Red Bull is joining forces with Ford. The reigning world champion team unveiled, alongside the presentation of its new Formula 1 single-seater, the outlines of a future engine partnership with the American manufacturer for 2026. The RB19 has a very similar look to its big sister. And, of course, it did not show any of its technical particularities. There was a very obvious reason for this as Red Bull’s deception at the launch event is revealed.
Nearly 20 years ago, Ford sold the Jaguar team, its sports brand at the time, to Red Bull. The two companies are joining forces once again from this Friday. The F1 world champion announced on Friday that it has entered into a partnership with the American giant ahead of the new regulations in 2026.
Revealed in New York, the RB19, which was only RB19 in name, due to the fight against espionage by others will, as always, bear the brand’s classic colours. The event in New York was really just a livery launch and an event to announce the future partnership with Ford.
We will have to wait until the end of February and the three days of winter testing (February 23-25 in Sakhir) to find out a little more about the real characteristics of the car. But according to experts, there’s more to it than that as Red Bull deceive the audience and online viewers.
It is difficult to imagine huge changes, however, as Red Bull has found a winning concept in 2023. Last season, the team won both the drivers’ and constructors’ titles and scored 17 victories, 15 of which went to Max Verstappen alone. This has not prevented the team from preparing for the future, as in recent weeks Red Bull has negotiated its future engine partnership with Ford which really, was the real purpose of the so call brand new car launch event.
“Red Bull Powertrains and Ford have teamed up to develop a next-generation hybrid powertrain that will supply engines to the Oracle Red Bull Racing and Scuderia AlphaTauri teams until at least 2030,” the manufacturer said in a statement.
Ford’s return to F1 proper, in 2026, will coincide with the introduction of new engine regulations.
“This is great for the sport and we are delighted to see them join the incredible automotive partners already involved in Formula One,” F1 boss Stefano Domenicali reacted in a statement.
The American brand, which has been involved in F1 since the 1960s and until 2004, is the third most successful engine manufacturer in F1 with 10 constructors’ championships and 13 drivers’ titles.
Big deception by Red Bull
As some technical experts noticed during the launch, Red Bull had really dressed up last year’s car in a mildly different livery, in order to satisfy the new sponsor logos and remove a couple of older ones now departed from the team.
Somewhat bizarrely, the drivers and anyone who held a microphone on stage during the new car launch maintained it was the RB19, not last year’s car RB18. Obviously, they were keeping to the script, but when other teams admit that their launch event is just a livery launch when they wish not to reveal their true car, why Red Bull insists on deceiving fans and sponsors alike during their events is unclear and disingenuous.
Experts call out Red Bull for their deception
Indeed, some social media platforms made a lot of the fake car launch, which was in itself a rather shambolic affair. One such rather amusing example being Daniel Ricciardo, the third driver for Red Bull, being called ‘Daniel Ritardo’ by the host.
Peter Windsor, former senior management of Williams, journalist and commentator for Formula 1, quipped on his Youtube channel about Red Bull’s launch, asking frequent guest and technical analyst Craig Scarborough (AKA Scarbs) about how much he liked the brand new car.
“…brand new Red Bull RB19 you must be exhilarated to see this new car I’m winding you up of course!”
“The second time they’ve done this right? This is not a new car?” asked Windsor of his guest.
Scarbs replied to Windsor confirming that Red Bull Racing did exactly what they did last year when they simply dressed up the FIA mule car in Red Bull livery, calling it RB18 back in 2022. The real car not breaking cover until winter testing some weeks later.
“No it’s not a new car they’ve done exactly what they did last year as they produced something that isn’t the new car that actually stood in front of it and told everyone that it was!” replies Scarbs.
“Red Bull I’ve got a long history of having some very difficult launches, I’ve got a whole heap of stories about real launches over the years but the fact that they’re actually saying that it is the new car when it isn’t it’s just disingenuous and it’s insulting the fans and everyone that’s watching…”
Scarbs then goes on to confirm the car is in fact just last year’s RB18 and not the real 2023 Formula 1 car.
“You know a lot of us know that it’s the rb18 that they’re in all of these photos, all they need to do from my point of view is just say it’s a livery launch,
“You know this is our new livery, we’re not going to show you our new car, I just don’t understand why they just can’t be open with what’s being presented”
The real RB19 isn’t expected to be unveiled until winter testing takes place on 23-25 February at the Bahrain International Circuit.