Get all your news in one place.
100’s of premium titles.
One app.
Start reading
Tom Howard

M-Sport hopes Ford's Red Bull F1 partnership can strengthen WRC team

Last month Ford announced a plan to expand its motorsport commitments by returning to F1 as an engine supplier in conjunction with current world champions Red Bull, coinciding with the launch of F1's new engine rules.

The American brand confirmed that its F1 expansion would not affect its current motorsport programmes, including its long-standing relationship with the WRC through British squad M-Sport.

Ford is one of three brands to commit to WRC's Rally1 regulations, introduced last year, which has spawned the new Puma Rally1 car, developed by M-Sport and Ford Performance in the US.

M-Sport is also currently backed by Red Bull with the energy drinks brand featuring prominently on the Pumas of Ott Tanak and Pierre-Louis Loubet, who have this year also become Red Bull athletes.

Reflecting on Ford's new venture into F1, Millener believes the tie-up could be beneficial for M-Sport in the future.

"Ford are entering into F1 which is fantastic and that is 2026, so that is a fair way away from now," Millener told

"I hope it can strengthen our partnership. We have a partnership with Red Bull at the moment and Ford have a bigger partnership with Red Bull in F1 moving forward, so let's hope that continues to help us grow as well.

Pierre-Louis Loubet, Nicolas Gilsoul, M-Sport Ford World Rally Team Ford Puma Rally1 (Photo by: McKlein / Motorsport Images)

"From my side, I think it is great for Ford to be entering the biggest discipline in motorsport and one of the biggest sports globally.

"Rally is a very different set of variables and KPIs for the brand, it is about taking their road cars and competing in the most challenging of circumstances and that won't change.

"F1 is not going to replicate what we do. They are two very different projects. I hope our relationship continues for years to come."

M-Sport's current relationships with both Ford and Red Bull could provide the potential for crossovers with the Red Bull F1 team should they remain in place from 2026 onwards.

This is an area Millener is keen to explore following the team's appearance at the Red Bull F1 team's 'Home run' event in Milton Keynes last year, where nine-time WRC champion Sebastien Loeb demonstrated the Puma.

Likewise, Red Bull driver Max Verstappen drove a rally car last year when he tested his father Jos Verstappen's Citroen C3 Rally2 car ahead of the latter's Belgian Rally Championship and WRC appearances.

"It would be great to be involved with the F1 team," he added.

"In the past it has been a stumbling block because of different brands that were involved but as we go forward being a united brand it would be great to see some interesting crossovers done.

"We took our car to Red Bull celebration run at Milton Keynes last year and from people I know that went, there was incredibly positive feedback about Seb Loeb showing the F1 fans what rally does.

"I have no idea who is going to be driving for Red Bull in 2026 but if Max is still there we certainly know his dad likes rallying at the moment.

"We have seen a lot of positive comments from F1 drivers about rally drivers, so it would be fantastic to see some F1 drivers have a go."

Sign up to read this article
Read news from 100’s of titles, curated specifically for you.
Already a member? Sign in here
Related Stories
Top stories on inkl right now
One subscription that gives you access to news from hundreds of sites
Already a member? Sign in here
Our Picks
Fourteen days free
Download the app
One app. One membership.
100+ trusted global sources.