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Prepare for All-Black Chassis as 2026 Regulations Force Teams to Go for More Exposed Carbon Fiber

Aishwary Gaonkar
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Prepare for All-Black Chassis as 2026 Regulations Force Teams to Go for More Exposed Carbon Fiber

The FIA are introducing the new 2026 regulations to make the F1 cars lighter, smaller, and nimbler for better racing. However, there are certain challenges that teams could face with this new generation of F1 cars. The minimum weight of the 2026 cars will go down by 30 kg and this is going to be a bone of contention for teams. Technical expert Craig Scarborough analyzed this problem and how teams could revert to their typical ways of shedding off livery paint from their cars to save weight.

Speaking in a YouTube video by Peter Windsor, Scarborough explained how the cars being smaller in dimensions is already going to help reduce some of the weight. However, he addressed how the new power unit with an increased battery capacity is going to be “significantly heavier”. Thus, it will be a design challenge for teams to stay close to the new minimum weight limit of 768 kg.

He mentioned, “I think we are going to see a lot of black cars in 2026 with just some flashes of color, as teams do everything they can to save weight. That’s going to be one of the biggest design challenges other than getting to understand new aerodynamics”.

Now, F1 teams have employed this tactic of shedding paint for weight saving and having more exposed carbon fiber on their liveries since 2022. Year after year, teams like Alpine, Haas, and Sauber have tried to have more black in their livery paint schemes, irrespective of whether it looks forced or not.

However, it is something that has not impressed fans and pundits, as the cars this season have not looked as vibrant as they used to due to the weight-saving tactics.

How the 2024 F1 cars with exposed carbon fiber liveries have been unpopular

The 2024 car launches earlier this year did not leave fans happy with the way teams had a lot of exposed carbon fiber on their liveries. Sauber and Alpine mainly showed a predominantly black chassis at their launch, which looked odd and unfinished.

While the Swiss team was going for a bold new look with its rebrand, the Alpine livery’s lack of color did not go well with fans or experts. However, the French team had valid reasons since their aerodynamic overhaul was not up to the mark and the car was overweight.

Thus, they had to take extreme measures with its weight-saving via the exposed carbon fiber livery. Mercedes and McLaren cleverly inculcated some black in their car’s color scheme in 2024 to have the weight-saving benefit. Meanwhile, Aston Martin and Ferrari also played it smart by having minimal exposed carbon fiber areas in popular viewing angles of their cars.

Still, fans would not want to see a predominantly dull and black livery with exposed carbon fiber in the 2026 regulations era. The reactions to the 2024 cars having such livery color schemes should indicate teams to find other solutions for their weight-saving challenges rather than sacrificing livery paint.

Post Edited By:Vidit Dhawan

About the author

Aishwary Gaonkar

Aishwary Gaonkar

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Aishwary Gaonkar is the F1 Editor at The SportsRush. Having written over 757 articles about different aspects of the sport, Aishwary passionately likes to dive deep into the intricacies of the on-track events. He has been an avid F1 fan since the 2011 season, amid Sebastian Vettel's dominance. Besides the 4-time champion, he also likes Fernando Alonso and Kimi Raikkonen. Among the current drivers, he thinks Charles Leclerc and Oscar Piastri have championship-winning caliber. Longing for a Ferrari world championship, Aishwary is also a fan of Aston Martin's underdog story and their bid to win the F1 championship. Other than F1, he follows tennis and cricket too.

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