The FIA’s World Motor Sport Council has today approved the first draft of the new Formula 1 power unit regulations due to come into effect in 2026.
The revised power units will increase the electrical power generated by up to 50% over current levels, with the FIA claiming the power units will maintain “similar performance” to existing engines.
The power unit introduced for the 2026 season will continue to use the current 1.6 litre V6 internal combustion engine, but with a decreased fuel flow limit that will produce around 400kW of power. The current MGU-H component of the hybrid system will be entirely removed, as expected, while the total power generated by the power unit’s energy recovery system (ERS) will increase to around 350kW.
The FIA claim that all racings fuels used for the new 2026 power units will be “100% sustainable fuel”, while fuel flow rates will now be measured and limited based on energy, rather than mass or volume of the fuel itself.
The introduction of the new power units will also be met with a change in the sporting regulations. From 2027, all drivers will continue to be limited to just three internal combustion engines for a season, as well as three turbochargers and two control electronics units and energy stores. However, drivers will be limited to three ‘exhaust sets’ – down from the current eight exhaust systems permitted – while they will also be limited to just two MGU-Ks, one less than at present. For the 2026 season alone, all drivers will be allocated one additional element of each component.
In addition, new power unit financial restrictions will come into effect at the beginning of 2023, limiting all power unit suppliers for the 2026 season to total yearly expenditure of $95M (£78.6M) for 2023, 2024 and 2025, with the cap increasing to $130M (£107.6M) from the 2026 season onwards.
FIA president Mohammed Ben Sulayem said that the new power unit regulations have been designed with sustainability and road relevance in mind.
“The FIA continues to push forward on innovation and sustainability – across our entire motor sport portfolio – the 2026 Formula 1 Power Unit Regulations are the most high-profile example of that mission,” Ben Sulayem said.
“The introduction of advanced power unit technology along with synthetic sustainable fuels aligns with our objective of delivering benefits for road car users and meeting our objective of net zero carbon by 2030. Formula 1 is currently enjoying immense growth and we are confident these Regulations will build on the excitement our 2022 changes have produced.”
The first draft of the 2026 power unit regulations will likely pave the way for Audi and Porsche to move ahead with widely expected plans to join Formula 1 as power unit manufacturers from the introduction of the new formula.
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48 comments on “F1’s 2026 power unit regulations approved by FIA’s World Motor Sport Council”
16th August 2022, 18:17
After Seb’s show run in the Williams FW14B on sustainable fuel, I think the FIA should seriously look at re-introducing V8s with sustainable carbon neutral fuel with the current ERS and MGU-K systems. That would combine awe factor with efficiency, sustainability, massive power.
16th August 2022, 18:27
The 2.4ltr V8s used from 2006-2013 were awful.
As Martin Brundle put it they were all noise with no bite as they had very little torque at the low end which made them easier to drive than the engine formulas before and after which required more finesse when getting on the throttle.
And for whatever reason they all sounded the same and it was a very flat tone that while very loud i never found especially satisfying when compared to the sounds of prior formulas.
If they went back to a n/a formula I’d prefer 3.0ltr or 3.5ltr with manufacturers able to go with whatever configuration they wanted as was the case in the past. Was always so much better when you had that variety with V8’s, V10’s & V12’s.
Jimmi Cynic (@jimmi-cynic)
16th August 2022, 20:06
+1. As well as performance, the 3.0/3.5L V10 era was sonically superior to the mosquito V8 years.
17th August 2022, 5:45
+1, V10s were the best sounding F1 engines ever.
17th August 2022, 4:41
They were not aweful at all. They could have dropped the revs to 15k and gave it a hybrid torque boost. Can you not forget the backlash after the 2014 cars came in and the Terrible turbo sound they had? And they were slower than the v8s
17th August 2022, 12:08
Agreed. The engine variety in the post-turbo 1989-1995 era was a significant factor in the variety of cars and the spectacle of the racing in the sport at that time.
16th August 2022, 18:20
Shame they are ditching the mgu-h as that is by far the most interesting part of the power units.
It also puts a lot of energy back into the battery so removing it could end up making energy management a bigger factor again.
I also wonder if we will see drivers running out of ers before the end of a lap as i think the ‘h’ puts more energy back into the battery during a lap than the ‘k’ does.
But gotta bow down to the vw group i guess.
16th August 2022, 21:52
Fully agree. MGU-H has been one of the technical marvels F1 should be proud about. Without this F1 would never have gotten to 50%+ thermal efficiency.
17th August 2022, 2:55
They do now. Can’t do anywhere near a complete lap on full beans.
This is going to be a consistent downside of electric for quite a while yet.
Tony Mansell (@tonymansell)
18th August 2022, 9:19
I dont work for VW and im glad they are ditching them. Might free up some sound. They are big and heavy and add nothing to the show. Quite the reverse. Mind you thats true of all the hybrid stuff
19th August 2022, 7:28
MGU-H is technical marvel indeed. Being the most interesting part of contemporary PUs it’s the one that is the most complicated to operate properly and the most useless one. I always wondered who was FIA genius behind that part of engine technical regulations. At the same time it’s the most irrelevant road car component because harvesting energy makes sense only at highest range of rev envelope. Can you imagine revving the engine at 6000rpm to be energy efficient? MGU-H adds very little to thermal efficiency, if any at all. Combustion chamber design, reduction in frictional losses, ignition, and turbo actually do. Diesel engines achieved the 50% thermal efficiency figures more than 30yrs ago. Dr. Fritz Indra did miracles with C20XE almost 35yrs ago considering thermal efficiency of petrol engines. Hence, MGU-H is the rubbish component of PUs today and I share the same opinion about it with Adrian Newey for being the most useless one regarding road car relevance.
16th August 2022, 18:49
I wonder what the thinking was around the cost caps. Why does it go up so much in 2026 compared to prior years where the teams are spending a lot of develop to the new regs.
17th August 2022, 5:49
It’s the cost cap for PU suppliers, and it’s going up in 2026 because that’s when the new regulations take effect. They will need more headroom to develop the new technology.
17th August 2022, 13:43
They don’t so much need it but rather want it. This is F1, after all. The minute there was a budget cap, the usual suspects (Red Bull leading) argued it should be increased for whatever argument seemed at the time to best invoke sympathy for the big spending teams that couldn’t possibly run an F1 team on the budget half the grid has been for decades.
16th August 2022, 19:30
Will these engine changes make the cars sound anything like racing machines again?
Jimmi Cynic (@jimmi-cynic)
16th August 2022, 20:08
Sorry, it won’t. If anything will be worse sounding with the boost to battery power.
17th August 2022, 3:29
No, they are literally staying the same
17th August 2022, 9:22
Still unclear, but according to Formula1 “they could even be louder too”.
17th August 2022, 12:07
As far as I am aware, from discussions at the time of the new V6hybrids and MGU-H regs, it is a combined effect of the turbo, the MGU-H on the exhaust and the lower revs (as a result of fuel flow rate limits) that make the sound the way it is.
With teh MGU-H removed, and the change from fuel flow rate to total fuel density, the sound “could” change, especially if the engine manufacturers manage to increase the revs
16th August 2022, 20:04
The 2026 PU concept changes finally got finalized & formalized.
16th August 2022, 20:56
I was never a big fan of the MGU-H, but I always respected its ingenious. And now, just like with the DAS, another engineering marvel gets thwarted. To top it all, this seems done solely to please the cheats of the dieselgate, now apparently redeemed under the green faith. Regardless the reasons, though, it just feels wrong. Moves like this makes it look less and less like F1 to me.
16th August 2022, 21:55
Disaster incoming. Why keep lifeless engines that expensive.
17th August 2022, 2:51
17th August 2022, 13:45
The FIA and the manufacturers still see a PR benefit in the hybrid formula.
They’ve already developed a hybrid engine, so why change it?
17th August 2022, 14:10
They could still make a different hybrid engine…..
There was a time when F1 featured almost a dozen different engines in one season. Now they’re keeping the same basic engine for the best part of 2 decades – if not more.
16th August 2022, 22:38
This is funny coming from a petrolhead that have a car collection worth ~ 150 million euro with all those exotic supercars like the Ferrari F40, Ferrari Enzo… He reminds me of those democrat politicians pushing the green agenda and investing in oil companies at the same time.
As for the rules, VW group got what they wanted. The MGU-H is removed. Wolff must have surely obtained something under the table. As for Ferrari, I have already said that they should have never ever succumbed to the VW group and made a concession with regard to the MGU-H.
I have the feeling that they have cornered themselves with this new regulations change not because they cannot build competitive PUs but the VW group and Mercedes are so arrogant that they cannot compete on a level playing field. They have certainly guarantees that they will be competitive out of the box with these new rules in place.
17th August 2022, 4:45
Someone has to push the green agenda, and it is not just Democrat politicians, it is actual humans of the world. It is no conspiracy like right wing poleticians will lie to you about
17th August 2022, 5:52
How often do you think those cars get driven? They sit in a garage as de facto museum pieces
17th August 2022, 13:54
Well, it’s not like Ferrari is leading the field on the engine front so having less variables might be better for them as well.
And there’s now an additional place to play politics: Le Mans. The ACO/FIA have always had a de facto Balance of Performance in the LMP1 category (the Equivalence of Technology) and with the new Hypercar and LMDh categories they’re full onboard the BoP train. That opens up a lot of options for politics to be played (just see the shenanigans in the GTE Pro category), especially now that Toyota, Ferrari and Volkswagen are in different but combined categories.
17th August 2022, 15:01
Ferrari have shown in the hybrid era that they can build competitive PUs and innovate with that regard. Once the token system was scrapped at the end of 2016, Ferrari have immediately shown up with a competitive PU for the 2017 season and remained competitive till the 2020 season.
In those years, they were subject to TDs (oil burn, ERS deployment…) issued at Mercedes request that compromised their development plans. The 2020 and 2021 performances were a direct result of the settlement with the FIA and this year they have arguably the most powerful PU.
Even the 2014 PU which that was well off Mercedes performance levels was a very sophisticated project that was started very late and was compromised by the designers who asked for very small PU and thought that the aerodynamics gain will compromise the power loss and the token system made sure that they got stuck with it for the next 3 seasons.
You’re spot on with regard to the LeMans politics !
17th August 2022, 15:34
You yourself stated in the past that Ferrari were making it blatantly obvious to the FIA what they were doing, and previously said that they were breaking the rules, with their own technical queries to the FIA.
After all, Ferrari were sending technical queries to the FIA asking items such as how many oil tanks they could fit to the car, followed by asking if they could use multiple different types of oil in the different tanks and then asked if they could add additives to the oil mixture that are known to enhance combustion.
When you look at the sequence of questions they asked, Ferrari probably couldn’t have been less subtle if they tried – and those questions were being sent to the governing body that created those same regulations.
Do you really think that the FIA wouldn’t have found that sequence of questions to be highly suspicious?
18th August 2022, 19:02
The oil burn saga came to light in the 2015 Canadian GP after a query raised by RBR asking whether Mercedes were burning fuel or not. Samples were taken from Nico Rosberg’s car after practise and the FIA responded that they were satisfied with the way Mercedes are operating their PU.
The issue didn’t stop there and questions were asked by both Ferrari and RBR and the FIA didn’t change its position and Mercedes continued to use oil burn in 2016. In 2017, Renault and especially Ferrari took the oil burn trickery to the next level and Mercedes blew the whistle.
As you have mentioned Ferrari were fishy raising those queries but the lack of reactivity from the FIA with regard to enforcing the rules was evident from the way they treated the issue in the first place.
Ferrari were asked to remove a secondary oil tank from the SF70H in Baku that was believed to contain a different type of oil to the primary tank which enabled them to increase its PU performance by deploying a more aggressive map and reliability at the same time. This already compromised Ferrari development plans and it was rumoured that Lorenzo Sassi paid for it with his job.
I remember also that we have had a discussion about this same subject in 2020 and you said that there was there was a third oil tank as suggested by photographs of Motorsport Magazine published that was also removed, and which was suspected to be used to inject oil into the fuel mixture.
Moreover, Mercedes introduced their final upgraded PU in Spa instead of Monza to continue operating it within the limit of 1.2L of oil per 100km while the rest of the manufacturers who introduced their 3rd PU from Monza have had respect the stricter limit of 0.9L of oil per 100 km.
The entire oil burn trickery was mismanaged by the FIA. They were napping for almost 3 seasons, the loophole was properly closed only starting from the 2018 season .
17th August 2022, 2:49
Good riddance MGU-H. So much for road relevance – what an expensive waste of time and effort that was.
The increase in electrical energy and decrease in liquid fuel are terrible ideas. Should be full sustainable, carbon-neutral liquid fuel, and they should be getting twice as much of it to use with a re-introduction of refuelling.
Efficiency is a performance variable and shouldn’t be mandated.
Pointless limits on number of components continues, when the big teams will continue to ‘strategically’ take excess ones anyway, knowing they can still overtake most of the pack.
Better off to give them two of each, and make them repair those two all year instead of replacing them.
That’s what the budget cap should be for.
Not really any surprises here, but just another massively wasted opportunity in F1.
17th August 2022, 14:04
The hybrid’s main claim to fame – reducing fuel consumption – becomes rather pointless when they run the engine on fully sustainable fuels. Better to take the 200kg+ of electric components off the cars, thereby further reducing the energy needed to power them around, and as a bonus also reducing tyre wear (the rubber use in F1 is obscene and has a significant but rarely mentioned environmental impact. That’s not because Pirelli is a main sponsor, of course).
As in the lead up to 2014, the manufacturers are all too smart for their own good. They all think they’ll have the best engine package and then when – surprise – it turns out that 4 out of 5 don’t actually have the best package the series is still stuck with rules which are heavily skewed towards maintaining the advantage they all thought they’d have.
There is now no need for all these rules thanks to the budget cap: just don’t spend more than allowed. That ties in with the component limits, which are indeed a joke. At ‘best’ you get teams penalized with races like Leclerc had in Canada, but at worst you’ll see the Mercedes’ shenanigans of last season where one car is basically reduced to a test mule and one of the best cars on the grid becomes a non-factor in the races. Again: with the budget cap there’s no need for these rules. If a team needs six new ICUs, they don’t get to build a new front wing. If they need a new gearbox every other race, they don’t get to design a new sidepod.
17th August 2022, 14:15
Exactly. I’ve been saying the same thing for quite a while.
Yes! 100% agree.
The whole point of a budget cap is totally wasted in F1’s implementation.
Instead of saying “Here’s how much you can spend, off you go and see what you can do” – they’ve effectively specified where teams can spend it, and how much each part costs.
Pointless. What technical competition?
17th August 2022, 3:29
Hope i die soon tbh, why cant we have nice things?
17th August 2022, 4:37
Don’t like how manufacturers not involved in F1 got a say in these changes just to make it easier for them to be competitive from the outset.
17th August 2022, 8:17
If the manufacturers currently in F1 were the only ones who had a say these days – with the current approach to technical regs, they’d be the only ones who ever participate.
17th August 2022, 12:55
Manufacturers should not have a say at all. Full stop. It’s like Wilson, YY, Nike or NB having a say in the rules of tennis. To me, that’s why F1 has long stopped to be a sport.
The fuel flow finally being measured in the only logical unit applicable, kW, is long overdue. But what about the other components? Energy (consumption), by the way, is measured in kWh, power exerted over time. Without the time component, the power says nothing about the total amount of energy used.
If you wan’t to go ‘green/fully sustainable’, then just quit the sport. Using energy just for fun is inherently not going to be ‘green/fully sustainable’ ever. It’s just spilling energy, whatever way it’s ‘created’. That includes the energy it takes to move this circus all over the world. So just limiting the amount of energy used for the sport on track, is pointless. But, if you’d really want to limit the amount of kWh per race, then just limit that, the amount of kWh used per race, regardless of how (by which type or combination of types of engine) it is produced. That’s where real innovation comes from, not from continuously and increasingly boxing in designer’s options, which prescribing an exact motor formula essentially is. There used to be a big engineering championship side of F1, but that is quickly being butchered by the FIA.
So this whole sustainable, road relevant F1 thing is a farce, a means to sell, a big bluffing commercial billboard.
Note that I said F1 thing, as the sane minds in this world agree that it is essential we deal with environment issues quickly. If it were up to the FIA, they’d limit the technology we can use to achieve that as well. In favor of the best paying manufacturer, probably.
NS Biker (@rekibsn)
17th August 2022, 6:23
The reference (a few times too many) to “sustainable fuels” is a bit misleading.
There was an analysis and report a number of years ago that the US had the technical capability to replace all gasoline with ethanol. The basis for sustainable “green” organically derived fuels. Great everyone said, except for the part that there isn’t enough water available to grow that volume of crops to produce the fuel required.
As the sustainable fuel of the future is organic in nature, it has to come from somewhere and that implies displacing food production for fuel.
There is an intriguing feature in the version of the new rules that states that fuel flow will be controlled on the basis of energy and not volume or mass. This opens up a bunch of avenues for performance enhancement. Do you go low density or high density for fuel? What about the addition of oxygenates in the fuel, not clear (yet) if that will be tolerated. The chemists will definitely be working overtime to conjure up the best elixir possible. Could lead to new potential partners and sponsorship. Hey … wait a second, isn’t Ineos already in that business …. smart.
17th August 2022, 8:58
Plant based fuels are completely sustainable, but that’s not the only type of sustainable fuel.
Synthetic fuel is also sustainable, and doesn’t require growing anything.
There is a place for both, and for electric too. Writing one off simply because it can’t cover the entire market is short-sighted and inhibiting, at best.
Right now we have Electric, Petrol (and its variants), Diesel (and its variants), LPG, CNG, Ethanol, AVGAS…… Others too?
Not one fuel now either….
17th August 2022, 7:04
Mohammed bin Sulayem. Wonder what his people back in the Emirates think of pushing for sustainable fuels?
Clearly he may well be at peace, as the development of sustainable fuels will allow him to drive his fazazzis etc after the bowsers run out of fossil fuel. Perhaps they will not there???
For me, F1 died with the end of V8/V10/V12, but I understand that F1 has to go this PU route.
In EU, for the road it’s all about EVs [poor sods!!]. In the rest of the world, not so. In many countries, govt’s can not financially afford to build an EV charging infrastructure. Other countries [like Aust.] angst against EVs is quite large. Mazda, quite sensibly, has developed new Mazda 6 ICE’s, incorp. acceptance of alternate fuels for those markets. National vehicle fleets are increasing in age due to EV costs [of the vehicles + transportation] + increasing classic ICE vehicles.
Trivia: believe Aust Fed Govt investigating a number of large shipping coys whose recent financial statements declare unacceptably high increases in earnings, yet against decreased tonnage carried.
17th August 2022, 7:05
Oh fo an ‘edit’ function!!!
17th August 2022, 9:32
Sustainable fuels mean a lifeline for ICE.
As long as there are ICE (rather than Electric power trains) they will be able to pump up petrol.
It’s much easier to compete on price against sustainable fuels (and invest all your profit in the letter to future proof your business) than trying to sell petrol to an electric car owner.
17th August 2022, 12:30
I have been a Formula One enthusiast since 1950. To me, Formula One has now become a total farce and my interest is dropping off rapidly. I hope to live to see what develops in 2026, but I am not too enthusiastic about the proposed ‘regulations’ in the first draft.
It is my firm belief that there should be an engine capacity limit, along with a specific fuel type, but with engine designers having complete freedom on engine design. Let them have however many cylinders, camshafts, valves, etc. that the designers believe they need to perform in a winning manner. At present the situation is way too much over-regulated and in many ways stifled.
In addition to that, team principals have far too much to say and sway the FIA to their demands. I predict that SLH will be nominated for an OSCAR for his fictional performance in Baku, as diva of the year in the DTS series.
What a mess it has all become!
17th August 2022, 13:09
Why all that micromanagement. Wouldn’t it be easier to give them so much fuel for qualifying, so much fuel for ther race, at least as much kWh in the battery as when you start of a flow meter/controler and have fun figuring out what works for you.
Why do I care if it’s a 1.6 V6. Maybe a 1.0 2 cilinder boxer is more efficient? Or a V10 5.0 without turbo. Maybe they’ll figure something original out that actually helps the world be a better place.
If you want uniform engines, supply them yourself like in the other single seat racers.
Dan G (@dang)
18th August 2022, 0:16
I’m very interested to know how the FIA plan on getting 350 kW of electrical for anything more than a few seconds without a MGU-H, unless they plan on having drivers drive with the brakes on for half of each lap…
No mention of front axle MGU-K either, which makes it all the more unlikely.
No electric supercharging either? At present, the M in the MGU-H spins up the turbo at low revs, force-charging the engine while exhaust gas pressure is too low to do so.
The 2026 cars are going to be a lot slower than today’s.
18th August 2022, 2:46
You’ve hit the nail on the head there, @dang.
Which circuits have the most hard braking zones? Yep, street circuits…
A lot of people bemoan Formula E for their choice of circuits – but they are kinda necessary for regeneration.
F1 is moving in the same direction.
An F1 with minimal or zero reliance on batteries and regeneration can go anywhere…
Bring on sustainable liquid fuels without the electrical restrictions.
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