A longtime (and instrumental) part of Formula 1 is being removed

The FIA recently announced the specifics of the monumental 2026 Formula 1 regulation changes, including the complete elimination of DRS.
Lewis Hamilton, Mercedes, Max Verstappen, Red Bull, Formula 1
Lewis Hamilton, Mercedes, Max Verstappen, Red Bull, Formula 1 / Bryn Lennon/GettyImages

Just a few years ago, it was announced that massive regulation changes would be coming in 2026 to make Formula 1 more environmentally friendly while still maintaining a high quality of racing.

Despite the time that has passed since the announcement, there has been some opposition from key figures within the sport, considering the risk that comes with so many alterations.

After over a decade of the Drag Reduction System (DRS) being used in Formula 1, it is set to be replaced with a new system, with different front and rear wing aerodynamics now set to come into play.

New system not much different from DRS

In 2026 and beyond, drivers are to be given the ability to toggle between a “Z-mode” and an “X-mode” throughout a lap. “Z-mode” is the standard aerodynamic setup for a car while “X-mode” is the low-downforce configuration that drivers may utilize on straights, regardless of how close they are to another car.

When a car reaches a speed of 340 kilometers per hour on the straight, it may activate a manual override mode for a longer span of increased electrical power, which can allow a car to reach speeds north of 350 kilometers per hour. Beyond that, specifics were not provided on the frequency at which a driver may use the function.

The next generation of aerodynamic flow in Formula 1 will not be so reliant on the wings of a car, thus making DRS not as useful.

With cars set to be smaller, lighter, and faster on straights, with significantly less downforce, the implementation of toggling downforce configurations and a manual override functionality will essentially produce the same results as DRS currently does, as it should give drivers an aid to overtake other cars on straights.

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Considering the fact that DRS has been used since 2011, this will still mark a massive change. But its existence is set to be discontinued solely for different aerodynamic flow patterns for the next era of Formula 1, and the introduction of something similar to maintain a similar effect for drivers is not a bad thing.