Drivers doubt 2026 cars will be much lighter

Fri, 7 June 2024, 10:01

Jun.7 (GMM) F1’s governing body has revealed the all-new chassis regulations for 2026.

Each team will need to design a smaller car with a 30kg lighter minimum weight, featuring an overtaking boost button and moveable aerodynamics replacing DRS.

“I mean, it’s only 30 kilos, so it’s going in the right direction, but it’s still heavy,” reacted seven time world champion Lewis Hamilton.

The FIA admits drag has been reduced by more than half, with downforce also to drop by some 30 percent.

“I’ve spoken to some drivers who have driven it on the simulator and they said it’s pretty slow,” added Hamilton. “So we will see whether it’s actually the right direction or not.

“But I think in terms of sustainability, particularly on the power unit side, I think that’s a really bold step and I think it’s going in the right direction.”

Nico Hulkenberg said the slashed downforce will dramatically slow the cars in the high-speed corners.

“It will be quite a different scenario and characteristic to now,” said the future works Audi driver. “So there is going to be definitely a drastic change.”

Carlos Sainz admits he has some early concerns.

“I hope that with this path and also the overtaking button, we don’t move away from the good sport that we have been able to show in recent years,” he said.

Triple world champion Max Verstappen thinks the moveable wings and overtaking boost is an obvious compromise due to the radical new power units.

“It quickly became clear that active aerodynamics are required, because otherwise a driver could run out of electrical energy before the lap is complete,” he said.

“But I understand that the FIA wanted to attract more manufacturers, and a change in regulations was essential for that.”

Verstappen added that he thinks the 2026 cars will be “faster than now on some tracks, slower than now on others”.

The Red Bull driver also agrees with Fernando Alonso’s assessment that it will be basically “impossible” for the teams to produce 2026 cars that are 30kg lighter than today’s.

“Some cars at the moment are already overweight,” said Verstappen. “I’d prefer 100-150 kilos lighter, but with these hybrid engines that is pure wishful thinking.”

As for the new overtaking and moveable wing buttons, Alonso admits the workload in the cockpit will increase.

“Yes, it looks complicated,” said the Spaniard, “but the fans will be the ones with the verdict. As the drivers, we’ll have more work to do to press the various buttons.

“I think some of the innovations are designed to compensate for the overly ambitious goals that the power unit makers are trying to achieve,” Alonso added.

“What we want as drivers is a tighter fight, more winners. We don’t want someone to dominate for three of four years in a row. This is the only thing that Formula 1 lacks.”

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