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F1 2026 regulations: Lewis Hamilton issues warning over new cars as drivers express fear over 'slow' speeds


Lewis Hamilton was among multiple Formula 1 drivers to express concern over a potential lack of speed in the sport’s 2026 cars after new regulations were revealed on Thursday.

​​​​​​The sport’s governing body, the FIA, released the regulations that will dictate the design of the next generation of F1 cars, with a focus on downsizing the current models to produce closer racing.

The smaller machinery will see the weight of F1 cars reduced by 30 kilograms, while also incorporating a simplified combustion engine using fully sustainable fuels and the introduction of a new overtaking boost button.

Seven-time world champion Hamilton, who is contracted to drive for Ferrari when the new rules are introduced in 2026, said: “It is only 30kg so while it is a step in the right direction they are still heavy.

“I have only just seen what everyone has seen this morning so I don’t really have huge thoughts on it just yet.

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Lewis Hamilton believes the car is continuing to improve and hopes Mercedes will start closing the gap with the teams ahead

“I’ve spoken to some drivers who have driven [the 2026 car] on the simulator and they say it is pretty slow. So we will see whether it’s actually the right direction or not.

“But I think in terms of sustainability, particularly on the power unit side, I think that’s a really bold step and that is going in the right direction.

“But we’ve just got to make sure the cars are efficient, fast and an actual step forwards, and actually racing is improved.”

Albon: I think 2026 cars will be extremely slow

With the release of the regulations coming before media day ahead of this weekend’s Canadian Grand Prix, several of the drivers had the opportunity to give their reactions.

Some of the drivers have had the opportunity to drive simulated versions of the 2026 cars, with word of unconvincing performance appearing to have spread around the paddock.

Williams driver Alex Albon, who recently signed a long-term deal with the team, was perhaps the most outspoken of the current drivers as he gave his assessment.

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Mercedes’ George Russell has his say on the radical new regulations that will be introduced to F1 in 2026

“I don’t want to speak out of turn but I think it’s going to be very slow, extremely slow,” Albon said. “I’m guessing there’s a lot of stuff being done around making sure the straight-line speeds are not tapering off at the end with all the MGU-K and what not being involved.

“I still think there needs to be some work done. Seeing some of the work we have done, and seeing the speed traces around some of the tracks, it’s pretty slow.

The size of the cars, I think is the right direction. Not speaking negatively around it, I think there are positives and negatives around the whole thing. It seems to be that to recover what the new engine regulations are creating, means that everything becomes extremely complicated.

“The whole aero path that we’re going to go down, I’d rather just have a bit more simple engines, a little bit more maybe standardised parts within the engines or whatever it may be, and just return to a more basic regulation.”

Alonso: Close competition most important

Aston Martin’s Fernando Alonso, the only driver older than Hamilton on the grid, who has also signed a deal to continue driving into the new regulations, said that the most important factor will be competitiveness.

“I think the smaller cars, just being able to overtake, or to fight a little bit more, that will be the best part for drivers,” the Spaniard said.

“I think for us the most important thing for us is that it’s a close competition and that many teams and drivers have the possibility to win. What we don’t like is when one team wins all the races for two or three years, so let’s see if the 2026 rules can bring that.”

New regulations have tended to produce a dominant car for a significant period, before rivals begin to catch up, as is happening in the current campaign with Red Bull’s Max Verstappen finally coming under pressure from Ferrari and McLaren after two dominant campaigns.

However, keeping the regulations the same for longer periods would go against the essence of the sport and the cutting edge design and technology its engineers create.

“More often that not when they (the FIA) do the changes some teams do better that others,” Hamilton added.

“Hopefully these regulations won’t make too big a difference.”

McLaren’s Oscar Piastri echoed fears that the field may spread out again with a regulation change.

“Every time the regulations have changed it has led to a pretty big spread,” the Australian said.

“With these regs we are only just starting to catch up to Red Bull now.

“But we have a place in society to be at the forefront of technology and innovation and I guess you could argue that sometimes that comes at the cost of the racing.

“I wouldn’t be surprised if the teams separated more in 2026 with the aero regs and the engine regs.”

Sky Sports F1’s live Canadian GP schedule

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)

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A look back at some of the most dramatic moments from 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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