FIA U-turn on lowering the weight of the cars for the 2023 season

Sam Cooper
Max Verstappen inside the Red Bull RB18 in the garage. Canada, June 2022.

Max Verstappen inside the Red Bull RB18 while it is inside the garage. Canada, June 2022.

The FIA’s technical advisory group has reportedly gone back on plans to lower the weight limit of the Formula 1 cars, instead sticking with the 798kg cap of 2022.

The weight of the Formula 1 car has increased massively in a relatively short space of time with 2013’s cars being limited to 642kg, 156kg lower than the cap for 2022, but there had been plans to lower the maximum weight both the car and driver combined can weigh.

Following the change in regulations for 2022, the cars went up from 749kg to 798kg which was commented on by the drivers with World Champion Max Verstappen saying the cars were “extremely heavy now”.

But as the Dutchman also said, he did not “see a quick solution for that” and it appears the FIA have come to the same conclusion as they have scrapped plans to lower the limit.

The FIA had aimed to shave 2kg off the limit, as revealed in the technical regulations published in June 2022, but Auto Motor und Sport is now reporting that the technical advisory group have decided to keep the current cap.

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Despite the introduction of carbon fibre as a major component, F1 cars of the modern day are far heavier than their predecessors.

The Ferrari 375 F1 which was used in the sport’s first season in 1950 was just 560kg, 238kg lighter than the RB18.

But as the sport has evolved, technical innovations have seen the weight shoot up. In 2014, following the introduction of turbo hybrid engines the limit went from 642kg to 691kg. In the years proceeding that, the banning of expensive but lightweight materials as well as improved safety measures and larger tyres meant the limit eventually reached what it is today.

A notable change also came in 2019 when the FIA introduced a minimum driver weight of 80kg which was good news for the taller members of the paddock such as the 1.85m George Russell. For those unable to hit the limit by themselves, the deficit would be made up by the weight of the seat.

Plenty of teams struggled to get near the minimum weight limit for 2022 with Aston Martin the worst among them. At the start of the season, the AMR22 weighed 815kg and that rose a further 3kg by the Australian Grand Prix.

Red Bull also had weight issues with the RB18 measuring at 810kg before an 8kg loss ahead of the race at Imola.