2026 F1 Technical Regulations Revealed: Smaller, More Nimble Cars Coming

fia 2026 f1 car
F1 2026 Technical Regulations: Smaller Cars ComingCourtesy FIA
  • The key takeaway is that the 2026 Formula 1 cars will be smaller and lighter than the current-spec machines.

  • The impact of ground effect will be lessened, thus reducing the reliance on ultra-stiff set-ups.

  • The FIA expects downforce to be reduced by 30%, and drag by 55%, on the 2026-spec cars.

Formula 1’s next major overhaul of its regulations—in its endless quest to produce closer and more competitive racing—will come into force in 2026, alongside changes to the engine rules.

On Thursday, the framework of these aerodynamic regulations was published.

The key takeaway is that the 2026 cars will be smaller and lighter than the current-spec machines, with the maximum wheelbase dropping from 3,600 mm to 3,400 mm, and the width of the cars reduced from 2,000 mm to 1,900 mm.

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The new cars for 2026 will feature what the FIA is calling Courtesy FIA

Pirelli’s 18-inch wheel rims, introduced in 2022, will be retained, but the width of the front tires will be reduced by 25 mm, and the rears by 30 mm.


The weight of the car will drop to 768 kg, a reduction of 30 kg, which has been a main target of Formula 1 stakeholders in recent years.

The FIA expects downforce to be reduced by 30%, and drag by 55%, on the 2026-spec cars.

There will also be active aero, with front and rear wings that open along the straights (known as X-Mode), before closing in the corners (Z-Mode), in designated zones on the track.

Overtaking will be facilitated by a power-boost system for a driver within one second of an opponent, called Manual Override, a push-to-pass mode which in effect replaces the Drag Reduction System.

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Push-to-pass mode will replace Drag Reduction System in 2026.Courtesy FIA

Aerodynamically there will be a three-element rear wing, while the lower beam wing has been removed, and the end plates simplified, while the front wing will be 100 mm narrower than the current spec, and have a two-element active flap.

The front wheel arches, which came into place in 2022, will be scrapped, while in-washing wheel wake control boards will sit on the front of the sidepods to assist with controlling the wake caused by the wheels.

The impact of ground effect will be lessened, thus reducing the reliance on ultra-stiff set-ups, with the cars set to feature a partially flat floor and lower-powered diffuser.

There have also been updates to the safety of the cars, including stricter front-impact tests, stronger roll-hoops and increased side intrusion protection.

The updated aerodynamic regulations will sit alongside new engine regulations in 2026, the framework of which was announced in 2022, featuring three times the electrical power, double the energy recouped under braking, the removal of the MGU-H, as well as 100 per cent sustainable fuels.

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Drivers can expect a 30% reduction in downforce with the new cars.Courtesy FIA

Those engine regulations convinced Audi to enter Formula 1 from 2026, forming a strategic alliance with Sauber, Ford will also return in alignment with Red Bull Powertrains, while Honda reversed its decision to quit to link up with Aston Martin.

Per Formula 1’s rulebook teams are not permitted to begin aerodynamic development of their 2026 cars until January 2, 2025.

“With this set of regulations the FIA has sought to develop a new generation of cars that are fully in touch with the DNA of Formula 1—cars that are light, supremely fast and agile but which also remains at the cutting edge of technology,” explained the FIA’s Single Seater Technical Director Nikolas Tombazis. “To achieve this we worked towards what we called a ‘nimble car’ concept. At the centre of that vision is a redesigned power unit that features a more even split between the power derived from the internal combustion element and electrical power.

“On the chassis side we have managed to reduce the size and weight of the car by 30 kg resulting in a much more dynamic car.

“In addition we are introducing two exciting new features to enhance racing—active aerodynamics to achieve very low drag on the straights and the Manual Override system that will provide drivers with an on-demand burst of battery power when close enough to the car ahead of them.

“Lighter, more powerful and more focused on driver skill, the 2026 regulations have been designed to provide closer racing among drivers, increase the competition between teams and improve the spectacle.

“In addition, we have opted for a higher electrical component of the power unit, a more efficient car overall, and fully sustainable fuels, as part of our drive towards a more sustainable future for our sport.”