New Formula 1 regulations are expected to pave the way for Audi of the Volkswagen Group to approve its long-awaiting entry to Formula 1.
- The new regulations were built on the idea of maintaining the spectacle (ensuring the performance level is similar to the current Power Unit), environmental sustainability, financial sustainability, and its attractiveness to new PU manufacturers.
- The wording of the regulations will aim to increase the road-relevance of cells, power electronics and MGU-K.
- It has also been outlined that the positioning of key PU components is more restrictive in the 2026 regulations in order to avoid long-term advantages or disadvantages being locked in.
The FIA’s World Motor Sport Council has approved the power unit regulations that will be implemented in Formula 1 from the 2026 season.
Discussions have been ongoing for several years concerning the regulations, which have been sculpted by the FIA, Formula 1, as well as existing and prospective manufacturers. The new rules package has been finalized for weeks but was finally rubber-stamped at Tuesday’s meeting of the WMSC.
The current power unit, introduced into Formula 1 in 2014, has long been the cornerstone of the new-for-2026 regulations, while the FIA outlined four key objectives it was striving to obtain. These were maintaining the spectacle (ensuring the performance level is similar to the current PU), environmental sustainability, financial sustainability, and its attractiveness to new PU manufacturers.
The Internal Combustion Engine will retain the 1.6-liter V6 layout at the same RPM, with a reduced fuel flow rate to aim for a power output of around 400kW, while the complicated and expensive MGU-H, which is understood to have been off-putting to potential entrants, will be removed.
Instead, the Energy Recovery System will be increased in power to 350kW, approximately 50% output, with an emphasis on energy flow management to achieve main objectives of increased hybridization and similar performance to the current PU.
The wording of the regulations will aim to increase the road-relevance of cells, power electronics and MGU-K.
It has also been outlined that the positioning of key PU components is more restrictive in the 2026 regulations in order to avoid long-term advantages or disadvantages being locked in.
For 2026, each driver will have available four ICEs, turbochargers and exhaust units, along with three Energy Stores and MGU-Ks. This number will reduce to three and two respectively from the 2027 season.
Regulations concerning sustainability and finances have also been locked in.
All fuel constituents must be fully sustainable from 2026 onwards, while a new cost cap for PU manufacturers has been set at $95 million for 2023-25, increasing to $130 million in 2026. However. this cap will exclude several elements such as marketing and supply to customer teams, while new PU manufacturers will be allowed an additional $10 million in their first two years and $5 million in their third.
Expect Red Bull to align with Audi by 2026.
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Porsche, Audi Entries Near
The final rubber-stamping of the regulations, which has been anticipated for several months, is expected to pave the way for Volkswagen Group to approve its long-awaiting entry to Formula 1.
Porsche Motorsport is set to link up with Red Bull Racing and Scuderia AlphaTauri, while discussions are ongoing between Audi and Sauber Motorsport (which currently runs Alfa Romeo Racing) over a majority buyout.
“The FIA continues to push forward on innovation and sustainability—across our entire motor sport portfolio—the 2026 Formula 1 Power Unit Regulations are the most high-profile example of that mission,” said FIA president Mohammed Ben Sulayem. “The introduction of advanced PU technology along with synthetic sustainable fuels aligns with our objective of delivering benefits for road car users and meeting our objective of net zero carbon by 2030.
“Formula 1 is currently enjoying immense growth and we are confident these Regulations will build on the excitement our 2022 changes have produced.”