Ford announced last week that it would return to Formula One in 2026 through a technical partnership with Red Bull. Cosworth has a long history in Formula 1 as Ford’s ‘go to’ engine partner in the sport. Cosworth is therefore considered part of the car giant’s plan to return to F1, but it’s not as simple as that as Cosworth mandates what would actually be required for the engine specialist to return to Formula One.
Ford announced last week that it would return to Formula One in 2026 through a technical partnership with Red Bull. The deal will see the company collaborate with the energy drink giant’s powertrain division for the next generation of power units, which will be introduced in 2026 and will have a greater focus on electric drive and sustainable fuels.
It will mark the first time the Ford name has returned to Formula One since 2004, when the company owned the Jaguar team – later sold to Red Bull – and rebranded the Cosworth V10 engines as Ford.
Cosworth has a long and largely successful history in Formula One, ranking third in engine wins behind Ferrari and Mercedes. Cosworth has won ten constructors’ titles, with the DFV engine, developed in collaboration with Ford between 1967 and 1983, enjoying its heyday.
Cosworth: Why F1 is “not an issue”
Although the changes to the regulations have sparked a new wave of interest in Formula One from manufacturers – six parties have already signed up for 2026, at present Cosworth has not considered a possible return to F1.
“It hasn’t been an issue,” Cosworth CEO Hal Reisinger tells Motorsport Network.
“We’re very grateful that we’ve been able to earn a significant amount of automotive OEM business. That requires the commitment of all resources if you want to do it well, and I don’t believe in doing anything less than excellent.”
“That would mean creating another part of our organisation to properly service Formula One, which up to this point in this conversation has not presented itself as a compelling business proposition for me to consider.”
Cosworth is doing everything “to generate income”
Cosworth was last involved in Formula 1 through the V8 era, first with Williams in 2006 before supplying four teams at once in 2010. However, the company has not been involved in Formula 1 since 2013. At that time, they worked exclusively with Marussia, who, however, switched to Ferrari power at the beginning of the V6 hybrid era in 2014.
Reisinger makes it clear, however, that Cosworth is doing everything “to generate income and money that we can put into the employees and the company. I’m grateful that we’re unique in some ways to have that situation,” he says.
“But if it would help the passion of the staff and be a viable part of the business that would allow further investment, then we would consider it.”
Cosworth in a bad bargaining position
Reisinger says the company is “regularly consulted” when it comes to future engine regulations, but that it is difficult to provide adequate input if you are not an existing participant yourself.
“I think only those who are directly involved can make a real contribution,” he says. “And I’m not saying there’s anything wrong with that. It’s their motorsport programme, not ours. But that’s definitely the reality.”
“So, in my humble opinion, if you’re not directly involved and involved, they will consult with us, hopefully because they respect our opinion and want to consider a broader range of options. But usually the decisions are made by those who have a direct interest in it. And that’s not us.”