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Formula 1

F1: New manufacturer talks justify planned 2026 engine rules

by Scott Mitchell-Malm
3 min read

Discussions over Porsche and Audi entering Formula 1 show the championship has “taken the right technical decisions for its future”, says F1 CEO Stefano Domenicali.

F1 hopes automotive powerhouse the Volkswagen Group will commit to the series for its new engine formula in 2026 with its two leading motorsport brands Porsche and Audi, through a likely engine tie-up with Red Bull’s new Powertrains division.

The decision will be based on F1’s technical roadmap and cost control plans and Porsche has gone on record confirming its interest is real but with clear conditions attached.

One of those is increased electrification but that is one of F1’s primary goals for its new engine rules anyway.

Although there is no guarantee this will result in a firm commitment from the VW Group, Domenicali said during a Liberty Media conference call on Thursday that the direction F1 has chosen has been validated by the interest of new manufacturers.

“We are talking about new regulations, we are talking about the fact that in the discussion that is coming out you see the value of each team is getting higher,” said Domenicali.

“The investment that we are doing on the control of the cost, and the fact the sport is in very good health despite the COVID situation, the fact that we want to have a more attractive sport doesn’t mean we need to have more teams.

“The new regulations will enable the cars to be more and more easily overtaken from one to the other.

“It’s really a matter of finding the right balance with the fact there will be for sure new ones that want to come in, versus the fact we want to give the value to ones who are already into the sport.

“In the discussion that we are all hearing in the public domain about the future technological choices that we are taking for the future powertrain: the fact that the new manufacturers are discussing with the FIA, is a very, very encouraging situation.

Oct 04 : Porsche, Audi and F1's 2026 engine details revealed

“That means that F1 has taken the right technical decisions for its future.

“So once again, we have a great opportunity to consolidate a sport that is really in great shape today.”

New Porsche Motorsport managing director Thomas Laudenbach has said it is “not a secret we are seriously considering” an F1 programme.

But Porsche’s main international programmes in recent years have been the all-electric Formula E series and its LMP1 car the 919 Hybrid, which had a huge electrical energy focus.

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F1 has used V6 turbo-hybrids since 2014 but the electrical component only contributes around 20% to the total power output and the technological centrepiece of these power units is the complicated MGU-H.

It is a tremendously clever piece of engineering at the centre of the energy recovery system and is what has allowed F1 to achieve unprecedented levels of thermal efficiency but it is widely considered to have restricted real-world purpose as it cannot be transferred to production vehicles.

The new engine formula in 2026 will likely have increased electrical output from a simplified hybrid power unit without an MGU-H element, subject to agreement, and Laudenbach has credited the FIA with making “a huge step” towards keeping F1 road-relevant.

Domenicali said: “We are aiming to help develop 100% sustainable fuel for our new generation of F1 hybrid engines.

“The focus is on fuel that can be used in standard internal combustion engines without any modification to the engine with a target to achieve greenhouse gas emission savings of at least 65% relative to fossil derivative petrol.

“The impact of these developments could be enormous, with 1.8billion cars estimated to be on the road by 2030 and only 8% of those being full battery electric vehicles.

“Internal combustion engines and hybrids will continue to be essential to air and sea travel, as well as the automotive industry.”

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