F1 Engine Changes to Widen Gaps by 2026

F1 2026: Pilots Fear Major Discrepancies Ahead


F1 pilots anticipate significant discrepancies in 2026 due to sweeping new engine regulations.

The arrival of new engine regulations in 2026 carries a risk of significant disparities among teams and engine manufacturers. Asked about this at a press conference in Montreal, Oscar Piastri fears it might happen but also recalls the importance of F1 remaining at the forefront of technology and evolution.

“I think whenever regulations have changed, it has led to quite a significant gap, especially with the engines, 2014 being the last instance, which kicked off a very long period of domination,” Piastri remembers.

“And I think we’ve seen that even with these regulations, we are only just beginning to catch up to Red Bull, week after week, now. I think we hold an important place in society to be at the cutting edge of technology and innovation, and I think that’s always what F1 has been about in a way.”

“And I suppose one could say that sometimes it comes at the expense of the racing, which is always a shame. Yes, I think the two points are distinct. I wouldn’t be surprised if teams drift further apart in 2026.”

“Because there will be both the different aerodynamic regulation and especially the engine regulation. There’s a good chance, I’d say, that teams will be more dispersed than they are today. But we’ll have to wait and see how it turns out.”

“It’s not like switching from a V8 to a V6”

Lewis Hamilton joins the Australian driver but is not too worried, as according to him, the change is not as fundamental as in 2014. This time, it’s not about adding a crucial element like electrification or changing the architecture.

“Probably the same thing as Oscar. I think it’s hard to say, but most often, when they’ve made changes, some teams fare better than others, and there’s a slight difference initially,” notes Hamilton.

“I hope that with this new rule change, everything will be a bit closer, and the engine won’t be completely overhauled. It’s not like switching from a V8 to a V6, so I hope it won’t make too big of a difference, and then it’s just about making sure the cars are good.”

Sergio Pérez thinks that Formula 1 being as tight as it is now won’t happen anytime soon: “We have to enjoy the year and a half we have left with this regulation in this very tight race. Because there’s always the possibility that someone will succeed – very well – as we’ve seen with other teams in the past. And then it’s very difficult.”

“It takes a few years to catch up. So, I expect that to happen in 2026. As always, I think the best for the sport is to keep the rules as consistent as possible. But also, as Oscar said, there’s a lot to do with the sport, with the technology involved to attract new manufacturers.”

F1 Engine Changes to Widen Gaps by 2026

F1 Engine Changes to Widen Gaps by 2026. F1 Engine Changes to Widen Gaps by 2026

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