Qualifying fuel strategies to be revealed

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Among the World Motor Sports Councils decisions for the 2009 F1 season are a series of measured aimed at improving media coverage of the sport.

Most important of these is the news that the weight of every car will be published after qualifying. This will allow fans to know whether drivers in the top ten qualifying have heavy or light fuel loads.

It would, of course, be much better to know this information as qualifying begins, to heighten the interest. Hopefully this will follow as the season progresses. But with refuelling banned in 2010, it will ultimately become unnecessary anyway.

The FIA has also stipulated occasions in race weekends when the drivers must make themselves available:

  • After practice, for autograph signings
  • After being eliminated during qualifying, for interviews
  • After retiring from a race, for interviews
  • After finishing a race, for interviews

These are all sensible steps and the only bad thing you can say about them is they should have been taken years ago.

Finally, lighter grooved wet weather tyres will now be called ‘intermediates’ once again, and the tyres known last year as ‘extreme wets’ will now be called ‘wets’. In other words, they’ll go back to how it was before, which made sense. If only this philosophy was applied to other parts of the rulebook??

On the whole, I think these media requirements count among the best things to come out of today’s World Motor Sports Council meeting.

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Keith Collantine
Lifelong motor sport fan Keith set up RaceFans in 2005 - when it was originally called F1 Fanatic. Having previously worked as a motoring...

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23 comments on “Qualifying fuel strategies to be revealed”

  1. Good developments all around. The driver interviews is an area where NASCAR dose very well- even if a driver has a terribly disappointing shunt in the middle of a big race, they still line up for the cameras even while the race is going on. Just think of how good it would have been to get Lewis and/or Kimi live after the Montreal pitlane incident last season.

  2. I liked the surprise of the fuel loads. It makes it more interesting and keeps me excited for the race on Sunday

    1. I couldn’t disagree more. Knowing the drivers had different fuel loads during qualifying, but not knowing what they were, ruined the spectacle of qualifying and turn the opening stages of the races into a tedious wait to see who would make their pit stops when.

  3. I can see this being Kimi’s last season in F1 doing more interviews and promotional work!

    1. I should think he’ll probably become so irritated and bored by the end of the season that he’ll leave F1 to explore other avenues.

  4. Yes, these measures are good for the fans but, in the words of your poll, Keith, will they improve the sport? The answer is obviously no.

  5. It all depends on your network. If your TV network only shows the race and qualifying, then whats the point?

  6. Great more interaction. I am not happy about the championship system but I can live with that. I want to see more of the drivers.

  7. Terry Fabulous
    17th March 2009, 23:38

    Great decision, I’m with you GMan, imagine Kimi and Lewis after Montreal! Crap, imagine Kimi after Spa!!!!!

    The idea of having the fuel loads is a winner too but just a stop gap until we get rid of the refueling.

    1. loving the tv interviews with the drivers but imagine them talking to massa after silverstone!

  8. I couldn’t think of many worse proposals than to disclose fuel levels after qualifying.

    It’s a step to remove a level of unpredictability of the sport. Something to speculate on on a Saturday night in the pub, something to argue about with friends who support other teams.

    Sometimes strategy and speculation is the only interesting part of the race (read Hungary :) ) I’m really disappointed that they decided to do this.

    Re: making drivers available for autographs, to be honest I think its a red herring, after all what percentage of F1 viewers go to a race? and of that percentage how many show up on a Friday :/ Anyhow autograph sessions and interviews should have to be mandated, teams and drivers should be doing them anyway :)

  9. why have qualifying with fuel at the first place, is there any reason left to keep?

    As for driver interviews, i couldnt care less. When was the last time drivers had anything interesting to say. “I’d like to thank team, sponsors, my dad, my cat etc. tyres were blah blah”

  10. Come 2010, drivers will have to observe the “Professor” past races.
    Imagine drivers halting only three meters over or before the chequered flag.
    Yesterday, all my troubles seems so far away……….

  11. Hmmm, and what happens if a drivers refuses to talk after a particularly silly incident? Is he going to be penalised in some way?
    I am all for driver interaction with the public, the autograph sessions will be great for that, but what is to be gained by some stupid reporter sticking a microphone into the face of an already angry driver?
    I am beginning to dread anything Ted ‘I know more than anybody else in the Pit Lane’ Kravitz will be asking during a race!

  12. So you know before hand when the drivers are going to stop, how does that help with the excitement? As far as I’m concerned, its pointless, what it just means is that the FIA no longer has any reason to pretend they were not making this information privy to some teams already.

  13. Its good to get more access to the drivers. Ideally this would be extended to include some of the teams staff (eg. the race engineers) to get a fuller picture.

    I’m also hoping that somewhere on the net would have all these interviews, so we can see those which the TV companies don’t have a chance to show.

  14. I think it would had been a better idea to (partially) abolish the post-qualifying parc fermé. Drivers should always be allowed to refuel and change the setup between qualifying and race.

  15. When did a driver last say what he relly thinks? They’ll just reel out the usual innane team talk, or else.

  16. yeah, i much rather being surprised about who is pitting when rather than knowing they had low fuel or what not.

    it adds to the suspense and strategy.

    the only reason it would be tedious not to know would be the lack of interest the racing and the sport.

    do you really want to know who’s got the best chance to win before the race has started?

    in essence that’s what it is.

    do you remember turkey when hamilton was very fast, you were sure he had to stop again but you didn’t really know what fuel load he was on, and vettel in brazil, you were all wishing he had to stop again and he did, if you knew it you wouldn’t care about the racing on track as much, it’ll all be ‘eh, he has to stop in 3 laps any way’

    sure you can guesstimate it now, but if they run 2-3 more laps than that guesstimation, the state of the game changes and all of a sudden those extra laps you didn’t think they could do will bring them out on track in a much better position.

    i’d hate to know that in advance. can pick the whole race before it gets going.

    with reliability the way it is, and DC not in there anymore to cause accidents, there’s little surprise to be had

  17. Bigbadderboom
    19th March 2009, 13:23

    I’m in agreement with the rather not know camp when it comes to post quali fuel loads. I usually watch the grand prix with my 3 brothers, much of the discussion regards strategy and potential running distances. We will soon enough know which car/driver is fastest so (just for example) knowing that Lewis is heaviest and on pole position sets the mood that the race is his to throw away. I know we all crave as many stats and as much info as poissible but there must remain some mystery and excitement in the sport. Sometime the not knowing is the fun!

  18. Yes, I agree with the general consensus that not knowing fuel loads makes things more interesting.

    “Is he faster because he’s lighter? Will so-and-so get a good gap before he has to pit?” Well, all that is out the window. No more fun speculation here.

    I get the impression that the “fan survey” results had that fans wanted “more information” or some such terminology. This is a reaction to provide more info to the fans and wasn’t completely thought out, I think.

  19. My response to the goal of increased driver access to the public is:

    Let Kimi be Kimi.

  20. All very sensible…

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