The five key takeaways from the FIA’s major 2026 regulations overhaul

Sam Cooper
FIA 2026 regulations

The new regulations will come into force in 2026.

The FIA has unveiled their changes to the regulations for 2026 and there are many major alterations to F1 racing.

2026 will see the first major changes to the regulations since 2022 and the sporting body has unveiled some dramatic alterations which will change the face of F1. Here is everything you need to know.

The key takeaways from the FIA’s 2026 regulations announcement

Smaller and lighter cars are on their way

The first change the FIA announced was one fans and drivers have been calling out for for years. The 2026 cars will be 30kg lighter than the current spec and also 1cm thinner and with a 2cm smaller wheel base.

The FIA have described it as a “nimble car” concept and it should hopefully produce better racing.

As for the weight, the FIA say that will improve efficiency and handling.

DRS out, electric boost in as new overtaking measure

Perhaps the most significant change coming in the announcement concerned DRS, which will no longer be used for overtaking.

The FIA say DRS will be available to drivers throughout the race rather than just when a driver is a second behind another one. In its place, a new system of Manual Override Mode will be available which grants drivers more electric power deployment to help them overtake the car ahead.

It remains to be seen how the FIA will utilise this but from the outset at least, it sounds very similar to the push-to-pass method used in other series.

More efficient engines

A big focus with the 2026 regulations is on the engine with a desire to make them cheaper to make and more efficient.

The FIA said it sat down with Mercedes, Ferrari, Renault, Ford/Red Bull and Audi in 2021 to begin to design the regulations and the result is a power unit which has almost 300% more battery power than the current spec.

The FIA say there is also an even split between internal combustion and electric power. The cars will also run on 100% sustainable fuel.

Active aerodynamics in front and rear wing

While in previous generations, the rear wing was the only movable part, now both the rear and the front can be altered during a race during zones like those used currently for DRS.

The active aero will make for closer racing, say the FIA, in areas such as achieving very low drag on the straights. This will also in turn help the energy management requirements of the new power units.

The FIA say the 2026 cars will be switchable between two configurations, to either minimise fuel consumption or to maximise cornering performance.

More safety improvements

As with any regulation set, there has also been an increased focus on safety with the FIA working with some teams to determine how the chassis can better protect the drivers.

The FIA have revised the front impact structure rules, introducing a two-stage nose design to mitigate the risk of detachment in initial impacts.

Side intrusion rules are also more stringent while protection around the driver and fuel cell area has been improved.


What the leaders had to say

FIA president Mohamed 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 the 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 CEO Stefano Domenicali added: “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.”

FIA Single Seater Technical Director Nikolas Tombazis 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.”