Verstappen warns 2026 regulations risk turning F1 into an engines championship

Max Verstappen is not particularly happy about the 2026 F1 regulations

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Max Verstappen has warned Formula 1 risks becoming a championship dependent on which team has the strongest internal combustion engine (ICE) if the 2026 engine regulations are not changed. 

F1’s 2026 power units will see the engine split equally between a combustion electrical power output attracting support from Ford and Audi, who signed up to the new regulations.

However, the new regulations have drawn criticism from Christian Horner, who believes the cars will become “technical Frankensteins” where drivers will be forced to downshift to save battery power on the straights.

“I’ve seen the data and already on the simulator as well it to me, it looks pretty terrible,” said Verstappen to the media. 

“If you go flat out on the straight, and 400-500 four or five hundred metres before the end of the straight, you have to downshift flat out. Because that’s faster. I think that’s not the way forward.

“It’s going to be an ICE competition, so whoever has the strongest engine will have a big benefit. I don’t think that should be the intention of F1 because [it will ll] start a massive development war.”

Max Verstappen in action during the Austrian GP | Clive Rose / Getty Images / Red Bull Content Pool

Active aerodynamics will make cars more awkward to drive

Active aerodynamics will also be introduced in 2026 to improve racing and lower the amount of drag cars produce.  

The re-introduction of active aerodynamics, after an absence dating back to 1969, is due to F1’s desire to slash fuel consumption during a lap, with the series switching to sustainable fuels for 2026.

“​​You have active aerodynamics, which you can’t control,” explained Verstappen. “Which then makes [the car] very awkward to drive because I prefer to control myself.

“When you’re behind someone, maybe you need more front or rear. If the system starts to control that for you, I don’t think that’s the right way forward.

“We have to seriously look at this because 2026 is not far away.  At the moment, for me, it looks very bad from all the numbers and what I see from the data already. So it’s not something I’m very excited about at the moment.”

Where is the next F1 2023 race?

With the F1 circus finished in Austria, we move on to the 2023 British Grand Prix, which will be held at Silverstone in Northamptonshire, England, over the weekend of July 7-9.

Ed Spencer
Ed Spencer
FIA accredited journalist
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