FIA targets “significant reduction in size and weight” of F1 cars in 2026

2023 Belgian Grand Prix

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Formula 1 teams and the FIA have made “significant progress” in discussions to make cars smaller and lighter when new technical regulations come into effect in 2026.

New regulations affecting chassis and body dimensions will be introduced in 2026 to accompany the introduction of revised 1.6-litre V6 power units. While draft 2026 power unit regulations were published last year, the chassis regulations are yet to be confirmed.

Many F1 drivers have criticised the ever-increasing weight of modern F1 cars. The current generation of ground effect cars weigh almost 800kg.

However, the F1 Commission has confirmed teams and the FIA are working on drafting a set of regulations for 2026 that aim to address concerns about the weight of cars.

“While the core targets have remained unchanged, there has been constructive dialogue in the relevant Advisory Committees between the FIA, FOM and the teams that continues to shape the direction of the future regulations,” the F1 Commission stated.

“Significant progress has been made on this project that is ongoing, and the FIA is currently analysing the most effective ways to achieve a significant reduction in the size and weight of the cars, as well as improving the energy management.”

Mercedes technical director James Allison has been one of many technical figures in Formula 1 who have echoed driver calls for car weights to be reduced when the next set of regulations is introduced in 2026.

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“This sort of inexorable upward trend in weight is something that has to be arrested and then reversed,” Allison said in Montreal. “Because year-on-year they were getting heavier.

“It isn’t super-trivial to get the weight moving in the other direction. It is particularly tricky to dream up technical rules that are going to make the car much lighter. The way to make it lighter, I think, is to lower the weight limit and make it our problem.

“If cars are over the limit, then it forces us all to make some fairly difficult decisions about what we put in our cars and what we don’t. But not everyone agrees with that point of view. But that’s sort of, I think, the most guaranteed way to put downward pressure on the weight of the car.”

F1’s minimum weight limit, 1961 – 2023

NB. Separate minimum weight limits were enforced for turbocharged and normally-aspirated cars in 1987 and 1988.

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2023 Belgian Grand Prix

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Author information

Will Wood
Will has been a RaceFans contributor since 2012 during which time he has covered F1 test sessions, launch events and interviewed drivers. He mainly...

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16 comments on “FIA targets “significant reduction in size and weight” of F1 cars in 2026”

  1. Are they referring to all three dimensions of the car or just length?

    1. That’s a good question. We just need the cars be shorter with smaller front wing and tyres. Plus smaller weight, obviously.
      It would disgust me if they made the cars narrower again making them look like F3 cars. The narrow cars of 1998-2016 are the worst F1 cars ever.

      1. At least the narrow cars could overtake at Monaco.

    2. Length & width

  2. That’s my target, too.
    Need to start hitting the gym.

    1. Maybe you need to use DRS (Drink Reduction System).

    2. Great comment! You win a cookie 🍪

  3. Well I am quite surprised. This is very, very good news. Hopefully they can get rid of these ungainly beasts. Be interesting to see what rules they come out with but any reduction in weight and length will be welcome.

  4. Haven’t we heard this before

    It’s about time F1 thought through the consequences of their decisions before implementing, we wouldn’t be stuck with large heave cars requiring balance of performance, if they did

  5. dump the batteries. those are heavy and a lighter car without batteries would probabaly burn the same amount of fuel. Ala Prius syndrome.

    1. Exactly! Removing the batteries would reduce the weight a lot, but I just can’t see that happening. Nevertheless, that is an interesting question: Is winning a race still achievable using 110 kg of fuel if you removed the batteries, various motor-generator units, etc?

  6. Even a marginal reduction would be good, although shorter-narrower dimensions alongside a smaller 6-speed gearbox (I saw 5-speed mentioned once, but 5 or 6, pretty irrelevant) & a smaller fuel tank size since synthetic fuel allows for less fuel use in a race (although based on the most recent info, the overall permitted capacity could actually be 100 in 70+30 form, i.e., 70 for ICE & 30 separately for recharging), & from what one Mercedes engineer said, even the battery could remain at similar weight despite increased MGU-K power level, so a relatively significant decrease might be possible in the end.

  7. I suggest they limit the length and wheelbase. Though to counter the dullness of everyone using the exact same maximum wheelbase, maybe get rid of the limits on front:rear weight distribution. I miss the wildness of how the 2004 Renault was so crazily rearward bias, as it rocketed off the startline and weirdly massively understeered everywhere yet was really fast.

    And reduce the width of the floor and sidepods to move them away from the tyres’ turbulence. Currently, the aero geometry gets so specifically optimised to work in the tyre turbulence. I suspect that its resultingly weird shape is thereby totally unsuited to dealing with the very different turbulence from a car ahead. If the sidepods and floor were moved inwards away from the tyres, their more conventional refined shape may deal better with turbulence from the car ahead.

  8. I can’t stand with these things.

    We’ve been warning since… ¿2010? that the weight of the cars were rocketing.

    We warned during the damn whole 2016 about the massive mistake the “bigger tyres” / “bigger wheelbase” / “bigger wings” / “bigger everything” 2017 regulations would be.

    We warned that extra weight is the most inefficient thing in a world of efficiency. And a big loss of safety, as well. That you can make the fastest cars in the world with little dirty aerodynamics by just removing weight. The simplest thing in the world. Fast cars, small cars, fuel-efficient cars, able-to-follow-each-other cars! And what does FIA do? Raise the minimum weight to absurd levels!

    And they freaking realize in 2023!

    There are sooooo many things wrong with the governancy of the sport and the direction some people are taking…

  9. Indeed. Shrink the overall dimensions of the car, and maybe remove the weight limit? Cost cap means the teams will have to decide where they can best gain performance—and it would be interesting to see if a team came out with a light, but maybe aerodynamically compromised car.

    It shouldn’t be for the FIA to figure out these answers, let the competition do it (within the budget cap).

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