Red Bull is reportedly on the verge of signing a deal with Ford ahead of the car’s 2023 launch on Friday.
Christian Horner’s team, which achieved Driver and Constructor success last season when Max Verstappen won his second world title, is looking for an automotive partner after holding talks with Porsche last summer.
Although negotiations with the German giant have collapsed, several automakers are on the market to join Formula 1 in the coming years, given the sport’s surge in popularity.
Ford Motor Company, which was last involved in F1 in 2004 alongside Jaguar, is one such interested party and The Mirror reports that a deal is expected to be agreed with Red Bull and could be announced as early as Friday.
Red Bull launched its 2023 car, the RB19, on Feb. 3 in New York City, where Ford reportedly sent social media influencers in anticipation of a deal confirmation.
The report adds that it is unclear at this stage whether Ford will step in as an engine partner, similar to Audi’s already confirmed partnership with Sauber, with the German manufacturer set to join when new engine regulations come into play in 2026.
Red Bull have set up their powertrain department at their base in Milton Keynes and will continue to work with Japanese manufacturer Honda on their engines this year.
Mark Rushbrook, Ford’s performance chief, insists any move in the F1 market “requires consideration”.
“Formula 1 is definitely strong and growing, both in the US and globally,” he told Motorsport.com last week.
“What they have done well is create great racing and great competition. It’s still the pinnacle, but they’ve managed to reach a new audience with things like Drive to Survive.
“As a company we run for innovation, technology transfer, learning opportunity, but also for marketing reasons. It has changed for sure and definitely requires consideration.
Ford’s eagerness to enter the world of Formula 1 may be a response to rival General Motors forming a partnership with Andretti, under their Cadillac marque.
FIA President Mohammed Ben Sulayem has opened an “expression of interest” procedure for new teams to enter the grid, although new crews are unlikely to join before 2026.