Christian Horner issues clear message to rivals as F1 thrash out 2026 regulations

Thomas Maher
Red Bull boss Christian Horner, wearing sunglasses, in the paddock at the Italian Grand Prix.

Red Bull boss Christian Horner in the paddock at the Italian Grand Prix.

Christian Horner is happier with the direction the F1 2026 regulations are shaping up in, and believes unity is needed amongst all the teams.

While the 2026 F1 engine regulations have been thrashed out, including a move to more electrification as well as the move to a new carbon-free fuel, the overall chassis technical regulations are yet to be revealed to the world.

Lighter and shorter cars are planned, with significantly reduced drag being a key aim, but concerns had been raised by some about the nature of the regulations and the effect it may have on the cars – Horner himself having broached the possibility of ‘Frankenstein’ cars being created due to the rules not being carefully planned out.

Christian Horner: We risk creating a ‘technical Frankenstein’

Due to more of the power of an F1 engine coming from the increase in electrical output, as opposed to the Internal Combustion Engine, Horner had said “urgent attention” was needed in order to make sure the ratio between combustion and electrical power is correct.

With F1 looking set to run with active aerodynamics, Horner is wary of the DRS and tow effect being reduced, as well as needing drivers to downshift going down the straights in order to recharge the batteries.

“[We need] to ensure that we’re not creating a technical Frankenstein,” he said earlier this year, “which will require the chassis to compensate to such a degree with moveable aero and reduce the drag to such a level that the racing will be affected – and that there will be no tow effect and no DRS because effectively you’re running like that at all points in time.

“Plus, with the characteristics of these engines, that the combustion engine just doesn’t become a generator to recharge a battery.

“We still have two-and-a-half years, and I think if there is a slight redress it would then create potentially a better platform for the chassis. Otherwise, the chassis regulations that are undefined yet and uncommitted, we’re going to be trying to cater for those compromises.

“You have got to look at the thing holistically from both the technical point of view, and most importantly what is F1.

“F1 needs to be wheel-to-wheel racing. We can’t afford to lose that challenge and have drivers downshifting on the straights to regenerate batteries.

“I know the FIA is taking it very seriously, and they’re looking at it very closely as the simulations become more advanced.” recommends

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Christian Horner’s fears easing as FIA moving in ‘the right direction’

Appearing on the ESPN podcast Unlapped, Horner addressed his concerns when asked about the direction of the 2026 regulations, and said he is feeling much happier about the way the regulations are shaping up.

“I think things are moving in the right direction,” he said.

“Some of the stuff that the FIA have been looking at, they seem to be moving very much in a route that is going to produce competitive racing in 2026.

“So yeah, I think it’s an important one that we need to get right and work collectively. That’s where sometimes, I think, self-interest needs to be left behind for the benefit of the sport. Things are definitely moving in the right direction now for 2026.”

Horner’s comments are likely aimed at Mercedes boss Toto Wolff, with the Austrian having suggested Horner was only concerned due to Red Bull Powertrains partnership with Ford not achieving satisfactory results at this point – a point Horner immediately refuted.

“Unfortunately that’s typically Toto where he’s just focused on self-performance,” Horner told Sky Sports. “My interest is actually about the sport rather than self-gain.

“It’s still way too early to say who’s going to have a competitive or uncompetitive engine in 2026… for me the most important thing is from a sports point of view, that we all have a collective responsibility to work with the FIA and the commercial rights holder to ensure that the product is as good as it can be, otherwise we’ve all failed.”

But, whether it’s for self-gain or not, Horner is much happier with where the last few months have taken the regulations.

“There was too much inference being placed on the chassis to make up for some of the inadequacies in the engine,” he said.

“But I think that’s been refined and sorted out and what’s been proposed for 2026 now, so it’s great that, in enough time that’s been addressed.

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