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Formula One cars to get greener and nimbler from 2026

Photo: Giuseppe Cacace/AFP

Formula One cars will be greener with engines split 50-50 between electric and internal combustion power from 2026 and they will be smaller and more agile, the FIA said on Thursday.

Cars will use fully sustainable fuels and will be 30kg lighter and 10cm narrower, the governing body of the sport said.

“Designed to be smaller and lighter than the current generation of cars, the dimensions of the car have been altered to adhere to the ‘nimble car’ concept at the heart of the new rules,” the FIA said in a statement.

So-called “active aerodynamics” will be used to maximise the benefit of the new engines and the front and rear wings of cars will open on the straights to reduce drag and increase speed, but then close to increase downforce on corners.

Overtaking will be boosted by a power-boost system called a manual override mode.

FIA president Mohammed Ben Sulayem said: “The key features of the 2026 regulations are advanced, sustainable technology and safety.

“Our aim, together with F1, was to produce a car that was right for the future of the sport’s elite category. We believe we have achieved that goal.”

Audi and Ford have been attracted into Formula One by the new hybrid engines and the move to the new technology has persuaded Honda to reverse its decision to walk away from the sport.

There will be a total of six engine manufacturers in F1 in 2026, with Mercedes, Ferrari, Renault and the new Red Bull Powertrains company with which Ford is joining forces, plus Audi and Honda.

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