Ford is heading back to Formula One with Red Bull to develop technologies that could improve the performance of its future electric vehicles; and also a way that may keep the internal combustion engine alive for decades to come.
Ford is spending tens of billions of dollars to launch a range of battery-powered vehicles in the coming years, but has not committed toward going all-electric like some automakers have.
Formula One cars use hybrid power units that are set to increase their level of electrification when new regulations go into effect in 2026 as Ford joins the series.
MORE FORD MUSTANG DARK HORSE SECRETS REVEALED
Ford CEO Jim Farley told FOX News Digital that the lessons learned designing motors, batteries and optimized aerodynamics for the race cars can be applied to its production electric and hybrid cars to make them more efficient.
“Formula One is a great marketing platform, but best of all, it’s a good technology-exchange platform,” Farley said.
Ford is not putting its gas and diesel vehicles out to pasture just yet, though. Farley says the industry is not “monolithic” and that electric drivetrains are not suitable for every customer, especially those that tow or are just looking for the sound and fury of a V8.
“Look, we’ll do what’s required, and we’re going to grow our EV business to two million vehicles in four years and most of that will be conquest, but we want these loyal customers who own F-150s and Broncos and Mustangs to continue to have a great experience,” Farley said.
SECRET FORD MUSTANG IS GETTING READY TO ROCK
Even as Dodge prepares to replace its V8 muscle cars with the electric Charger Daytona SRT next year, Ford is introducing a new 2024 Mustang this summer that is only available with either a gasoline-fueled V8 or turbocharged four-cylinder engine, and that could be the case for the next one thanks to something else going on in Formula One. Along with the new power units, the series is switching to a synthetic carbon-neutral fuel in 2026 that emits only as much carbon as is used to produce it.
Formula One has not revealed exactly the type of fuel it will use, but Porsche recently demonstrated a 911 running on a synthetic fuel made at a wind-powered plant in the Chilean desert that captures carbon from the atmosphere to create a net-zero fuel that virtually any car designed to burn gasoline could use without modifications.
Porsche will be using it for its Porsche Mobil 1 Supercup racing series this year at the price of $45 per gallon, but expects to get that down to $8 by 2026 as it scales up the output and continue to reduce the price from there.
CLICK HERE TO SIGN UP FOR THE FOX NEWS AUTOS NEWSLETTER
Mark Rushbrook, the global director of Ford Peformance Motorsports, told Fox News Digital the synthetic fuel was a big part of why the company got interested in Formula One.
“We are committed to full electric vehicles, it’s an important part of our future, but we also know we’re going to have combustion engine vehicles in different parts of the world for a long time, and we want to do that in the most responsible way that we can,” Rushbrook said.
Last year, Ford ran a Ranger Raptor pickup in the Baja 1000 off-road race that used a low-carbon fuel developed by Shell that was made from more than “30% sustainably sourced bio components.”
“So it’s an important emphasis for us to, as we keep these combustion engines, to do it in a responsible way and this step into Formula One will help us as well,” Rushbrook said.