Ford and Audi Join Formula 1
Formula 1’s appeal is undeniable. With Netflix’s successful ‘Drive to Survive’ series introducing F1 to wider audiences (especially in the United States) and Liberty Media’s push to get the sport into more homes than ever, it is not hard to see why. The surge in popularity has seen more companies wanting to partake in the glamorous, globe-spanning action – particularly from some renowned automakers.
From the entry rumors of Cadillac with Andretti Autosport to a host of companies declaring interest to take over sponsorship from Alfa Romeo of the Sauber F1 Team, there has been no shortage of speculation and buzz around F1. Concrete announcements can be hard to come by, which is why it is especially exciting to see not just one, but two manufacturers enter the sport for the 2026 season with both Audi and Ford joining as powertrain suppliers.
Ford is no stranger to F1 with its most recent foray being in 2004. Their last successful championship campaign occurred in the early-1990s, with the on-the-rise record-setter Michael Schumacher piloting Benetton Formula cars powered by Ford engines. For 2026, Ford will be partnering with Red Bull Powertrains as new engine regulations go into effect. Ford will provide invaluable expertise for powertrain development, particularly with battery cells and electric motors for the hybrid components that complement modern F1 combustion engines.
Audi, however, is entering F1 for the first time, sort-of. The progenitor to Audi, Auto Union, partook in Grand Prix motor racing in the 1930s – the precursor to F1 prior to its formal establishment following WWII. Though it was not technically F1, various developments of the Auto Union Type C and Type D models were piloted to numerous victories and podiums across Europe, powered by advanced V16 and later V12 engines. For 2026, Audi will compete as a full factory-supported team, partnering with the Sauber F1 Team whose cars will be powered by the newly developed Audi powertrain.
Both brands promise to bring a wealth of motorsport knowledge and new fans. We cannot wait for the 2026 season to start!