Formula 1 Teams Preparing for 2026: Their Biggest Challenge Revealed

The FIA’s rulebook change for the 2026 Formula 1 season includes a reduction in car width, wheelbase, and weight, but teams are concerned about maintaining safety and managing the weight of the power unit, with Red Bull Racing planning to use in-house developed power units from 2026.

Highlights

‣ The FIA has ruled that work on aero development for the new generation of Formula 1 cars, which will take effect in 2026, may not begin until 2025.
‣ The new generation of cars will be 190 centimetres wide, with a reduced wheelbase of 340 centimetres, and will weigh 25 to 30 kilos less.
‣ James Allison, the technical boss at Mercedes, and Pierre Waché, his colleague at Red Bull Racing, agree that the teams should decide which part of the car should weigh how much, rather than the FIA.
‣ From the 2026 season, Red Bull Racing will use in-house developed and manufactured power units, the Red Bull Powertrains.


The 2024 and 2025 seasons might seem like a distant future. But in the world of Formula 1, it’s just around the corner. The FIA’s new rulebook, set to kick in by ’26, is already causing a stir. Aero development for the new-gen cars? Can’t start until ’25, says the FIA. But that doesn’t stop teams from pondering the challenges that lie ahead.

The cars are set to slim down. No more 200 centimetres wide, they’ll be a sleek 190. The wheelbase? It’s shrinking too, from 360 to 340 centimetres. And the weight? It’s dropping by a good 25 to 30 kilos. That last bit, though, is giving teams a bit of a headache.

James Allison, the tech whiz at Mercedes, is all for this “upward trend” in F1 car weight getting a red light. He’s even suggested a max weight for the cars. Let the teams decide how to distribute that weight, he says. He’s not too keen on the FIA dictating the weight of individual parts.

Pierre Waché at Red Bull Racing? He’s on the same page as Allison. “I’m with my colleague on this,” he says. He’s not convinced there’ll be a big weight change. Safety, he says, is paramount. “We’ve made great strides in driver safety. We can’t compromise that.” The power unit for ’26? It’s already a lot heavier than the current one. Making it significantly lighter? “That’s gonna be tough,” says Waché.

Red Bull Racing has plans for the 2026 season. They’ll be using their own power units, the Red Bull Powertrains. Helmut Marko, a week ago, said the engine development is on track. But they’re still not quite there yet. “We’re far from competitive,” he admitted.

Albert Ramirez
Albert Ramirez
Albert Ramirez is a senior writer at F1Highlights.com. With a passion for motorsports, Albert brings a unique perspective to the world of Formula One. With over five years of experience as a sports reporter, he has honed his skills in capturing the essence of the sport.

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