Meaner and greener? F1’s 2026 power unit rules finally confirmed

Published: 17 August 2022 Updated: 17 August 2022

► New rules for powertrains to come into force in 2026
► Further aligned with road car landscape
► MGU-H gets the boot, but hybrid power increases

After months of discussions, Formula One has revealed new engine rules for 2026. Due to come into force in four years’ time, the new regulations represent the first major change to the hybrid rules introduced in 2014 – which themselves follows F1’s naturally-aspirated V8 era. 

‘The introduction of advanced PU technology, along with synthetic sustainable fuels, aligns with our objective of delivering benefits for road car users and meeting our objective of net zero carbon by 2030,’ said FIA president Mohammed ben Sulayem. 

‘Formula 1 is currently enjoying immense growth and we are confident these regulations will build on the excitement our 2022 changes have produced.’

So what’s new? 

The rules aren’t that different at their core, but there are a few key changes that’ll certainly impact manufacturers, as well as the way F1 aligns itself to environmental issues and road car technologies. 

F1 will remain a hybrid formula, but the balance of hybrid to internal combustion has changed significantly. The new PU will be able send deploy 350kW of power to the rear wheels – a 50% increase in deployment. This increased ceiling will also have a knock-on effect of more energy regeneration, once again boosting F1’s green credentials. 

Like the previous rules, hybrid power will be paired with a fairly high-revving 1.6-litre V6 internal combustion engine, only soon the block will have less fuel to play with. In 2026, cars will use 70kg of fuel per race as opposed to the 100kg burned in the current regulations. 

Sadly, the MGU-H, arguably the most interesting piece of the puzzle has now gone, with costs and complexity often cited as the key reasons for its removal. On top of that, it’s widely believed that the device – used to spin-up the turbo and eliminate turbo-lag – was a sticking point for possible new entrants Porsche and Audi. 

Biofuels – a huge area for likely entrance Porsche – will also be introduced in 2026. A percentage of fuel used this year is already synthetic, but that’ll increase to 100% in the new regulations. 

With a new cost-cap expected to enclose the new powertrain rules (the current one doesn’t extend to the power unit) and a message which aligns even more with road car tech, Porsche and Audi’s long-awaited entries could be just around the corner. 

By Curtis Moldrich

CAR's Digital Editor, F1 and sim-racing enthusiast. Partial to clever tech and sports bikes