The Formula One World Championship is starting anew after its habitual summer break, with World Champion Max Verstappen and Red Bull leading the pack by over 100 points to Ferrari’s faltering campaign as contenders through up-and-comer Charles LeClerc.
Fans of the sport will no doubt be eagerly making the most of free bet offers from bookies such as BetMGM provided by comparison platforms like OddsChecker to back their favorites in the final stint towards the season’s conclusion. But while fans of the sport are hotting up in anticipation, other recent announcements look set to impact road-users who know nothing of the sport.
This is because the FIA, the sport’s governing body, have announced their new engine regulations for 2026. Every few years, F1’s cars and engine designs get updated for a number of reasons, from fostering better competition, to maintaining relevance for car manufacturers. You may not know it, but every hybrid and electric car you see on the road today has F1 to thank for its technology.
Since 2014, the sport has been developing the most thermally efficient combustion engines in the world today. While the average road engine is 20% thermally efficient, F1 engines are over 50%. This tech is trickling down into normal vehicles, with many of the manufacturers – from Mercedes-Benz, to Renault (racing under Alpine), pushing the technology in their consumer products.
This trend will only continue, with F1’s new engine regulations thought to be decisive in persuading the Volkswagen Group to enter the sport with new teams under Audi and Porsche. So what are these changes, and why are they relevant to road users today?
More Powerful Electrical Motors
The power of the F1 engine’s energy recovery electric motor (the MGU-K) is jumping from 120kW to 350kW in 2026. By making more powerful electric motors, F1 will lead the way in developing the technology by increasing their efficiency, durability and power, which will have an impact on hybrid and electric road users everywhere.
Pioneering Synthetic Fuels
In line with the sport’s commitment to reach net-zero carbon emissions by 2030, the 2026 regulations are bringing in the use of synthetic fuels for the first time. These fuels, which are essentially “recycled” from the atmosphere using carbon capture technology, have lower emissions, are more efficient and do not add any extra carbon to the atmosphere upon burning.
F1’s experiments with this new fuel method could see it being adopted in diverse sectors from heavy industry to transport.
More Road-Relevant Hybrid System
The 2026 rule-change will see F1 drop the MGU-H electric motor, one of two running in the current specification of engine. As the MGU-H is designed to capture heat escaping from turbochargers, it’s less relevant for road users.
It’s also more expensive to produce and complicated to repair. By dropping this system, F1 is hoping to make its engine tech more readily applicable to road use.