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Formula 1 Canadian GP

FIA open to changes amid team fears over F1 2026 rules

The FIA is ready to listen to team concerns about Formula 1’s 2026 car plans, and will likely make changes to the rules over the next months to improve them.

F1 2026 FIA car renders

In the wake of the FIA issuing its outline plans for the 2026 rules revamp earlier this week, a number of teams have expressed fears about numerous aspects of what is on the table.

Some of the worries surround the performance of the cars and their lack of downforce, with early simulation running suggesting they could be slower than F2 cars in the corners.

As McLaren team principal Andrea Stella said about the draft rules in Canada: “The cars are not fast enough in the corners and too fast on the straights.”

Furthermore, teams are not happy with how restrictive some of the rules make development – which risks minimising their own ability to make improvements.

But while the current draft regulations are to be put to the FIA’s World Motor Sport Council next week ahead of a likely ratification on June 28, the governing body has made it clear that it is open to working with teams to address any improvements that need to be made.

Speaking about the varied reaction that the FIA had had to the rules from teams and drivers, its single-seater director Nikolas Tombazis said: “The World Council discussion and hopefully approval is the first step.

“We are not in the final set of regulations yet and we do have quite a few things that we need to find and discuss with the teams. We are equally conscious of some of the concerns regarding downforce with the cars or straightline speed, and these are things that we class as refinements that still need to take place.

Photo by: FIA

“So between, let's say, the end of the month, when these regulations would hopefully be published, and the start of 2025 when teams can start aerodynamic development, because they cannot start earlier, we do expect a reasonable amount of extra work to be done in full consultation with the teams, with FOM and everybody else.

“Hopefully that will lead to some refinements that will be submitted to the World Council, maybe a bit later in the year and hopefully approved.”

Tombazis accepted that team concerns about the performance of cars being so slow based on the current state of the regulations were justified, but he said things will be very different when the 2026 cars eventually roll out.

“I think the fears are accurate, because people are taking a snapshot of what the regulations are on a piece of paper now, and are making comments on the basis of what they see," he explained.

“I don't have any concern about these issues raised by people, but clearly we have full expectation to make some steps up for performance. And that's exactly why we've set the bar reasonably low to start with, so we can build up on that with collaboration with the teams. To increase the downforce of these cars is actually quite easy.

“So I understand the comments, but I don't think there's any concern these cars will be not faster than F2 or anything like that. I think that will be 100% resolved when we are in the final regs.”

Some of the compromises being made for the chassis regulations are a consequence of the fact that F1 has committed to new turbo hybrid engines that have a 50/50 power split between the ICE and battery components.

Photo by: Mark Sutton

One of the best ways that some competitors suggest the cars could be made quicker would be by lifting the power that can be produced by the ICE element – which would be achieved through not restricting fuel flow as much.

While previously such an idea has been dismissed, Tombazis suggested that it was not out of the question to go down that route if the power unit manufacturers were in favour.

“There's a slightly different position in terms of governance with the power unit, because we are already under governance agreement in relation to the power unit regulations, which means that any tweaks that may be necessary would still need to be agreed with the power unit manufacturers and cannot be done, let's say, unilaterally,” he said.

“But because there's, generally speaking, a very good spirit of collaboration, if there are some tweaks needed, I'm quite confident the PU manufacturers would help and be collaborative.”

Watch: The Future of Formula One - First Look at The 2026 F1 Regulations

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