Charles Leclerc hopes F1 finds a better balance between weight and downforce

Charles Leclerc hopes F1 will find a better balance between weight and downforce. He hopes that for the 2026 regulations, Formula 1 can strike a good balance between reducing weight and maintaining its “impressive” levels of downforce.

The excessive weight of the current F1 cars has become increasingly unpopular among drivers and teams, with this year’s minimum weight being 798 kg, which is 200 kg more than the cars from 15 years ago.

This is one of the key aspects that FIA President Mohammed Ben Sulayem wants to address in the upcoming 2026 regulations cycle, although most teams believe that F1 would do well to keep the car weight at a similar level, following the proposal to split electric and V6 engine power 50/50, which will require heavier batteries.

Charles Leclerc has joined his colleagues in hoping that car weight can be reduced, but he also hopes that the “very impressive” downforce levels of the 2023 era can be maintained.

“I came to Formula 1 in 2018, and the cars were already quite heavy. I never had the chance to drive a car from 2008/2009, but last year I had the opportunity to drive the Ferrari F2004 in Abu Dhabi, and even though I was on track with 50 kg of fuel, I felt a significant difference compared to today’s cars. I don’t like heavy cars because they are less agile, and this becomes very apparent in low-speed corners,” Charles Leclerc said in an exclusive interview with

“But at the same time, the sensations we have today in medium to high-speed corners are incredible. We have an unbelievable aerodynamic load compared to 12 or 13 years ago. It’s a matter of balance, but I’m sure I don’t want to increase the weight we have now.”

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Charles Leclerc finds the current ground-effect cars “more unpredictable” to drive, but he thinks that teams will continue to make improvements as the regulations mature.

“In the last 10-15 years up until 2021, the cars behaved more or less the same way, whereas since last season, we are dealing with a very different philosophy that teams are still discovering. There’s still a lot of room for improvement. These cars are much more sensitive to changes compared to the previous ones. It’s easy to switch from a good balance to a bad one with a small change, and that’s why we often see unpredictable swings.” – the Ferrari man pointed out.

Speaking to the sister site of,, FIA President Ben Sulayem said that the desire for lighter cars is shared by the FIA and Formula 1.

“We are evaluating this aspect. It’s doable, and it would be better for all parties involved,” he said. “We are getting to the main point of why we are doing this, which is actually to ensure that we achieve what we promised, namely an 80% reduction in emissions. Perhaps we are a bit too optimistic. Let’s say that our goal is an 80% improvement, which comes from a lighter car, the internal combustion engine, the battery, aerodynamics, and less fuel. All these elements together make a difference. If we exclude one of them from the equation, we won’t be able to reach our goal.” – FIA President Ben Sulayem explained.

Leclerc 'struggling like crazy' with SF-23 in Monaco – Motorsport Week

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