06 June 2024

F1 unveils plans for lighter car as part of ‘hugely exciting future’ for sport

06 June 2024

Lewis Hamilton’s demand for lighter Formula One machinery has been answered following the launch of the sport’s next-generation car.

On the eve of this weekend’s Canadian Grand Prix, F1 provided a glimpse into its future after the concept of a car – which is hoped will provide greater racing from 2026 onwards – was unveiled.

The new, smaller machinery, incorporating a simplified combustion engine using fully sustainable fuels and the introduction of a new overtaking boost button, is set to be 30 kilograms lighter than the sport’s current design.

Hamilton, 39, who will enter his second season with Ferrari when the new technical rules come into force, has repeatedly said F1 cars are too heavy – up from around 600 kilograms when Hamilton started out in 2007 to almost 800kg.

The FIA has now promised a minimum weight of 768kg with the governing body saying a “nimble” car has been at the heart of its new concept.

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.

“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,” said FIA president Mohammed Ben Sulayem.

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

Today, the FIA is defining a hugely exciting future for the pinnacle of motorsport

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

“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 world championships.

The Dutchman heads the current driver standings, although McLaren’s Lando Norris and Ferrari driver Charles Leclerc won in Miami and Monaco respectively last month to suggest Red Bull’s supremacy is under threat.

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