Formula 1 is drafting plans to include active aerodynamics in the 2026 technical regulations.
The idea will make up for downforce lost when behind another car with the hopes that it will improving the overall following performance.
As well as efficiency, active aerodynamics are also being evaluated as a way to improve competition during races and stop runaway wins.
F1’s technical regulations were most recently updated for the 2022 season with the rule changes, designed to reduce the lost downforce when cars were following each other, widely praised by the drivers.
F1 chief technical officer Pat Symonds, speaking at Autosport International last week, said that the cars would be “even better than the ’22 cars”.
“We won’t lose DRS, because there’s totally active aerodynamics on the ’26 car,” said Symonds, as quoted by Motorsport.com.
“DRS is drag reduction. What I’ve always felt we should do is have downforce augmentation. Because what does the car behind do? Yes, it loses some drag, but what really holds it is the fact it lost downforce.
“Our idea now is to augment the downforce back to where it should have been if the leading car wasn’t there. Everyone talks about overtaking, but for us, overtaking was the end of the battle.
“It’s the battle that’s interesting, it’s the unpredictability – is he going to get past? And I know a lot of people criticise DRS, and that was the trouble with DRS, it can make a pass too easy.”
Symonds revealed that the team started with a blank canvas in a bid to explore a number of radical avenues, but he conceded that the 2026 car would be “quite conventional.”
“We actually went right back to a skirted ground effect car to get some kind of idea where the ultimate was.
“We looked at fan cars, all sorts of weird things. But the ’26 car will be quite conventional, because that’s the way we want it to be.”
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