Formula 1 | Mercedes F1 has been working ‘for some time’ on its 2026 V6


Mercedes F1 has been working 'for a (...)

Hywel Thomas, Managing Director of Mercedes AMG High Performance Powertrains, now knows precisely what he and his teams need to work on: because the regulations for the next power unit in 2026 have been formalized and unveiled in detail by the FIA.

Is this a driver of transition? The regulatory jump seems less important than in 2014 with more transposed parts. This was also what Christian Horner recalled, as if to underline the advantage of current engine manufacturers.

Thomas, however, contradicts Christian Horner on one point: the 2026 power unit is not so similar to the current power unit.

“The power unit is completely new. »

“The changes are quite broad. We look forward to this challenge and are excited. Increasing the electrification of the power unit, increasing the size of what until now was the MGU-K, this is going to be hugely significant and very different, and fits nicely with what’s going on in the environment of road cars. »

“And then, of course, reducing the power of the combustion engine, but also converting the engine to run on sustainable fuels, will be another challenge. This fuel challenge will be a big part of the challenges this regulation. It is very important that we address these environmental issues at the right time for the sport and for everyone. »

“In terms of carryover, there is a non-competitive and prescriptive part of the internal combustion engine and the regulations are quite strict in terms of dimensions, technologies to be used and materials. »

“They correspond quite closely to what we are doing now, so there is a lot of translation in these technological areas. »

“But these are not real transpositions, because although our components are very close to what we currently see in the regulations, it is not exactly the same. »

« Thus, the combustion engine is divided into a ‘competitive’ half and a ‘non-competitive’ half. [prescrite], and the non-competitive half is very, very similar, but not quite transposed. »

How well did Mercedes get to work at Brixworth on the 2026 power unit? Have all the teams switched to the new program or almost according to Thomas?

“Well, we have a work team working on 2026. We continue to push very hard in our existing programs as well. We have a few projects coming to an end, like Formula E, which means we are able to transfer some people to the 2026 program, which is exciting. »

“The settlement is intended to reduce the amount of engineering and work required on the product, reducing things like hours on the test bed, so it’s a bit of a moving target. We have a good sized team already working on this project, and have been for some time, like everyone else I’m sure. »

“And as we move forward, we will have to allocate more staff, because even if 2026 seems like a distant date, it will approach very quickly. »

“We have been able to carry out our initial development work based on the knowledge we have gained from participating in all the discussions so far. The framework document was published at the end of last year, which gave us enormous clues on a technical level, and we participated in the other forums. So even if changes have come in at the last minute, and they still do, the way forward is to take what you have and do the best you can with it. And that’s exactly what we did, in the same way, I’m sure, as all the builders who were already in the know. »

The current program is not abandoned…

What about engine development today? Only the reliability part now remains unfrozen. How then can we continue to work on this engine in these particular conditions for Thomas?

“You have to be able to understand where there are opportunities for you. And of course, we know that with the power unit frozen from a hardware standpoint, there aren’t many opportunities, but you have to look for those opportunities. You have to work hard, you have to take care of your reliability. You have to keep doing the things that you did well in previous years and which were successful, and keep moving forward. That’s how we approached it. »



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