F1 team bosses address concerns over proposed 2026 regulations

On Thursday the Fédération Internationale de l’Automobile (FIA), the motorsport governing body, released the proposed regulations for the 2026 Formula 1 season.

Friday ahead of the Canadian Grand Prix, a few team principals had their chance to sound off on the potential rule changes.

Speaking at the FIA Press Conference James Vowles, Mike Krack, Andrea Stella, and Ayao Komatsu were all asked their thoughts regarding the prospective new regulations. While all four bosses appreciated the worked that has gone into the effort and praised the FIA for the direction they are trying to take the sport, they also shared some reservations about what the new regulations could mean for the drivers, and the sport itself.

“As for McLaren, we are in agreement and we support the intent and the objectives at high level that were stated in the press release.,” said Stella, the McLaren Team Principal. “However, if we look at the regulations in the draft form that has been circulated, they are still far from being able to achieve those agreeable objectives and intent. So it is the time for the FIA, F1, and the teams to work together, listen to one another, and contribute to form a solution that will allow the sport to meet those objectives.

“I think if we meet those objectives, we’re going to have Formula 1 in a good shape, but we need to make sure that when it’s the time of implementation, we actually deliver a product that meets those targets and objectives.”

Vowles, the Williams boss, outlined a concern on the aerodynamic side before outlining how the involved parties can work together to achieve the best possible set of regulations.

“I think the bit I would add to it is that there are probably two different concerns at the moment. First and foremost, there’s the aerodynamic side, so what we’re doing with either freedom or physically how fast the cars will be. And then the second side of it is where we are on weight,” said Vowles on Friday. “And I’ve been vocal already a few weekends ago, I put it from Williams’ perspective, but I don’t think anyone will hit that weight target particularly. It’s going to be incredibly difficult, and I think that needs reviewing. because as someone that spends their life going through marginal gains, taking weight out of a car, it’s not a fun thing to do.

“On the second side of things, I would absolutely agree with my peers here that it is in a position where if we work together, and we will do going forward on this one, we can get it to a really good position, I think. It’s a solid foundation to work from, but we do need to clear up some aspects of it.”

Both Stella and Vowles outlined that what they have seen so far regarding the new regulations, at least in the simulators, could see slower cars starting in 2026.

“Well, I would say that at the moment, the way cars are in the draft version of the regulations – and we need to say draft, because like we say, there’s a lot of work to do – the cars are not fast enough in the corners and too fast in the straights,” said Stella. “So these two aspects need to be rebalanced.”

Vowles took it a step further, sharing a concern that the F1 cars under the current proposed regulations might not be much faster than F2 cars.

“In the sim, yes,. I would say for me, to answer your second bit of the question first, it’s imperative that we are still the leading series in motorsport,” started Vowles. “That’s how I see us. We’re the pinnacle of this. And therefore, as a result of that, we need to make sure that we’re maintaining the performance and speed we have. And right now, I think Andrea summarised it well, there’s a mismatch there, fundamentally. The performance difference to an F2 car could be as small as a few seconds. And that’s starting to get a little bit tight, especially when you compare it to the other series around the world that you’ve nominated.”

Vowles continued to outline how much could be changed over the coming weeks regarding the regulations.

“But also, as Andrea mentioned, these are draft regulations. And just this week, in fact, there were two changes which took quite a bit of downforce away,” added Vowles. “I’m confident we’ll get to a better solution in that regard. It’s not that we’re so far away. Just a little bit more work required, though.”

For Haas boss Komatsu, there is a concern over whether the proposed regulations allow for enough “freedom of design” for the teams.

“And also in terms of freedom of design, especially on aerodynamic side. At the moment in the draft regulation, I’m not sure if that balance is hit right in terms of how things are prescribed,” said Komatsu. “So again, all those philosophies, how we present ourselves as the pinnacle of motorsports, in terms of engineering as well, to have some freedom or probably a bit more increased freedom in aerodynamics, that is important as well. So again, various aspects we need to look into to make it really represent the pinnacle [of] motorsport.”

Krack, the Aston Martin boss, expressed a concern that some of the proposed regulations — which include a number of new terms such as X-mode and Z-mode, will cause some fans to tune the sport out.

“Yeah, I think it’s a lot of engineering language. It’s like Z-mode, X-mode, energy management and so on. I think, you know, in terms of complexity, I think we need to focus on the product and the fan, and the spectator,” described Krack. “I’m a bit scared that in 2026, we will have driver press conferences or driver interviews speaking about all these technicalities that a lot of people will not understand and lose interest just because of that.

“So that is something that I think we need to be really careful. If we have different energy management from track to track or constraints on the car that makes one car maybe go to the front, one to the back, and then how to explain this? So I think that is something that we really need to keep in mind.”

However, the main point from all four team principals was that there was still some work to be done, and all four sounded confident that the involved parties can get to the right set of regulations over the coming weeks.

“I think we are quite far away still from the final one. And I think it’s now up to all stakeholders to discuss, work on possible issues in a constructive way, rather than using the media to try and put something forward,” summarized Krack. “So I think over the next weeks and months at TAC level, I think we will be able to iron out all the issues that are still there.

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