F1 2026 engine rules approval clears way for Porsche and Audi
Formula 1 has finally approved its new engine regulations for 2026, paving the way for “new” manufacturers like Audi and Porsche to enter F1 in the near future.
Porsche is in the process of buying Red Bull’s F1 team to develop a new engine in partnership with Red Bull’s new powertrain division, while Audi has been closely linked with the Alfa Romeo/Sauber takeover.
Both VW Group brands have based their potential entry on F1 finalizing these new regulations.
In a statement, the FIA said new sporting, technical and financial regulations have been approved for 2026, following four “key pillars” linked to F1’s overall strategy.
• Maintaining the show – the 2026 power unit will have similar performance to current designs, using high output, high revving V6 internal combustion engines and avoiding excessive performance differentiation to allow for better raceability.
• Environmental sustainability – the 2026 power unit will include an increase in electrical power deployment of up to 50% and use 100% sustainable fuel.
• Financial Viability – Financial regulations for power units will reduce overall costs for competitors while maintaining the cutting-edge technology showcase that is at the heart of Formula 1.
• Attractive to new power unit manufacturers – the regulations aim to make it possible and attractive for newcomers to join the sport at a competitive level.
The FIA’s detailed breakdown of this framework confirms that F1 engines must be powered by “fully sustainable” fuel, meaning that “no new fossil carbon will enter the atmosphere from a car’s exhaust. of Formula 1” from 2026.
Fuel flow to the internal combustion engine will be limited by energy rather than mass or volume, and the development of the lower half of the engine (engine block, crankshaft, connecting rods, pumps and accessories) will be limited.
Manufacturers will have more freedom to develop the upper half of the engine, with the aim of optimizing the combustion system around new fuels.
As expected, the MGU-H will disappear and there will be a general drive to limit the use of expensive exotic materials in engine design, in order to reduce expenditure.
Removing the MGU-H complex was seen as one of the key gestures towards new manufacturers, as it would reduce the benefits for those who already have experience using the technology in F1.
New manufacturers also get a concession in the power unit cost cap that was introduced.
This is set at $95 million for the 2023-25 seasons and then at $130 million from the start of the new engine rules in 2026.
But the new manufacturers are entitled to an additional $10 million for their first two seasons and $5 million for the third.
This prospect had not been popular with current manufacturers, who felt that the removal of the MGU-H was a big enough concession on its own.
The dimensions of internal engine components, such as pistons, will now be more tightly defined than before, and accessories such as exhausts, which are frequently replaced on current engines, will need to last the life of each engine.
The loss of the MGU-H is replaced by an increased power of the MGU-K to increase the electric power to 350 kW (about 469 hp).
The FIA says these rules will aim to “increase the road relevance of cells, power electronics and MGUK” within energy recovery systems, and that general power unit arrangements will be more closely outlawed to avoid a single manufacturer perspective. develop the kind of advantage that Mercedes gained at the start of the hybrid era by separating its turbo from its supercharger.
Drivers will be limited to three ICEs and exhausts, and two energy stores and MGU-Ks each season – but for the first year of the new rules, one additional item will be allowed.
Dynamometer limits will also be introduced to control costs.
Work on current-generation gensets (for which the specification is now largely frozen) will be excluded from the original $95 million genset cost cap limit that applies from 2023 to 2025.
[3D Audi F1 model by Chris Paul Design/Unkredible Studios]