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George Russell

Russell underlines 2026 compromise: ‘You can’t have it all’

George Russell has raised concerns ahead of the introduction of the 2026 F1 power unit regulations.

Russell qualifying Canada
Article
To news overview © Mercedes F1

George Russell has raised concerns that F1 cars could lose its "fighter jet" feeling in 2026, although he has also conceded that the sport "can't have it all". 

2026 will see the introduction of the new F1 power unit regulations, which will see a 50/50 split between electrical power and internal combustion. 

The cars will become slightly smaller but will see a significant rise in top speed; however, with a reduction in downforce the cornering speeds will be much slower than the current regulations. 

In Russell's eyes, safety will have to be improved in 2026 due to the prospect of crashing potentially at 360 km/h, with the new cars seemingly set to be more impressive along straights than through corners. 

"I think the cars are going to take a quite a big turn in terms of how they perform," Russell told select media including RacingNews365

"You're going to be exceptionally quick in the straights, 360 km/h probably most tracks which is pretty impressive. 

"Obviously, then the safety needs to be probably improved, because having a crash at 360 km/h is going to be pretty pretty crazy. 

"For them, the cornering speeds are going to be massively reduced. So I'm sure the teams will find a way to bring that closer to where we've been recently."

Can't have everything

For many of the drivers, the cars were most enjoyable to drive during the 2020 and 2021 seasons, with that being when Russell felt like he was in a "fighter jet".

According to Russell, the current cars do not quite have the same sensation, although he expects the lap times in 2025 to be similar to five years ago. 

Focusing on 2026 though, the Mercedes driver concedes it will be disappointing to see slower lap times when the new regulations are introduced. 

However, better racing is expected to be possible under the new regs, with Russell being aware that F1 can not have everything.

"But from a driving standpoint, you want the fastest cars, you want to feel like you're in a fighter jet and in 2020, 2021 that's how it felt," Russell explained. 

"Now these cars are getting very quick again in this current era, and I'm sure next year maybe it's even gonna be battling 2020 lap times. 

"It will be a shame to lose some of that performance of the car but on the flip side, it will improve the race if there's less downforce and there's less dirty air. 

"So I think to conclude all of that, you can't have it all. And you've got to choose your battles."

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