Motorsport News

Teams Somewhat Bullish on 2026 FIA Regulations

F1 Grand Prix Of China

This week, the FIA publicly revealed the 2026 Formula 1 car regulations, confirming multiple rumors and statements of them while also inspiring a tepid response from some teams.

As has been the expectation, Formula 1 cars will run on 100% sustainable fuels, with now 350 kw of the total 750 kw output being from the electronic battery. This means that although the engine power output is being lowered, the battery’s increased use along with 30 kgs. of weight taken off the car will mean that the cars will actually produce more speed.

The FIA has cut the wheelbase and the width of the car, meaning the trend that began decades ago of cars slowly getting bigger and bigger has come to an end.

With the last two F1 races having occurred at Imola and Monaco, two old school racetracks that were not built for cars as big as the current regulations call for and produced the parade racing one might expect due to it, this is a welcome change.

Downforce will be reduced by 30% and drag by 55%, so the cars should be slower through corners but faster on straights. Combined with active aero that will now automatically move flaps on both wings instead of just the rear, overtaking on straights should be easier than before.

How the active aero will work will be dependent on where the car is on track. “X mode” will be when the car has flaps open that reduce drag for higher straight-line speed, while “Z mode” will angle the flaps a different way to allow the car to be faster in corners. Copse corner at Silverstone, which is taken flat out, will likely be the best example of a high speed Z-mode corner, while the straights proceeding and following it would be X-mode straights.

The most startling change in these regulations is that Formula 1 is essentially getting an NTT IndyCar Series-style push-to-pass system to replace DRS. For more details, our IndyCar team dived into their system in this column a year ago. The F1 system will work more or less the same, except that it can only be done when within one second of a car in front like with DRS.

Also, it is not called push-to-pass in F1. No, it will officially be called manual override mode. Yes, MOM. All I know is that I love MOM more than DRS, both the new engine…

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