Ford boss hits back at concerning engine programme claims with Red Bull partnership

Sam Cooper
The Red Bull Ford Powertrains logo and Mark Rusbrook

Mark Rushbrook has denied their engine is lagging behind.

Ford CEO Mark Rushbrook has said their attempt at the F1 2026 engine is in “good shape” after rumours the Red Bull Ford Powertrains division was lagging behind its competitors.

Ford will re-enter F1 for the first time since 2004 when they partner with Red Bull to produce engines for the Milton Keynes side from F1 2026, but their CEO has denied they are running behind schedule.

Ford dismiss Red Bull power unit issues ahead of F1 2026

Rumours have been circulating that Red Bull Ford Powertrains have encountered issues in their development so far and could end up being one of the slower PU suppliers of the six manufacturers signed on for F1 2026.

Toto Wolff, who works in a similar role as Rushbrook with Mercedes’ PU supply, was one of the most vocal about perceived Red Bull issues and suggested that team principal Christian Horner was frightened about their “engine programme not coming along.”

“I think what frightens him [Horner] more maybe is that his engine programme is not coming along, and maybe he wants to kill it that way. You always have to question what is the real motivation to say something like that,” the Mercedes team boss said last year when Horner suggested a rethink of the current 2026 regulations.

But CEO Rushbrook has denied such claims and said they are “in good shape” for the challenge coming in 2026.

“As with any program, you set certain goals and milestones. At the moment we are achieving all our own goals and achieving the desired milestones,” Rushbrook told the Dutch branch of Motorsport.com.

“In Formula 1, development is going so much faster than in all other branches of motorsport in which we are active. It is really full throttle from the start of engine development until 2030 when the period with these regulations ends.

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“I can only say that we have set our own goals for the power unit based on experience and what we think is necessary to be successful in 2026. We have no idea where the competition stands and what their development curve is, we simply do not have a direct comparison with our opponents, but if we look at what we think we need have to be successful, then we are in good shape.”

It was put to Rushbrook that Horner mentioned competing with the likes of Ferrari and Mercedes, who have had decades worth of experience before, was tough but the American said “In Formula 1 it is always a big challenge.”

“It’s absolutely true that brands like Ferrari already have the knowledge, they have the people and they also have the experience in a system that already works,” he said.

“So yes, they have an advantage in that respect. But I think we have an advantage because our team is only working on the engine for 2026. We do not have to work on the current power sources. In that respect, our focus is entirely on this project.”

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