In the round-up: FIA president Mohamed Ben Sulayem has made it clear he wants Formula 1 cars to become lighter when the next set of technical regulations is introduced.
Ben Sulayem doesn’t want weight increase in future F1 rules
FIA president Mohammed Ben Sulayem says the governing body will ensure Formula 1 cars become lighter when the next generation of technical rules are introduced in 2026.
The power unit regulations have already been fixed for the 2026 season. The series is in discussion over the chassis regulations. Ben Sulayem, a former rally driver, says he is keen to see car weights fall.
“I’ve driven rallies myself. Give me everything, but please no heavy car! That always bothered me,” he told Motorsport Total in an interview. “Lighter cars are better and I know what I’m talking about.
“If the weight is heavier, the suspension is compromised, the brakes don’t work as well, the tyres wear out more quickly. And more weight is more dangerous in a crash.”
In 2001, the minimum weight of an F1 car was 600kg. For 2023 it is 798kg, including the driver, and technical teams believe it will be difficult to match in 2026 unless the dimensions of cars are reduced.
“I’ve already spoken to my team at the FIA,” said Ben Sulayem. “We want lighter cars and we want a better sound [from the engines]. That’s ultimately up to the FIA. If Stefano [Domenicali, F1 Group’s CEO] wants that too, fine, then we agree on that point. But the FIA has to decide. We’ll implement it. Not because the FOM or a team wants it that way. It’s because it’s the right thing for the sport.”
Frijns returns to Envision in FE
New BMW factory driver Robin Frijns is returning to Envision Racing in the latest move in the Formula E driver merry-go-round.
Sam Bird left Jaguar last week after three seasons with them, enabling Nick Cassidy to turn his anticipated move there for 2024 a reality. That freed up a seat at Envision, which uses Jaguar’s powertrains, and Frijns has snapped it up. His move now also opens up a space at Abt Cupra.
Frijns has raced in FE since 2015, spending two seasons with Andretti Autosport before joining Envision for four campaigns. He won in Paris and New York for the team in 2019 en route to finishing fourth in the standings, then over the next three seasons picked up eight podiums.
This year he moved to Abt, who he drove for in the DTM from 2018 to 2020, and his season began with a wrist-breaking clash that meant he missed the next four races. Once he returned to the cockpit he was only able to score six points, leaving him 22nd in the standings at the end of the 16-race season. He will be team mate to Sebastien Buemi at Envision next year.
Kirkwood: Nashville win redemption for Detroit and Toronto
Kyle Kirkwood’s victory in Nashville last weekend means he has won two of IndyCar’s five street circuit races this year. But he reckons it should have been four out of five.
The Andretti driver started his second IndyCar season by finishing 15th in St Peterburg, claimed his maiden IndyCar win at Long Beach, finished sixth with fastest lap in Detroit and was 15th in Toronto. In the latter two he was fast in practice, but then did not deliver on that pace in qualifying and so was on the back foot for the races.
Kirkwood described his drive to victory in Nashville as “phenomenal” as he and his team “keep giving me a great car that’s good on street courses.”
“This should be more than two wins, to be honest, on street courses given the cars they’ve given me,” said Kirkwood. “I’m thrilled with this one here today. This is kind of redemption from last year. A dumb incident. Redemption from Toronto. Redemption from Detroit.”
Although he’s “not sure” why he is so strong on street circuits in IndyCar, with only two top-10 finishes from 20 races on permanent tracks, Kirkwood reckons “a lot of it has to do just with comfort around walls and adaptability.”
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