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McLaren and Ferrari question Red Bull

Ferrari and McLaren question Red Bull over the 2026 regulations

2026 is a new era for Formula 1 as the new regulations will be introduced as well as having two new names on the grid in Audi and Ford

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2026 will see new regulations in Formula 1. With two and a half seasons left before they’re introduced, Ferrari and McLaren have questioned Red Bull over the new regulations. Ferrari have made accusations that the Milton Keynes team are playing a “game” whilst McLaren believe Red Bull’s new engines will be a big unknown. 

Red Bull F1 Team
Members of the Oracle Red Bull Racing team work on the car of Max Verstappen during a pit stop in the F1 Grand Prix of Belgium. (Photo by Dan Istitene – Formula 1/Formula 1 via Getty Images)

When Covid-19 hit the world, Formula 1 was forced to adapt. The regulations that the teams are working with now were delayed due to the pandemic. But now, two years into these new regulations, the focus is already turning to 2026.

In 2026, Formula 1 will introduce a new set of regulations that will help F1 on their sustainability journey. F1 is hoping to become carbon-neutral by 2030 and so the new engines will use fully sustainable fuels and produce net zero exhaust CO2 emissions.

2026 will also see Audi join the grid as the German manufacturer will partner with Sauber. Also, Ford will be joining forces with Red Bull to become a power unit manufacturer.

Since the current set of regulations was introduced, Red Bull have been a level above the rest of the grid. They’ve taken two consecutive Drivers’ Titles and in 2022 won the Constructors’ Championship as well. And for this season, they’re on track to win every race of 2023.

However, looking ahead to 2026, McLaren and Ferrari have cast doubt over Red Bull. The Woking team, currently fifth in the championship standings, believes Red Bull to be one of the biggest unknowns of 2026 whilst Ferrari have claimed Red Bull are playing “games”.

McLaren’s questions surrounding Red Bull

As reported by ESPN, Zak Brown believes McLaren have what it takes to continue their upward trajectory in Formula 1. The American CEO of McLaren told ESPN:

“We now have everything in place and just need some more time to mature. So the windtunnel’s here, the simulator’s here, the manufacturing unit is open.

“We’ve got our team in place. It’s stable. We have additional talent coming to be additive to what we currently have. We have all the financial resources we need.”

Brown admitted that in order to show the progress of the team, it will “take a little bit of time”. But he did say that 2026 will be a “reset” for everyone in the sport. Brown continued saying:

“It’s just going to take a little bit of time so as long as we can show this progress… ’26 is going to be a huge reset for this sport and there’s not going to be any excuses for us. We have everything we need from resources, people, two great drivers, all the technology, infrastructure.”

The McLaren CEO then cast the spotlight towards Red Bull and their new engine for 2026. Brown said:

“You look down the grid, there’s as many unknowns about ’26. Red Bull with a new engine, how’s that going to be? They’ve never done that before.

“There’s all sorts of variables going on there and I think our story is as good as anyone’s.”

Whilst McLaren question how Red Bull will perform in 2026, Ferrari have hit back at the current championship leaders for comments made recently.

Ferrari believe Red Bull’s playing a ‘game’

Ferrari haven’t quite had the season they would have wanted, having only secured a Grand Prix podium finish three times this season. They’re currently the fourth best team, behind Aston Martin in the standings.

When it comes to the 2026 regulations, Helmut Marko made a statement of how Red Bull are “miles ahead” of the likes of Ferrari and Audi when it comes to development for the new regulations. Since then, Fred Vasseur, Ferrari’s Team Principal, has now accused Red Bull of playing a game, as reported by PlanetF1. Vasseur said:

“No, it’s a game. And I don’t want to make any comments on the situation of the others.

“We are pushing, I think we are in a good situation for sure. We always want to do more, to develop more, to be more in advance, to have more options and so, but it’s the same for everybody.

“And honestly, I will avoid making any comment on the situation of the others.”

Vasseur then went on to tell media how Ferrari are progressing and that they are actually not behind schedule. The Team Principal continued:

“For sure, we want to do more, but as everybody on the grid, it’s the mindset of the F1 team that if you give to the guys something, they want to have more. This mindset is very important.

“But we are following the plan and we are a bit in advance on the plan. All okay on our side.”

So both Ferrari and McLaren feel confident in themselves ahead of the new regulations coming to the sport in 2026; but both are apprehensive regarding Red Bull and their new powertrain venture with Ford.

Headline Image: GettyImages

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