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2026 F1 Car Lighter And Shorter

2026 F1 Car

The head of FIA’s single seater “technical matters” Nikolas Tombazis has laid his thoughts in the expected 2026 F1 Car. These new rules will be part of a complete overhaul of the F1 technology with the intent of making the port more  earth friendly.”

The guiding principles to make the 2026 F1 Car Lighter with smaller dimensions  compared to the current generation F1 racing cars. These specifications will support the goal of using more renewable energy sources with a greater reliance in electric power.

The FIA published the latest version of the proposed 2026 formula 1 power unit technical regulations on 16th August 2022. These cover the engine and peripheral designs, and, in due course will be followed  by the rules relating to the new cars chassis and body design.

What Are The 2026 F1 Cars Going To Be Like?

Nikolas Tombazis is proposing that the new chassis regulations will be published in April 2023. The main targets will be as follows.

  1. Reduce the F1 cars dimensions
  2. Reduce, or at least contain, the mass of theF1 card.

It is a natural trend in any motor car design iterations that future models suffer from mass and weight “creep” as engineers try to build more features into future car models.

This is true of F1, where cars struggle to stay under the weight limits, and as a result the minimum regulated weights are increased from year to year.

This is seen in the following list.

YearsCar weight lbs.Car weight KG
1950s705-1,543320-700
1960s992-1,168450-530
1970s1,168-1,268530-575
1980s1,190.5-1,290540-585
1990s1,102-1,323500-600
2000s1,323-1,334600-605
20101,367620
20111,411640
20121,411640
20131,415642
20141,521690
20151,548702
20161,548702
20171,605728
20181,616733
20191,631740
20201,645746
20211,658752
20221,759798
20231,754796

Tombazis has stated that “progress will be made” in this regard, and the reductions in the cars dimensions will be a key driver of the lower weight.

Nikolas Tombazis
Nikolas Tombazis

Nikolas Tombazis was being recorded for an episode of The Race F1 Tech Podcast (28th December 2022) and was insistent that it will be possible to deliver on these objectives

He estimates that the reduction in the size of the cars will reduce the overall car weight by up to 35kg.

It is realistic to make them a bit lighter

Tombazis said that the majority of the weight gains have come from the new engine architecture which includes electrical power units , batteries and turbo chargers

 

 

 

 

But it is necessary to keep Formula 1 relevant to the directions of society. While a petrol head would like a V10 and end of story, we know we have to go in the direction we’ve gone. So that counts for about half of the weight increase.

Nikolas Tombazis

Tombazis credited some of the weight games to the following systems.

  1. Approximately 50kg is added for safety features which include the halos, much stronger chassis, more comprehensive driver protection.
  2. 15-20kg sue t increasingly complex systems in the current F1 cars. 30-35kg
  3. Cars and tires have grown in size which has added  approximately 35 kg

 

And we believe in the car dimensions there lies an opportunity. We would want 2026 cars to be quite a lot shorter and probably maybe a bit narrower as well and all of that is going to contain the weight increase.”

Nikolas Tombazis

The new engine will have higher power electric engines which will use larger batteries. This will compromise some of the weight gains achieved by a smaller car engine

The net affect will be a lighter car, although the weight won’t be massively reduced.

Between 1990 and 2022 the weight of F1 cars has risen from 500 kg to 798 kg  which is an increase of 60%.

Growth in F1 Car Weight

With the new 2022 regulations the original minimum weight was 790kg. The teams were unable to meet this and so the minimum weight was revised to 798kg.

The 2023 reduction (796kg) is an attempt to get the weight back to the levels targeted in 2022.

The width of the current generation F1 cars is 2000mm which increased from the 2017 car (1800m,) The car has also grown in length to 3.6 meters .

The additional weight has impacted performance and handling, and it is hope that the new cars will add some of the older cars levels of handling.

The F1 drivers association has become more strident in its criticism of et increasing weight and is strongly pushing back against any future weight increases.

The new car will be good news for the members of the Grand Prix Drivers’ Association. This has led to increasingly vocal criticisms from drivers who have raised concerns about the weight of cars.

Audi-Formula-1-car
Audi-Formula-1-car

Tombazis has said that said that the 2026 F1 Car won’t be going back to the days when they were 600kg or less. But if the hope to reduce the dimensions of the cars works, then the 30-35kg Tombazis talks about could at least roll back some of the creeping gains of the past 15 years.

References

New 2026 regulations – Link

Formula One 2026 engines

2026 Archives – F1Worldwide.com

4 thoughts on “2026 F1 Car Lighter And Shorter

  1. Do you think Red Bull have an advantage due to the the fact that they had access to Honda’s engine IP before Honda signed up for the 2026 engine registry. They have since handed back the IP “unused” Concession are made for new engine developers, so in your opinion do you think they will benefit from having access to the Honda IP before handing it back unused

    1. I do think RB has an advantage – they are being given the IP for no cost. Even thou the egines are changing in 2026 there will still be some legacy technology involved

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