Symonds gives update on the progress of the 2026 F1 regulations

The chief technical officer of Formula 1, Pat Symonds, have updated Total-Motorsport on the progress of the 2026 regulations and whether the new cars will be fundamentally different to their predecessors.

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Formula 1‘s chief technical officer, Pat Symonds, has revealed that work has already begun on the 2026 generation of Grand Prix cars.

In spite of 2022 seeing F1 begin an era of new regulations which resulted in drastically different cars, attention has already turned to 2026, with six engine manufacturers already signed up to the new power unit regulations.

Speaking exclusively to Total-Motorsport.com at Autosport International, Symonds gave an update about the progress of the 2026 regulations.

“We’ve been working on 2026 for a couple of years on the aerodynamics, and whenever you finish a project, you are never satisfied; you know you can do better,” Symonds told Total-Motorsport.com.

“Just as we were finalising the 2022 regulations, we had a breakthrough on something that could be much better, which was carried forward and developed into the 2026 car.”

Automatic aerodynamics and moveable wings are likely to be added

FERRARI F1 GP GIAPPONESE SABATO 08/10/2022 | Scuderia Ferrari Press Office

Symonds also briefly spoke about the development of the 2026 breed of cars which will include automatic aerodynamics but will not be fundamentally different to their predecessors. 

This is despite Symonds‘ own desire of wanting the 2026 cars to be shorter.

“In the first couple of years of (development of) the 26 cars, we wanted to look at radical ideas as well; we evaluated those quite a lot; none of them were worth pursuing”, explained Symonds.

“In terms of appearance, we are playing around with dimensions at the moment. I hope the cars will be shorter; they’re very big at the moment.

“They’ll have a lot of automatic aerodynamics. So you’ll see moveable wings, but it’ll still be recognisable as a Formula 1 car. You’ll be able to see their heritage.”

Active suspension and traction control remain frozen out

Ayrton Senna, Damon Hill, Michael Schumacher at 1993 Brazilian GP | Twitter @F1

The 2026 regulations, however, will not see the return of active suspension or traction control despite fan requests for these driver aids to return.

Symonds argues that the technology wouldn’t necessarily improve the show despite his enjoyment of using both driver aids during his time at Benetton.

“I am ambivalent about it; I thoroughly enjoyed it when we had those very technical cars. As an engineer, it was the most interesting time to be designing a Formula 1 car,” reflected Symonds.

“Active suspension, as we know it, would not have helped porpoising; porpoising is a higher frequency than really a normal active system could deal with, some could deal with it, but they’re very power savvy.

“But what we need to do is put on a good show for the fans; that’s what matters, so does that need technology that’s hidden away? I don’t think it does.”

Ed Spencer
Ed Spencer
FIA accredited journalist
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