New 2026 F1 powertrain rules increase chances of Porsche entry

New 2026 F1 powertrain rules increase chances of Porsche entry

The prospect of Porsche returning to Formula 1 as an engine manufacturer have been boosted after the sport’s bosses approved outline plans for the next-generation powertrains to run on sustainable fuel and feature simplified hybrid elements.

The Volkswagen Group is known to be interested in entering F1 when the new power-unit rules come into force in 2026, likely with the Porsche brand to promote its efforts to develop fully sustainable e-fuels.

The car-making giant has attended a number of meetings about the new rules, but its entry was also dependent on a decision to simplify the hugely complex twin hybrid system that F1 currently uses.

The FIA Motor Sport World Council has now validated a basic framework for the 2026 power unit regulations. 

Powertrains will continue to be built around turbocharged 1.6-litre V6 combustion engines. The total electrical power available to drives will be increased to 469bhp, although this will now come from a single Energy Recovery System (ERS) hybrid unit. 

The hugely complex Motor Generator Unit – Heat (MGU-H), which captures energy from exhaust gases, will be scrapped, with all the electrical energy now generated through the Motor Generator Unit – Kinetic (MGU-K), which recaptures energy under braking.

The Volkswagen Group had been reluctant to commit to the expense of developing an MGU-H system, given that it has little relevance to road cars. By comparison, the MGU-K system is similar in concept to energy recapture systems on most road-going hybrids and EVs.

The engines will also run on “100% sustainable fuels”, although no further details of this have been given. Porsche recently started production at a trial e-fuels plant in Chile and is aiming to eventually switch the one-make Porsche Supercup – which runs on the F1 support package – to the fuel.

The FIA said the rules were designed to meet four key objectives. These include delivering “a powerful environmental message” through the use of 100% sustainable fuel and a shift of focus to electrical power, and a pledge to made it possible for newcomers to join the sport “at a competitive level”.

The governing body also wants the new rules to enable a significant cost reduction and to “protect the show” through powerful, high-revving and loud cars that give the drivers the ability to race.

A more detailed outline of the planned 2026 Power Unit Regulations will be given early next year.