Formula 1 Racing

F1 won’t significantly reduce car size in 2026

Sergio Perez, Red Bull, Monaco, 2024

Formula 1 is unlikely to significantly reduce car sizes in the new technical regulations it will introduce in 2026, according to Red Bull team principal Christian Horner.

Drivers have blamed the growing dimensions of their cars in recent years for the difficulty of racing closely and overtaking. Larger wings and floors have improved aerodynamic performance but this has also increased the negative effect of ‘dirty air’.

Tyres must now cope with higher cornering speeds and car weights, as the minimum mass limit has risen to 798 kilograms. This makes the rubber prone to overheating, especially when one car follows closely behind another.

The current cars are also over 11% wider than they were eight years ago. That has made overtaking more difficult at some circuits, a problem which is most acute in Monaco where last weekend’s round took place.

But Horner says the new regulations for 2026 won’t significantly change that. “With the size of these cars and the weight of these cars, they’re so big now, arguably they’re too big to be racing around these streets because you can barely get two side-by-side,” he said in Monaco. “So that inevitably is going to cause issues.”

Horner believes street tracks like Monaco, built within the constraints of local road sizes, must to change to accommodate F1, rather than the other way around.

“We either need to make the cars considerably smaller going forward for ‘26, which isn’t really on the cards, or [in order] to have a really entertaining in a race here then we ought to look at least the possibility of could we open up some areas that could potentially create at least an overtaking opportunity and what would it what would it envelop to achieve that?

“I think that’s something that Formula 1, I know, is acutely aware of, and I’m sure Monaco as well. But to protect the next 70 years here, I think that there needs to obviously be some evolution.”

F1 has already indicated it intends to retain the same tyre specifications in 2026, making it unlikely car sizes will substantially change.

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