Formula 1 Racing

‘Very different’ 2026 cars quick on straights, slow in corners

2026 F1 car rendering

George Russell expects the new rules F1 will introduce in 2026 to significantly change the performance of the cars.

The FIA has confirmed the first details of changes to the chassis after next season. The rules have been designed to suit the new power units which will be introduced in 2026.

Although total power levels should remain similar in 2026, the new motors will deploy more of their power from the batteries. The internal combustion engine, to run on synthetic fuel from 2026, will therefore contribute less of the total power.

Russell admitted this has forced some compromises on plans for F1’s new chassis rules. “There’s a lot of exciting things about 2026, I think mainly for the power unit, I think that’s an exciting change for the sport and it’s a really good direction that we’re going in with the sustainable fuels,” he told Sky. “We’re going more [towards] electrification and there has to be some compromises along the way.”

To better suit the characteristics of the new power units, the 2026 cars will use active aerodynamics to reduce drag and increase speed on the straights. Their peak downforce they generate should fall, slowing them through the corners.

Report: FIA reveals new 2026 F1 rules to create slimmer, lighter cars

“I think the cars we’ll be seeing in ’26 will be very different to what we have today,” said Russell. “So we’re going to be much faster in the straights. They will be slower in the corners and they may be slower around a lap.”

Russell isn’t concerned that slower lap times and lower cornering speeds may make the cars less spectacular to watch.

“We’re 20 drivers who probably are the only ones who feel that. When you watch on television, maybe you can’t tell if you go through a corner at 250 or 200[kph].

“I don’t know, to be honest, because when I watch Moto GP, that still looks really quick and they go through a corner 100km an hour slower than what a Formula 1 car does. So there’s always a compromise. We’ll have to wait and see how it pans out.”

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