Sunday, July 14, 2024

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The FIA ​​has warned that the “ship has sailed” for F1 2026 engine improvements

With the FIA ​​acknowledging that the 2026 draft technical regulations will need fine-tuning to make the cars faster, one option that has proven helpful is engine improvements.

In an effort to make sure a 50:50 primary split of ICE power and electricity, fuel flow restrictions have been imposed.

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So one easy strategy to provide more power and reduce dependence on battery power can be to extend these limits.

In a speech on the Canadian Grand Prix, FIA single-seater director Nikolas Tombazis suggested that manufacturers could also be open to modifications.

“If some adjustments are needed, I am sure the PU manufacturers will help and cooperate,” he said.

However, under the 2026 F1 power unit regulations, any changes require the unanimous support of manufacturers who’ve committed to buy-in.

Even before any suggestions for potential changes were seriously considered, some automakers made it clear there was no room to maneuver as work on the 2026 engines was already well underway.

Watch: The way forward for Formula 1 – first take a look at the 2026 F1 regulations

Mercedes team principal Toto Wolff said: “The ship has sailed on the facility unit side.

“There are teams that feel they’re behind, and there are other teams that feel, in addition to the OEMs, that they’ve done a great job. This is a standard type of struggle with regulations.

“I think there are possible improvements on the chassis side that we need to make. But on the engine side, the process is way too advanced.”

Alpine team principal Bruno Famin admitted that it will be difficult to make changes now because manufacturers had already been working on latest power units for several years.

“We have to be careful because almost nothing is being done on the chassis side because there are no regulations,” he said. “But in the case of PU, we have two years of work.”

Red Bull team principal Christian Horner, whose squad shall be powered by its own engine from 2026, believed there was still time to make significant changes, but was aware of Mercedes' resistance.

Christian Horner, Red Bull Racing team principal, at the team directors' press conference

Christian Horner, Red Bull Racing team principal, on the team directors' press conference

Photo: Glenn Dunbar / Motorsport images

“There is always someone who doesn't want to change,” he said. “But it will depend on the FIA. As I say, it's never too late.

“They have all the knowledge and simulations. Ultimately you have to look at what is best for F1 and what will deliver the best racing. So trust them and FOM to make the right choices. Whether it is required or not, they have all the necessary knowledge.”

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