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F1 2026 Engine Challenge

Ferrari Eyes Tough Road for Audi in F1 2026

26/02/2024

Enrico Gualtieri predicts a steep challenge for Audi and Ford entering F1 in 2026, highlighting the high complexity and effort required.

Week by week, Audi must quash rumors suggesting its F1 program, set to start in 2026, is in jeopardy (refer to our recent article).

To succeed in 2026 with the Sauber team, Audi cannot afford distractions from these rumors. The challenge ahead is monumental.

Enrico Gualtieri, Ferrari’s technical director for the power unit, shares this view.

“The challenge will be significant,” he said regarding Audi’s entry, as well as Red Bull Powertrains/Ford’s for 2026.

Gualtieri Foresees Challenges for Newcomers

Gualtieri anticipates tough times for the two new F1 engine manufacturers compared to those well-established in the sport.

“It’s hard to say because, obviously, I’m not in their factories or in their shoes.”

“But ultimately, I believe the complexity level of this product is certainly high. And indeed, starting an entirely new project is no easy task for anyone.”

“So, I can definitely respect the work they have to do because it’s clear learning and creating something new is required. And it’s not just about design and engineering but also logistics and infrastructure. So, they’re also facing a significant and immense challenge.”

However, new manufacturers have an advantage: they don’t need to split their resources between the current, albeit frozen, regulations and the next.

“On our side, obviously, it’s different. It’s also true that we have to deal with the current program that still demands some energy considering what we need to deploy over the season.”

Effort Shifts: Ferrari Eyes Future Gains

“In one way or another, these are different challenges, but both are quite high in terms of the level of effort we need to put in.”

“It’s true that we’re entering this phase where we develop the key elements of the new power unit… But in terms of percentage of effort to distribute, it’s somewhat easy because, in the end, we have regulated hours scheduled for the test bench for the current regulatory period. Defined hours, and decreasing season by season.”

“So, this season, we’ll have an additional reduction in time (at the test bench), which we can deploy on the future regulations.”

“Thus, in a way, we’re reducing, by definition, what we put into the current engine, and everything else must obviously be directed towards the new project.”

But in 2024 and 2025, Gualtieri concludes, it’s not out of the question for Ferrari to find new performance gains in this generation of V6, for instance, by focusing on reliability and software (as engines are frozen in terms of pure performance).

“Despite this challenge, we’re also focusing on the 2024 season, as it appears to be the longest season ever, and we know how tough it will be on the components and the power unit itself. But the focus is always on the season we’re about to start.”

Ferrari Eyes Tough Road for Audi in F1 2026. Ferrari Eyes Tough Road for Audi in F1 2026. F1 2026 Engine Challenge. F1 2026 Engine Challenge

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