Mercedes send ominous warning over 2026 F1 rules - which could tempt Max Verstappen

Mercedes are talking up their chances in 2026 - which could tempt Max Verstappen into making a move.

(L to R): Winner Max Verstappen (NLD) Red Bull Racing with second placed Lewis Hamilton (GBR) Mercedes AMG F1 in Sprint parc
(L to R): Winner Max Verstappen (NLD) Red Bull Racing with second placed…

Mercedes appear to be optimistic about their chances of returning to the pinnacle of F1 when the new engine rules are introduced in 2026.

The 2026 F1 cars will have a new engine with an almost 50-50 split between internal combustion engine and electrical power.

The MGU-H has also been removed - marked as the most significant change for the new rules - while the MGU-K has been upgraded.

The new rules have been made to appease engine manufacturers, with Honda and Audi joining the sport alongside the existing quartet of Mercedes, Ferrari, Renault and Red Bull RBPT.

Mercedes famously stole a march on the new engine rules in 2014, ultimately leading to their plethora of dominance, mainly down to how superior their power unit was.

Williams, who ran their power unit in 2014, went from back of the midfield to regular podium finisher within a season.

Speaking to Sky Sports during the Imola weekend, technical director James Allison shed light on the optimism inside Mercedes at the moment.

"I wasn't in the team in the run-up to 2014 when the new generation of power units were being concocted and the enormous push to make them a reality was taking place,” he said. "But those of us in the team who were, tell me that the feeling is very similar.

"There is a massive shove going on in HPP [Mercedes High Performance Powertrains] to make a success of that because it will set the course of anyone who's lucky enough to have that in the back of their car for some seasons to come.

"We're lucky that we will be on the receiving end of all the good investment they are making on our joint behalf."

Lewis Hamilton (GBR) Mercedes AMG F1 W15 makes a pit stop. Formula 1 World Championship, Rd 7, Emilia Romagna Grand Prix,
Lewis Hamilton (GBR) Mercedes AMG F1 W15 makes a pit stop. Formula 1 World…

Toto Wolff was similarly confident about Mercedes’ chances ahead of the new regulations, admitting he “can’t wait” for them.

"We have an engine department that is good as it can be with a top leadership," Wolff added.

"There is not a millimetre in HPP that I wish would be different in terms of organisational set-up, in terms of the people that work there that I am lucky to interact with, it's just a perfect organisation.

"They have are just delivering and have delivered for a long time. Since 2014 we have been pretty much the benchmark or with maybe another engine the benchmark, so that hasn't changed.

"I really can't wait for 2026 to come and see the different levels of performance of the power units."

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