Ford make clear Red Bull statement amid Christian Horner investigation tensions

Oliver Harden
The Ford logo and Red Bull CEO Christian Horner

Ford will join forces with Red Bull for the 2026 season onwards.

Ford’s backing of Red Bull appears to be unwavering after the logos of the US automotive giant were prominent on the livery of the team’s F1 Academy car.

Red Bull announced last year that they will embark upon a technical partnership with Ford when F1’s new regulations are implemented in 2026, when current engine partner Honda will join forces with Aston Martin.

Prominent Ford backing on Red Bull F1 Academy entry

However, Ford’s commitment to the programme was plunged into doubt during the recent investigation into the conduct of Red Bull team principal Christian Horner, the case ultimately dismissed, with the car manufacturer applying pressure on Red Bull GmbH throughout the process.

Speaking to the Associated Press on February 16, Ford motorsport boss Mark Rushbrook commented that Ford “holds itself to very high standards of behaviour and integrity” and “expects the same from our partners.”

Six days before the start of the F1 2024 season in Bahrain, meanwhile, AP claimed to have seen a letter sent by Jim Farley, the chief executive of the Ford Motor Company, to the Red Bull Racing team expressing Ford’s displeasure and frustration with “the lack of full transparency” surrounding the Horner investigation.

PlanetF1.com recommends

How to become an F1 driver: Money, dedication, talent and more

Why have US giants Ford returned to F1 and partnered with Red Bull?

Farley added that Ford’s values are “non-negotiable” with the firm regarding it as “imperative that our racing partners share and demonstrate a genuine commitment to those same values.”

Horner, who has consistently and strenuously denied allegations of inappropriate behaviour, was cleared three days before the Bahrain Grand Prix.

A report by Motorsport.com has claimed that there have been “suggestions” in recent days of “high-level meetings” within Ford over the future of their partnership with Red Bull.

However, Ford branding features prominently on the Red Bull car racing in F1 Academy, the all-female junior category holding its first event of the season at this weekend’s Saudi Arabian Grand Prix in Jeddah.

Ford’s logos also appear on the race suit of driver Emely de Heus, a 23-year-old Dutch racer.

After a muted inaugural season in 2023, when the series was not televised, F1 Academy has established a closer relationship with F1 in 2023, requiring all 10 F1 teams to support a driver and lend branding to their car.

F1 Academy will stage seven events – all on grand prix weekends – over the course of the 2024 season, visiting such venues as Miami and Singapore before concluding in Abu Dhabi on December 8.

Read next: Christian Horner accuser suspended by Red Bull after investigation dismissed