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F1 discontent builds over radical 2026 regulations revamp

F1 discontent builds over radical 2026 regulations revamp
© Reuters
A former Formula 1 driver is "bummed" that the sport is once again opting to upend the technical regulations completely.

A former Formula 1 driver is "bummed" that the sport is once again opting to upend the technical regulations completely.

At the Canadian GP, the FIA disclosed its revolutionary 2026 regulations, introducing active aerodynamics, a push-to-boost feature, and a radical new hybrid engine formula.

Nonetheless, leading drivers currently in action are questioning the necessity of overhauling the rules just as Red Bull's era of dominance following the 2022 'ground effect' regulations appears to be waning.

"I think, in 2026, you're not going to have days like today," remarked McLaren's Lando Norris, alluding to the competitive race recently held in Montreal between Red Bull, McLaren, and Mercedes, alongside Ferrari's successes in 2024.

"You're not going to have days like the last few weeks probably until '28, '29. Every time there's a regulation change, there's big gaps," he further explained.

Team executives have voiced concerns, choosing to see the FIA's announcement in Montreal as merely a "draft" of what's to come - a stance the FIA itself has come to acknowledge.

"We are still in discussion and we are always in discussion with the teams," conceded Jan Monchaux, the FIA's single-seater technical director, admitting, "The teams have expressed concerns for sure. Typically, they are always a bit reluctant at implementing large changes, so it's a bit of an ongoing compromise that needs to constantly be found."

Adrian Newey suggested that F1 succumbed to pressure from carmakers focused on electric technologies, while Ferrari's chief, Frederic Vasseur, pointed out, "For the first time, the fuel and the battery suppliers could decide the world championship."

The Formula 1 media, including prominent De Telegraaf correspondent Erik van Haren, has also shown concern, lamenting the timing of the rule changes post-2025 as "a shame."

Amidst these changes, former grand prix drivers like Christijan Albers note the resurgence of competitiveness, stating, "The competition is there again now and it's fun," and "You can also see the doubt now at Red Bull, which is nice after these past few years."

Van Haren echoed these sentiments, finding it perplexing that the rule changes followed one of the best years in 2021. "I don't understand why you then change everything again after four more years. There's always a big gap at the start of the regulations, which we have seen with Red Bull. Now, finally, in year three, everything is coming closer together again. But we face a very good chance that the tension will be gone again in 2026," he reasoned.

Albers, with a hint of resignation, continued, "I'm really bummed about it. The FIA even released the news about the regulations before the teams were ready for it. They thought there would be discussions and that they'd vote on what would and would not go ahead. And then the FIA just put it out there. Then you look at the new regulations and it's a f**king joke. How are they going to achieve all of that? I don't believe in this whole electric thing. It's not going to work out. If they don't think some more about this, the fans will walk away," the Dutchman concluded.

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