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Formula 1 to get new Power Units for 2026: Here’s all you need to know

The FIA World Motorsport Council green lit power unit regulations for Formula 1 from 2026 . It aims to bring in greater sustainability while ensuring the powertrains don’t lose their spectacle.

The new engines are said to arrive with more electrical contribution (about 50%) to the total power and tighter cost cap restrictions. These regulations aim to achieve 100% carbon neutrality, with internal combustion engines using fuels that are entirely “sustainable”.

Powered by the contemporary 1.6L V6 hybrid engines, the new era of power units will incorporate even greater hybridisation for a similar 1000hp+ performance.

Ferrari's Blunder

Let’s run down the major changes that one can see/hear from 2026’s new horses.

The new Power Unit Regulations for Formula 1:

  • Internal Combustion Engine: These are to retain their existing 1.6L turbocharged V6 configurations. Although not officially limited, expect maximum engine RPM still to be 15,000 rpm.
  • MGU-K: There will be a bigger contribution of power from the MGU-K or the Motor Generator Unit- Kinetic. With almost 50% of the PU output (480hp) coming from it, electrical power will be three times that of the 160hp from 2022 motors. The components are to include more recyclable materials and FIA says the battery cells will have greater relevance in production vehicles. The MGU-K will be housed inside the car’s safety cell.
  • Lower Fuel Flow: Fuel flow is set to be lowered, and measured in “energy flow rate” instead of “mass flow rate”. Cars will carry a maximum of 70-80kg of fuel per race (down from the 110kg currently).
    • Lower fuel flow would result in lower power output from the ICE’s; engine output to be consequently reduced to a maximum of approx. 536hp from the current 840hp +.
  • MGU-H: The MGU-H will be completely removed from the ICE. Check out this article if you want to get up to speed on what the MGU-H is, how it works, and the implications of its removal.
  • Fuels: F1 will now use 100% carbon neutral fuels. Basically what this means is that the cars will no longer run on dead dinosaurs, but from fuels created in labs from waste materials. Essentially, the cars will not add any more carbon emissions into the environment.
  • Cost Cap: From 2026, there will be a $130 Million cost cap for engine development, in order to ensure ‘the financial stability and sustainability of engine manufacturers’, with stringent penalties in case of a breach.
  • Standardised Parts: The power units will have an increased number of standardised components throughout. This would result in relatively lesser performance discrepancies among the different engine manufacturers.
  • Durability: Engine parts will now be mandated to be designed for complete PU life instead of for the duration of a few races. This will result in an obvious dramatic reduction in cost for engine usage and maintenance.
  • PU usage limits: Teams will continue to be allowed to use 3 units of ICE/turbo/exhaust systems over the course of the season; except in only 2026, where the limit will be extended to 4.
  • Test Bench restrictions: Formula 1 teams will now have stricter restrictions for ICE and ERS (Energy Recovery System) testing, along with an increased FIA control over test bench access to PU manufacturers. All of this is again meant to keep the constructors’ expenses in check.
Mercedes-AMG’s Internal combustion engine

FIA says all of these measures are aimed to attract more engine manufacturers into the game while making the sport as close between the teams and environmentally sustainable as possible. These regulations have garnered mixed reactions from the F1 community, with many lamenting over the increased electrification of the world’s fastest cars.

Porsche and Audi were already in conversation over the last few months to enter into the sport subject to a reduction in engine complexity. The MGU-H removal was spearheaded to cater to this particular aspect.

Engine layout of the current generation of cars

To be effective from 2026, these regulations surely do pave a greener outlook for the sport, but how effective could they be in pleasing petrolheads remains to be seen.

Formula 1 returns to track this weekend, at the Spa-Francorchamps for the Belgian GP after a month long summer break!

We’re coming up on a triple header, so be sure to not miss out on our coverage and analyses every race weekend at our Motorsports section, and visit here for our other reviews!

2 thoughts on “Formula 1 to get new Power Units for 2026: Here’s all you need to know”

  1. Pingback: FIA set to ban MGU-H from 2026: What even is it? - Shutterdrives

  2. Pingback: Audi announces entry into Formula 1 as PU manufacturer - Shutterdrives

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