Formula 1 teams have been banned from starting work on their new cars for the 2026 Formula 1 season for more than a year.
Teams already face strict limits on the amount of real-world and computer-simulated aerodynamic testing they can conduct. This is tied to how well they perform each season, giving the teams which perform least well in the constructors’ championship the most development time, encouraging them to catch up.
However, in order to limit the scale of advantage any team is able to build up on their 2026 designs, the FIA has imposed new restrictions which will only allow teams to start work on them in the year before they are introduced.
Updated sporting regulations for the 2024 F1 season state: “In order to prevent testing which aims to develop for the 2026 season, from 1/12/2023 until 1/1/2025 inclusive, RWTT [restricted wind tunnel testing] may only be carried out using a scale model that substantially complies with the 2023, 2024 or 2025 F1 technical regulations.
“With the exception of dyno testing aimed to develop brake system components with minimal air ducting and provided such tests do not concurrently test (or in any way provide incidental data or knowledge on) the performance or endurance of parts or systems classified as bodywork, no wind tunnel testing may be carried out using car geometry partially or wholly compliant with and/or substantially derived from drafts and/or published versions of the 2026 F1 Technical Regulations or FIA proposed 2026 bodywork geometries and concepts.”
Similar language has been added to the regulations prohibiting restricted computational fluid dynamics simulations on parts built to comply with the 2026 technical regulations.
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