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The 2026 Formula 1 power units will maintain the current V6 internal combustion engine architecture, with the FIA setting out four key pillars of the new regulations:

  • Maintaining the spectacle – the 2026 power unit will have similar performance to the current designs, utilising high-power, high-revving V6 internal combustion engines and avoiding excessive performance differentiation to allow for improved raceability
  • Environmental sustainability – the 2026 power unit will include an increase in the deployment of electrical power to up to 50% and utilise a 100% sustainable fuel
  • Financial sustainability – financial regulations regarding the power units will reduce the overall costs for competitors whilst retaining the cutting-edge technological showcase that is at the core of Formula 1
  • Attractive to new power unit manufacturers – the regulations are intended to make it possible and attractive for newcomers to join the sport at a competitive level

Three Times the Electrical Power

The current 1.6-litre, V6 turbocharged internal combustion engine will evolve to include a far more powerful electrical component. The MGU-K (or Kinetic Motor Generator Unit) will almost triple the amount of electrical power produced by the current hybrid components.

More braking energy – that would otherwise be wasted – will be collected and as a result, the aim is for the MGU-K to produce around 350kW in 2026 – a massive increase on the 120kW of energy currently deployed by the MGU-K and MGU-H.

With the MGU-K set to be enclosed within the chassis, next to the battery and control electronics, all high-voltage equipment will now be contained within the safety cell – making for a safer car. This means better safety.

1,000+ Horsepower with Fully Sustainable Fuels

The new F1 power units will run on fully sustainable fuels. This means that no new fossil carbon will be burned, with carbon instead to be derived from non-food sources, genuine municipal waste, or even out of the atmosphere.

And with that higher proportion of electrical power, less fuel will flow to the engines, and less fuel will be used overall – but the power units will still provide over 1,000 horsepower, and they could even be louder too.

In 2013, 160kg of fuel was used in a race; in 2020, that stood at 100kg; and in 2026 F1 is aiming for each car to use just 70kg of fuel during a Grand Prix. Moreover, F1 is shifting from controlling the fuel flow through a maximum mass flow rate, to a maximum energy flow rate

Lower Costs

An engine-specific cost cap, plus banning of expensive manufacturing materials and systems such as the MGU-H (Motor Generator Unit – Heat) – plus the use of standardized components – will help to bring costs down.

Dyno hours will also be constrained – but creativity won’t. Engineers will continue to be able to innovate around the electrical systems to power their teams to wins and championships, and develop a more sustainable future in the process.

Constructors will remain limited to using three power units per car, per season.

A Tougher Challenge for Drivers

With the removal of complexities such as the MGU-H, turbo lag might return and that could make the cars harder to control on corner exits.

This could also provide more of a challenge for the drivers and strategists too, as they will need to decide when the driver should sit back, and when they should use the power unit’s electrical to attack.

Source: FIA World Motor Sport Council approves power unit regulations for 2026