Fears over F1 2026 cars being a ‘few seconds’ faster than F2 counterparts addressed

Michelle Foster
A birds-eye view of the F1 2026 showcar released by the FIA

A birds-eye view of the F1 2026 showcar released by the FIA

Nikolas Tombazis says concerns the F1 2026 cars will only be a few seconds faster than F2 machines are premature as that will resolved in the “final leg” of the regulations.

Earlier this month the FIA revealed the much-anticipated F1 2026 technical regulations, which place an emphasis on smaller, lighter and more nimble cars.

Concerns created by taking a ‘snapshot’ of the F1 2026 rules

While initially much of the talk in the build-up to the reveal was about how the chassis rules would work with the evolution of the V6 turbo-hybrid engine, after the announcement the big concern is that the cars will be slow.

Williams team principal James Vowles went so far as to suggest the F1 2026 cars may only be a few seconds quicker than those in F2.

Revealing Williams had trialled the new regulations in the simulator, he added: “It’s imperative that we are still the leading series in motorsport. That’s how I see us. We’re the pinnacle of this.

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

“And right now there’s a mismatch there, fundamentally. The performance difference to an F2 car could be as small as a few seconds.”

His concerns were reiterated by rival team bosses, but according to Tombazis they are premature as there is still the final draft to come.

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“I think the fears are accurate,” the Director of the Single Seater Department of the FIA said before adding, “because people are taking a snapshot of what the regulations are now on a piece of paper, and are making comments on the basis of what they see.

“So I don’t have any concern about these issues raised by people.

“Clearly, we have full expectation to make some steps up in performance, and that’s exactly why we set the bar reasonably low to start with, so we can build up on that in collaboration with the teams.

“To increase the downforce on these cars is actually quite easy, if you have the regulatory freedom, and that’s exactly the step we want to take.

“So I understand the comments. I don’t think there is any concern these cars will be not faster than F2, or anything like that. That will be 100 per cent resolved in the final legs.”

Accepting that “refinements still need to take place”, he says the FIA does “expect a reasonable amount of extra work to be done” before the final draft of the regulations is signed off by the WMSC in December.

Not only will the F1 2026 cars be narrower and shorter with the aim of lightening the overall weight of the machines, they will also feature active aerodynamics.

Red Bull team boss Christian Horner has also called for a certain amount of “freedom” for the design teams.

“It’s tricky, isn’t it? As Colin Chapman used to say, show me the rules and I’ll decide if I enter or not,” he said.

“And I think it’s the same for everybody, there’s going to be compromises. I think the most important thing is that there’s enough freedom for there to be differential between the cars so they don’t all look identical.”

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