Formula 1 Racing

F1 will hardly be quicker than F2 under new 2026 rules, teams warn · RaceFans

2026 F1 car rendering - rear side

Formula 1 cars will be only slightly quicker than Formula 2 machines under the new rules proposed for the 2026, some teams have warned.

The FIA presented its plans for F1’s next major overhaul of its technical rules yesterday. Under its proposal the 2026 cars will be smaller than current designs and produce significantly less downforce.

F1 cars were 11 seconds quicker than F2 machines at Monaco and 12 seconds faster at Imola. But Williams team principal James Vowles warned that gap could be slashed if the new rules are introduced in their current form.

“It’s imperative that we are still the leading series in motorsport,” he said. “That’s how I see us. We’re the pinnacle of this.

“Therefore, as a result of that, we need to make sure that we’re maintaining the performance and speed we have.”

He believes the new rules will create a “mismatch” between the performance of F1 and other series. “The performance difference to an F2 car could be as small as a few seconds,” he said. “And that’s starting to get a little bit tight, especially when you compare it to the other series around the world.”

Vowles stressed the rules the FIA presented yesterday are still being worked on. “These are draft regulations. Just this week, in fact, there were two changes which took quite a bit of downforce away.

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“I’m confident we’ll get to a better solution in that regard. It’s not that we’re so far away. Just a little bit more work required, though.”

The FIA also intends to introduce adjustable aerodynamics in 2026 which will allow drivers to reduce their drag on the straights and increase their downforce in the corners. Yesterday George Russell said this will lead to very high straight-line speeds and much lower cornering speeds.

McLaren team principal Andrea Stella does not believe the current version of the rules has achieved the right balance.

“I would say that at the moment, the way cars are in the draft version of the regulations – and we need to say draft, because like we say, there’s a lot of work to do – the cars are not fast enough in the corners and too fast in the straights. So these two aspects need to be rebalanced.”

Team bosses are due to meet with FIA representatives tomorrow to discuss the rules.

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