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Max Verstappen on 2026 F1 Rule Changes: “Get Rid of the Hybrid”

Max Verstappen doesn't believe the 2026 regulation changes won't deliver great racing and gives his opinion on what he would change if it were up to him....

Max Verstappen isn’t a fan of the proposed rule changes to Formula 1 in 2026. It’s not so much a criticism of the changes as it is a matter of preference. Essentially, the rule changes would require a change in driving style that Verstappen believes is counter-intuitive, harkening back to the 09-13 era of blown diffusers. 

“It’s just not right, I think, that you have to drive a car like that,” Verstappen told the media at Silverstone. 

“The way under braking the engine just almost stays flat out, I think it will create [a] very weird atmosphere – it’s a bit like with the blown diffusers, just being flat out almost.” 

With further technological additions like active aerodynamics, Verstappen thinks that the proposed regulations are “overcomplicating a lot of things.” Part of the reason that Verstappen is the only driver being outspoken about this is because other teams believe they will have an advantage in the next era. 

“And, from the engine side… we really need to have a look at it. But I also know that people think they will have an advantage, so they will say that the regulations are good. 

“I think from my side, just looking at it as a racing driver, it looks wrong. But you always have these politics in Formula 1 where one team thinks: ‘We can take an advantage out of this.’”

Verstappen urges members in F1 to “look into what’s good for the sport” because he doesn’t believe it’s good for the sport. 

When asked how he would change the regulation if it were completely up to him, he immediately said that he would drop the V6 hybrid engines that have been in use since 2014. 

“These [current] cars are, of course, incredibly fast,” Verstappen added. “Of course, I still enjoyed the 2020/21 cars – they were a bit more agile, a bit more fun, but also they were very heavy.

“I would definitely get rid of the hybrid. I think all the time, when I jump back in a V8 [car], I’m always surprised how smooth the engine is.

“The top speed is slow compared to what we have now, but it’s just the pickup of the engine, the torque – it’s so smooth, the whole delivery process, the downshifts, the upshifts. So much more natural to what we have now.”

While he wishes for things to go back to the way they were, Verstappen acknowledges that safety standards have to be improved if they did. Those standards are also why cars are getting heavier. 

“Of course, the safety standards have to go up and they have to improve – that’s why the cars are getting heavier and heavier, to basically make the chassis stronger, all these kinds of things, so that naturally has [an impact].

“We can’t go back to 500/550 kilos, but I think where we are at the moment is way too heavy and we need to look into that.”

But Verstappen didn’t stop there, no he would even reduce the size of the tyres. 

“Also, I think these big tires, you don’t really see a lot when you go into corners in terms of hitting an apex, so I prefer the smaller tyres – I thought [that era] was a lot more fun.” 

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