FIA reveal 2026 F1 rules

06th June 2024
Ethan Jupp

The FIA has showcased in full the intended changes to the F1 regulations for the 2026 season, with a ramp-up in battery power, a simplification of the hybrid element, and closer racing being a priority. Let’s get into it.


F1 2026 – reducing size and weight

Firstly, let’s look at weight and dimensions. The size and mass of F1 cars has been ballooning over the last two decades; these cars are the first steps from the FIA to reverse that trend, with a 30kg reduction in minimum weight to 768kg.

There will also be a reduction in wheelbase of 200mm, down from 3,600mm to 3,400mm, while maximum width will be reduced from 2,000 to 1,900mm. The maximum floor width is set to be reduced by 150mm. While the 18-inch wheels will remain, they will be 25mm thinner at the front and 30mm at the rear. 

F1 2026 - aerodynamics: reduced ground effect, active aero added

There’s a bit of an aerodynamic overhaul coming to Formula 1 in 2026, although the visual differences won’t be as dramatic as those between the current ground effect cars and the cars they replaced. The goal is the same: to improve wake characteristics and follow-ability, which has worsened over the last decade. Overall downforce will drop by a fairly substantial 30 per cent, while drag is set to drop by 55 per cent. 


This is largely down to the reduction of the size of the diffuser and the role of the underfloor generally in the car’s downforce generation. The overall goal is to move away from ground effect slightly and reduce the need for stiff low setups that are needed to make the most of it. Disappearing too for the first time in 14 years will be DRS. In its place will be the biggest novel addition for 2026 – active aero. 

It will feature movable two-element front wings that will bounce between “Z-Mode” for maximum downforce and “X-Mode” for the lowest possible drag. (Side note: that nose is very 2006 drop snoot.) At the back, there will be a three-element active rear wing, with the lower beam wing disposed of and the end plates simplified. The active elements will all be switchable by drivers.

Bargeboards are kind of back, albeit with a different primary purpose: to control wheel wake. That’s because the wheel arches that curve over the front wheels of the current cars are departing for the 2026 rule set – a short-lived run.


F1 2026 – power: 50/50 electric and ICE

The F1 cars of 2026 will be the most electrified we’ve seen, albeit with a reduction in sophistication of recuperation. The MGU-H is being removed, while the role of MGU-K is being massively increased. Combustion engine power is dropping from 761PS (560kW) to 544PS (400kW), while electrical power is jumping by almost 300 per cent, from 163PS (120kW) to 746PS (350kW). The combustion engine will also run on 100 per cent sustainable fuel, the kind that could be used in any combustion-engined car. This is said to be a key draw for incoming engine partner Audi and returning manufacturer Honda. F1 is rightly very proud of the road relevance of this aspect.

In terms of recuperation, while the MGU-H is gone, the regeneration during braking is increasing to 8.5MJ per lap. DRS will sort-of be replaced in energy deployment biased to chasing cars. Leading cars will have their electrical power taper off from 290km/h and reach zero at 355km/h. The car following them however will have an MGUK override allowing 350kW up to 337km/h.


F1 2026 - making cars safer

Safety is always a primary point for improvement when it comes to new rule sets and 2026 is no different. As such, a new two-stage front impact structure will be introduced for the front, while side intrusion protection has been boosted. With Silverstone 2022 firmly in mind, the roll hoop loads have been boosted from 16G to 20G, too.

So, what do you think of the new rules? Are we headed in the right direction? Obviously as always the images are a guideline but the cars themselves will be infinitely more developed when they’re revealed at the start of the 2026 season. We look forward to seeing what teams come up with.

  • F1

  • Formula 1

  • FIA

  • Formula 1 2026

  • bensulayem_andretti_f1_fia_goodwood_31102023_list.jpg

    Formula 1

    FIA president Mohammed Ben Sulayem on Andretti's F1 bid

  • 2024-formula-2-car-main.jpg

    Formula 1

    There’s a new Formula 2 car for 2024

  • aston-martin-honda-f1-engine-partnership-2026-main.jpg

    Formula 1

    Aston Martin and Honda agree F1 engine partnership from 2026