Verstappen not a fan of F1’s active aerodynamic plans for 2026

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Verstappen not a fan of F1’s active aerodynamic plans for 2026


As the FIA ​​continues its efforts to finalize new car regulations from 2026, Autosport revealed earlier this week that some alarming simulator findings have prompted a rethink of how the active aerodynamic elements of F1’s new challengers will work.

While initial research focused solely on the rear wing as a moving element, it has now been decided that the front wing will also need to be adjustable for aerodynamic balance reasons.

This move was triggered by simulations highlighting that there was a high risk of cars spinning when the rear wing was in low drag mode.

Verstappen believes F1 is looking in the wrong direction by pursuing complex elements like active aerodynamics, and instead claims greater improvements could come if there was a big push to reduce the weight of the car.

Asked by Autosport for his thoughts on 2026 plans, Verstappen said: “With the potential like active aerodynamics and all that, I’m not sure if we should head in that direction – but that’s what it’s all about. looks like it at the moment.

“Hopefully we can optimize all that stuff.”

“For me it’s more important to try to combat the weight of the cars, to try to optimize it instead of all these tools and tricks to try to help with overtaking or following. There have to be different ways to be able to do it.

The moving aerodynamic element has become essential as 2026 car designs must compensate for the unique performance characteristics of new powertrains.

Max Verstappen, Red Bull Racing RB20 Charles Leclerc, Ferrari SF-24

Photo by: Zak Mauger / Motorsport Images

The planned 50/50 split between the combustion engine and the battery means that power will be down overall and could run out at the end of the straight.

This is why the FIA ​​wants the wings to operate in a high-downforce configuration in the corners before switching to low-drag on the straights for better straight-line speed.

Verstappen added: “With the engine regulations that they have adopted, they kind of have to do it to create the top speed at which the battery stops deploying and all that.

“Some tracks will work a little better, and some tracks will probably be a little more marginal.

“Of course people will try to counter my arguments, but I guess we’ll know in 1926 anyway.”

Ferrari’s Carlos Sainz backed Verstappen’s skepticism about the active aerodynamic element of the 2026 cars, as he said things appeared to have become too complicated.

“I think this is all a consequence of the engine regulations,” he said.

“Ultimately, if you’re asking a lot more energy from the electric powertrain, you’re going to need, in some way, active aerodynamics to compensate.

“And that’s where it starts to get complicated with overtaking and active aerodynamics, and how you can do that to help the car go faster on the straights and spend less time at full throttle.

Carlos Sainz, Scuderia Ferrari, 3rd position

Carlos Sainz, Scuderia Ferrari, 3rd position

Photo by: Sam Bloxham / Motorsport Images

“Regardless, until we try them, it is, in my opinion, unfair to criticize or support the regulatory change. And at the same time, if it has attracted manufacturers, big manufacturers like Audi, to the sport, I think that is something that needs to be appreciated and put into context.

Sainz echoed Verstappen’s view that the weight of the car should be one of the priority factors when it comes to improving things – while also believing that active suspension should make a return.

“My personal view is that these cars are probably too big and too heavy,” he added.

“If I had to change something for tomorrow, it would be this. And then suspension, I think suspension becomes a big talking point at a lot of tracks, and how taxing it can be on the rider.

“So if I had to ask the FIA ​​for something for 2026, if we want to have active aerodynamics, why not active suspension to protect the drivers’ backs and to protect our own health and the safety of certain tracks?

“It’s clear that right now we’re asking way too much from the tracks and the circuits, from the organizations, to change a lot of little bumps that before we wouldn’t even feel with the ’21 car, and now we can just turn. or have a pretty big accident because of these situations.

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