Although entries for power unit suppliers planning to enter Formula 1 under the 2026 regulations closed on 15 October, RacingNews365 understands from FIA President Mohammed Ben Sulayem that only one PU supplier, thought to be Audi, had committed by that date.
The draft regulations demand hybrid V6 units producing around 1000bhp split approximately 50/50 between electrified systems and sustainable fuel-powered internal combustion engines, the latter proving a reprieve for a billion or so ICE engines currently roaming the world’s roads by fostering the development of ‘greener’ fuels.
The original entry date was extended by a month, with a further two PU suppliers - believed to be Alpine and Red Bull Powertrains - having submitted entries by the revised deadline, with paddock sources suggesting that Mercedes will lodge its entry early next week.
The deadline has now been extended by another month, RacingNews365 has learned.
Could Honda come back?
However, by process of elimination that leaves two (or three – see below) prospective PU suppliers hanging in abeyance, namely Ferrari and possibly both Porsche and Honda.
The word is that the latter will likely co-operate with Red Bull using IC power units produced by the nascent Red Bull Powertrains division in tandem with Honda-supplied hybrid technologies.
Although the Japanese company announced its withdrawal from F1 effective at the end of 2021 to concentrate on electrification, it continues to supply both its former partners – current driver and constructor champions world champions Red Bull Racing - whose entry reflects RBPT as power unit - and sister outfit AlphaTauri (ditto) - from its technical/motorsport base in Tochigi on a commercial basis.
There is increasing speculation that co-operation with RBPT would enable it to develop advanced energy recovery and deployment systems via RBPT.
However, the Big H may still lodge a proforma entry to cover its interim bases – and could announce its next-gen intentions during a press conference scheduled for next week in Tochigi.
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Porsche still "talking" after Red Bull failure
Porsche is, though, left hanging in limbo after its public split from Red Bull and has yet to make further announcements although Ben Sulayem recently stated that the Stuttgart company was still “talking to teams”.
Thus it may also lodge a proforma entry while it considers options which range from establishing an in-house F1 project through ‘Porsche’ badged Audi units given that both companies form part of the wider VW Group.
However, they previously competed intensely against each other in WEC using different PU concepts with few common technologies, and there is said to be no love lost between the brands. We shall see…
Ferrari is a different matter – F1 without the Scuderia (or vice-versa) is unthinkable, and so the matter of its entry is likely to be resolved sooner rather than later.
According to sources Ferrari was allied with some of the existing PU suppliers in opposing some sporting and technical restrictions - framed to entice incomers - and while the other suppliers rowed back Ferrari is believed to still have issues with certain clauses.
While a team spokesperson would not confirm (or deny) this was the case, RacingNews365 was told that: "There are still some internal discussions going on, and we do not want these to distract from this weekend."
Thus, by the end of next week F1 will have a minimum of four committed 2026 PU suppliers (Alpine, Audi, RBPT and Mercedes) with Ferrari likely to confirm its entry by mid-December, making it a total of five.
Whether that tally increases to six or seven depends on the suits in Tokyo and Stuttgart.
Either way, F1 is better off that it currently is, presently having three brands and a white label supplier…
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