2026 rule changes stir mixed reactions from F1 drivers

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2026 rule changes stir mixed reactions from F1 drivers

F1’s governing body, the FIA, has disclosed the revolutionary chassis regulations for 2026 and beyond.

F1’s governing body, the FIA, has disclosed the revolutionary chassis regulations for 2026 and beyond.

Teams are tasked with developing a more compact car that is 30 kilograms lighter, equipped with a boost button to aid overtaking and dynamic aerodynamics to take over from DRS.

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

The FIA acknowledges that aerodynamic drag will be decreased by over 50%, and there will also be a reduction of about 30% in downforce.

“I’ve spoken to some drivers who have driven it on the simulator and they said it’s pretty slow,” Hamilton remarked. “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 noted that the reduced downforce will considerably slow the cars in the fastest corners. “It will be quite a different scenario and characteristic to now,” stated the future works Audi driver. “So there is going to be definitely a drastic change.”

Carlos Sainz has also expressed preliminary 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 commented.

Max Verstappen believes that the introduction of mobile wings and an overtaking assist is a necessary trade-off due to the innovative new power unit package.

“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 mentioned.

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

Verstappen also opined that the 2026 cars will be “faster than now on some tracks, slower than now on others.”

He, along with Fernando Alonso, agrees that it will be “impossible” for the teams to create 2026 cars that are 30kg lighter than the current models.

“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 systems for overtaking and adjustable wings, Alonso admits they will make the cockpit busier.

“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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