Formula 1 (F1), the prestigious motor racing series, has finally had new engine regulations for 2026 onwards approved by motor racing's FIA governing body, it was announced yesterday (August 16), a development that will allow new engine manufacturers to enter the championship.
This number includes Porsche and Audi, both automotive brands which are part of the wider German Volkswagen (VW) automotive group. Porsche is currently in the process of buying a stake in the title-leading Red Bull team, while Audi has previously been linked with the Alfa Romeo outfit (previously known as Sauber).
Both brands' moves into F1 were contingent on the new regulations being introduced.
In late July, it was revealed that Porsche’s purchase of 50% of Red Bull was very close.
Legal documents have been published that confirm the two parties are on course to unite in a 10-year agreement.
The documents show that a joint venture between the two organizations will initially be created in order to build a new power unit and engine, after which the German brand will buy half of the Red Bull Technology subsidiary (the company that provides Red Bull Racing with its cars).
The supervisory board of VW has already given its approval for the brand to get involved in F1, with that decision coming on April 7. Herbert Diess, VW's chief executive, then confirmed Porsche and Audi would both enter the series, in early May.
Earlier this month, meanwhile, Alfa Romeo renewed its partnership with Sauber, the Swiss motorsport engineering firm that owns and runs the team under the Alfa name and branding, until the end of the 2023 season.
Another option for Audi is McLaren Racing, the F1 arm of the British supercar manufacturer.
In April, Audi reportedly submitted an offer of $711 million for a stake in that team.
The new F1 regulations cover sporting, technical and financial sectors and follow four “key pillars” – maintaining the spectacle, environmental sustainability, financial sustainability, and becoming attractive to new power unit manufacturers.
Essentially, all F1 engines must be powered by fully-sustainable fuel from 2026 onwards.
In terms of the new financial regulations, the power unit cost cap has been set at $95 million between 2023 and 2025 and then moves up to $130 million from the start of the new rules in 2026.
However, new manufacturers will be allowed to spend an extra $10 million in their first two seasons and an extra $5 million in their third.
Work on the current power units will be excluded from the initial $95 million cost cap from 2023 to 2025.
F1 has said the financial regulations will “reduce the overall costs for competitors whilst retaining the cutting-edge technological showcase that is at the core of Formula 1.”
The FIA, meanwhile, has said that the new regulations have been arrived at after “collaborative consultation between the FIA and both incumbent and potential new power unit manufacturers.”
Mohammed Ben Sulayem, president of the FIA, commented: “The FIA continues to push forward on innovation and sustainability – across our entire motorsport portfolio – the 2026 Formula 1 power unit regulations are the most high-profile example of that mission.
“I want to thank all of the FIA management and technical staff involved in this process for their diligence and commitment in working together with all of our Formula 1 stakeholders to deliver this.”