Time running out as teams question ‘far from achieving agreeable objectives’ in F1 2026 rules

Michelle Foster
An F1 2026 car is unveiled.

The F1 2026 regulations are unveiled, and here is how the FIA believe the cars of the future may look.

Setting out the F1 2026 technical regulations, Andrea Stella says they are “far from” achieving the “objectives and intent” laid out and he, as well as his rival team bosses, want further consultations with the FIA.

After months of speculation, motorsport’s governing body announced the F1 2026 technical specifications on Thursday with new smaller, lighter, nimbler cars.

FIA and F1 running out of time to make changes to the 2026 regulations

Not only will the cars be 30kg lighter than today’s 798kgs, they’ll also be shorter and narrower to improve ‘raceability and close racing’.

Added to that, downforce will be reduced by 30 per cent and drag by 55 per cent as the rule makers seek to make it easier for cars to while minimising the impact of ‘dirty air’. The cars will also have partially flat floors and a less effective diffuser, reducing the reliance on stiff and low set-ups.

There will also be changes to active aerodynamics with a movable front and rear wing. DRS will be replaced by the Manual Override system, which gives the chasing car an electrical power boost.

Stella believes the rules and the intent – “lighter, more powerful and more focused on driver skill” – don’t quite match up.

“We are in agreement and we support the intent and the objectives at high level that were stated in the press release,” said the McLaren team boss.

“However, if we look at the regulations in the draft form that has been circulated, they are still far from being able to achieve those agreeable objectives and intent.

“So it is the time for the FIA, F1, and the teams to work together, listen to one another, and contribute to form a solution that will allow the sport to meet those objectives.

“I think if we meet those objectives, we’re going to have Formula 1 in a good shape, but we need to make sure that when it’s the time of implementation, we actually deliver a product that meets those targets and objectives.”

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Williams team boss James Vowles added: “I think the bit I would add to it is that there are probably two different concerns at the moment. First and foremost, there’s the aerodynamic side, so what we’re doing with either freedom or physically how fast the cars will be.

“And then the second side of it is where we are on weight. And I’ve been vocal already a few weekends ago, I put it from William’s perspective, but I don’t think anyone will hit that weight target particularly.

“It’s going to be incredibly difficult, and I think that needs reviewing because as someone that spends their life going through marginal gains, taking weight out of a car, it’s not a fun thing to do.

“On the second side of things, I would absolutely agree with my peers here that it is in a position where if we work together, and we will do going forward on this one, we can get it to a really good position, I think.

“It’s a solid foundation to work from, but we do need to clear up some aspects of it.”

Amidst reports that an online meeting of the FIA’s Technical Advisory Committee exposed some of the issues, Aston Martin’s Mike Krack says F1 is “quite far away still from the final” draft.

“I think it’s now up to all stakeholders to discuss, work on possible issues in a constructive way, rather than using the media to try and put something forward. So I think over the next weeks and months at TAC level, I think we will be able to iron out all the issues that are still there,” he added.

Formula 1 though, is running out of time to finalise the regulations as the FIA’s International Sporting Code (ISC) states that changes that are “likely to have a substantial impact on the technical design of the Automobile and/or the balance of performance between the Automobiles” needs to be published on June 30, a year and a half before it comes into force.

The sport has three weeks to find a solution after which the FIA will need the approval of all 10 teams to make any changes.

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