far beyond push to pass…

far beyond push to pass…
far beyond push to pass…

F1 Power Unit: The nuances of F1 2026 are increasingly emerging

Photo: Mercedes AMG F1

Since 2024 seems to be set, some eyes are already turning to 2026, when F1 promises a new technical revolution. Last Thursday (28), the FIA ​​released the newest update to the 2026 engine rules. In this case, the sporting part and the technical part of this area.

Many people are still waiting for the release of the versions of the technical regulations for cars, which appear in drops. However, the documentation released now gives some clues as to what the future of F1 could be.

The point that caught everyone’s attention was the possibility of implementing a reinforced use scheme for overtaking. In the part where it talks about Power Unit torque and torque demand (item 5.14), more specifically in item 5.14.7, the regulations say that full power cannot be available, with the exception of “overtaking mode”.

The first view we have is that there could be a return to the initial KERS scheme in 2009, which envisaged the use of 80 hp for around 6 seconds. But the specific engine regulations do not make it very clear what this “overtaking mode” would be, which should appear in the next versions.

Currently, power units have more extreme modes of use (not quite the “party mode” of other times…). But as it stands in this writing, it leaves open the use of a kind of “push-to-pass” in the scheme similar to that of the IndyCar, although it will not necessarily be implemented. However, Pat Symonds, responsible for the technical area of ​​F1, has made it clear that “active aerodynamics will continue to play a role in the new phase of the category”. In other words, we will still have DRS and similar ones. This use of energy will be a big wildcard.

But we have other points to observe that didn’t make as much noise as this. However, they end up having a major impact on the dynamics of F1 2026…

– A definition of “external UP manufacturer” was included. Here, he talks about a person or entity that was qualified to be an engine supplier and gave up or that is developing an engine but is not yet registered with the FIA ​​to do so. Here, it was a clause to stop Cadillac’s dreams of putting its name on an existing engine until its own was ready or the repetition of a Honda/Red Bull movement.

– The regulations gave the teams freedom for a little more development. In addition to the leveling clause opened at the beginning of each season (if an engine’s performance is more than 3% below the highest value measured in the first 5 races of each season, the FIA ​​will authorize the manufacturer to change the engine), some items can be improved after 2026. An example: is the plenum (that part located at the cylinder inlet, which ends up influencing the shape of the hood and is extremely important for power generation), which can be changed in 26, 27 and 29 .

The engine plenum (wrapped in yellow): an area that will have more freedom of development

Photo: NicolasF1 (Nicholas Carpentier) / X

– Regarding the number of units to be used throughout the year, there was a reassessment of the quantity: from 2026 there will be 3 Combustion Engines (ICE), 3 Turbos (TC), 3 Sets of Exhausts (currently 8), 2 batteries , 2 MGU-K and Centralina.

However, in 2026, due to the new regulations, each driver will be entitled to one more unit of each item, as well as manufacturers that do not supply an engine in 2026.

– A point that also draws attention to the use of the electric motor is the definition of the power limit. Article 5.4 provides that the faster the car is traveling, the less the electric motor will be used. The definition is as follows:

If the car is below 340 km/h: 1800 – (5x the speed)

If the car is traveling at 340 km/h: 6900 – (20x the speed)

If the car is above 345km/h = 0

If the car is in overtaking mode, with a speed equal to or above 355km/h: 7100 – (20x speed).

Within this logic, when the car is at lower speeds, the electric motor will be able to do the “dirty job” of pushing the car. Up to 290km/h, the electric part has its 470 hp entirely available. And the faster it is, the less the electric motor works, and the combustion engine comes into action, which still generates the majority of the power of the new Power Unit.

Electric motor usage chart

Photo: Sergio Milani / Technical Regulations UP F1 2026 FIA

This situation was included to allow better use of the electrical part. One concern was that, especially on straight lines, the battery would discharge directly and the combustion engine would overload.

Although the regulations only provide for the use of the MGU-K from 50 km/h per hour when starting from a standstill, it opens up the possibility of use in the pits. However, from this speed onwards, the electric motor is free for use. In FIA WEC, the electric motor is generally released for use from 150 or 190 km/h (in addition to leaving the pit).

With the ability to use more than twice the current energy (9MJ x 4MJ), pilots will have to know how to dose the use of batteries even more. After all, the power of the combustion engine should be around 550 horsepower (compared to the current 850 hp) and part of the energy will be used to avoid delays in the turbo’s operation, something that the current MGU-H does.

In this way, we should have a less noisy engine and speed being guaranteed through a lighter car and relying increasingly on active aerodynamics. If the feeling of speed is not taken away and the disputes are real, F1 fans will not complain.

The article is in Portuguese

Tags: push pass ..



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