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Ford is back: Verstappen and the American brand reunited

Ford is back: Verstappen and the American brand reunited

3 February - 15:24


Ford's return to Formula 1 with Max Verstappen's Red Bull Racing team means a reunion with the Verstappen family for the brand. For many years during his own F1 career, Jos Verstappen drove for several teams that had Ford engines in the back of their cars. Incidentally, Verstappen senior did so with varying degrees of success.

Until Max Verstappen's 2016 victory in Spain, this was the most iconic motorsport moment in Dutch Formula 1 history: Jos Verstappen's third-place finish at the 1994 Hungarian Grand Prix. A technical fault on his McLaren caused Martin Brundle to crash out on the very last lap, allowing Verstappen to move up from fourth to third. Never before had a Dutchman been on the podium in Formula 1 until then.

Last title with Benetton

Verstappen drove that day in a Benetton powered by a Ford V8 engine, as did his teammate Michael Schumacher by the way. The German took eight victories in 1994, good enough for his first world title. It was also the last championship for Ford in Formula 1.

Ford have a rich history in Formula 1 and - remarkably - with Jos Verstappen. Ultimately, the Dutchman entered four teams during his career whose cars were powered by a Ford engine. After his year at Benetton, in which Verstappen still took third place in Belgium, he switched to Simtek. The adventure in the purple car lasted only five race weekends. After that, Simtek ran out of money and the team went bankrupt. Later adventures at Tyrell and Stewart followed. The latter team, led by former world champion Jackie Stewart, later became Jaguar and is now called Red Bull Racing.

Ups and downs

Verstappen achieved the best results of his career with Ford and also the worst. Of the 40 Grands Prix the Limburger drove with a Ford power unit, he failed to reach the finish line 24 times. Of course, it should be noted that F1 cars at that time were less reliable than today, and by no means all problems were due to the Ford engine. Sometimes, Verstappen was known to slid off the track. 

No doubt Verstappen senior will get a warm feeling with the Ford brand. So Max will follow in his father's footsteps in 2026 when he takes to the track for the first time with the American brand helping power his F1 car.