FIA finalises 2026 Formula 1 power unit regulations

The framework for the new rule package, which will mainly drop the MGU-H and switch to fully sustainable fuels, has been agreed for several weeks but awaited final approval.

Autosport understand the delay was spearheaded by FIA President Mohammed Ben Sulayem but that the World Motor Sport Council approved the rules laid down on Tuesday 16 August.

Four ‘key pillars’ have been outlined by the governing body to underpin the package, which has been prepared as ‘the result of extensive research and development by the FIA’ plus collaboration between current and potential new powertrain manufacturers.

These pillars “maintain the spectacle”, largely adopting the current fuel-reduced 1.6-litre V6 internal combustion engine specification.

However, the complex and expensive Motor Generator Unit – Heat was abandoned as expected, which was presumably a prerequisite for Porsche and Audi to act in the interests of the Volkswagen Group.

A message of ‘environmental sustainability’ also fits the carmaker’s claims, as F1 will transition to fully sustainable fuel while increasing the electric use of the hybrid powertrain by up to 50% – equivalent to 350kW.

Financial sustainability is theoretically enforced via the introduction of a cost cap for the powertrain.

Max Verstappen, Red Bull Racing

Max Verstappen, Red Bull Racing

Photo by: Red Bull Content Pool

This will come into force on January 1, 2023 in order to achieve more equality in both sporting and economic terms.

The headlines are for 2022-25, a cost cap of $95 million and then $130 million from 2026 — although that excludes marketing, current-gen PU activities, and customer team deployments.

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Minor violations of the limit are punished with fines and “minor sporting penalties”, more serious violations with championship points deducted.

The last listed pillar of the new regulations is that they are “attractive to new genset manufacturers”.

At the Hungarian Grand Prix, the last race before the summer break, Christian Horner said that a lengthy process was still required to determine the suitability of Porsche and its Red Bull team.

But government documents have already surfaced that reveal a 50 per cent stake by the Stuttgart brand’s racing team, in addition to the widely speculated powertrain partnership.

Speaking on the WMSC’s approval of the new rules, FIA President Mohammed Ben Sulayem said: “The FIA ​​continues to drive innovation and sustainability – across our entire motorsport portfolio – the 2026 Formula 1 Power Unit regulations being the most prominent example of this mission.

“The introduction of advanced PU technology together with synthetic sustainable fuels is in line with our goal to bring benefits to road vehicle users and achieve our target of net zero CO2 by 2030.

“Formula 1 is currently enjoying immense growth and we are confident that these regulations will build on the enthusiasm our changes for 2022 have generated.

“I would like to thank all the FIA ​​executives and technical staff involved in this process for their diligence and dedication in working with all our Formula 1 stakeholders to make this happen.

“I would also like to thank our WMSC members for their consideration and approval of these regulations.”

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