2026: The Year Formula 1 Will Never Be the Same Again

The Formula 1 2026 changes will bring significant alterations to the sport, including the introduction of new engine regulations and more standardized parts.

2026: The Year Formula 1 Will Never Be the Same Again

I. Introduction

The current Formula 1 regulations are designed to ensure safety, fairness, and competitiveness in the sport. The rules cover a wide range of aspects of the sport, including car design, driver conduct, track safety, and race procedures. The technical regulations specify the dimensions and specifications of the cars, including the engine, transmission, aerodynamics, and safety features. The sporting regulations cover areas such as race format, qualifying, grid positions, pit stops, and points system. Additionally, there are rules governing testing, driver conduct, and penalties for rule violations. The regulations are constantly reviewed and updated by the FIA, the governing body of Formula 1, to keep up with technological advancements and improve the quality of racing. In recent years, there have been changes to the regulations aimed at promoting closer racing, reducing costs, and improving sustainability. These changes have included adjustments to the aerodynamic rules, the introduction of hybrid power units, and new restrictions on team spending.

There are several reasons why there is a need for change in Formula 1. Firstly, the sport has been criticized for being too predictable and lacking in overtaking opportunities. This has led to a decline in viewership and fan engagement. Additionally, the current regulations have been criticized for being too complex and expensive, making it difficult for new teams to enter the sport and compete at the highest level. Another factor driving the need for change is the push for sustainability and environmental responsibility in the sport. Formula 1 has been criticized for its high carbon footprint and reliance on fossil fuels, and there is a growing demand for the sport to transition to more sustainable and eco-friendly practices. Finally, the COVID-19 pandemic has highlighted the need for the sport to be more flexible and adaptable in the face of unexpected challenges. The current regulations may need to be revised to allow for more agile and resilient competition in the future.

II. Formula 1 2026 Changes

In recent years, Formula 1 has undergone several changes to improve the sport's competitiveness and sustainability. The latest proposed changes set for 2026 aim to further enhance the racing experience for drivers and fans alike. One major change will be the introduction of new engine regulations, aimed at improving sustainability and reducing costs for teams. In addition, Formula 1 plans to be Net Zero Carbon by 2030 and this can be done by starting to use a 100% sustainable fuel that can not only be used by Formula 1 cars starting from 2026, but can be utilized also by most road cars across the world.

New Engine Regulations

For the 2026 Formula 1 season, there will be a significant change in engine regulations. The 2026 Formula 1 power units will maintain the current V6 internal combustion engine architecture, with the FIA focusing on four topics:

  • Maintaining the spectacle: the 2026 power unit will have similar performance to the current designs, utilizing high-power, high-revving V6 internal combustion engines and avoiding excessive performance differentiation to allow for improved racing spectacle
  • Environmental sustainability: the 2026 power unit will include an increase in the deployment of electrical power to up to 50% and utilize a 100% sustainable fuel
  • Financial sustainability: financial regulations regarding the power units will reduce the overall costs for competitors whilst retaining the cutting-edge technological showcase that is at the core of Formula 1
  • Attractive to new power unit manufacturers: the regulations are intended to make it possible and attractive for newcomers to join the sport at a competitive level

The 2026 regulations will see the current Motor Generator Unit Heat, or MGU-H, element removed – while the power output on the power units Energy Recovery Systems will be increased to 350 kilowatts.

Sustainable fuel

The fuel revolution has already begun. The new generation of Formula 1 cars are already running on "E10" fuel, a blend of 90% fuel and 10% renewable ethanol. The 10% of ethanol that is being used right now is entirely sustainable. The fuel that Formula 1 will run starting 2026 will be unique and entirely lab-created. Shifting from 10% renewable fuel in 2022 to 100% in just a few years is very ambitious, but until now it seems that Formula 1 are on target.

For over 70 years, Formula 1 has been at the cutting edge of innovation, developing the most efficient power unit and hybrid systems ever created. Now the sport is focused on helping drive a green revolution for the entire planet.

Targets for 2026

The FIA declared that the key targets of the 2026 regulation changes are related to performance parameters, sustainability and financial regulations.

The targets set for this regulation changes are:

  • Reduce the drag to improve sustainability and efficiency and compliment the power unit characteristics. Maintain and improve on recent lessons learned about close racing and cars being able to follow each other better
  • Reduce the car dimensions and the car mass
  • Continue to the path of standardization or simplification of strategically selected components for cost reduction purposes. Expand the usage of sustainable materials or technologies and focus on recyclability
  • Continue the innovations in terms of safety measurements, moving towards active and connected safety systems

III. Potential Challenges and Opportunities

The changes planned for the 2026 season has paved the way for the Volkswagen Group to approve it's long awaited entry into Formula 1.


Audi have reached an agreement with Sauber to make the Swiss Formula 1 operation their works team from 2026. The German manufacturer will also join Formula 1 as an engine manufacturer.

“We are delighted to have gained such an experienced and competent partner for our ambitious Formula 1 project,” said Oliver Hoffmann, Audi AG Board Member responsible for the Formula 1 program. He also declared that “We already know the Sauber Group with its state-of-the-art facility and experienced team from previous collaborations and are convinced that together we will form a strong team.”

Sauber Chairman of the Board of Directors Finn Rausing added: “Audi is the best strategic partner for the Sauber Group. It is clear that we share values and a vision, and we look forward to achieving our common goals in a strong and successful partnership.” Stefano Domenicali, President and CEO of F1 said: “It is great news to hear that Audi will have a partnership with Sauber for their entry into Formula 1 in 2026. The combination of those two names is a very exciting prospect for our sport.

Porsche Motorsport

Porsche Motorsport have tried to start a similar collaboration with the Red Bull Oracle team, but the discussions have not been successful. With the "sister" team Alpha Tauri possibly for sale or even Williams Racing as a possible partner, their entry in the sport is still not decided yet.

Porsche have said that Formula 1 remains “an attractive environment” for the iconic German marque. The statement continued: “In the course of the last few months, Dr. Ing. h.c. F. Porsche AG and Red Bull GmbH have held talks on the possibility of Porsche’s entry into Formula 1. The two companies have now jointly come to the conclusion that these talks will no longer be continued. “The premise was always that a partnership would be based on an equal footing, which would include not only an engine partnership but also the team. This could not be achieved.”

Andretti Autosport

Andretti Autosport is led by racing legend Michael Andretti. The team participates to multiple series like Indycar, Indy NXT and Formula E. The global racing enterprise has over 250 race wins, four INDYCAR Series championships, five INDY NXT titles, one Indy Pro 2000 and one USF2000 championship, a Silver Class GT4 championship and has captured victory five times at the famed Indianapolis 500-Mile Race. The team also holds two X Games Gold Medals and five U.S. rallycross championships.

Andretti are trying to join Formula 1 after being linked up with General Motors and Cadillac, but until now they faced opposition from multiple teams. The team owner, Michael Andretti declared: "It's all about greed and looking at themselves and not looking at what is best for the overall growth of the series."

FIA president Mohammed Ben Sulayem is supporting Andretti's bid and reiterated his stance on social media at the weekend, while also hitting out at opposition despite there being no public record of it. To complicate matters, Formula 1 have been far more wary of the FIA in their statements. "I'm not surprised," Andretti added. "In Formula 1, the owners look out for themselves; not what is best for the series. That is the difference between President Mohammed's position and the team owner's position. President Mohammed is looking out for the future of the sport. "Mohammed gets it. He's a racer and he understand the series needs to have one or two more teams. It is an FIA championship, and it holds most of the cards to get the expression of interest going."

In the same time, it seems that Andretti also has allies in the form of Mclaren and Alpine. "Zak [Brown, McLaren CEO] wants to do whatever he can to help us get there and so has Alpine as well," Andretti explained. "Zak Brown and Alpine are two very good allies. Zak has been very supportive.

IV. Conclusion

The Formula 1 2026 changes will bring significant alterations to the sport, including the introduction of new engine regulations and more standardized parts that should help the introduction of the cost cap for car development. The new engine regulations will focus on sustainability and the use of synthetic fuels, with a goal of achieving carbon neutrality by 2030. Additionally, new engine manufacturers are expected to enter the sport, increasing competition and innovation. These changes represent a significant step forward for the sport in terms of sustainability, competitiveness, and fan engagement.