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FIA wants to avoid weight “haggling” with F1 2026 rules

The FIA has vowed to steer clear of any “haggling” over Formula 1’s minimum weight limit for the new 2026 rules era, to avoid cars stealthily getting too bulky.

Max Verstappen, Red Bull Racing RB19, Charles Leclerc, Ferrari SF-23, Oscar Piastri, McLaren MCL60, Lando Norris, McLaren MCL60, George Russell, Mercedes F1 W14, the rest of the field at the start of the race

One of the criticisms of the current ground effect machines is that they are far too heavy – with the current minimum weight limit being set at 798kg.

Although this figure does include a baseline element for the drivers, it is still a far cry from the 585kg that the cars alone weighed in 2008.

Much of the increase in weight has come from the move to hybrid powerunits that include heavy batteries, as well as a raft of safety measures including tougher impact protection structures and the Halo.

But the FIA is aware that there has been a tendency for the minimum weight limit to creep up as the result of teams putting pressure on the governing body to raise things to compensate for new car elements.

This is something that it wants to avoid for 2026, as it feels that it will be a better policy to declare a weight limit for the start of the new rules cycle and then stick to it.

Its stance comes amid an outline plan to bring F1 car weight down by 40 to 50 kilos in 2026 – which will be helped by smaller cars and wheels.

Nikolas Tombazis

Photo by: Mark Sutton / Motorsport Images

Nikolas Tombazis

Nikolas Tombazis, the FIA’s head of single seater matters, is clear though that once the weight limit is set, then the FIA will not be willing to allow it to creep up just because teams are struggling to hit it.

“Clearly it will still be a challenge for the teams to achieve that low weight,” he said. “They're not going to have an easy ride there.

“But we are going to stick to the weight limit we're going to impose, and we won't be inflating upwards again.

“They [the teams] will just have to push harder to reduce the weight if they can't make it.”

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Amid much debate over recent years about heavy cars, there have even been suggestions that, with crash test requirements being so stringent now, there could be a case of getting rid of the minimum weight limit completely as it would not compromise safety.

Tombazis thinks that would not be ideal though, as it could open up a spending war where teams were focusing most of their resources on chasing lightweight components.

“That has been discussed a few times, about whether we need the weight limit,” he said.

“But we believe that to get rid of it completely would be creating a never-ending battle of reducing the weight. That could have some unforeseen consequences.

“So, what we're putting for 2026 will be a weight limit which afterwards will not change.

“We will not be succumbing to this continuous sort of haggling for a couple of kilos, where the teams say, ‘you've added the electrical, let's add two kilos’, or the tyres are a bit heavier, let's add another few kilos and things like that. We won't be doing that.

“Teams will have to work to that limit. And I think there could be some teams that are a bit overweight in 2026.”

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