Everything is boring in the fight for the championship in Formula 1, but that does not mean that old acquaintances from Mercedes and Red Bull do not have the opportunity to fight each other. Since they don’t fight on the tracks, another reason was found: the future rules of Formula 1. Christian Horner scares everyone with the terrible regulations of 2026, and Toto Wolf replies that the “bulls” just want to rewrite the rules for themselves. Who has the reason?
It all started with material from the Autosport-Motorsport media empire, in which anonymous representatives of F-1 teams expressed fears about upcoming global changes to the World Cup rules. As they study the 2026 draft regulation and begin working with future power plants, engineers have serious concerns.
Now, F-1 engines produce around a thousand horsepower, and the new technical regulation sets the ambitious task of extracting half the power thanks to the MGU-K kinetic energy generator. Accordingly, the remaining 500 “horses” will fall on the part of the V6 turbo engine. And now some teams believe that the hybrid half will not cope with their task.
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We fear that on some tracks the MGU-K will not be able to recharge the battery fast enough under braking, causing drivers to suddenly lose power. In this case, the pilots will even have to downshift to the straight line, which, of course, will look strange and lead to dangerous situations due to the large speed difference compared to competitors who have not run out of gear yet. battery.
In addition, in order to speed up the load, the pilots will supposedly be forced to sometimes leave the standard racing paths, optimal in terms of speed, in order to make the brakes work more and, consequently, allow the MGU-K to accumulate a greater load. . of energy.
“We have to make sure we don’t end up building Frankenstein cars that don’t follow the original intent of the rules,” said an apparently anonymous team leader.
There are also problems with the sporting rules of F-1:
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Wolf’s harsh response
Very soon, the identity of the leader was revealed. Yes, it turned out to be Christian Horner, and Toto Wolff immediately accused the Red Bull boss that he cares about the well-being of his own team and not the championship. They say that for the first time the Austrians create a power plant independently, they do not have enough experience with hybrids, so they complain about changing the current ratio of 50:50 to a less aggressive one, in favor of the engine from internal combustion.
“I think Horner’s biggest fear is that his powertrain program won’t move forward,” Wolff said. – You always have to ask yourself: what is the real motivation for saying this?
There is no real risk that drivers will have to downshift on straightaways. If the current chassis is installed together with future engines, on some tracks with long straights there will be power losses. But we won’t do that on current chassis, which are as big as an elephant. There will be things we’ll put in place to prevent downshifts, so don’t worry, it won’t happen.”
Christian Horner and Toto Wolff
Photo: Jared C. Tilton/Getty Images
Of course, this was already answered by Horner, who in turn was supported by Max Verstappen.
“Unfortunately, that’s typical of Toto, he only focuses on his team’s performance,” the Red Bull boss said. – In fact, my concern is based on the sports component, and not on personal benefit. It’s still too early to say who will have a competitive or non-competitive engine in 2026. But I think some teams have a very similar opinion to us.”
And here are Verstappen’s words: “This is not the way to go. It will be like a motor race. Overtaking in a straight line will be even more difficult. In addition, the weight of the car will increase again. So yes, we should seriously consider this issue, because 2026 is not that far away. So far it’s looking pretty bad, judging by all the numbers and data I’m already seeing.
Before the rule change, Red Bull loses important specialists:
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Who is right and is it really that bad?
As is often the case, the truth lies somewhere in between. Red Bull’s fears did not come out of nowhere: the “batteries” of F-1 cars sometimes “run down” even now, and in 2026 they will face even more serious problems.
knowing the task. And we fully admit that bull simulations paint a bleak picture, not because the Austrians are failing the power plant job, but simply because those are the rules.
At the same time, all sorts of scary rumors pop up with almost every rule change, but in practice, not every problem is confirmed. It is unlikely that the FIA technicians, when working on the regulations, in close cooperation with all caretakers, by the way, came to a deliberately unrealizable failed option. We easily believe that it can become a serious technical challenge for engineers, but it is definitely too early to talk about Frankenstein machines.
Well, Wolf rightly pointed out: how does Red Bull imagine changing the rules at this time, when painstaking work, with much controversy, on the current version of the regulations allowed Formula 1 to attract Audi, save Honda and interest Ford with a Cadillac? It is extremely doubtful that caregivers will easily accept and agree to significant rule modifications.
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What can actually be done now is to once again study all the options with the device of the machines themselves and their dimensions. At the moment, the concept has not been approved, and the FIA has until at least the second half of 2024 to come up with a car in which the updated hybrids will best fit.
If where “Red Bull” can unleash a technical battle, then it is at the head of machines, not power plants. With the engines, all bets are off, and gloomy forecasts from the bulls won’t change anything here.
Meanwhile, the current F-1 revolution hasn’t been very successful:
Has the Formula 1 revolution failed? Yes, but there is also good news.