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‘Pretty slow’: Lewis Hamilton concerned with 2026 F1 cars’ speed and weight
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‘Pretty slow’: Lewis Hamilton concerned with 2026 F1 cars’ speed and weight

Lewis Hamilton has given only a cautious welcome to the plans for the next generation of Formula One cars set to be used in 2026, with the regulations defining a smaller, more agile car but the British driver has praised the effort to make a step forward in the new formula’s environmental considerations.

On Thursday the FIA revealed details of the new regulations set to govern the designs to be used from 2026 onwards, describing the concept behind them as aimed at delivering “nimble” cars. They include making them 30kg lighter, 10cm narrower and 20cm shorter.

Hamilton will be in his second year with Ferrari, whom he joins next season from Mercedes when the new regulations come into play. Speaking before this weekend’s Canadian Grand Prix, the seven-time world champion, who has long been a critic of how heavy, wide and unwieldy the current cars are, wanted to see more detail on whether the new models would present an improved prospect for drivers and fans.

“It’s only 30 kilos so it’s going in the right direction but it’s still heavy,” he said. “I have only just seen [the FIA announcement] you have all seen. I have 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 if it is actually the right direction or not.”

The engines under the new regulations will use fully sustainable fuel and in what the FIA described as a building on the world’s most efficient engines, will now utilise 300% more battery power, providing a 50-50 split with the internal combustion engine.

Hamilton believed this was an important step but stressed that the quality of the racing was fundamental to the sport.

“In terms of sustainability on the power unit, that’s a really bold step and going in the right direction,” the 39-year-old said. “We have just got to make sure the cars are efficient, fast and an actual step forward and the racing is improved.”

As part of the new formula the drag reductions system (DRS) – controversial and never wholeheartedly welcomed across the sport since its introduction in 2011 – is to be dropped. However, in an effort to improve overtaking prospects, the new cars are also intended to have lower drag and feature active aerodynamics with front and rear wings that can open on straights to increase speed but close for downforce in cornering. There will also be a power boost system, from recovered energy available for cars chasing an overtake.

The new engine rules, which have been known for some time, have already proved popular with manufacturers. Six are set to be competing in 2026 – alongside the current Mercedes, Ferrari, Red Bull and Alpine, Honda and Audi are joining, while Ford will partner with the Red Bull powertrain works.

The FIA single-seater technical director, Nikolas Tombazis, described the purpose of the cars as to be “lighter, more powerful and more focused on driver skill”.

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“With this set of regulations the FIA has sought to develop a new generation of cars that are fully in touch with the DNA of Formula One,” he added. “Cars that are light, supremely fast and agile but which also remains at the cutting edge of technology, and to achieve this we worked towards what we called a ‘nimble car’ concept.”

How specific parts of the regulations will work has yet to be made clear, such as the use of the manual override electrical boost, how long it will last, or how often it can be used on a lap or in a race.

Further details are expected to be released during this weekend’s Canadian GP but the full regulations will not be published until later this month after they are ratified by the World Motorsport Council.

Source: theguardian.com