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F1 2026 regulations: FIA reveals plans for smaller cars aimed to create better racing under new rules


The FIA has revealed Formula 1’s new regulations in 2026 will see a downsizing of the current cars in an attempt to produce closer racing.

The sport’s governing body publicly released the regulations on Thursday ahead of this weekend’s Canadian Grand Prix, confirming several previously known plans to make F1 more sustainable.

Redesigned power units will possess almost 300 per cent more battery power with an even split between internal combustion and electric power, while the cars will run on 100 per cent sustainable fuel.

“Today, the FIA is defining a hugely exciting future for the pinnacle of motorsport with the launch of a comprehensive new set of regulations for the 2026 FIA Formula One championship and beyond,” FIA president Mohammed Ben Sulayem said.

“Following the publication of 2026 power unit regulations two years ago we have taken the opportunity to redefine the chassis regulations to match the energy requirement of the new power units.

“Collaborating with our partners at Formula One and with the assistance of the sport’s 10 teams and all our stakeholders this represents a unique revision that will ensure our premier championship is even more relevant to what is happening in the world.”

The new, smaller machinery, which several drivers including Lewis Hamilton have repeatedly called for, follow a “nimble car” concept that will see weight reduced by 30 kilograms and the width of the vehicles reduced.

Another key feature of the proposed cars will be the effective removal of the Drag Reduction System (DRS) to be replaced by a Manual Override Mode. The new technology will provide a driver with an electrical boost to power past a rival.

Among other changes, the 2026 cars are also set to take in active aerodynamics systems, featuring movable front and rear wings, with drivers able to switch between two modes to maximise top speed. Downforce and drag will also be reduced.

F1 in 2026 will mark the start of a new era for the sport with major regulation changes
F1 in 2026 will mark the start of a new era for the sport with major regulation changes

Record number of engine manufacturers

The FIA credits its new engine regulations for six power unit manufacturers – Ferrari, Mercedes, Renault, Honda, Audi and Red Bull Powertrains – for signing up to the sport.

Perhaps the most significant change in 2026 will be Red Bull producing their own engine for the first time, having formed Red Bull Powertrains in 2021, with the company taking on help from Ford.

Red Bull’s junior team RB will also run the Red Bull Ford Powertrains from 2026. Both teams currently run Honda-supported power units after the Japanese manufacturer originally decided to leave F1 after 2021.

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Sky F1’s Bernie Collins believes Red Bull’s decision to give Sergio Perez a contract extension is an attempt to ‘stabilise’ the situation at the team

However, they will fully return as a power unit manufacturer in 2026 with Aston Martin, as they will end their current engine partnership with Mercedes.

Last year, Christian Horner admitted Red Bull would “absolutely not” have set up their own engine division if they had known Honda were going to return to Formula 1.

Audi will also join F1 and build their own engine as they take over the current Sauber team following the 2025 season, with Ferrari, Mercedes and Renault the other power unit suppliers.

Ben Sulayem added: “The power unit regulations have already resulted in a record number of power unit manufacturers committing to the sport.

F1 2026 teams and engines

Team Engine
Alpine Renault
Aston Martin Honda
Audi Audi
Ferrari Ferrari
Haas Ferrari
McLaren Mercedes
Mercedes Mercedes
RB Red Bull-Ford
Red Bull Red Bull-Ford
Williams Mercedes

“And now, in tandem with chassis regulations that provide for lighter, more agile cars featuring innovative aerodynamic solutions, we have created a set of regulations designed to not only improve racing but also to make the championship even more attractive to power unit manufacturers, OEMs and existing competitors.

“The key features of the 2026 F1 regulations are advanced, sustainability technology and safety. Our aim, together with Formula One, was to produce a car that was right for the future of the sport’s elite category. We believe we have achieved that goal.”

The last major overhaul of regulations was introduced in 2022 with Red Bull’s Max Verstappen dominating to win the past three consecutive drivers’ championships.

The Dutchman currently leads the 2024 standings but is facing a growing challenge from Ferrari’s Charles Leclerc and McLaren’s Lando Norris, who have split a victory each with Verstappen over the last three races.

Sky Sports F1’s live Canadian GP schedule

Thursday June 6
7.30pm: Drivers’ Press Conference

Friday June 7
6pm: Canadian GP Practice One (session starts at 6.30pm)
8pm: The F1 Show
9.45pm: Canadian GP Practice Two (session starts at 10pm)

Montreal hosts the ninth round of the 2024 F1 season with the Canadian Grand Prix
Image:
Montreal hosts the ninth round of the 2024 F1 season with the Canadian Grand Prix

Saturday June 8
5.15pm: Canadian GP Practice Three (session starts at 5.30pm)
8pm: Canadian GP Qualifying build-up
9pm: Canadian GP Qualifying
11pm: Ted’s Qualifying Notebook

Sunday June 9
5.30pm: Grand Prix Sunday – Canadian GP build-up
7pm: THE CANADIAN GRAND PRIX
9pm: Chequered Flag – Canadian GP reaction
10pm: Ted’s Notebook

Formula 1 leaves Europe for the final time before the summer break as the championship moves on to Montreal for the Canadian Grand Prix. Watch every session at the Circuit Gilles Villeneuve this weekend live on Sky Sports F1, with Sunday’s race at 7pm. Stream every F1 race and more with a NOW Sports Month Membership – No contract, cancel anytime



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