Despite the engine regulations for Formula 1 set for 2026 being firmly established, chassis rules are still under consideration. The leaders of the series are contemplating the best possible future trajectory.
A principal focus for both Formula 1 and the FIA (Federation Internationale de l’Automobile) is the weight reduction of the cars. The present car weights are higher than ever.
This season, the minimum set weight of a car is 798 kilogrammes, over 200kg heavier than cars from 2008, before the inclusion of batteries, energy recovery systems, and contemporary safety systems.
The transition to turbo hybrid engines in 2014 increased the minimum weight to 691kg. The incorporation of the Halo and improved safety structures brought the weight up to approximately 740kg by 2019.
However, the introduction of new ground effect cars in 2022, with larger wheels and modified aerodynamics, led to a significant increase to the current 798kg.
Looking towards the next rule cycle in 2026, when new power unit regulations will be applied, both the FIA and F1’s commercial rights holder see potential for modifications. In comparison, F1 cars in 2006 had a minimum weight of 600kg.
In an exclusive interview with F1 Flow.com, FIA president Mohammed Ben Sulayem declared: “We must prioritize having a lighter car. Lighter cars not only offer better safety but also reduce fuel consumption. It’s a challenging goal, but it is much desired. Coming from a rallying background, I understand how problematic a heavy car can be.”
F1 CEO Stefano Domenicali stressed the need to discuss car weight in the imminent talks about the 2026 rules. “Weight has been a consistent subject of debate. With hybrid engines and batteries, cars are becoming heavier, which goes against the spirit of F1. Hence, it’s an essential topic for future discussions.”
The consensus between Ben Sulayem and Domenicali about addressing car weight will be welcomed by drivers who have repeatedly voiced concerns about the issue.
Mercedes driver George Russell, also a director of the Grand Prix Drivers’ Association (GPDA), expressed safety worries regarding heavy cars earlier this year. “The weight of these cars is extraordinary and affects their low-speed performance. Although we’re consistently enhancing the safety of these cars, heavier cars pose more significant risks during collisions. It’s like the difference between crashing with a bus and a Smart Car. Therefore, it’s crucial to strike the right balance because a point can be reached where increased weight might compromise safety.”
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Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs) about Formula 1 Car Weight Reduction
What is the current minimum weight for Formula 1 cars?
The minimum weight for Formula 1 cars, as of the current season, is set at 798 kilogrammes.
Why have Formula 1 cars become heavier over the years?
Formula 1 cars have become heavier due to the inclusion of new technologies such as batteries and energy recovery systems, as well as enhanced safety measures like the Halo safety device and improved structural safety components.
What are the expected changes in the weight of Formula 1 cars?
Both Formula 1 and the FIA (Federation Internationale de l’Automobile) are looking into reducing the weight of the cars. They are aiming to achieve this in the next rules cycle, which is set for 2026.
How does the weight of the car impact the performance and safety in Formula 1?
A heavier car can negatively impact performance, particularly at lower speeds. In terms of safety, while additional weight can provide more structural strength, a heavier car can also lead to greater impact during a collision. As such, it’s a matter of finding the right balance between safety and performance.
What are the views of Formula 1 and FIA authorities on the issue of car weight?
FIA president Mohammed Ben Sulayem and F1 CEO Stefano Domenicali agree on the need for lighter cars. They believe that lighter cars not only improve safety but also reduce fuel consumption.