F1 power-unit regulations for 2026 receive long-awaited FIA approval

Jon Wilde
FIA president Mohammed Ben Sulayem. Monaco May 2022.

F1 power-unit regulations for 2026 have finally been approved by the FIA – which is expected to open the door for Porsche and Audi to enter the sport.

Agreement was signed off at a meeting of the World Motor Sport Council (WMSC) and will come into effect from the 2026 season, with the FIA having confirmed four key pillars of the framework.

In addition, updates to the technical regulations for the 2022 and 2023 seasons have also been announced, in relation to porpoising and roll-hoop safety standards.

The approval of the 2026 power-unit regulations means Porsche and Audi, who have been involved in talks on the subject for over a year, are now likely to announce they will be on the grid from that season going forwards.

 

FIA president Mohammed ben Sulayem said: “The FIA continues to push forward on innovation and sustainability, across our entire motorsport portfolio. The 2026 Formula 1 Power Unit Regulations are the most high-profile example of that mission.

“The introduction of advanced PU technology, along with synthetic sustainable fuels, aligns with our objective of delivering benefits for road car users and meeting our objective of net zero carbon by 2030. Formula 1 is currently enjoying immense growth and we are confident these regulations will build on the excitement our 2022 changes have produced.

“I want to thank all of the FIA management and technical staff involved in this process for their diligence and commitment in working together with all of our Formula 1 stakeholders to deliver this. I also want to thank our WMSC members for their consideration and approval of these regulations.”

Explained: What are F1’s current power-unit engine rules?

The four key pillars of the 2026 framework are:

  • Maintaining the spectacle – the 2026 power unit will have similar performance to the current designs, utilising high-power, high-revving V6 internal combustion engines and avoiding excessive performance differentiation to allow for improved raceability.
  • Environmental sustainability – the 2026 power unit will include an increase in the deployment of electrical power to up to 50% and utilise a 100% sustainable fuel.
  • Financial Sustainability – Financial regulations regarding the power units will reduce the overall costs for competitors whilst retaining the cutting-edge technological showcase that is at the core of Formula 1.
  • Attractive to new power unit manufacturers – the regulations are intended to make it possible and attractive for newcomers to join the sport at a competitive level.

The latter point is clearly one aimed at Porsche and Audi, two brands from the Volkswagen Group who have been the most advanced of any potential new manufacturers in terms of putting together plans to enter F1.

Porsche are widely expected to link up with Red Bull, whose advisor Helmut Marko said recently the Red Bull Powertrains project set up at the team’s Milton Keynes HQ would serve as an important platform for any new association to be built on.

“If a new brand joins us in 2026 then we can join forces,” said Marko. “That new partner can then use all the facilities we already have, and that is of course a big plus.

“If a new brand joins us, it can immediately count on a factory with six test benches. In terms of facilities, we go for the best of the best.”