During the 2022 season there will be a change in the aerodynamic and technical regulations, which will cause the category to change its era. Many of us speculate on this enormous arrival and hope it is for the good of Formula 1, however, another change of era awaits us on the other side of the corner. In 2026, a new regulatory change will be made available, but now it will be a question of power units. Today, Formula 1 has clarified some points about the cars that will race in the year 2026.
Pat Symonds, who serves as the technical director of Formula 1, has indicated that the 2022 car is already behind him and he and his team are already focusing on the 2026 car. To begin with, it has been confirmed that the power unit will no longer have the MGU-H, while the internal combustion engine (ICE) and MGU-K will be required to generate 350 kilowatts, equivalent to 476 horsepower. Likewise, it is estimated that the power of the cars will reach 1,000 hp again, but this could not be done without a greater amount of electrical energy. Consequently, to generate more power a larger battery is needed, an even more powerful MGU-K and the electrical system to be adapted so that it can support large amounts of electrical energy being transferred from the battery to the axles. We know that once the driver decides to brake the car, a certain amount of energy is recovered and stored in the battery, when the driver decides to use this energy, he presses a button on the steering wheel and it automatically unfolds. The objective of this is to be able to have greater power to achieve a pass or to be able to defend oneself if it is being attacked.
In recent years we have seen huge changes in the weight and length of the fastest cars in the world. The height of the cars is strictly specified in the regulations, but the length of the chassis is not. This means that, over time, the cars have grown in length to the more than 5 meters they currently have. This will change again and Ross Brawn, F1's sporting director, has affirmed it.
“As you know, we’re looking at a new power unit for 2026, and a news car will go with it and that’s some of the primary objectives: Can we save weight, which is challenging with a hybrid car and with the safety initiatives we’ve got on the cars these days; Can we have a lighter car? Certainly can we have a smaller car, we believe we can.” Brawn affirmed as reported by racefans.net.
“We think with the spec that’s evolving for ’26 there’ll be a very real chance of having a more compact car. As we get heavier and heavier, that’s more energy we’ve got to dissipate, bigger brakes, more brake dust, more fuel to get you to the location, and so on. I don’t fully understand it.”
Despite all the attention being drawn to the new 2022 cars, the 2026 power unit technical regulation change looks promising. Once the ideas start to be put on paper, these cars will begin to take shape, and we know that every change the category will make will be to become even more environmentally friendly.