F1 2026 regulations officially unveiled with new-look car of the future

Henry Valantine
An F1 2026 car is unveiled.

The F1 2026 regulations are unveiled, and here is how the FIA believe the cars of the future may look.

The FIA has officially unveiled the highly-anticipated F1 2026 regulations, with the Formula 1 cars of the future now given their set parameters to work under.

The cars are set to undergo huge changes, with both the chassis and power unit regulations changing at the same time at the start of the F1 2026 season.

FIA officially launch F1 2026 regulations

Much has already been made of the push towards additional sustainability with the new regulations, with the power units set to treble the current power generated by electrical energy, which will create an even split between electric and internal combustion power.

New manufacturers will join the grid in Audi, who will be completing a full takeover of the Sauber team by the time 2026 begins, and Honda will become factory partners of Aston Martin after their current working relationship ends with Red Bull, who will begin making their own power units in conjunction with Ford.

In total, a record six power unit manufacturers – Honda, Red Bull Ford Powertrains, Ferrari, Mercedes, Renault and Audi – will be competing in F1 2026.

FIA single seater director Nikolas Tombazis revealed that the element of ‘raceability’ introduced in F1 2022 will continue in F1 2026, with the aim of allowing the drivers to race as close together as possible.

What do we already know about the F1 2026 cars and regulations?

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Among the key takeaways is that the cars are lighter, shorter and narrower than before – with 30 kilograms knocked off the current minimum weight, taking that down to 768kg.

On top of that, the cars will be reduced in size, with the wheelbase 200mm shorter (down from 3600mm to 3400mm) and 100mm narrower (1900mm, down from 2000mm) than their current size, with the FIA aiming to make a more ‘nimble’ car moving forward.

Active aerodynamics had also been mooted, and this will be the case. DRS will no longer be an overtaking aid, but the FIA confirmed the movable rear wing will instead open automatically on straights so as to reduce drag at each possible opportunity, with more moving parts in the rear wing.

Additionally, a new part will be the addition of active front wings, which will have moving parts in the same way as DRS to suit the energy demands of the new power units, which will be powered by fully sustainable fuel.

An all-new ‘Manual Override Mode’ in cars will allow the drivers more electrical power deployment while they are following another car, in a boost to overtaking credentials.

Safety has remained a consideration throughout the process, with the FIA confirming that even tougher safety tests are in place on the F1 2026 cars and stronger structures are in place on the cars.

FIA president Mohammed Ben Sulayem said: “Today, the FIA is defining a hugely exciting future for the pinnacle of motorsport with the launch of a comprehensive new set of regulations for the 2026 FIA Formula One World Championship and beyond.

“Following the publication of 2026 Power Unit Regulations two years ago we have taken the opportunity to redefine the chassis regulations to match the energy requirement of the new power units.

“Collaborating with our partners at Formula 1 and with the assistance of the sport’s 10 teams and all our stakeholders this represents a unique revision that will ensure our premier championship is even more relevant to what is happening in the world.

“The Power Unit Regulations have already resulted in a record number of PU manufacturers committing to the sport. And now, in tandem with chassis regulations that provide for lighter, more agile cars featuring innovative aerodynamic solutions, we have created a set of regulations designed to not only improve racing but also to make the championship even more attractive to PU manufacturers, OEMs and existing competitors.

“The key features of the 2026 F1 Regulations are advanced, sustainability technology and safety. Our aim, together with Formula 1, was to produce a car that was right for the future of the sport’s elite category. We believe we have achieved that goal.”

Formula 1 chief executive Stefano Domenicali said: “These regulations mark a significant moment in the future of our sport as we look forward to a new generation of car and power unit that aims to give our fans closer and exciting racing.

“The new sustainably fuelled hybrid power unit presents a huge opportunity for the global automotive industry, the drop in fuel has the potential to be used by cars around the world and dramatically cut emissions.

“Its potential is one of the key reasons why we will have a record number of engine suppliers in Formula 1 in 2026.

“We enter this new regulatory cycle with the sport in the strongest position it has ever been, and I am confident that the work done by the FIA to create these regulations will further strengthen the position of the sport around the world.”

Nikolas Tombazis, the FIA’s single-seater technical director, added: “With this set of regulations the FIA has sought to develop a new generation of cars that are fully in touch with the DNA of Formula 1 – cars that are light, supremely fast and agile but which also remains at the cutting edge of technology, and to achieve this we worked towards what we called a ‘nimble car’ concept.

“At the centre of that vision is a redesigned power unit that features a more even split between the power derived from the internal combustion element and electrical power.

“On the chassis side we have managed to reduce the size and weight of the car by 30kg resulting in a much more dynamic car.

“In addition we are introducing two exciting new features to enhance racing – active aerodynamics to achieve very low drag on the straights and the Manual Override system that will provide drivers with an on-demand burst of battery power when close enough to the car ahead of them.

“Lighter, more powerful and more focused on driver skill, the 2026 FIA Formula 1 Technical Regulations have been designed to provide closer racing among drivers, increase the competition between teams and improve the spectacle.

“In addition, we have opted for a higher electrical component of the power unit, a more efficient car overall, and fully sustainable fuels, as part of our drive towards a more sustainable future for our sport.”

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