ANALYSIS: Manual Override Mode replaces Drag Reduction System on the new 2026 F1 cars

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FIA's Technical Director Jan Monchaux has delivered answers to explain how the 2026 F1 cars will increase overtaking opporunities without the drag reduction system.

Ahead of the Canadian Grand Prix, the FIA and Formula One released the technical regulations that will define the sport from 2026 onwards.

One of the key changes is that the new cars will be 30kg lighter than current generation F1 cars which should improve efficiency and handling.

Power units will also go through a significant overhaul as the much-debated MGU-H will be ditched and the ratio between the internal combustion engine and the electrical energy will be even.

The maximum deployment of electrical energy via the MGU-K (motor generator unit - kinetic) will go from 120 kilowatts (160 hp) under the current regs to a whopping 350 kw (475 hp) -- the same power output as the motor in a Formula E car.

The complete overhaul of the power unit has prompted the sport to introduce active aerodynamics to suit the energy management requirements of new power units. The new cars will run on 100% sustainable fuel.

The FIA single-seater technical director, Nikolas Tombazis, described the purpose of the cars as to be “lighter, more powerful and more focused on driver skill”.

FIA's Technical Director Jan Monchaux explained that the biggest visible change will be the smaller dimensions of the new car which will make them nimbler compared to the current-generation machines.

"The 2026 car, in terms of overall dimension, will be 1.9m in width compared to the 2m we currently have. That is visibly the biggest change.

"So the decision was made a year or so ago, a bit less than a year to go for what is also called a nimble car, so slightly smaller car, less downforce, but with a big focus on less drag.

"The DRS in itself on the rear wing will not be used to allow or facilitate overtaking anymore. It will be used by default on every straight line by every car to just drop your drag level on the straight line.

"And because this comes along, some strong benefit for the energy consumption but also having higher top speed allows you to recover more when you're breaking and on the straight line.

The drag reduction system was introduced in F1 in 2011. The system will be replaced by a new acronym when it comes to overtaking - MOM - or Manual Override Mode.

Although the DRS will remain on the car, its purpose will be very different as it will help the car reduce drag and fuel consupmtion instead. Drivers will have an extra boost of energy at their disposal to power their way past their rivals.

"Overtaking remains also a very important parameter for F1, for the future and new regulation. It's going to be tackled in two manners.

"The first one is to continue to have an aero concept for the car which reduces the losses generated by a car which are negatively impacting the following car.

"To be able to overtake, you need to be close to the car ahead of you and if you can't follow in a corner because it's generating so much dirty air that your car gets instable and you need to pull away, then the moment you are on the straight line you need to recover all that loss.

"So it's very important for us that you can kind of reasonably follow another car in cornering situation and to do that we need to make sure from the aero concept that the let's say amount of dirty air being generated is not impacting too much the following car. That's number one.

"So you enter the straight you the car is fairly close to the other to help the overtaking since now both cars will have rear wing open and front wing flap open, we are going to allow the car behind to deploy more ERS or electrical energy for a given portion of time during that precise lap.

"Right now with a DRS, you are behind the car within a second, you are allowed to open your DRS on a straight line. This will not be the case anymore."

"The logic will be the same, if I'm close enough to another car, I am given an extra amount of energy for that one lap which I can deploy the way I want.

"The extra amount of energy is defined and that will give that boost of energy to eventually give the following car a chance to overtake by the end of the straight line," said Monchaux.