Toto Wolff delivers bad news to Max Verstappen after strong F1 2026 criticism

Jamie Woodhouse
Toto Wolff and Max Verstappen side-by-side.

Toto Wolff and Max Verstappen side-by-side.

Max Verstappen has voiced his concerns about the new regulations for F1 2026 which are currently looking “terrible”, but Mercedes boss Toto Wolff says there is “zero chance” they will be re-written.

The 2026 campaign is set to usher in another new era for Formula 1, with new power units and chassis, plus the emergence of fresh faces in the power unit battle and the return of a familiar one.

While Audi enter the fray from 2026, their deal seeing Sauber become the Audi works team with their newly-developed power unit, Honda will officially be back in Formula 1 as they link-up with Aston Martin.

Max Verstappen concerned by “terrible” F1 2026 regulations

As Formula 1 works towards a more sustainable future, with the goal of being a carbon neutral series by 2030, F1 2026 will represent a key step with the arrival of new power units which feature a greater reliance on electrical power and the use of fully-sustainable fuels for the Internal Combustion Engine.

Formula 1’s current leading force Red Bull are not currently convinced on the new regulations though, team boss Christian Horner claiming they will lead to “Frankenstein” cars, and at a time where the weight of the current F1 challengers is already seen by some as an issue, Horner warns the electrical power increase could add as much as 30 kilograms more.

Red Bull’s two-time World Champion and F1 2023 Championship leader Verstappen also has his concerns, saying he has had internal discussions with his team on the new rules after seeing data from the simulator, and concluded that they look “pretty terrible”.

The mooted introduction of active aerodynamics and the apparent shift to the best engine being a key decisive factor are core reasons why these F1 2026 regulations are “not something I’m very excited about at the moment” for Verstappen.

In Wolff’s mind though, the concerns of Horner and Verstappen are going to fall on deaf ears, as he sees no prospect of the regulations undergoing a major revision.

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The FIA recently set out a deadline of June 2024 for these new rules to be defined.

“That’s not going to happen,” said Wolff. “Zero chance. Capital letters. So, I don’t know why these things are coming up.

“We’ve developed the regulations over many years with all the auto manufacturers being involved, it was a compromise that attracted Audi to finally join the sport. For Honda to stay in there.

“It’s the best possible case that one could imagine for Formula 1.

“Is it challenging? Our chassis designers are saying ‘well, how we are going to do this?’. Yeah. Super.

“But, zero [chance]. These regulations are not going to change anymore. They’re not going to be postponed anymore.

“Because the world needs to show innovation about sustainability, we need to reduce emissions and we are super excited.”

Red Bull and Max Verstappen continued their dominant ways in F1 2023 last time out at the Austrian Grand Prix, Verstappen claiming pole for the sprint and Grand Prix, winning them both, making it his fifth grand prix won in succession, and nine from nine for Red Bull so far this season.

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