Further details of what might be on the way in the F1 2026 regulations has been revealed in a report in German media.
While the F1 2026 power unit regulations are in place already, the technical regulations governing the chassis to go with the revised engine formula haven’t yet been nailed down.
It’s been a constant process of evolution and tweaking and, while not yet official, more details on what the cars could look like in 2026 has been reported by respected German publication Auto Motor und Sport.
What changes are on the way for the F1 2026 technical regulations?
The big change on the engine front is the removal of the MGU-H, with the electrical output component of the power unit increasing three-fold from its current output.
The internal combustion engine will remain broadly the same as it is now, with the 2026 rules seeing a much greater focus on the hybrid ancillary output as well as a mandatory switch to carbon-neutral fuel.
However, the changes to the power unit mean big changes to the chassis in order to ensure the spectacle isn’t reduced. There have been plenty of misgivings about the possibility of the cars being a mish-mash of compromises as a result, with Red Bull boss Christian Horner’s comments earlier this summer about his fears of a ‘Frankenstein’ car being the most vocal.
But Horner has since revealed that he is much more assured about the direction of the new technical regulations, and AMuS have reported some of the key details of what may be on the way for 2026.
According to the report, countermeasures are being taken against the extra weight of the new hybrid power units in order to ensure the overall weight doesn’t shoot up any further.
Instead, the intention is to reduce the weight by some 50 kilogrammes, although this may not be immediately possible in one fell swoop. According to AMuS, an initial 20kg drop is more likely, with the aim being to reduce it further over a season or two.
Intriguingly, the possibility is there that the F1 minimum weight will be scrapped altogether, ensuring competition between the teams will be the main driver of weight reduction. The stringent safety tests the FIA enforce would ensure that no safety measures are cut in that regard, while the budget cap would ensure a measured approach to the funding thrown at such a move.
Smaller, lighter F1 cars on the way?
Such a move would give the design offices of each team a new headache – whether or not to focus on reliability and a little more robustness in manufacturing, or whether to aim lightweight and risk failures. AMuS say minimum standards for suspension design would still be required, in order to ensure teams don’t cut corners on safety grounds.
With the power unit weights increasing, compromises have to be made elsewhere to bring down the overall weight. To that end, the gearboxes are mooted to have just six gears, instead of eight, while the cars and tyres will shrink – the width of the cars from 200 to 190 centimetres, and the overall wheelbase from 360 to 340 centimetres.
Smaller cars will also mean less downforce produced from the wings, with initial calculations suggesting a reduction of some 40 per cent from the reduced air volume and car area. However, active aerodynamics can be used to mitigate some of the losses, as well as to reduce drag down the straights to prevent the much-feared prospect of downshifting down the straights in order to charge the batteries.
Crucially, AMuS say that initial simulations suggest the cars will be negligibly slower than the current iterations and that steps are being taken to introduce a small concept change to ensure following cars becomes easier and, thus, boost overtaking possibilities.