Figure of $140m suggested for engine cost cap

Sam Cooper
Formula 1 boss Stefano Domenicali on the grid. Imola, April 2022.

Formula 1 boss Stefano Domenicali on the grid ahead of the sprint race. Imola, April 2022.

A figure of $140m has been suggested for the engine cost cap in 2026 but has yet to be agreed upon by the teams.

In a defining moment for the sport, a budget was introduced for the first time this season in Formula 1 with teams limited to $145m per campaign, excluding drivers’ salaries. That figure is set to decrease further in the next few years and will be $135m by 2023.

However, engine suppliers are currently operating without a limit when it comes to developing the power unit but that too is set to change in the near future.

In May 2021, Red Bull boss Christian Horner suggested an engine cost cap was on its way and it is now being reported that an initial figure of $140m has been suggested.

Auto Motor und Sport reports that at a meeting of the F1 Commission on April 26, the figure was suggested for 2026 but it has yet to be agreed upon by the teams.

The FIA has already agreed that it will continue to be a 1.6-litre V6 engine and a hybrid system while the expensive MGU-H will be removed. But a sticking point appears to be how much extra budget will be afforded to new entrants into the sport with figures ranging from an additional $5m to $10m.

Earlier this month, Horner, whose Red Bull Powertrains will be classified as a new power unit supplier in 2026, described the cap as “modest.”

“I think the framework that actually exists within the power unit regulations is reasonable from a newcomer status perspective, which obviously Red Bull Powertrains will be for 2026,” Horner told The Race.

“It’s a modest, I think, $10million in the first two years and $5million in the third year as an allowance for a newcomer.”

However, his Mercedes counterpart Toto Wolff warned against teams being able to join together and effectviley doubling-up their budget caps.

“It’s not clear yet who actually enters as a power unit supplier and who declares themselves as newcomers,” said Wolff.

“It could well be there are three companies from the same group that are entering as newcomers.

“The picture is still very unclear and whether $15m CapEx is enough or not enough, there are much bigger topics we need to agree on – which we haven’t.”