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V8 engines, no hybrids, smaller tyres - Verstappen reveals his F1 dream

Max Verstappen has revealed his dream for what future Formula 1 cars should be, amid fears about plans for 2026 being a step in the wrong direction.

Max Verstappen, Red Bull Racing

The two-time world champion has been left far from impressed about his first experience of the future engine and car rules during trials on the Red Bull simulator.

He had previously spoken out about the way that drivers could be forced to change down gears on the straight to try to recharge batteries and said all indications looked "very bad" about the impact on the racing.

Speaking ahead of the British Grand Prix about the situation regarding 2026, Verstappen offered some insight into his own mindset about what would be a better direction for F1.

And he reckoned that a return to full reliance on a combustion engine, plus lighter cars and smaller wheels, would be a massive step forward in his opinion.

"These [current] cars are, of course, incredibly fast," he said. "I still enjoyed the 2020 and 2021 cars. They were a bit more agile and more fun, but also they were very heavy.

"I would definitely get rid of the hybrid. I think all the time, when I jump back in a V8, I am always so surprised at how smooth the engine is. The top speed is slow compared to what we have now, but it's just the pickup of the engine and the torque.

"It's so smooth the whole delivery process: the downshift, and the upshifts. It's so much more natural to what we have."

Beyond the engines, Verstappen thinks that car weight is something that needs urgent addressing, although he accepted that going back to cars that weigh around 550kg would now be impossible because of safety demands.

"Of course, the safety standards, they have to go up and they have to improve. That is why the cars are getting heavier and heavier, to basically make the chassis stronger, all these kinds of things. So that naturally has a blame.

Max Verstappen, Red Bull Racing RB19

Max Verstappen, Red Bull Racing RB19

Photo by: Alessio Morgese

"We can't go back to 500 kilos, but I think where we are at the moment is way too heavy. We need to look into that.

"Also, I think the tyres, these big tyres, you don't really see a lot when you go into corners in terms of hitting an apex. So, I prefer the smaller tyres. It was a lot more fun."

Verstappen also believes that rather than F1 heading towards cars that have reduced drag on the straights, that grand prix racing should be going in the other direction.

"There are quite a few things I would change," he added. "I would make the cars also a lot more draggy, so you don't have to rely so much on the DRS.

"Again, with these new cars in '26, they look like they have a lot less drag. So, it will be even harder to pass as well."

Driving 2026 cars 'not right'

Verstappen has offered some more insight into the 'weird' way that the F1 2026 cars will need to be driven, after finding out on the simulator about the requirement to change down gears on the straight.

"It is just not right I think that you have to drive the car like that," he said. "And also, under braking, you just almost literally stay flat out. I think it will just create a very weird atmosphere.

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"It's a bit like with the blown diffusers, just being flat out almost. For me, it just looks very weird. And also, with the active aero, that is regulating itself. It looks a bit odd to me.

"I think it's really overcomplicating a lot of things and, from the engine side, we really need to look at it."

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