F1 drivers share their first thoughts on what they think about the upcoming 2026 regulations, where some do have concerns in their mind.

The new-for F1 2026 regulation has opened up long discussions and debate around some of the key elements with regards to chassis, power unit elements, DRS replacement, potential gaps widening and more. There are various pros and cons on the topic.

And the F1 drivers are similar and at the same time different on various topics too. One of the consensus is the cars getting slower especially on straightline. The drivers believe the technical regulation is to compensate the power unit regulation.

After the changes made to rope in different manufacturers, it led to changes on the technical side too to keep the ‘entertainment’ factor alive. A weight loss of about 30 kgs is marked, but F1 drivers are not certain how it is going to be achieved.

While the safety aspect is always top priority and narrower cars are welcomed, but they are not certain how the Manuel Override function would work along with active aero, as a replacement to the current DRS system. The closing gaps could widen as well.

Here’s host of F1 drivers on various topics –

Thoughts on F1 2026 regulations –

Fernando Alonso: “I only saw this morning to be honest, so I cannot comment too much. I only saw the car in picture, 30 kilos less I think and what else? Not much new compared to the previous rumours. Lets see, I mean from a driver point of view, what we want is just close competition, multiple race winners, opportunities for everyone, we don’t want to have a domination of 3-4 years where there is only team or one driver or two drivers can win, so hopefully the 2026 can help on that which is the only thing that Formula 1 is missing. The rest is great. Overall, it should be more simple, perhaps it should be more simply a pure race and more linked to the drivers, the team and the specific setup on each track recalling in the past greater freedom in the design of the cars: some F1 cars had six wheels, just to give an example.

“And on some tracks you can have advantages and on others you know you will get hurt. The same when we had Michelin and Bridgestone tyres in 2005. Maybe a difficult season for Bridgestone if the Michelins were better. It could rain in Montreal and the Intermediate tyres would be great for Bridgestone, and all the Bridgestone cars, they could win the race, or be on the podium. So I like that kind of freedom that gives you the ability to choose something. And it’s not just dictated by regulations. But as I said, this is a personal point of view, everyone will have theirs. I am happy, I’ll adapt, the most important thing is you have the fastest car and you have to work on.”

Lando Norris: “I haven’t looked that much to be honest. It is not something I have looked into or seen that much of yet. I don’t think it is worth it commenting at the minute. At the same time, even the last regulation change we did, the last year or kind of was the most exciting between the first team and the last team i.e competition from first to last and gaps from first to last. It is becoming like that now with Ferrari, Red Bull and us, now just when it is getting exciting, there’s going to be another change.

“I don’t know, I guess there’s reasons for it and you want to make the sport better for different reasons, but as I said, just as the sport gets exciting again, I don’t want it to go the opposite way because a regulation change especially with how complicated these things are with power unit and how the aerodynamics are looking which is not very simple, you can have massive gaps and people are like it is boring again. So, I just don’t want it to go that way, when you look it how it is now, it is probably as exciting, it has been in a very long time, I just want to leave it like this for few years and I think that is going to be the best for people watching on TV.”

Alexander Albon: “Not as in-depth as other teams and drivers have I think. There has been some driver who have done some sim work. We have had our sim guys do sim work, on my side, I haven’t done any. Let’s see. I don’t want to speak out of turn, but it’s going to be very slow, extremely slow. 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 with all of the MGU-K and whatnot being involved. I still think there needs to be some work done. Seeing the speed traces around some of the tracks… it’s pretty slow.”

Valtteri Bottas: “Of course it interests me and it is always a new era of regulations, always exciting, it brings opportunities to different teams and it is nice to see a change but I do like that the cars are slightly smaller but it is a step in the right direction. The same thing with the weight, it is a good one and I still, in the simulator, haven’t tried the new car settings so I cannot really give much more on that but if it is more total power and a bit more freedom on the energy usage in terms of race tactics I think that is positive.

“For now I don’t see any red flags, let’s say. The field is very close. The races are interesting, That’s an issue. On some tracks, overtaking is so difficult. That’s something that needs to be a high focus still. But at least from what I’ve seen, there should be a bit more action. I would say the only worry I have is the overall performance and the downforce level. I’ve heard some rumours that it’s quite a lot less grip overall, which I don’t know how much it’s going to be, that’s what we’ve got to figure out.”

Daniel Ricciardo: “A little bit. A little bit. I know they are. Is it from two meters to 1.9? They’re a little narrower. 30 kilos lighter. So, those little things are in the right direction, because I love like the 2016 car, which was certainly narrower and lighter. So yes, this isn’t going to be as extreme as that, but at least it’s a step in the right direction. I think they’ve acknowledged what we want. So, it’s a start. And then beyond that, obviously, engines and stuff – it’s pretty complicated. So I probably can’t give a very good technical answer on that yet. There’s always some excitement because everyone always, you know, a change can… Obviously, a change can be very positive or sometimes negative.

“But the opportunity for something positive is through change kind of thing. So, if that makes sense. So yeah, I’m optimistic that this could be something good. But yeah, let’s see, I don’t get too excited. But maybe some things are improved through some reg changes. And as I said: a bit lighter a bit narrower is a start. Is it enough? Who knows? But it’s a start. I mean, I would love the 2016 car. That was, for me that was a great balance. This sport obviously moves on. So it’s not something that we know we’ll probably go back to but at least it’s gone back slightly to something in that direction.”

Kevin Magnussen: “Time well tell whether it is going to…I guess the overall hope is that, it is going to give better racing. I don’t know, we have to wait and see.”

Carlos Sainz: “I think ’26 is going to be a lottery. I think you guys have seen the regs today. When I had a look, it looks impossible for me to predict whose going to be competitive. I know right now you guys see it in quite a dramatic perspective not being in a competitive car for ’25 or ’26 but I think ’26 is going to be such a turnaround that maybe the future holds something really positive out there for me.”

Charles Leclerc: “Carlos was quite a lot on it in the last few days, I was a lot less on it. It’s been announced this morning and I didn’t have much time to look at it. With the little things I’ve seen, I think the biggest question mark is what’s going to happen engine-wise, and how it will look on track, with the battles and the way you will manage energy, because energy will be a big thing. These are the biggest question marks, but for now, I didn’t have any running on the simulator or whatsoever, so it’s difficult to comment on numbers and things that you see on paper. But little by little, I guess we’ll have clear ideas in the months to come.”

George Russell: “There are a lot of exciting things about 2026. I think mainly from the power unit, I think that’s an exciting change for sport. And it’s a really good direction that we’re going in with the sustainable fuels. We’re doing more electrification. And there have to be some compromises along the way. So I think the cars we’ll be seeing in ’26 will be very different to what we have today. So they’re going to be much faster in the straights. They will be slower in the corners and they may be slower around a lap, but we’re 20 drivers who probably are the only ones who feel that when you watch on television, maybe you can’t tell if you go through a corner at 250 or 200, I don’t know to be honest, because when I watched MotoGP that still looked really quick and they go through a corner 100 kilometres an hour slower than what a Formula 1 car does. So as I said there’s always a compromise. We’ll have to wait and see how it pans out.”

Max Verstappen: “To be honest, I’m quite in the middle. I mean, new rules are new rules. I do think that it’s a bit of a consequence of the engine as well, right? They realised. They say it’s 50/50, of course, between engine and battery, but it’s not really like that. So that’s why we need the active aero, of course, on the straight to reduce the drag to make it all, let’s say, more sustainable to do a proper lap, otherwise you run out of battery. This was a problem that they found out. But besides that, the only thing is what other drivers have said as well: the longer you keep the regulations the same, the closer it gets between the teams. So ’26 will be probably quite a big reset.

“Also not only from the car performance side, but also from the engine side, people can hit the regulation well and have a big advantage on the engine. Maybe it’s just something that we don’t know at the moment, but we’ll see. Some people probably feel more confident about that than others. On the other side, of course, F1 wanted to attract new manufacturers as well, and you need a real change for that to happen. I mean, we’ll see, I guess maybe I am very positively surprised when I jump in the real car and I’m like, “Oh, this is amazing.” I don’t know. But at the moment I’m in the middle of like, whatever we drive what we get.”

Weight loss, size –

Lewis Hamilton: “I mean, it’s only 30 kilos, so it’s going in the right direction, but it’s still heavy. So, 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. But I think in terms of sustainability, particularly on the power unit side, I think that’s a really bold step and I think it’s going in the right direction. We’ve just got to make sure the cars are efficient, fast, and a natural step forward, and actually racing is improved.”

Alonso: “I think it is impossible probably to achieve 30 kilos already. If the power unit is 50% electric and you need the batteries to support that, cars will just increase 20 or 30 kilos because of the power unit. And then you want to reduce 30 kg – you need to drop 60 kilos of the current car, which is the same as at the moment, probably to the teams is an impossible target. They have two years to achieve that target and as always in Formula 1, what is impossible in 2024 will become reality in 2026 because there are very clever people in the teams. But I think all is a consequence of something else that is in the cars.”

Albon: “They’re lighter, but they’re making the teams make them lighter. 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. Obviously, it seems to be that to recover what this engine regulation has created means that everything becomes extremely complicated, the whole aero path we’re going to go down. I’d rather just have a bit more simple engines, little bit more standarised parts within the engines or whatever it may be, just to turn to more basic regulation.”

DRS replacement, MOM –

Alonso: “It looks complicated. At the end of the day, the fans need to say their point of view. For us, it’s just maybe extra work on the steering wheel or different buttons to press. Definitely the technology and the complexity of the cars are quite high at the moment. It doesn’t look like it will be less in 2026. It was the same before, when we had KERS on for six seconds and you had to choose where in the corners and lap to use that six seconds. And sometimes you used it in different places to the car in front and vice versa and it created some overtaking opportunities. So I tend to agree with giving some freedom to drivers to use power here or there and to create alternative strategies, which we are now deploying all in the same places at the same time, which is a little bit more a routine.”

Albon: “What I can say is, for example, we have this whole procedure around track limits where, if we’re one millimetre outside of the track limits and even if the track edge is gravel, and you still go past it, it’s still deemed as a track limits issue – like Logan had in Imola, for example. The whole reason it’s so black and white for them – and obviously we accept how it is – is so the fans and everyone can make it clear to differentiate and not question mark why this corner isn’t track limits and the rest of the track is. So, in that series of events, in some ways I agree with you. Some things we do to make it more easy for the fans but I think is going to be too technical for us, never mind the fans, but let’s see.”

Ricciardo: “Time will tell. I think it’s one of those ones where I’d like… I guess I have faith in the Formula 1 paddock, let’s say, that there is enough smart people to get on top of it. And if it’s maybe not ideal or perfect at the start, there’s enough brains that will solve it and everyone will catch on and it’ll… it’ll find its way to a good home.”

Verstappen: “I don’t know how effective it’s going to be. This is something that I haven’t seen yet, how effective that is going to be. Maybe we need some bananas, and a red shell (jokes)…Well, I hope not [too complicated]. Let’s say it like that. I hope it’s not going to go that way, but at the moment it’s still a bit of a question mark, I guess, for a lot of people how everything is going to turn out. So it definitely needs a bit more, like few more simulations to be run. But this is work in progress, right? We’re in 2024, ’26 in a way is still a while, but at the other hand, it’s, it’s for the engines, especially it’s a very short day.

“But yeah, we’ll see if it’s the right way to go with things. If the racing suddenly becomes a lot better than I guess everyone is happy. If it works well, it works well, right? But if it is, I honestly find that a bit difficult at the moment to pinpoint because it’s going to depend a lot on how well you can follow as well and then how effective the boost is, how slow the recharge mode is. There are a lot of things that I still need to really understand, you know. Everyone, you know, it’s not only me. It’s everyone who’s even also designing the Or, like, getting the rules together, how well everything is going to work. But it’s definitely, a bit more complicated.”

Power unit –

Alonso: “The engines are very ambitious in terms of targets and maybe some of these aero devices and aero things that you need to change on the straight, just to compensate…maybe too ambitious power unit targets.”

Sainz: “I think it is very early to tell, from what I see in my honest opinion, there is a very radical change on the engine side…a very particular radical change, 50-50 power supply from electric and combustion engine, I think this has generated a big question mark or how the tracks are going to be, how the speed traces are going to be of the cars and we are trying to do everything possibly we can to mitigate a bit of that situation. Hopefully, we are not exaggerating for the future and hopefully we put together something that makes sense, not too far from the racing that we have seen in Formula 1 over the last few years. I am really hoping that is the case and we don’t go too far away from – because of the engine – the racing we have seen lately and the history of Formula 1.”

Russell: “The PU regs are exciting. And I think the manufacturers are going to take strides over these years in the development, we can already see it within Mercedes, the progress we’re making. And it’s looking really promising at the moment with the sustainable fuel with Petronas. And the experience the team had from Formula E and even the Hypercar project that the team did eight years ago, not knowing that it was gonna be beneficial for the future. So that’s really interesting. I think the cars are gonna take a quite a big turn in terms of how they perform. They’re gonna be exceptionally quick in the straights, you know, 360 [kp/h] at probably most tracks, which is pretty impressive.

“Obviously, then the safety needs to be probably improved because having a crash at 360-370 is gonna be pretty crazy. For them, the cornering speeds are gonna be massively reduced, so I’m sure the team can find a way to bring that closer to where we’ve been recently, but from a from a driving standpoint, you want the fastest cars, you wanna feel like you’re in a fighter jet and in 2020 and 2021 that’s how it felt. Now, these cars are getting very quick again in this current era, and I’m sure next year maybe it’s even gonna be battling the 2020 lap times that we were seeing. You know, it would be a shame to lose some of that performance of the car, but on the flip side it will improve the racing if there’s less downforce and there’s less dirty air, so I think to conclude all of that, you can’t have it all, and you’ve got to choose your battles.”

Verstappen: “At the moment that is. It’s going to be very tough, I guess, with how everything is, but let’s see. Even now, some teams are overweight, right? So, to go even 30 kilos less, of course, I know that the dimensions, they change a little bit, but I’m sure that, let’s say, 30 kilos will be the perfect scenario. [But] you need at least 100, 150kg [less to make drivers happy]. At the moment with how everything is, no for sure it’s not possible.

“But that is also to do with the engine, right? Engine, battery related, it’s very heavy. And long, wide. It’s yeah, that at the moment is wishful thinking, but that is definitely what we need, you know, to make it more agile and probably a bit more fun compared to, of course, safety, you know, added a lot of weight, which of course is good, but I’m sure that we can do things a little bit differently, but it depends on the regulations that you write.”

Simulator feel –

Nico Hulkenberg: “Yeah, it’s certainly quite different. Some interesting areas and aspects. I think some that still need a bit further work. Like Lewis said, I think the weight reduction is good, but then 30 kilos is also… It’s not the world. It looks like a lot less downforce, especially high-speed corners. It will be quite a different scenario and characteristic to now. So, you know, there is going to be definitely a drastic change. And, you know, change is always… You’re not always so open to it. But, yeah, we’ll see what happens between now and, you know, in the one and a half years, if there might be some small adjustments or not with what’s going on.”

Verstappen: “I’ve seen a lot of simulation, the team, it’s not like it suddenly came out now and, oh, now we start developing. It’s something that has been around and fine tuned, and I have to say from the first time that I saw it to the latest updates that I’ve seen, I think they made really good progress in how the engine is, let’s say, working with the chassis in relationship on the straights and stuff. With some tracks I think it will look better than others, naturally, when you are more, like, energy limited. But it’s something that we have to deal with. Being slow? It depends on the track layout as well. From what I remember, some tracks probably will be a little bit faster, some tracks will be slower. It just depends on the layout of the track, the energy, what you can use, and of course the type of corners that you have on the track.”

Gaps large again –

Oscar Piastri: “I mean, I kind of agree with both points. I think every time the regs have changed, it’s led to a pretty big spread, especially with engines, 2014 being the last time with that and kicking off a really long period of dominance. And I think we’ve seen even with these regs, we’re only just starting to catch up to Red Bull, week in, week out, now. I think we have an important place in society to be at the forefront of technology and innovation, and I think that’s always what F1’s been about in some ways.

“And I guess you could argue that sometimes that does come at the cost of the racing, which is always a shame. Yeah, I think both points are kind of separate, really. I wouldn’t be surprised if the teams sort of separate a bit more in 2026, both with different aero regs and especially the engine regs. There’s a very big chance, I would say, that the teams are going to be more spread out than what they are now. But we’ll have to wait and see.”

Hamilton: “Probably similar to what Oscar said. I think it’s difficult to say, but more often than not, when they’ve done the changes, some teams do better than the others, and there is a bit of a difference early on. I hope that with this new regulation change that everything’s a bit closer, and the engine’s not complete revamp. It’s not like moving from V8 to V6, so hopefully through that, that doesn’t make too big a difference, and then it’s just about getting the cars right.”

Sergio Perez: “Yeah, I think we… Otherwise, we’ve got to enjoy the year and a half that we’ve got left with this regulation in this very close racing. Because there’s always a potential that someone is going to get it right – very right – like we’ve seen some other teams have done that in the past. And then it’s really difficult. It takes a few years to catch up. So I do expect that to happen in ‘26. As always, I think the best for the sport will be to keep the rules as consistent as possible. But also, like Oscar said, there is a lot to do with the sport, with the technology involved to attract new manufacturers.”

Here’s first look at F1 2026 regs

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Here’s F1 drivers on yellow, red flag lap deletion

Here’s news on Emanuele Pirro being FIA Single-Seater President

Here’s F1, FIA on safety post Monaco GP crash

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