Toto Wolff casts initial verdict on F1 2026 rules with area for improvement identified

Oliver Harden
Mercedes team boss Toto Wolff watches the action from his seat in the garage in Montreal

Mercedes team boss Toto Wolff watches the action from his seat in the garage in Montreal

Mercedes team boss Toto Wolff has declared the proposed F1 2026 chassis rules as “just not good enough at this stage” after the FIA unveiled the regulations at the Canadian Grand Prix.

The F1 2026 season will mark a new era for F1, with sweeping changes to both the engine and chassis regulations set to revolutionise the sport.

Toto Wolff admits room for improvement on F1 2026 car rules

Changes to the engine will result in a 50-50 power output between the internal combustion engine and the power unit’s electrical ancillaries, with F1 also moving to 100 per cent sustainable fuel.

F1 is also set to embrace active aerodynamics – effectively moveable front and rear wings – with the FIA aiming to produce a more “nimble” car for 2026 with a targeted weight reduction of 30 kilograms.

The announcement of the new rules was met with a lukewarm response in Montreal, with a number of high-profile figures questioning whether a 30kg weight loss is achievable and suggestions that the new rules are too complex.

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Mercedes have been widely tipped to capitalise on the F1 2026 rules, having embarked upon a period of dominance – resulting in a record eight consecutive Constructors’ titles and seven Drivers’ World Championships split between Lewis Hamilton (six) and Nico Rosberg (one) – following the introduction of the V6 hybrid era in 2014.

Wolff has declared himself satisfied with the engine regulations, but has acknowledged that the chassis rules need more work.

“The regulations have been decided on the power unit side, I think that’s pretty clear,” he told reporters.

“On the chassis side, the FIA and the teams agree that we need to optimise the regulations because the cost performance is just not good enough at that stage.

“Having said that, I’m sure we can we can achieve that.”

Wolff’s comments come after Andrea Stella, the McLaren team principal, highlighted the chassis rules as a weakness of the F1 2026 regulations package, with the cars too fast on the straights and not quick enough in the corners.

He said: “As for McLaren, we are in agreement and we support the intent and the objectives at high level that were stated in the [FIA]press release.

“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.

“I would say that at the moment, the way cars are in the draft version of the regulations – and we need to say draft, because like we say, there’s a lot of work to do – the cars are not fast enough in the corners and too fast in the straights, so these two aspects need to be rebalanced.

“I think the main gaps are in Article 3, which is the aerodynamic regulations. And the second [concern] is I still think that the way in which the power units are planned to be used needs to be adjusted.

“We can still achieve a 50-50 [split between ICE and electrical] concept, which is a nice concept, but it can be achieved in a way that doesn’t put so much of our requirement on the chassis side, which then is difficult to meet.

“So I think from a power unit point of view, likewise from a chassis point of view, it’s time that all parties understand that they need to contribute to the success of the sport.”

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