Lewis Hamilton and Alex Albon react to new F1 2026 regulations: Slower racing expected?

F1's 2026 regulations might be exciting on paper, but they haven't gone down so well with the drivers yet

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Sergio Perez of Red Bull and Lewis Hamilton of Mercedes speaking to the press ahead of 2024 Canadian Grand Prix | Getty Images / Red Bull Content Pool

Some of Formula 1’s biggest names have slammed the upcoming 2026 aerodynamic regulations as either detrimental to the future of the sport or simply not enough, although the FIA managed to catch some praise for successfully pushing on with their environmental goals.

Lewis Hamilton, Nico Hulkenberg and Alex Albon called out the overhaul ahead of the 2024 Canadian Grand Prix for failing to make the steps forwards anticipated in areas such as weight loss, cornering speed and straight-line speed as they began to call for more work to be done for future generations of cars.

The new rules will see the power units rely on their kinetic energy power unit for 47% of the power share as the MGU-K will produce 350kW whilst the internal combustion engine will account for 400kW as F1 intends to keep the 1000 horsepower target.

Whilst this does put the sport on target for its 2030 Carbon Net Zero aim, coupled with sustainable fuel that can be used in any internal combustion engine, drivers have complained that the simulators indicate a significant drop in speeds enjoyed at the moment.

“I don’t want to speak out of turn,” Albon told select members of the media, including Total-Motorsport.com. “But I think it’s going to be very slow, extremely slow.

Alex Albon commits to Williams by signing multi-year deal | Williams F1 Team
Alex Albon commits to Williams by signing multi-year deal | Williams F1 Team

“So, I’m guessing there’s a lot of stuff being done around, making sure the straight line speeds are not tapering off at the end of a straight with the MGU-K. I still think there needs to be some work done. Seeing some of the work we have done and seeing the speed traces around some of the tracks, it’s pretty slow.”

However, Albon did admit that he hasn’t actually sat in the Williams simulator to take the new regulations for a spin so what are the thoughts of someone who actually has? Step forwards Hulkenberg. The Haas driver has clocked some miles on the computer and also concurs that the rules need some work to be ready for 2026.

“It’s certainly quite different with some interesting areas and aspects,” Hulkenberg said to members of the media, including Total-Motorsport.com. “I think some that still need a bit further work.”

He added: “There’s going to be definitely a drastic change and change, you’re not always so open to it but we’ll see what happens between now and in one and a half years, if there might be some small adjustments.”

Weight loss leaves drivers calling for more

It will also see a 30 kilogram reduction of weight thanks to a smaller length and width of the cars whilst the permitted race fuel will also drop from 100kg to 70kg, with the ambition of creating “nimble” cars as the FIA put it.

Whilst the trio praised it as moving in the right direction, Albon questioned where the weight will actually be saved whilst Hamilton was far from impressed about only 30 kilograms being recovered after the cars have ballooned in the last 20 years.

“I mean, it’s only 30 kilos, so it’s going in the right direction, but it’s still this still heavy?,” Hamilton said to press, including Total-Motorsport.com. “I’ve only just seen what you’ve all seen this morning, so I don’t really have huge thoughts on it just yet.

“I’ve spoken to some drivers who have driven it on the simulator, I haven’t, but they said it’s pretty slow so we will see whether it’s actually the right direction or not.”

There is already a problem with the current rules, which already raised the minimum weight in 2022 because teams failed to make it whilst several of the cars on the grid are still reported to be too heavy. In fact, the prevalence of darker liveries to leave exposed carbon fibre to save paint weight indicates teams are out of ideas to save some pounds.

Render of the 2026 Formula 1 car after regulation changes | FIA

So, Albon also questioned where the weight will actually be saved, adding that if the FIA places this pressure on the teams then it leaves them unclear with the regulations about where to find the ability to save that weight.

“They’re lighter, but they’re making the teams make them lighter,” Albon continued, slamming the rules. “I don’t know what, what parts of the regulations allow them to be lighter. I don’t know the details around it.

“I don’t know, if they’re giving us lighter halos or lighter wheels or what but I don’t think that weight comes for free, as in, it’s more of just a commitment from the team to try to get down to that way.

“The size of the cars I think is the right direction. I’m not speaking negatively around that. I just think there’s positives and negatives around the whole thing. It seems to be that to recover what this engine regulation has created means that everything becomes extremely complicated on the whole aero path we’re going to go down.”

F1 rules earn some respite from Hamilton

Whilst much of the comments have been negative, with drivers believing the rules were rushed and a bit ill-thought out and puts unnecessary pressure on the teams, or simply doesn’t do enough, Hamilton did praise the FIA for continuing with their environmental plan.

The Mercedes driver is one of the biggest advocates on the grid for a green world and owns vegan restaurants to try to combat the beef farming industry, and he had praise for F1’s decision to go carbon-neutral from 2026 with sustainable fuel.

“I think in terms of sustainability, particularly on the power unit side, I think that’s a really bold step,” Hamilton added. “I think it is going in the right direction.

“We just got to make sure the cars are efficient, fast and a natural step forward and actually racing is improved.”

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