As Formula 1 prepares for new engine and chassis regulations come 2026, former F1 driver Karun Chandhok has called for a return to V8 or V10 engines and a lighter chassis.
Back in 2014 Formula 1 made the controversial call to drop the V8s in favour of 1.6-liter, hybrid turbocharged V6 racing engines.
And so the sport lost its roar many, including four-time World Champion Sebastian Vettel, would go on to say.
Karun Chandhok: It drives me mad!
The quieter electrical hybrids with their numerous parts were vilified by drivers and fans alike, but the sport stuck to its decision.
So much so, in 2026 when new regulations will be implemented, F1 will continue with V6s that will be 50 per cent electric, 50 per cent internal combustion engine, and they’ll run on fully sustainable fuels.
It’s a decision that hasn’t been widely welcomed by F1 personalities and fans.
Former McLaren and Alpine designer Mark Lane posted a video of X on two-time Renault F1 champion Fernando Alonso laying down the laps in a Renault R25, powered by a V10 engine, at the Yas Marina circuit.
The Spaniard put in the laps as part of a demo run for Renault back in 2020.
Lewis Hamilton, who was being interviewed in the paddock at the time, said: “That sound is just so good, that’s just the greatest sound of a racing car ever. I hate that they got rid of it.”
The video was reposted on X by Lane who captioned it: ‘Whatever happened to our sport?’
Former F1 driver Chandhok agrees, saying F1 needs to make changes and one of those has to be the return to either V8 to V10 power units.
“Honestly… It drives me mad!” the former F1 driver said in response to the video.
“I’ve said it before and will say it again – V8 / V10 on sustainable fuels, ditch the batteries and hybrid, make the cars smaller and should be able to make them 120 kilos lighter!”
Put to him that V8 or ’10s would not go down well at night races at street circuits, he replied: “Why not? We did from 2008 until 2013!
“If we stopped doing something every time someone complained, we may as well stop doing anything!”
Former IndyCar driver James Hinchcliffe agreed with the 37-year-old saying whichever series adopts Chandhok’s ideas would be onto a winner.
“Couldn’t agree more,” he said. “First series that jumps on this idea will make some big waves.”
Although Formula 1 has signed off on 2026’s engine regulations, the technical rules have yet to be agreed.
The sport does want cars that are 50kg lighter than today’s 796kg machines while there’s a planned shift towards active aero to help reduce drag on the straights.
“With the dimensions of the wheels, which will be narrower, plus with the rear wing and the car in general, we aim to reduce the weight of the cars by around 50kg,” said FIA’s head of single-seaters Nikolas Tombazis.
“So, it will be possible to see smaller single-seater cars: shorter and narrower. But we are talking about solutions that still need to be discussed.
“With the car on a diet, we will be able to reduce the cornering speeds a bit. Being lighter, they will go faster in a straight line, but will generate less aerodynamic load. So, we will need to increase the hybrid’s energy recovery to ensure adequate lap performance.”