Red Bull's tie-up with American giant means 'Ford got the best deal here', says former F1 driver

Red Bull-Ford alliance becomes effective from the 2026 F1 season
Red Bull-Ford alliance becomes effective from the 2026 F1 season

Former F1 driver Karun Chandhok feels Red Bull's tie-up with Ford is arguably the best deal the American giant could have got. Red Bull had been in conversations with multiple automotive giants, including Porsche and Honda.

For one reason or the other, ranging from Honda wants more technical input while Porsche looking for part ownership. the deal did not go through.

Red Bull Ford Powertrains video. There’s so much to unpack from this but most of all it’s good to see Ford’s F1 heritage nicely on display from the word go. And, further to my last tweet, even Fisi/Jordan 😉

Ford, however, will be part-funding the Red Bull powertrains' efforts for the 2026 F1 regulations and contributing to the hybrid side. According to Karun, this was arguably the best possible way in which Ford could have entered the sport. In a Sky Sports F1 segment, he explained:

“I think Ford got the best deal here. Because they don’t need to invest the resources that Audi are doing, for example. By [Audi] coming in as a whole team, it’s going to cost them hundreds of millions to get it all up and running for a period of time."

He added:

"[With Ford] they’re going to walk into an existing race winning, championship winning operation who’ve got an engine department that’s well and truly on their path to the 2026 rules."
So Red Bull had Renault engines called Tag Heuer but were title sponsored by Aston Martin. Then Honda but still with an Aston Martin title sponsor. Then Honda left, then Red Bull Porsche was rumoured, then Honda returned and now it’s going to be Red Bull Ford.

He added how what Audi is doing is arguably tougher than what Ford is doing,

“They’ve heavily recruited a whole bunch of people from Mercedes we know in the last 18 months and for Ford, it’s essentially a badging exercise so it’s going to cost them a lot less to be involved with the team at the forefront of the sport.”

It’s a win-win for both Red Bull and Ford: Chandhok

The fact that the Austrian team didn't have to cede control and would still work independently, plus for Ford, there won't be any added expense on infrastructure, Chandhok felt that the deal was a win-win for both sides. Especially since these were exactly the conditions that the Austrian team was looking for. He said:

“I think for them, it’s a great deal. Both Christian and Helmut [Marko] didn’t want to give up control and that was the limiting factor we believe in the Porsche deal. That’s not a problem here with the Ford deal, so I think it’s a win-win for both Red Bull and Ford.”

The deal will become active from the 2026 F1 season onwards. Until then, Red Bull will continue to partner with Honda as the official power unit supplier until the end of the 2025 F1 season.

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Edited by Diptanil Roy
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