The 2026 Formula One engine development regulations have restricted all the engine producers from introducing any performance gain development till 2026. This includes Mercedes, Ferrari, Honda, and Red Bull’s Powertrains. However, the manufacturers are allowed to make their respective engines more reliable by fixing things. This can help them secure a better performance for a long time. Given this, all the engine manufacturers were supposed to start working and putting resources into the new 2026 engine regulations. This will lead them to enter into a new power unit era.
Now, all the teams like Ferrari, Renault, Honda, and also Red Bull have started preparing themselves to focus on the new era by the end of 2025. They have created engines and now addressing the reliability issues, except for Mercedes. According to Sky Sports Formula One reporter Ted Kravitz, Mercedes are yet to maximize the opportunities they are available with the 2026 F1 engine freeze rules.
Meanwhile, Mercedes has already built a reliable engine. Now they have nothing to fix, no performance gain in hand. Ted Kravitz has shared a Formula One paddock theory in which Mercedes has said it lost the trick it could have used in order to become more powerful. Until last September, all the F1 teams were allowed to fix their engines to make them more reliable. But as Mercedes were already at its most reliable state, they could make no progress in that.
Mercedes Did Not Use The Trick Others Used To Increase Their Performance
Recently, Ted Kravitz was involved in a Q&A session held by Sky Sports. Formula One fans gathered to be vocal about their curiosity about their favorite team. One of Mercedes fans asked if the team is behind Ferrari and Honda in terms of having powerful units. Answering this question, Kravitz explained the paddock theory he made. He said, “This is an interesting one.”
He explained, “For the F1 engine freeze until 2026, there is a theory around the paddock.” Mercedes were reliable with their power units in 2022. And thus, they missed the only trick of designing their PU to be powerful but not reliable and then getting allowed to fix the reliability, which was permissible until September 2022. He added, “Lots of manufacturers did that.” Namely, Renault, Ferrari, and Honda were the manufacturers who used the trick.
Now, if Mercedes uses any extra power unit until the end of the season, they will get penalized for it. However, Kravitz believes that those who have addressed a reliability issue before could bring the changes to the engine. This provides a secondary benefit of adding a bit more power as well.
Whenever an engine manufacturer brings fixings saying they have an issue with MGU-H, it gets spread among all. And all get to know what others are doing. However, it certainly does not mean that the manufacturers are allowed to add even a little bit of power to the engine in the name of reliability. According to Ted Kravitz, Mercedes will regret the fact that they lost the opportunity to improve their reliability under engine freeze. And looking at the W14’s performance in the Bahrain Pre-season test, it seems like Mercedes regrets what Kravitz said.