Although the regulations are not yet official, teams are busy drafting the designs for the new cars we will see in 2026. One of the aspects that concerns both the federation and the teams is the overall mass, which is excessive with the current cars. With the significant goal set by the FIA, the governing body has ensured that there will be no negotiations on the weight of the 2026 F1 cars.
With the arrival of the wing car generation of cars, the main criticisms have revolved around the considerably high weight of these cars, reaching the threshold of 800 kg. Despite this value including all masses, including the driver, it is far from the “ridiculous” 585 kg of 16 years ago.
An increase in weight is mainly due to technological advancements and the transition to hybrid power units. These are the main contributors, as their operation involves a means of storing electrical energy generated by the MGU-H. However, the increase is also attributed to improved safety, thanks to the HALO, which has led to fewer fatal incidents in the premier series.
However, the FIA is aware that the minimum weight limit tends to increase due to the growing number of elements onboard the cars, with teams pushing for an increase.
With the upcoming regulatory change, the FIA has committed to avoiding such situations. Indeed, it believes that the best policy is to declare a minimum weight and enforce it. A stance that will pose a challenge for teams to make the cars “lose weight” by 40-50 kg, made possible by smaller dimensions and smaller wheels.
After clarifying some elements of DRS 2.0, Nikolas Tombazis reiterated that once the minimum weight is set, the FIA will not be willing to make increments to assist the teams.
“Clearly, it will be a challenge for the teams to reach that reduced weight,” Nikolas Tombazis said.
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“They won’t have an easy time, but we will stick to the weight limit we will impose and won’t inflate it again. They simply have to work harder to reach the minimum weight if they can’t make it.”
With the weight issue ever-present in the F1 paddock, it has even been suggested that, with crash test requirements so severe, the minimum weight limit could be eliminated as it would not compromise safety. A move that, according to Nikolas Tombazis, would trigger an “arms race,” with teams willing to spend wildly for lighter components.
“There has been much discussion about whether a weight limit is needed,” Nikolas Tombazis continued – “However, we believe that its abolition would create an endless battle for weight reduction, with unforeseen consequences. For this reason, for 2026, we have set a minimum limit that will not change in the future. We will no longer be willing to negotiate with teams that, for a couple of kilograms, say, ‘you added the electrical system, let’s add two more kilos,’ or ‘the tires are heavier, let’s add more kilos.'” – the former Ferrari engineer added.
“Teams will have to work with this limit, and I think in 2026, there will be several overweight teams.” – he concluded.