Lewis Hamilton’s hopes look set to be turned into reality with the FIA considering implementing a ‘development start date’ of sorts ahead of the 2026 technical regulation changes to prevent teams from gaining an unfair advantage.
This was something Hamilton had previously campaigned for. He suggested to Sky Sports F1 earlier this season: “I think the FIA should probably put a time when everyone is allowed to start developing on the next year’s car. So August 1, that’s when everybody can start so then no one can get an advantage on the next year, cause that sucks.
“It would make more sense. They should. Say for example you start the season and you know you have a bad car, you can just say I’m not going to bother developing this car and put all this money into next year’s car and have an advantage.”
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He later added: “If everyone had a cut-off time, then no one has a head start and it’s a real race in that short space of time for the future car. Maybe that would help everyone be more on a level the following year.
“I might be wrong, but something has got to change. It would be cool to see in the next 20 years that we don’t have huge bands of time where one team lead too far ahead because we want to see better racing.”
According to a report from the German news outlet Auto Motor und Sport, discussions are already underway regarding a technical rule change that would prevent teams from commencing their development on the 2026 cars before January 2025.
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This would create a level playing field as teams look to nail down their 2026 development, preventing the teams that start the 2024 season on the front foot from channelling more of their resources into the new regulations in order to get a head start from a performance standpoint.
These limitations will primarily focus on the wind tunnel and computational fluid dynamics departments with the teams still able to make minor development decisions that will contribute to the design direction of the 2026 cars.
As things stand, Red Bull would have been the team most likely to get a head start on the new era of F1 cars. The Milton Keynes-based team have been utterly dominant in 2023 and head into the final five races of the season with a 331-point advantage over nearest rivals Mercedes.
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