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Revolutionizing the Race: F1 Unveils ‘Manual Override Mode’ as the Game-Changing Overtaking Aid for 2026



"Hand-Operated Control Feature": Introducing F1's Latest Tool for Passing – The Successor to DRS – Demystified

Unveiling all details regarding Formula 1's latest innovation for facilitating overtakes, known as the "Hand-Operated Control Feature," set to debut in 2026.

F1 has unveiled preliminary information regarding the upcoming 2026 regulatory changes, which include the substitution of DRS with a novel mechanism to facilitate overtaking.

The Drag Reduction System, a staple in grand prix racing since 2011, will be phased out by the end of the next season. In its place, Formula 1 will introduce the 'Manual Override Mode'. But what exactly does this entail, and how does it function?

The 2026 rules now include an enhanced power-boost mechanism designed to increase the chances for overtaking.

The revamped power units, now with a nearly 300% increase in battery capacity, will enable drivers to harness additional electrical power whenever they are trailing the car in front by less than a second.

How does 'MOM' function?

This innovative technology allows a driver to utilize the full power potential of their MGU-K, unlike the competitor in front who is unable to do so.

The energy output of Formula 1's latest car models will start to diminish once they hit speeds over 290 kilometers per hour, eventually tapering off completely at 355 kilometers per hour.

When operating in Manual Override Mode, a driver will still enjoy an additional boost of 350kW, equivalent to 0.5MJ, enabling speeds up to 337kph as they aim to catch up with and overtake their competitor.

Jan Monchaux, the FIA's technical director for single seater categories, clarified that the MOM operates in a manner akin to the DRS.

"He explained that if you are close enough to the car ahead of you by the completion of a lap, you'll then have the opportunity to utilize additional electrical energy compared to your rival during the next lap."

"The surge in electric power serves as a substitute for the previous function of the rear wing deployment, providing the vehicle with an additional boost that could enable it to attempt an overtaking maneuver."

Monchaux elaborated, saying, “Thus, as the vehicle enters the straightaway and is in proximity to another vehicle to assist with passing – with both vehicles having their rear and front wings open – we will enable the trailing car to utilize additional electric power for a specified duration of that lap.

Currently, when using DRS, if you're trailing a vehicle by less than a second, you meet the criteria to activate your DRS on a straight section. This won't be happening moving forward. Nonetheless, the underlying principle remains unchanged: if I'm sufficiently near another vehicle, I receive an additional energy boost for that single lap, which I have the freedom to use as I see fit.

"The additional energy is specified, providing a surge of power that enables the trailing vehicle to potentially pass the one ahead by the conclusion of the straightaway."

How do Z-Mode and X-Mode factor in?

The 2026 version of F1 cars, which will be sleeker, more compact, and lighter, is set to include enhanced active aerodynamics that are both more potent and advanced, alongside the assistance for overtaking.

Adjustable components located on the leading and trailing edges of the wings will offer a “Z-Mode” aimed at optimizing downforce, alongside an “X-Mode” designed to minimize air resistance to its lowest level.

The driver will initiate this system, but it will only be operational in specific track segments where utilizing reduced downforce levels is considered safe.

"In our collaborative simulation efforts involving teams and their drivers, it became evident that once you introduce a rear wing designed to adjust in order to achieve the desired drag level, there's an immediate need for an active front wing to maintain the vehicle's balance," stated Jason Somerville, the FIA’s chief aerodynamics officer.

"In some situations, drivers were uneasy with a significant imbalance in aerodynamic force, experiencing high downforce at the front but not enough at the back. This situation necessitated the introduction of both an active front and rear wing to address the issue."

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