The FIA have confirmed that teams will be banned from working on their 2026 cars until 2025, meaning no work can be done for the entirety of next season.
2026 marks the introduction of the new power unit regulations and is when Audi will join the sport as a powertrain supplier, whilst they’ll also be on the grid as a works team through Sauber.
It was decided by the F1 Commission at the recent Abu Dhabi Grand Prix that work on the 2026 cars shouldn’t be allowed until 12 months before their introduction, something the governing body have approved.
As a result, the sporting regulations for 2024 have been tweaked, with it now stating that any wind tunnel or CFD work on the next generation of F1 car cannot take place until 1 January 2025.
Restrictions have also been put in place by the FIA to stop any team gaining an unfair advantage, something Red Bull have been accused of having for the current aerodynamic regulations.
Some believe that Red Bull started working on their 2022 car much earlier than the other nine teams, resulting in their sizeable advantage.
By work on the 2026 cars not being allowed until 2025, the governing body are hopeful that everyone will be on a level playing field.
“In order to prevent testing which aims to develop for the 2026 season, from 1/12/2023 until 1/1/2025 inclusive, RWTT [restricted wind tunnel testing] may only be carried out using a scale model that substantially complies with the 2023, 2024 or 2025 F1 technical regulations,” now states the 2024 F1 sporting regulations.
“With the exception of dyno testing aimed to develop brake system components with minimal air ducting and provided such tests do not concurrently test (or in any way provide incidental data or knowledge on) the performance or endurance of parts or systems classified as bodywork, no wind tunnel testing may be carried out using car geometry partially or wholly compliant with and/or substantially derived from drafts and/or published versions of the 2026 F1 Technical Regulations or FIA proposed 2026 bodywork geometries and concepts.”
Similar changes have been made in the sporting regulations in regard to teams completing computational fluid dynamics simulations for specific parts for 2026, something else which is now forbidden in 2024.
Whether the changes to the sporting regulations results in the field in 2026 being closer from the get-go remains to be seen, although Red Bull are expected to continue dominating until then.