Honda RA619H power unit, 2019

F1 power unit cost cap and no MGU-H from 2026 – FIA

2021 F1 season

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The FIA has confirmed further details of its planned new Formula 1 power unit regulations for the 2026 season including a “shift of focus to electrical power”.

It also intends to significantly reduce the cost of the 2026 power unit and introduce a cap on manufacturers’ spending. A budget cap for teams was introduced this year, but power unit development is exempt.

It aims to “make it possible for [newcomers] to join the sport at a competitive level” but has not indicated any specific concessions which will be made. F1 has been courting entries from Volkswagen Group brands Porsche and Audi.

The current 1.6-litre V6 turbos will be retained, but run on a “100% sustainable fuel”.

The total electrical power produced by the power units will almost triple from 120kW to 350kW. However the expensive MGU-H systems, which recover energy from heat, will be dispensed with.

A detailed specification of the 2026 power unit rules is now being drawn up for submission to the World Motor Sport Council early next year.

The FIA also confirmed refinements to the technical regulations for next year had been agreed.

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Keith Collantine
Lifelong motor sport fan Keith set up RaceFans in 2005 - when it was originally called F1 Fanatic. Having previously worked as a motoring...

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39 comments on “F1 power unit cost cap and no MGU-H from 2026 – FIA”

  1. As to be expected, seems all of this has been leaking out for the past few months.

    1. Now also ditch fuel flow limit, so they can attack entire race, not just couple of times through the race.

  2. Given the electrical power increase of nearly threefold, what will be the approximate total BHP by these new engines? Current ones are already rumoured to be around or more than 1000 BHP.

    1. I’m guessing they’ll tone down the ICE output to compensate for the added electrical power and try and keep the entire PU at a similar overall output as they are now.

      1. They’re taking out the MGU-H though, meaning if MGU-K charge rates remains the same, the cars will be charging electricity to the battery less and not more. Higher electric output is likely coming from larger batteries. They might need to keep the ICE the same level since it’s still the thing that converts from the primary energy source (that sustainable fuel thing their using).

        Of course I assume MGU-K will probably improve but charge rates likely will be less than if a MGU-H were to still be there.

        1. someone or something
          16th December 2021, 10:52

          They might need to keep the ICE the same level since it’s still the thing that converts from the primary energy source

          Exactly. In order to harvest anything, you need to introduce energy into the system in the first place. And if you want to harvest more, well you either need to harvest more efficiently (not likely without the ERS-H), or you need more energy to harvest from.

          The thing is, the outlines presented in this article are too superficial to draw any meaningful conclusions. Fewer energy recovery systems, but more electric output – sounds like trying to have a cake and eat it at the same time.
          Currently, a PU may deploy up to 4 MJ of energy per lap – which, divided by 120 kW, results in the 33 seconds of battery deployment we’re used to.
          If that allowance doesn’t change, using 350 KW would drain the battery in just 11 seconds. This would result in a very different characteristic, returning to a kind of (massively) beefed-up KERS, to be deployed strategically, instead of the current situation, where the MGUs are virtually always assisting the ICE, save for the last few hundreds of metres on the straights.
          Therefore, my guess is that they’ll increase the amount of usable energy per lap as well. The thing is: Even now, the the two ERS’s struggle to recharge the battery fully over a lap in race mode. Some tracks simply have too few hard braking zones, or are too short. So the true limit of what you can use in a race, lap after lap, isn’t set by the rules, but by your energy recovery capabilities. And those might converge to a point that’s rather close to what he have now, but deployed almost three times as fast. What would change? Saving some charge over multiple laps could increase the chance of electrically-assisted overtakes, as the de-rates would result in a difference of some 450 horsepower, a bit like deploying a parachute earlier.
          Qualifying would be brutal, however. They might need several charge-up laps (ideally after the flying lap), further reducing the flexibility to start a new flying lap, but the PUs would be producing up to 1200-1300 horsepower, annihilating even this era’s insane qualifying records.

          I’m really curious to know what they’re going to pull out of the hat. Because right now, I’m struggling to make sense of it.

          1. Initially the sustainable fuel will probably be slightly less efficient than the dinojuice, meaning less ICE power if the engines are otherwise the same. Since environmental concerns are minimized with 100% sustainable fuel, they could theoretically carry more fuel and burn it to produce power from the ICE when they don’t need it to the wheels. For example during low-load braking or in slower corners, and instead directly recover it via the MGUK. A bit of trickery, but if they wanted to it should be possible.
            I’m guessing that they will free up the usage of electric power, allowing more than the 4MJ per lap. I’m hoping that they will remove that type of limit altogether, but that is unlikely. Manufacturers seem interested in developing electric drivetrains, so setting reasonable limits around energy storage but letting them develop and use it more freely seems logical to me. Ideally there would just be a limit on weight and volume, or something like that.
            With a larger MGUK they will not only be able to deploy 3-ish times more energy, but also recover more during braking, probably to the point where rear brake discs are completely redundant. Hopefully that is enough for now to compensate for the loss of MGUH, but it will likely be more track dependent. In the next, next formula they probably need front recovery as well.

          2. Front wheel KERS. More energy recovery and all-wheel drive (electric-only on fronts).

  3. Shame the MGU-H has to go as it’s the coolest bit of kit! Harvest energy from exhaust gasses and spin up turbo at will? Sign me up!

    1. The problem is that it never transitioned to road cars. It has no benefit to Porche et al to develop a system that is only exclusive to one race series.

  4. I think they try to consider using freevalve tech for better relaibelity(less moving parts, higher rpm ceiling)

  5. I don’t like this. One of the most lovable characteristics of Formula 1 is its cutting edge technology, which in this case is the MGU-H.

    So, even though I do not like its source, the electrical push, nor its noise-capping exhaust, I can still say I’m sad to see it go. Along with DAS, I guess they were the most admirable wonders in the field.

    1. Fully agree, if it was too expensive and so a bar to new engine mfs (Porsche) they could’ve licensed the best system & made it a standard part like the ECU.

  6. Does it really matter? The FIA plan to make it a gameshow anyway. It won’t matter who is the best driver, who builds the best car, or who can make the best engine, if they get their way, just who Masi thinks will get the best TV viewing figures.

    1. Are you going to be whine about this in every article on Racefans? Keep the comments about the topic.

      1. Why not? Did you miss Abu Dabi? I guess we would have to listen to the insufferable Dutch if it ended how it should have, so there is that.

        1. It would be nice if it was possible to talk about f1 on this site.
          Claiming your right on every topic is really getting boring.
          Lewis lost, max won

        2. You can guess away all you want. Fact is that we’re on route to the next season with Abu Dhabi in the past. So please keep things on topic. Can’t wait for next week when these comments have stopped

  7. If they develop a technology in another racing series, how is the cost captured if used in the same company’s F1 power unit?

  8. Mercedes? What Mercedes? You meant that brand which retired from the sport after the 1955 carnage and never returned. Good riddance it was.

  9. @keithcollantine you happy to let this xenophobic extremist continue posting this sort of deliberately inflammatory rhetoric on this site?

    1. some racing fan
      15th December 2021, 23:28

      @keithcollantine Yeah. That is really unacceptable. That kind of speech has no place here.

    2. Since when Mercedes is Chinese?

    3. And it’s actually Mercedes-AMG or just AMG that participates F1. Not Mercedes.

  10. So what’s the plan for turbo lag?

    1. no such thing as turbo lag in f1, they use electronically boosted turbo system which uses an e-motor to spool the turbines up to speed in no time.

      1. Also known as the MGU-H which they’re getting rid of.

        1. Which doesn’t matter anyway, because during the spool up time the MGU-K will cover the gap.

  11. I can’t see how this going to work. If the only source of electrical power is regenerative braking on the rear axle, there will only be a matter of seconds of 350 kW electric power available per lap.

    I guess the fuel mass and fuel flow limits will be massively increased to compensate for the missing power currently recovered by the MGU-H. Efficiency will fall back beneath 50% — probably a long way. A good job the fuel is going to be “sustainable”, whatever that means.

    1. It is a worry that the cars with extra fuel will be even heavier and be more like bowsers.

  12. Maybe this will tempt Honda, Toyota and Renault to rejoin in 2026

    1. Doubt Honda will come back. They were in this era because of wanting to learn how to deliver the harnessed electric energy to the engine which is why they pushed for the MGU-H to stay. Now they see the future being fully electric and feel they’ve learnt all they can out of F1. I’d be surprised if anything about 2026 changes that.

      Toyota have been aiming for all electric for a while so I would similarly doubt they would be interested in F1 at all.

      Unless this sustainable fuel idea has a signifant impact and can prove ICE as sustainably viable for the future, the list of potential manufacturing entrants will only shrink.

      1. I have pitched the idea before and still say what they should have done is move to a standardized ICE and let the manufacturers loose on developing their own electric side of the hybrid systems within a few basic limitations such as weight and volume. The ICE could be loud and firespitting if the promoters want that, running sustainable fuel of course so it would be fine, and manufacturers could develop electric drivetrains in line with their core businesses.

  13. Nell (@imabouttogoham)
    15th December 2021, 23:25

    Mercedes might leave by then. A further levelling of the field with a cost cap? There’s almost nothing to gain from them really… so I think maybe they sell off to Porsche/Audi.

    Unless there’s some sort of enmity between the two German marquees that I’m not aware of?

    1. There is a sort of rivality between Porsche, Mercedes and i think BMW but i am not sure of BMW could be Audi.

  14. Can they now allow innovations like DAS. I mean, why they ban teams from innovating. Give the the teams notice and time, tell them they are free to develop something like DAS. The ones who can and want can start developing.

  15. Almost sounds like the common engine idea from a decade ago, without labeling it as such.

    Almost reads like the hybrid IndyCar proposal. Would fit nicely in some hypercard or GT cars. Just some easy tweaks in fuel, revs, boost and energy specs.

    Would be good value for money with the cost cap on top. Smart move.

  16. This is what I want to see..

    350 kW is quite decent… Though where will they harvest it?

    1. From a maize field therefore less food production and unsustainable carbon fuels.

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