This season, Max Verstappen seeks to become only the fifth driver in Formula One history to win three consecutive drivers’ championships, while Red Bull aims to become the sixth team to win six constructors’ championships – but can they do it? At the Red Bull RB19 launch in New York, the Dutchman analyzed his team’s possibilities.
Red Bull not only unveiled the livery of their brand-new F1 contender in Manhattan on Friday, but the reigning champions also revҽaled that Ford would be joining them as engine partners in 2026 – after Verstappen, teammate Sergio Perez, reserve driver Daniel Ricciardo, and Team Principal Christian Horner addressed fans and the media.
The 25-year-old two-time winner stated that he is not considering a third title just yet.
“As a team, we work hard to ensure that we have a chance to fight for it again, but only time will tell, right? I’m not really thinking about these things right now because it’s more necessary to focus on having a competitive vehicle, and these things can happen if we have a competitive car.
“However, it’s more vital to ensure that the automobile runs smoothly, without problems, and is speedy at the end of the day.”
Verstappen noted that he hasn’t seen the final form of the RB19 that will race in Bahrain, with the vehicle revҽaled in New York being a temporary ‘launch’ version designed only to show off the livery.
“I’ll be honest, I haven’t seen it,” he admitted. “I’ve just spoken about the performance increases in terms of lap time of the car – but I haven’t seen any photographs or renders. I’m not interested in such things; all I want is a fast car, regardless of how it appears to me.”
While the Dutchman set a new record with 15 wins and 454 points in 2022, he was asked whether his major rivals will be Mercedes – who won just one race in 2022 but improved significantly throughout the season – or Ferrari, whose early form last year was overshadowed by the dominant Red Bulls.
“I think even at the conclusion of the year, it seemed like they [Mercedes] had it together at times and not at others. So, it’s difficult to say from my perspective because I’m not on the squad, but I suppose we’ll find out this year. “Of certainly, they will be our primary adversary if they fully understand everything they wanted to improve on the car,” stated Verstappen of the Silver Arrows.
“However, I believe Ferrari will be strong – though how strong is impossible to predict. But, of course, Mercedes has demonstrated in recent years that they are quite strong, but they also have a good group of individuals.
“But I trust in my guys in Milton Keynes that they can construct a really sturdy car coupled with an engine as well. I hope we have a solid package against them again.”
Ford announce new technical partnership with Red Bull for 2026 and beyond
Ford has confirmed its planned return to Formula One through a “long-term strategic technological cooperation” with Red Bull Powertrains, ahead of the sport’s new engine regulations taking effect.
Ford announced intentions earlier this week to add a new chapter to their trophy-laden F1 tale, having powered 10 constructors’ titles and 13 drivers’ championships through the years, from Lotus and Graham Hill in 1968 to Benetton and Michael Schumacher in 1994.
Beginning in 2023, Ford and Red Bull Powertrains, the Milton Keynes team’s specialized engine section, will work together to produce a next-generation power unit that will equip both Red Bull Racing and the sister AlphaTauri business from 2026 until at least 2030.
F1’s future engine specifications, based on the existing turbocharged 1.6-litre power unit, will offer enhanced electrical power and 100% sustainable fuels, while also enhancing safety and cutting costs for manufacturers.
A powerhouse of both the motorsport world and the automobile business, Ford are set to give experience in numerous areas of research “including battery cell and electric motor technology as well as power unit control software and analytics”.
“This represents the beginning of an exciting new chapter in Ford’s motorsports legacy, which began when my great-grandfather [Henry Ford] won a race that helped build our company,” said Bill Ford, Executive Chairman of Ford Motor Company.
“Ford is returning to the pinnacle of the sport with world champions Oracle Red Bull Racing, bringing Ford’s rich legacy of innovation, sustainability, and electrification to one of the world’s most visible stages.”
“Ford’s return to Formula One with Red Bull Racing is all about where we are going as a company – increasingly electric, software-defined, modern products and experiences,” said Jim Farley, President and CEO of Ford Motor Company.
“F1 will be a remarkably low-cost platform for innovating, sharing ideas and technology, and engaging with tens of millions of new customers.”
“It’s terrific to be bringing Ford back into Formula One with this relationship,” Red Bull Team Principal Christian Horner remarked. The opportunity to benefit from an OEM’s experience, such as Ford’s, puts us ahead of the competition as an independent engine maker.
“They are a manufacturer with a long history in the automotive industry. The bloodline runs from Jim Clark to Ayrton Senna and Michael Schumacher. It is very thrilling for us as Red Bull Powertrains to begin the next chapter of that legacy as Red Bull Ford.
“While 2026 is still a long way away, work has already begᴜn as we look to a new era and the continuous evolution of Oracle Red Bull Racing.”
Farley emphasised that Ford will be “competing to win” in F1, with new partner Red Bull wanting to improve on winning both the drivers’ and constructors’ championships last year.