Formula 1 teams and the FIA are considering significant reductions in gearboxes when new regulations come into force in 2026.
While the powertrain rules are already in place, work on the chassis side continues and of course the focus is on keeping costs down.
Gearboxes are one of the obvious areas for improvement as they don’t make a huge difference in performance and many efforts have been made in the past to do something about it.
Perhaps the team most interested in future modifications is Aston Martin, which has used customer units from McLaren for years and more recently Mercedes and is now set to introduce its own gearbox unit.
The Silverstone team is looking to switch to common parts or generally simplify existing technology.
Aston team principal Mike Krack said: “If you look at the gearbox these days and compare it to other ranges, the gearbox is no longer a performance differentiator.
“Everyone gets more or less the same performance from a gearbox. But the cost of gearboxes is terrible, especially if you compare it to other categories.”
“So there’s a question you have to ask in a world with no budget: Does it make sense to use modern technology if it doesn’t make a difference in terms of performance?”
“Each team spends 8-9 million dollars a year on gearboxes with no difference in performance.”
Mike Krack, Team Principal, Aston Martin F1 Team, on the grid
Photo by: Zak Mauger / Sports Pictures
“We are in discussions with the FIA about whether it makes sense to use fewer units per year to make it easier, less expensive, with simpler technology and perhaps more sustainable for the whole sport.”
“People in the paddock spend over $100 million a year. If you look at other brands, it’s like, ‘Do you really need this?’ you ask.”
“That’s why we’re having a conversation, asking these questions like a game, and discussing whether we should make things a little easier.” say.
Krack said that while he doesn’t want all teams to use the same gearbox, several steps can be taken to save costs.I wouldn’t go so far as to say a standard gearbox for everybody or the same gearbox for everybody, but design elements or things like that might be fine to keep costs down.”
Ferrari boss Fred Vasseur agreed, adding: “Of course we can try to come up with something simpler in the gearbox settings. But then there is the budget limit and the fact that you cannot have both. I think if everyone respects. the limit of budget, that’s my opinion. It will be enough.”