Effects and Concerns of The 2026 Formula One Engine Regulations


22 April 2024 - 20:51
Effects and Concerns of The 2026 (...)

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Since its announcement, the 2026 Formula One regulations have generated mixed reactions and provoked discussions within the sport. As approved by the FIA World Motor Sport Council in August 2022, these new engine rules are slated to take effect in 2026. However, they’re not being well received by teams and fans, who are worried about how they’ll affect performance on the track.

Many are calling on the FIA to thoroughly analyze the impact of these regulations on F1 cars, engines, and the sport overall. However, despite these concerns, the FIA still maintains its stance on the new regulations. They’re confident everything is under control and think it’s too early to worry about potential problems.

This article will examine these regulations, explore their effects on F1, and discuss the various concerns raised.

The 2026 Engine Regulations Explained

The 2026 regulations in Formula 1 are mostly centered around sustainability, aiming to create a safer environment through more eco-friendly practices. They demonstrate F1’s commitment to reaching net zero carbon by 2030. Let’s explore them below.

- New Fuel

The introduction of a 100% carbon-free fuel. This is to ensure zero fossil fuel carbon emissions during F1 races.

- More Electrical Power

Cars will have a stronger electrical system and will be able to capture more energy when braking. The part of the car responsible for recovering energy (MGU-K unit) will produce almost three times more electricity than before. So, while the current system generates 120 kilowatts, the new one will produce up to 350 kilowatts.

- Less Fuel

The amount of fuel used in a Grand Prix race will be limited. By 2026, the quantity of fuel will go down to 70 kilograms. This amount was 160kg in 2013 and currently stands at 100kg. However, the engines are expected to produce as much power as they do now (over 1,000 horsepower). In fact, they could be louder.

- No More MGU-H

Instead of using the MGU-K and the MGU-H, F1 cars will only use the MGU-K to recover lost energy. This change aims to make it easier and cheaper for new engine manufacturers to join the sport because the MGU-H is more complex and expensive.

- Mandatory Recycling

The batteries used in F1 cars are to be recycled. Also, materials like cobalt from parts like the MGU-K will be recycled when they’re no longer in use.

- Engine-Specific Cost Gap

There will be a set limit on how much teams can spend building their engines. Expensive parts like the MGU-H will be banned, and other components will be standardized to lower costs.

- Limited Dyno hours

The number of hours F1 teams can spend testing their engines on dynamometers will be limited.

- Limited Power Unit

Teams will be restricted to only three power units per car for an entire F1 season. This means that each team can only install the power units in their car three times throughout the racing season.

Effects and Concerns

Since the new regulations were announced, many have been concerned about how they’ll impact the Formula 1 sport. Below are some significant effects and concerns about the changes associated with the 2026 engine rules:

MGU-H Removal

The decision to eliminate the MGU-H has caused quite a stir among various F1 teams. Many believe it’s a gamble on the quality and competitiveness of the F1 sport. The MGU-H is crucial for capturing energy from the heat of the exhaust gasses and turning it into electrical power for the car’s battery. With it gone, there’s now a need to find a new system that can do the same job of recovering energy.

Taking out the MGU-H could also lead to a concept called turbo lag. This means there might be a delay between when the driver hits the gas and when the turbocharger gives the engine an extra power boost. This delay could make it trickier for drivers, especially when speeding up out of corners. They might need to change how they drive to deal with this delay and keep the cars under control.

MGU-K Reliance

Under the new rules, Formula 1 cars will depend solely on the MGU-K for energy recovery. The FIA claims it’s three times more powerful than the current system, providing a bigger electric boost. There’s, however, a catch. Although the MGU-K is stronger, the battery size remains unchanged. So, while today’s cars can enjoy a maximum electric boost for roughly 30 seconds with a full battery, in 2026, drivers might only get around 10 seconds of max electric boost due to this stronger MGU-K.

If this happens, drivers must strategically time when to use this 10-second boost. According to Formula driver Marc Verstappen, drivers might even purposely slow down the engine to charge the battery faster so they can use the energy later on straight sections of the track.

Electric Reliance

The new rules aim to split the energy supply evenly between electrical and combustion sources, each making up 50%. However, there are concerns that this setup could mean there won’t be enough overall energy for the cars to go full speed around the track.

Fuel Reduction

The FIA claims that the reduced 70 kg of fuel will produce as much power as the 100 kg of fuel currently does. However, contrary to the FIA’s claims, there are concerns that it will actually reduce engine power.


The 2026 F1 engine regulations are a significant step towards a sustainable and carbon-free Formula 1. However, these regulations have not enjoyed the best reception. Some worry that these changes could harm the sport without significantly protecting the environment from pollution.


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