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Norris warns F1 won't be as excitingly close with 2026 new rules

Lando Norris has warned Formula 1 fans that there won’t be “days like today” of super close battles when new rules come into play in 2026.

Lando Norris, McLaren MCL38, George Russell, Mercedes F1 W15

On a weekend when the FIA’s plans for the rules revolution coming in 2026 have been put under the spotlight because of concerns about car performance, Norris has said there could be another consequence too.

He fears that there is a huge likelihood of the rule change blowing apart the grid and moving it away from the super close competition that witnessed the top seven drivers in qualifying for the Canadian Grand Prix being separated by just 0.280 seconds.

“I think you're not going to have days like today again,” said Norris. “You're not going to have days like the last few weeks probably in ‘26, ‘27, ‘28, or pretty much like ‘28, ‘29. So, it's how it's always been.

“Every time there's a regulation change, there's big gaps. And even at the end of the last era, ‘21, things were getting closer again. You had still Red Bull against Mercedes, and everyone was getting closer. And then everything spread out again.

“Red Bull had their time, and now it seems like we've been able to catch up. So just as we're getting there, and I think probably looking ahead to next year already, next year should be an exciting year for everyone, just from first to last. I think it's going to be exciting. But then that's all going to go in ‘26.”

Norris said that F1 had to really decide what it wanted the series to be – one of stable regulations where the racing was close, or one where the rules shifted and spreads the field apart.

“There might be some benefits in the race for those [2026] regulations, there might be some things that are worse,” he said. “The type of racing you're going to get is probably quite different. So, it's complicated.

“It's not a simple answer. I don't know the answer, at the same time. I don't think anyone knows exactly how it's going to pan out.

Lando Norris, McLaren F1 Team, in the post Qualifying Press Conference

Lando Norris, McLaren F1 Team, in the post Qualifying Press Conference

Photo by: Zak Mauger / Motorsport Images

“Always at the end of these regulation changes, we see days like today and we see closer battles – and now Mercedes up here as well. So that's four teams who are fighting towards the top. [That] is eight cars, you're going to see different winners. And I think that's exciting for people watching.

“But definitely, you're not going to have that in ‘26. So, it depends if you want to keep this excitement and keep this challenge that we have now, or if you want to change everything again and have another few years where it's far apart.”

F1 team bosses met on Saturday morning with F1 chiefs and FIA single-seater director Nikolas Tombazis as part of a semi-regular meeting with F1 CEO Stefano Domenicali, where the 2026 rules became a talking point.

It is understood that Tombazis reiterated what he told the media earlier in the day: that motor racing’s governing body was open to making changes to the draft regulations in a bid to alleviate worries about the cars not being fast enough.

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