The groundbreaking design of the F2 vehicle has been the center of attention recently. Its unique rear wing, reminiscent of a peacock’s feathers displayed in full glory, has been under the scrutiny of F1 team heads, prompting numerous closeups and much debate. However, this audacious design isn’t a result of an insatiable desire for ostentation on behalf of F2’s design team, it was rather conceived with an aiding factor in mind: better racing.
Bruno Michel, the boss of F2, made an observation stating, “The rear wing itself has a round shape that is quite close to what F1 is having at the moment.” But it’s the heavily weighted and massive flap that sets it apart, a move designed with the purpose of providing a strong DRS efficiency.
The F2 design team subtly pushed to widen the DRS delta – the speed variance when the rear wing flap switches between open and closed, an issue F1 is grappling with as it prepares for the 2026 regime.
The progressive F1 is also playing with a more active aero, which is designed to balance out the drag on straights by reducing the power from the fresh power units, though which may also make overtaking on the straights challenging due to reduced drag. However, a larger DRS flap, like the F2, can be the resolution.
Inevitably, F1 is keen to abolish the DRS trains, due to the smaller delta not allowing cars to overtake performers in front. As F1‘s CTO Pat Symonds told F1 Initiative, “One of the objectives, and what we’re trying to do in 2026, is to get rid of the DRS train.”
The final touches to the 2026 F1 chassis rules will undoubtedly incorporate the lessons drawn from the F2 design. Historically, F2 has been at the forefront of introducing changes, as stated by Michel, “from 18-inch tyres to fully sustainable fuels… it started with the 18-inch tyres before F1, and that helped Pirelli with their development.”
Robert Reid, FIA deputy president of sport, admitted that the wide-ranging concepts being tested in F2 have been beneficial to F1 and the industry at large, “We’re learning in all different directions all the time. We have a car here that meets the F1 standards, and all this data that we gather goes into one pot.”