With Red Bull dominating the 2023 season, there is already discussion about the next generation of F1 cars – set to make their debut in 2026. Although the upcoming seasons are far from decided, it is no secret that the next major change to the pecking order will be in a few years.
The cars for 2024 and 2025 will be evolutions from this season, but the arrival of new engine manufacturers and – alongside them – new engine regulations present a significant shift for 2026.
Considering that Ferrari, Mercedes, Red Bull, Renault, Audi and Honda will all be present in this new era – there is potential for significant lap time to be won and lost across different engines.
Environmental targets must also be taken into consideration, with Formula 1 aiming to facilitate the development of more efficient and sustainable fuels.
However, there are concerns about whether these objectives are being met.
Red Bull has been vocal about the current engines for 2026, with Helmut Marko – in typical fashion – voicing his thoughts:
“We’re just passionate racers, and we’re worried. We’re not in Formula 1 to get rich. We want there to be really good racing again, and that’s where we have concerns,” formel1.de quotes him as saying.
“Formula 1 is ultimately a show. We have to offer the audience something…
“The weight is a safety risk. The Silverstone accident that Max [Verstappen] had in 2021 [at Silverstone] could have ended very differently with such a heavy battery.”
“The cars have to get lighter and smaller again. If you need 30 litres of fuel just to change the battery, then something is wrong in terms of approach.”
As ever, the off-track politics of F1 will be instrumental in defining the path taken by teams across the field.
The failure to replicate the Championship battle of 2021 is a clear frustration at FOM, so there will be hope that the upcoming changes will level the playing field and promote competition.
Author: Jaden Diaz-Ndisang