Pat Symonds revealed that work is ongoing on the 2026 Formula 1 car project with some breakthrough developments, including “a lot of automatic aerodynamics” expected to be part of the next-gen package.
This week F1‘s chief technical officer told Total-Motorsport that F1 2026 was already a work in progress, albeit off the radar: “We’ve been working on 2026 for a couple of years on the aerodynamics, and whenever you finish a project, you are never satisfied; you know you can do better.
“Just as we were finalising the 2022 regulations, we had a breakthrough on something that could be much better, which was carried forward and developed into the 2026 car.
“In the first couple of years of the car, we wanted to look at radical ideas as well; we evaluated those quite a lot; none of them were worth pursuing. In terms of appearance, we are playing around with dimensions at the moment. I hope the cars will be shorter; they’re very big at the moment.
“They’ll have a lot of automatic aerodynamics. So you’ll see moveable wings, but it’ll still be recognisable as a F1 car. You’ll be able to see their heritage,” explained Symonds.
About a return to active suspension and/or traction control for F1, Symonds said: “I’m ambivalent about it. I thoroughly enjoyed it when we had those very technical cars. As an engineer, it was the most interesting time to be designing an F1 car.
“Active suspension, as we know it, would not have helped porpoising; porpoising is a higher frequency than really a normal active system could deal with, some could deal with it, but they’re very power savvy.
“But what we need to do is put on a good show for the fans; that’s what matters, so does that need technology that’s hidden away? I don’t think it does,” reckons Symonds.
F1’s ‘next-gen’ is already in a very good place with regards to the sport’s next era, with six engine manufacturers already confirmed for 2026, coupled to Audi’s arrival on the biggest stage in motorsport, plus an extra team or two being considered, among them Andretti Global.