’t be supplying power units should they partner with the Milton Keynes-based outfit.