F1 world ‘bummed’ about sport’s radical rules for 2026

Jun.13 (GMM) One former Formula 1 driver is “bummed” that the sport is once again making the “strange” decision to completely overhaul the technical regulations.

In Canada, the FIA unveiled the blueprint for its all-new 2026 regulations, featuring moveable aerodynamics, a boost-button, and a radical ‘hybrid’ engine formula.

Some of the top active drivers, however, are wondering why F1 would overhaul the rules just as Red Bull’s dominance in the current post-2022 ‘ground effect’ era is finally ending.

“I think, in 2026, you’re not going to have days like today,” said McLaren’s Lando Norris, referring to the close contest in Montreal between Red Bull, McLaren and Mercedes – with Ferrari having also won races in 2024.

“You’re not going to have days like the last few weeks probably until ’28, ’29. Every time there’s a regulation change, there’s big gaps,” he added.

The teams are also concerned, with top management insisting that what the FIA published over the Montreal weekend should actually be regarded as a “draft”.

Subsequently, even the FIA agreed with that.

“We are still in discussion and we are always in discussion with the teams,” the FIA’s single seater technical director Jan Monchaux now admits.

Adrian Newey thinks F1 bowed to pressure from some electric-focused carmakers, while Ferrari boss Frederic Vasseur said: “For the first time, the fuel and the battery suppliers could decide the world championship.”

Monchaux said: “The teams have expressed concerns for sure. Typically, they are always a bit reluctant at implementing large changes,” he added, “so it’s a bit of an ongoing compromise that needs to constantly be found.”

The specialist Formula 1 media is also worried, with top De Telegraaf correspondent Erik van Haren declaring that changing the rules after 2025 is “a shame”.

And even former grand prix drivers are weighing in, like Christijan Albers, who said that after years of domination, Red Bull and Max Verstappen are now being pressed hard by McLaren, Ferrari and Mercedes.

“The competition is there again now and it’s fun,” he said.

“You can also see the doubt now at Red Bull, which is nice after these past few years.”

Journalist van Haren agrees: “It’s still strange that they changed the rules after one of the best years ever, in 2021.

“I don’t understand why you then change everything again after four more years. There’s always a big gap at the start of the regulations, which we have seen with Red Bull.

“Now, finally, in year three, everything is coming closer together again. But we face a very good chance that the tension will be gone again in 2026,” he added.

Albers, a former Spyker and Minardi driver, continued: “I’m really bummed about it.

“The FIA even released the news about the regulations before the teams were ready for it. They thought there would be discussions and that they’d vote on what would and would not go ahead.

“And then the FIA just put it out there. Then you look at the new regulations and it’s a f**king joke. How are they going to achieve all of that?

“I don’t believe in this whole electric thing. It’s not going to work out. If they don’t think some more about this, the fans will walk away,” the Dutchman concluded.

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