2026 is looking set to be a truly fascinating year, with the new engine regulations set to be joined by active aerodynamics potentially.
The current DRS system that is used in the sport is actually classed as “semi” active aerodynamic, with the sport looking into how they can make for more exciting racing.
A key perk in regard to active aerodynamics is that they are incredible efficient, something which could see teams be able to run less fuel than usual.
Whilst efficiency is incredibly important, the sport is looking to use active aerodynamics to make for a better spectacle for the fans, with the sport looking into how they can somewhat slow the race leader.
DRS is currently used as a means to improve the chance of overtaking the driver in front, with the rear-wing opening decreasing a car’s downforce, thus increasing its speed.
Scrapping DRS is something that is being considered or using it in a ‘reverse’ manner somewhat to slow the race leader, perhaps.
F1’s managing director Ross Brawn, who is retiring from the sport at the end of the year, revealed to Autosport that the championship’s bosses are looking into how they can best use active aerodynamics from 2026.
“One of the big things about the 2026 car is whether we have active aerodynamics,” Brawn told Autosport.
“I think that’s an efficiency step which is very appealing.
“It’s still got to be sorted to see how that can be done, and if it can be done safely and predictably. But, active aerodynamics, we semi have them at the moment with DRS, as DRS is active aerodynamics.
“But can you do something much more significant?
“If you have active aerodynamics, then of course you could affect the car in front. You could have a proximity [that] once you get within a certain degree, the car in front loses a little bit of downforce and you gain a little bit of downforce. There’s tricks you can play with that. It becomes an opportunity.
“I’m not saying we would do that, but it becomes an opportunity. So, the 2026 car is lessons learned from what we have now and I think we’ll incorporate some form of active aerodynamics.”
The idea of a ‘reverse’ DRS would need thorough testing; however, the FIA have put head of aerodynamics Jason Sommerville in place to investigate the potential use of this system.
Brawn is confident that those who’ve been tasked to look into the possibility of a ‘reverse’ DRS have everything they need to do so, something F1’s equivalent wouldn’t have had; hence why it was decided that the FIA would head up the research.
“We concluded in the end that was better placed under the FIA, because they would have total access to data,” he said.
“There’d be no confidentially concerns. Not that there were, but now we’re in the implementation phase, Jason and his people need to see real car data. And within the FIA they can do that.
“They’re very committed to raceability. I sometimes get a text… like in the sprint in Brazil, Jason texted me [saying]: ‘Fantastic race, really pleased to see the cars racing so well,’ and this sort of stuff. So, they’re passionate about making sure we have raceable cars now. They’ve seen the light.”