February 24, 2016 by Joe Saward
Stewart-Haas Racing will campaign Ford Fusions beginning in 2017. The four-car team has long been a Chevrolet stalwart, but will now use Ford engines prepared by Roush Yates Engines. This will beef up Ford’s NASCAR assault with Stewart Haas joining Roush Fenway Racing and Penske.
“Motorsports is an extremely challenging environment where in order to maintain success you have to constantly innovate. It’s true in NASCAR and it’s true in business,” says Haas. “We’ve enjoyed great success with Chevrolet, but this opportunity with Ford allows us to evolve while continuing to compete at the highest levels of the sport.”
How long before the F1 rumours start?
Ford has a stellar history in F1 engine supply, the Cosworth having won 176 victories, between 1967 and 2003, although that total has now been surpassed by Ferrari with 225. There were some rumours two years ago that Ford might consider F1 and there was even the suggestion that the fastest way to do it would be with its old partner Cosworth, which designed a new generation engine but did not have the cash to fund it. Those rumours were linked to news that Cosworth had opened an office in Detroit. `At the same time Ford inaugurated a new racing technical center in Charlotte, with a new race simulator larger and more advanced than any in the United States, and equal to the best in F1.
Ford has had a new president and chief executive officer, Mark Fields, since the middle of 2014 and he has been a big supporter of the new Le Mans GT programme, which will be seen this year. At the launch of that programme he said that Ford “remains focused on three priorities globally – accelerating our One Ford plan, delivering product excellence with passion and driving innovation in every part of our business. All three came together to create the new Ford GT. We also know from our rich history in motorsports that world-class competition is a great incubator for even further product innovation.”
Fields has also said that the company will be hybridizing its F-series pickups by the end of the decade. Ford is doing well at the moment with 2015 sales.
The company is doing well at the moment with revenues of $149.9 billion, up four percent, and global sales of 6.6 million vehicles, up five percent. The company posted its first profit in Europe for years and profits in Asia jumped 29 percent. The company made a pre-tax profit of $10.8 billion, the highest in its 112-year history. Ford used to be battling with GM to be the world’s biggest car manufacturer but in recent years has slipped down the order to sixth behind Toyota, Volkswagen, GM, Renault-Nissan and Hyundai. In the circumstances, there is some logic in thoughts of an F1 programme.
This, of course, is all speculation.