"Not suitable for our story" - Ford keeps rejecting Formula E & backs electric prototypes
The U.S. manufacturer Ford is planning to expand its global motorsport activities: In addition to Formula 1, the Detroit-based company plans to compete in the Dakar Rally and the GT class of the World Endurance Championship (WEC) in the future. Mark Rushbrook, head of the motorsport department Ford Performance, explains why an involvement in electric motorsports such as Formula E is currently out of the question for the group.
In addition to the commitments in the NASCAR series, the FIA World Rally Championship and the Australian Supercars, which have been existing for many years, Ford will further expand its international motorsport commitment. The Ford Mustang will be offered in the customer sports sector as a GT sports car in a GT3 and a GT4 version, in addition to which a commitment to the Dakar Rally was announced this week. From 2026, Ford will also compete in Formula 1 together with Red Bull Racing.
Although the brand is currently focusing on electrification on a large scale and will launch seven new electric vehicles by the end of 2024, there are no plans to enter electric motorsport as yet. "If we wanted to be in Formula E, of course we would compete in Formula E," Rushford described to Motorsport.com. "We feel that in terms of full electrification, we get more results out of our electric prototypes than we do in Formula E."
Ford has shown several high-performance electric vehicles in recent years, including the Ford Mustang Mach-E 1400 for drift events, the Ford Cobra Jet 1400 dragster and the nearly 1,500 kW Ford SuperVan 4 that will compete in the Pikes Peak hill climb this month.
Rushford: "Not a direct knock on Formula E"
"They are rolling innovation labs that allow us to learn about high-performance, all-electric vehicles and apply those learnings to our road car programs and also to Formula One," Rushford continued. "That's not a direct knock on Formula E," he wants to underline. "They put on a lot of great racing. There has actually been some very entertaining racing this year."
"But what we see, for the spend we can put into these demonstrators, with no rules to limit what we can or cannot do, we can learn exactly what we want, in the way that we want, and put on a very compelling story in the way that we want to," he says. "My comment wasn't meant to knock any of the full electric series, it's just, we didn't think they are right for us for what we want to learn and the story we want to tell."
This means Formula E continues to wait for a U.S. manufacturer to get involved, even after nine years. Steadily present are the USA nevertheless: with Avalanche Andretti and DS Penske (formerly Dragon) two US teams have been competing since the foundation of the series, which so far also used four different US drivers. In addition, the electric racing series has contested a total of 13 races in Long Beach, Miami and New York City. The 14th race on U.S. soil will take place on June 24, when Formula E will race for the first time in Portland.