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"A lot of work to be done" on 2026 engines


F1 boss, Stefano Domenicali admits that there is still some way to go before the 2026 engine regulations can be signed off.

Unfortunately, the long running spat between Toto Wolff and Christian Horner has now spilled over into the engine regulations now that Red Bull is to be a manufacturer in its own right.

While it appeared the 2026 engine regulations had all but been agreed, Horner, with the support of Ferrari, has called for a rethink, particularly in terms of the aim for 50/50 split between electrical power and that supplied by the internal combustion engine.

Domenicali, admits that there is still some way to go.

There's need to always be a balance to understand the comments," he said, according to "It's a lot of work to be done in the next couple of weeks.

"There are other meetings that will happen in the next weeks to make sure that the evolution of the project is going in the right direction," he confirmed. "I want to be positive in the fact that we are going to have the right package, considering, of course, the decisions that have been taken with regard to the engine, the power unit and the car itself.

"As always in life, you need to make sure that there is the right balance, and together to have the best vision for the best programme for F1. And I'm convinced that we will achieve that."

An issue raised by a number of drivers in recent months has been the weight of the cars, and while recognising that this is a factor, Domenicali was keen to point to the fact that some of this is due to safety.

"Over the years the weight of the cars has increased," he said. "No one questions what has been done on the safety front.

"There has also been the development of new technologies," he added, "and the subsequent adoption of batteries, an aspect that has led to an impact on the weight front.

"Weight and sound are two elements that for us are very important, so we need to keep these two elements at the centre of the agenda. We want a competitive engine with many horsepower and also with a great sound. 99.9 per cent of people want to hear a Formula 1 sound on track again, and that's something we've put on the table.

"Today we are in a transition phase, where large manufacturers need to develop hybrid and electric technologies since they are part of their sales portfolio."

However, once again, he is adamant that F1 will not go all-electric.

"We do not want to make technological wars against full electric mobility, as it is a technology that will have its own market."

Meanwhile, F1’s chief technical officer, Pat Symonds believes that part of the reason the likes of Red Bull and Ferrari are calling for a rethink is due to the fact that they are using out of date data, that and the fear of change.

"Teams spend a large part of their budget on buying alarm bells," he said. "We had exactly the same with 2022, that it won't work, and we have been through it all before and we know what we're doing.

"The 2026 car in my mind is no bigger a change than the 2022 one. I would argue that it is actually a bit less aerodynamic a jump. Yes, it got more active components in there but there's nothing magic about active aerodynamics. I'm quite confident."

There are some impressive drag targets but Jason (Somerville, F1's head of aerodynamics) and his guys are there with it. So I think we can do it.

"And the team's alarm bells, and talking about Max who has driven it in the simulator, he hasn't driven what's there. I know that, because we are obviously months ahead of where they are.

"We needed to get a set of regulations out for the engine, and put some energy management numbers in there," he explained. "They were very immature. We knew that they wouldn't work and we knew that they needed to be developed. And where we've got to in the nine months since is transformational.

"The performance profile of a 2026 car in simulation now doesn't look terribly different to 2023," he added. "So all of this thing about hitting the top speed in the middle of the straight, it's not like that anymore.

"You have to bear in mind that these cars don't reach top speed at the end of the straight anymore; so all this thing about changing down gears on the straight simply isn't true.

"One of the objectives, and what we're trying to do in 2026, is to get rid of the DRS train," he continued. "At the moment, we're talking about a car that has four aerodynamic states. I don't think we'll end up with four aerodynamic states, we will end up with two or possibly three. But while some of that will be through technical regulations, some of that will be through sporting regulations as well.

"The thing with the 2026 cars is that you don't have these huge amounts of energy available that you have got at the moment. When we conceived the car, the idea was to have front axle recovery. The manufacturers ditched that, so that made our life really difficult. But it doesn't make it impossible.

"So I think now we have to look at the sporting regulations and think very carefully about how you recover energy and how you deploy energy. So it won't just be a technical exercise, it will be a sporting exercise as well."

Symonds is confident that with the help of AWS's computing power things are looking good for 2026, despite what the naysayers might think.

"The problems with CFD in the past have not really been about the software, it's the amount of computing power you can throw at it. It really became quite transformational as we teamed up with AWS, and we have had to learn together.

"It wasn't a case of 'here's a bit of software, you load it and run it'. We had to do an awful lot of work to get it working properly. But it did give us this ability to run these incredibly complex models.

"There is what we call our gold standard, of two full cars running one behind the other in a cornering situation with a completely unsteady flow. And that exercises the computers a little bit.

"So once we were able to do things like that, we had some confidence. Now we are still doing wind tunnel testing, but that has come back and given us even more confidence I would say."


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1. Posted by ChickenFarmerF1, 17/07/2023 22:42

"@Rob - for all his flaws, at least Ron was a racer. Lots of folks you can't say that about in the current crop."

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2. Posted by Rob, 17/07/2023 17:37

"This article reminds me of RonSpeak.

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3. Posted by elsiebc, 17/07/2023 15:53

"Ah, yes. F1 designing the cars for the teams is firmly rooted in the sport's DNA."

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