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Regulations 2026: The FIA ​​wants more autonomy, struggle with teams – Formula 1

Regulations 2026: The FIA ​​wants more autonomy, struggle with teams – Formula 1

The new regulations for the 2026 power units have also sparked a dispute over the chassis and aerodynamic level, but its combination is still far from being found. Controversy arises from the initial draft under which The new cars had to complete the race distance with only 70-80 kg of fuel on boardagainst the current 100 kg. In fact, the idea of ​​the organizers was to take advantage of the aerodynamics of the individual seats more efficient, able at the same time to recharge a greater amount of energy during braking thanks to the MGU-K electric generator whose power will go from 120 to 350 kW, tripling almost.

However, the plan is not easy to implement, because the new power units will be devoid of such an important source of energy recovery as MGU-H, which recharges the battery via exhaust gases. Furthermore, to satiate the power thirst of the more powerful MGU-K, in some contexts a heat engine must be used as a generator, Burning excess gasoline to provide energy for the hybrid, which is a much less efficient process than if the fuel was used directly to produce the motive power. Alternative fuels themselves will be less energy-intensive than existing ones, forcing to take more liters for the same energy.

According to the editorial board Cars and sportsAnd The initial intention to adopt smaller tanks was to be abandoned. While there had previously been discussions about how to improve weight and aerodynamics to contain fuel consumption, the same problem was partially solved by taking more fuel, and attention is now turning to performance. Again according to the German newspaper, the teams seem to be pushing for a significant reduction in the minimum weight, a proposal that, however, will not be well received by the FIA. Indeed, lighter cars can go faster in corners while maintaining lap times, but they will not avoid the risk of greatly reducing straight-line distances. With heat also needing to be exploited as a generator for the battery, the scenario is actually that halfway through the straight the cars can give up part of the combustion engine’s power, thus struggling to keep up with current speeds. For this reason, the federation would like to focus primarily on aerodynamics, a parameter that increases even more weight that would help improve straight-line mileage. There is a talk about a Wheelbase shortened from 3.6 to 3.2 metres and narrowing the track from 2 to 1.9 meters and thus reducing the front section, a strategy that Formula E also adopted for similar reasons with the new generation of cars.

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Then there is the debate about active aerodynamics and how it can be implemented. Last December, Nicholas Tombazis dismissed the hypothesis of returning to active suspensions, however effective it may be for this purpose. The use of moving ailerons is very likely, with a rear spoiler, front spoiler, beam spoiler and diffuser among the prime suspects. Theoretically, we could go even further, replicating something similar to the 2010 F-Duct Concept, which through a system of internal ducts stopped the entire rear spoiler. The idea was banned at the end of the year, but nothing prevents it from getting dusted, perhaps with a hydraulic or mechanical control system that doesn’t force the driver to take his hands off the steering wheel. But first the teams and the federation will have to come to an agreement with FIA that wants to proceed independently given tight deadlines, which clearly does not find favor with the stables.

FP | Charles Platella

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