Goodbye to?? refuelling

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Felipe Massa might not be too disappointed refuelling is being banned
Felipe Massa might not be too disappointed refuelling is being banned

It’s the last race of the season so we’ll be saying our farewells this weekend – some of the fondly, others not so much.

One goodbye likely to divide reaction among fans is the long-awaited banning of refuelling.

When we witness our final refuelling pit stop this weekend will we have lost something special from F1? Or, like me, will you be saying good riddance to the tedium of race refuelling strategies?

Refuelling was last banned at the end of the 1983 season. Today fans are likely to argue about whether it makes racing better or worse – but on that occasion it was banned because it was deemed unsafe.

Even 25 years later, safety is still a concern. During the last race at Brazil we saw Kimi Raikkonen’s car set alight when another was sent from the pits with a refuelling hose still attached.

This time refuelling is being banned to save money. Lugging two refuelling rigs per team to every race incurs huge freight costs, especially for flyaway races.

Banning refuelling is going to have a big affect on F1 and that will be the subject of a later article here.

But as F1 approaches its final race with refuelling I wanted to ask a different question – whether refuelling has become irrelevant as part of the F1 ‘spectacle’.

F1 coverage, in Britain at least, is much more sophisticated now than it was 15 years ago. We know how much fuel a car has at the start of the race, and when they make a pit stop we can predict quite accurately when they’re going to stop again.

So a change of position due to a refuelling stop becomes more or less inevitable. When Jenson Button beat Rubens Barrichello at Spain because he used a two stop strategy instead of three there was little excitement or surprise at the outcome – other than the fact that two team mates had been put on different strategies.

To my mind it’s been five years since anyone did anything remarkable with a pit stop strategy – when Michael Schumacher won with four pit stops at Magny-Cours.

I’ve got a list as long as my arm of reasons why I’m glad to see the back of refuelling. But the most compelling justification is that it’s always the same and no-one seems to be surprised by it any more.

Are you happy refuelling is going? Was Grand Prix racing better before 1994 or after? Share your reaction in the comments – and do mention whether you watched F1 before refuelling was brought back in 1994, and what you thought of it.


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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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247 comments on “Goodbye to?? refuelling”

  1. In today’s era where there is little more than a second seperating all the cars on the grid (granted that maybe a little more next season), refuelling allowed the added uncertainty and element in every race.

    Refuelling also emphasised the point of a team effort in this sport. All the teams say they believe each operation (particuarly sucessful ones) is a “team effort”, now they’re losing members of that team and effort

    Races could be largely processional next season, with some cars (or perhaps all) making the same number of pit stops.

    It will also mean that the racing will most likely be of a slower pace as drivers try to conserve their tyres and what fuel they have on board. People that like/love agressive racing will probably see little of it. People think that the Hamilton/Alonso battle will be the tastiest battle since Schumacher/Hakkinen or Senna/Prost or Senna/Mansell etc. WRONG.

    I don’t consider safety much of an issue either with regard to refuelling. The drivers are paid massive amounts of danger money anyway, and the pit crew probably get a relatively handsome amount. It’s part of the job, you accept it. Like a fireman accepts that he will be going into a burning building. I dont think refuelling rigs take up a particuarly massive amount of space in the haulage crates, but then I could be wrong.

    YOu may have a list the length of your arm as to why refuelling should be banned, but I can bet I’ll have a list double that as to why it shouldnt and why it will be missed.

    1. Did you watch F1 before 1994?

      1. Funnily enough, 1994 was my first season of watching F1 aged 5 years… I’m 20 years old =P

        But I have seen races pre-94 and still believe that the races are far more exciting with refueling than without. Oddly, I think it’s great the drivers crack under pressure and take the fuel hose with them. Sort’s the men from the boys.

        1. Terry Fabulous
          26th October 2009, 21:04

          I started watching in 1985 (I’m so old!) and can honestly say that banning refuelling will not suddenly produce super racing week in week out.

          However, what it will do is
          A: Challenge the drivers to master another skill. They are very adept at going fast on fresh tyres in a light car. But lets seem them manage a VERY heavy car. Especialy into the first corner of the race.
          B: Force faster drivers to overtake on the track. There are few things more depressing then when a faster driver gets on the xhaust of a slower one and you know that they are going to leapfrog in ten laps when they go to the pits. Now, the driver behind will have to do it on the track (Provided tyres are being looked after).

          One of the amazing things about Senna was his ability to drive very fast in a heavy car on cold tyres. Let’s see who can do that today!

        2. Shocking- I hope it will not come to pass.

      2. Is the official FOTA website a shameful “journos”?

    2. It will also mean that the racing will most likely be of a slower pace as drivers try to conserve their tyres

      It is refuelling that will be banned – NOT pitstops for tyre changes.

      1. Yes, but on some tracks with short laps i.e. Interlagos and Hungary, the penalty for taking a pit stop will be very high, so drivers will be looking at one stop at best on said tracks, in fact, I reckon most of the races will be one stops.

        1. Exactly- hopefully they aren’t signed up to any kind of contract with the FIA. Same for Cmpos and Manor, for that matter.

        2. I think it will still be two stop because I think the regs still state that both sets of tyres must be worn during the race. So you would not want to complete half the race on the crap tyre!

          1. Which is why the drivers will be trying to conserve their tyres!

      2. Except drivers will have to drive a bit more carefully when they start the races with 150kg of fuel if they don’t want to ruin heir tyres in 5 laps.

      3. but SURELY the teams will still need to transport big fuel rigs around the world. otherwise how do they give their cars a quick splash of fuel in the dying moments of qualifying???!!!

        1. Maybe there’ll be a Shell pump at the end of the pitlane.

        2. They used a messured can with a funnel spout in the old days and the filler cap was mounted on top just behind the big airvent behind the driver. They could put the exact fuel in for one two etc laps.

    3. Great post James !

      Says it all. Refuelling adds an ants nest of very busy pit crews doing rapid, potentially dangerous things. Humans can panic, misread signals. Machines can and do mysteriously malfunction.

      It all adds to the pressure pot effect and we are about to lose some of that compelling sight of humans under pressure.


      1. Refuelling adds an ants nest of very busy pit crews doing rapid, potentially dangerous things. Humans can panic, misread signals. Machines can and do mysteriously malfunction.

        OMG! Did any of you see the pre race refuelling pits stops?
        Tyre changes will happen next year and a good crew can get that done really quick without refuelling. Under pressure mistakes happen and now they have less time to think about it.

        I’m with Keith and I’m looking forward to it. Drivers will be forced to try and overtake on the track.

        Also drivers will have to be carefull they don’t burn up their tyres under a heavy fuel load.

      2. Ahh yes but the smart lawyer would ensure that if the FIA are unable to provide a decent field that no doubt FI, Williams and co. have signed up to compete again, he would/should a clause to the effect of “If the Federation and governing bodies are unable to provide all the conditions to which the undersigned have committed to, then it is at the discrection of the undersigned as to if they are going to compete in the competition for the duration signed”. Or there abouts! Let’s not forget that Max’s list for who is signed for 2010 included FOTA members. If they’re not going to compete then I would suggest that have breached contract if not some other law.
        I think all that makes sense?!?!

      3. It all adds to the pressure pot effect and we are about to lose some of that compelling sight of humans under pressure.

        So pit crews won’t be changing tyres as fast as possible then? Pit stops will be a leisurely affair, like at the beginning of Talladega Nights?

        1. lol great post!

          shake and bake baby!

          1. I’m on fire!

      4. Agreed, good post James!

        I also fail to see how banning refueling adds excitement, and from Keith’s report it seems as if the real problem is not the refueling but us (the spectators) knowing how fuel the teams are carrying. Also, although I only started following F1 for real in 1999, I’ve watched various races from other eras and I don’t think the lack of refueling was the reason they were (allegedley) more exciting. This was due more to the drivers and the cars overall shaky reliability, which meant there were more crashes and retirements than today. These two things you can’t have back.

        In summary, refueling not only adds excitement to the race but also emphasizes the team effort that is a race. It as a quality of the sport that I admire, how the team works in synch for the result, yet the F1 bosses seem keen on showing only the most flashiest element of the team, the driver.

    4. Agreed as a whole James, but the biggest reason why I think banning refuelling will make little or no difference to the quality of the racing is actually the current engine parity / freeze / regulations.

      The last time there was no refuelling, we had a mixture of V8’s, V10’s and V12’s on the grid. The V8’s would go screaming off into the lead, then the more powerful V10’s and V12’s (Ferrari at the time) would catch them up once the initial fuel load had burned off.

      With everybody having V8’s on the grid this time, any difference between the cars will still be aerodynamic … the biggest stumbling block to overtaking in F1 – unless the spec Cosworth is anything like they had back in ’06’ !!

      1. Which is surely the problem? All that seperates the cars now is aerodynamics, which is likely to be homolgised in the future i.e. parts become standard and areas of non-competition. F1 is slowly turning into Formula Renault/BMW/Ford. *yawn*

    5. Really? REALLY really? I’ll believe it when I see it. Shame on the journos (like the one on 5live) who are taking this without a pinch of salt.

    6. The answer to this problem escapes me, as well. Other racing disciplines manage to follow quite closely and overtake. I know most F1 people look down on IRL, but perhaps a look at their aero setup may be in order, as they manage to run nose-to-tail at 200mph. Not saying copy them, but have a look for anything that might apply to F1 and help solve the overtaking problem.

      1. The answer to this problem escapes me, as well. Other racing disciplines manage to follow quite closely and overtake.

        What’s refuelling got to do with on-track overtaking? This issue is being discussed to death elsewhere.

    7. Bye bye…

      Bring back real qual.

      Great to see less artificial racing with fuel stratagy.

      Now if the FIA wanted to ber ‘green’ they should limit the total amount of fuel that can be used over the race length.
      The engines would have to be developed to use that amount and still be quick….

      But next year could be interesting in regards with engine mapping…do I go flat out and then limp home to make distance or do I go conservative…etc????

    8. [..] Hamilton/Alonso << James, we're possibly in the less-than-%0.01 of population that see it that way (probably even excluding my dad, ffs :));

      .. a guy on page six says: "Personally, I feel that the developments so far these last couple of years go some way to improve the show and that should hopefully continue."

      Gosh darn it, instead of handicapping (or knee-capping the people who write the rules), we get to endure the never-ending bull.

      Perhaps only the drivers' votes should set the season's rules – each vote carrying weight – according to the number of years they've participated.. or something. =)

  2. I’ll miss it :(
    The races wont be as intresting anymore. No more excitement guessing whos on what strategy and it takes away an element of the spectacle in f1. As for safety, Raikkonens fire looked worse than it was. The fire lasted less than a second and his overalls can withstand 7 seconds of burning. Also he was in a pitlane full of fire marshalls with extingushers ready to pounce on a spark.
    It will be sad to see the end of it.

    1. That said he did have vapour in his helmet for the rest of the race. Apparantly he was in tears the whole time because of it. That though, pays tribue to what a great racer he is. Some drivers would have called it day, whereas he carried on and picked up vital points for the team.

      1. Before 1994 the cars raced….. simple.

        1. After 1994 the cars raced, too. It’s only been in the last 4 or 5 years that decent racing has stopped, because of the aerodynamics

          1. Agree on this. Aerodynamics have ruined racing, not refuelling.

          2. Spot on mate !

            When will they bite the bullet, get rid of ALL external aero and give the cars skirts again. Radical, yes, but we’ll get proper wheel to wheel stuff again.

          3. correctomundo, neighborino!

          4. Wow FIA really are stupid. I can’t believe this has actually happened :(

          5. The problem is aero, but it goes back a lot further than the last 4 or 5 years.

            The big difference is that no refuelling brings in the element of fresh tyres or no fresh tyres at the end of a race. You don’t need to stop, but if you do, you’ll be a second a lap quicker. Is it worth it? Will your tyres last? Can someone else catch you?

            Also it adds the element of skill back into pitstops. Any small mistake is punished, whereas now most are masked by the refuelling still going on.

    2. The lowing of the rev limit to 18000 RPM can’t have helped either. A few times this year drivers have been complaining of bouncing off the limiter before the end of the straight, which negates the advantage of the slipstream…

      1. The lowing of the rev limit to 18000 RPM can’t have helped either. A few times this year drivers have been complaining of bouncing off the limiter before the end of the straight

        That’s a problem with how the engineers set up the gear ratios, it has nothing to do with rev limits.

  3. Completely agree with james. End of refueling is going to make the race and qualifying ridiculously boring. No surprises in Q3, as slower cars cannot choose lighter fuel loads and use their chances to jump the ferraris and mclarens. Race strategy is an essential part of racing, and it will not exist after the refueling ban.

    1. Being able only to remember watching F1 when refuelling has been in place this is the opinion I hold. Hope I am wrong though!

      1. I don’t think anybody involved is stupid – stubborn, maybe, but not stupid. This may just be the highest-stake gamble ever.

        1. This may just be the highest-stake gamble ever.

          Hardly. What about KERS, the huge changes to aero regs, having a sole tyre supplier, customer cars (or lack of them)… there are bigger issues in F1. The refuelling ban is just to shake up the racing a bit. Give it ten years and it’ll be reintroduced.

    2. We need powerful fuel pumps in order to increase top speed. This will lead to bigger breaking distance and as a resault a lot more overtaking.
      I know a v10 engine would be a lot more expensive, but if they keep the engine rules stable without changing their rev limits every year or their approximately life in grand prixs the cost will be reduced for sure.

      1. Fuel pumps! Of course that is the answer. Do you work in Halfords? Maybe the teams could add some chromed mesh to the sidepods and LED strips along the nose!

        The FIA introduces new rules every year or two to limit the speed of the cars and stop them becoming crazy-fast and too dangerous. We must tell them of the potential fuel pump breakthrough immediately. What’s Toad’s number?

        1. lol yep, I did not write that, someone hacked in with my username. check the forums, you will also need to add an avatar with your username ,…do it asap.

      2. WT#$!!!!!!

        I didnt write THIS!!

        Keith somebody is logging using my name!? WTH my name is written on this message and yet i did not write this nonsense .

  4. I love to see more uncertainties. By allowing refuelling , it gives teams flexibility to play with different strategies. I enjoy watching it as an audience too, like when a driver is physically leading the race, but in actual fact it might not be the case due to different strategy used. I think it makes it much more interesting.

    I seriously doubt that by banning in race refuelling would save teams a lot of money. More to the point, I don’t see why we need to go in the direction of cost saving at all! There are sponsors lining up to sponsor F1 teams. I am proud that F1 is the most expensive sport of all !

    1. I love to see more uncertainties. By allowing refuelling , it gives teams flexibility to play with different strategies.

      But it’s not uncertain and hasn’t been for ages. We know what they’re doing and we usually know how it’s going to work out.

      I am proud that F1 is the most expensive sport of all!

      How many teams have to quit before you change your mind?

      1. There is a simple solution. The only people that the teams should have to tell about their fuel loads is the Stewards.
        I don’t have to know how much fuel is onboard the car, and the other teams don’t need to know either. Making the fuel loads public was a bad move.
        I didn’t start watching F1 until after 94 but I will still miss it.

      2. I think that going back to manual shifting, getting rid of all of the aerodynamic goodies, and real-time data telemetry would make for much more exiting racing. The riddance of traction control, refueling, and tire warmers is a good start.

        1. I’m pretty nervous about this news – not quite sure how to feel about it… it will certainly be interesting at abu dhabi this weekend that’s for sure.

          1. Someone had suggested the use of steel fuel pumps instead of carbon fibre ones. That would cause the fuel efficency to double, it is assumed.

    2. “I love to see more uncertainties. By allowing refuelling , it gives teams flexibility to play with different strategies.

      But it’s not uncertain and hasn’t been for ages. We know what they’re doing and we usually know how it’s going to work out.”

      Keith’s point is spot on. In the last 5 years there have only been two instances where refuelling has added value to a race, or where refuelling has caused uncertainty in a race which has kept fans on the edge of their seats. Refuelling is not the sole cause of dull F1 races, but it certainly is a major factor. 20 cars running around on the “optimum strategy” leads to dull races.

      1. But if there is only one strategy surely this will create the same situation – a dull race

        1. Sure, but if someone in a quick car has mashed up his tyres early and has to fight through the field to try salvage a point it will lead to a great race…

          1. True, but then is creates the emphasis on drivers to drive smoothly and not to run to close to cars in front because of the lack will create greater tyre wear. This will mean drivers will adopt a slow and steady approach to driving at the early part of the race which could turn races in to a snooze-fest as the optimum tyre strategy is to push on soft rubber at the end of the race. I am just imagining Barcelona now….

        2. Agree entirely.

      2. What I worry about is that, since all cars are using the same tyres, same fuel load. If they did the calculation correctly, they should all pit at the same time, more or less the same lap. With the extra teams, the pit lane will be crowded.

        In strategy wise, don’t you think its boring? Like everything is expected.

        Like last week, when Kov spun his car, they pited him and fueled him up for a longer stint to make up for the mistake, if the strategy work out, it might not be so bad afterall. I am just trying to say that, I love to see the way team use their strategy to recover or optimize their resources in those short period of time.

  5. Don’t want to moan here but to say that Massa will be happy as a result is a bit lame. He left the pits due to a failure of Ferrari’s new lollypop system. Kovi did it all on his own last week!

    1. Kovi had the same problem than Massa. And was not with an automated lollypop system Ferrari was using it manually. For the case of Kova, was a lollypop mechanic’s fault.

      1. I can see todt on his knees begging for the ‘refueling to come back when he realises there’s only gonna be three teams capable of designing cars for large fuel tank. The sheet has officially hit the fan!

        1. …there’s only gonna be three teams capable of designing cars for large fuel tank.

          Big fuel tanks are certainly the biggest technical challenge you can ask of a world-class motorsports team. I mean, high downforce aero packaging and seamless-shift gearboxes are a cinch by comparison!

    2. When I first heard about refueling ban I thought it was destined to be a great equalizer when it came to passing. Also, refueling ban would not only create more parity on the track, but also serve as an example of a conservation technology that would, at least in intent, address the real world issue of alternate-energy conservation.

      As the season progressed it became obvious that this was to become an optional technology with teams picking and choosing whether to use refueling or not. In my opinion if refueling ban were mandated on all cars and for all races the overtaking problem would be less of an issue than it is now.

  6. For me, this relates to the bigger issue of overtaking in F1. If banning refuelling means that it enourages more on-track action I will love it, otherwise I won’t. As overtaking is already so difficult, you have to assume the worst. Alot of other agruments are fairly trivial. Drivers often drive to conserve their tyres and fuel already, so that wont change. There will be less risk of fires at pit stops, but they will continue to be dangerous for the mechanics under more pressure with faster stops. I didn’t watch F1 before 1994 so it will be interesting to see how drivers cope with heavy cars sloshing around the track in the early laps. We do already see that cars can handle very differently with different fuel loads, so maybe it will spice up the racing if some are better at different times in the race!?

    1. OMG!!!!!!!!!!!
      This is probably what we all wished would happen, but really thought it never would. Yes, no more refueling. Maybe no more tyre warmers?

    2. James Brickles
      27th October 2009, 5:36

      To be honest, I think refueling has improved and to an extent, the new rules have worked. Its only improved from the midfield down the the lower end of the grid.

      I think these double decker fuel pumps are to blame because we saw Alonso and Heidfeld have their battle and Alonso was able to get fuel spray the BMW (Non DDFP). Then we saw Button struggling to even follow Rosberg. He should have been sprayinf fuel over him :D (DDFP).

  7. Keith, I think you mean “1993” and not “1983” early in the article :)

    I have become convinced that banning refulling is the way to go, but as with all changes, I suppose we will need to see how it plays out in realtime situations. If it improves the action-and, most of all, makes it safer- no complaints from me.

    1. Refuelling was last banned at the end of the 1983 season.

      Nope, that’s right :-)

      1. Good on them. If a deal had been reached, refueling would still be in there, so that would be like treating the symptoms of a disease, not the cause.

  8. On paper, banning refuelling should make F1 more interesting. It should mean that more overtaking will be done on the track than in the pits. But the problem is, F1 isn’t raced on paper, it’s raced on the track bla bla bla…

    The point is I don’t actually think modern F1 cars can overtake each other often enough to make no refuelling work. In the last 15 years, even the most dreary races have been livened up by short fuel dashes and pit stop fires, but now what will there be to break up the monotony? Manadatory tyre changes?

    I think the refuelling ban is a decent idea, but it won’t work until the cars are (successfully) designed to allow overtaking, and I can’t see that happening for years.

    1. The point is I don’t actually think modern F1 cars can overtake each other often enough to make no refuelling work.

      True – but these are two different problems. Refuelling doesn’t help cars overtake, it helps cars look like they can overtake, to the untrained eye. Banning refuelling isn’t a cure-all.

    2. maybe the designers will have to make the cars less sensitive. They wont have the luxury of waiting until pitstops. We’ll see next year.

      1. I am so glad to see Brawn on that list. This is great the champ leader saying they will leave too if refueling is banned. Awesome just awesome f*&k todt and bernie and those FIA a-holes they can all just go and rot in hell where they belong. All the fans will follow refueling well at least 90% of them will, F1 will be no more well at least governed by the FIA it will be no more. NF1 (New f1) will be much better without stupid regs and crazy rule changes every year. Way to say take your refueling and your budgets and shove them where the sun don’t shine.

        1. Umm what list may I ask?

      2. An F1 car with a fresh set of rubber just out of the pits used to be 1 to 2 sec per lap faster than a car just about to go in so overtaking did go on and still will. Remember any places made up now on the track should be perminent. Two or three stops in some tracks will be the norm, not only for fresh rubber but because an average stop will be 5 or 6 seconds shorter than previous years.

    3. I think the excitement will come when we see cars with varying tyre wear. I’ve only been watching F1 since 1994, but I remember that Silverstone race (85, 86?) where Mansell blitzed Piquet after stopping for fresh tyres. We know how much a difference tyres can make from Melbourne this year. Strategy will live on.

      1. Your right, the strategists will have to work out the time gained on fresh rubber against the time lost in pitting. Pitting is going to be soo much faster. I think the FIA will have to allow the teams to choose what ever tyres the want to impove the strategy.

  9. My view is that this will increase even more technical competition, which is what I love the most about F1.

    Now even single drop of fuel that the engine uses will count, because cars will have to carry more fuel during the entire race. So, while we see today mercedes engines being more powerful than the others, it might very well be that the new Cosworths use less gas over the entire race.

    Can it be that by the end of the next year we’ll be talking about how many fewer gallons newer teams will need to carry, and how faster they’ll be because of that?

    1. It’s real but I don’t think you’ve seen the last of refueling yet.

      Xtrac will provide the fuel hoses.

      parmalat used to supply most of the teams at one time. In those days the teams used as many fuel pumps as they wanted to.

      It won’t be too hard for honda to get the infrastructure up and going most of it already exists and does not belong to the bmw or brabham.

  10. If I remember correctly, before 1994, you also had exciting race strategies focused only on tires. Am I missing something, or will that still be relevant?

    Also, forbidding refueling might be a first step towards making fuel efficiency a key factor in the race, ensuring that F1 will lead research in fuel efficiency that will be useful to the car industry, and silence the criticism that motor racing is an environmental waste. Or am I missing smthing here too?

    1. Forbidding refueling might be a first step towards making fuel efficiency a key factor in the race.

      That already happens – a lot. We’re always hearing radio from the cars where the drivers are being told to put their engines on its leanest settings while stuck behind another car, in the hope of eking out another lap and passing them by pitting later. Yawn…

    2. I think I read somewhere that when the current Formula is redundent and updated for the 2012 season there will be a focus on cars only getting a set amount of fuel per race, and the team that gets the most from the fuel is obviously going to reap the rewards. I think this is Mercedes territory and most definitely not Ferrari’s.

      1. Well let see what happens now. The FIA will take mclaren and brawn to court, but that cannot prevent them competing in another series where re-fueling exists. Presendence has already been set, todt said f1 doesn’t need re-fueling and further to that, FIA did not force tyre warmers to stay.

        mclaren f1 will go broke then come back .Cant sue a company that is bankrupt.

        Mclaren refueling hose will no longer be part of the sport. So no re-fueling, and the best one for me. Only manufacture teams have been developing the refueling techniques etc etc. Cosworth dont have a refueling rig. Were on earth are these new teams going to get a fuel pump from that can be as realiable.

  11. Refueling will be looked upon fondly by this time next year.

    The problem is that the cars just can’t pass each other given the current state of the rules and the tracks. 2009 rules were a step in the right direction, but the infamous double-diffuser put paid to most of the progress that would have been made. Everyone’s refusal to run KERS next year will also equalize things negatively.

    Consider Valencia this year, without refueling. Hamilton would have sailed off serenely into the distance, while his teammate would have held everyone else back.

    A great result if you are a McLaren fan, but still frightfully dull stuff to watch.

    Now I’m all for getting rid of refueling on safety grounds, but the cars need to be able to pass each other in order for interesting racing to happen.

    1. The best time to push home your fuel advantage is when your opponent is already in retreat & running out of gas.

    2. You mean to say that Valencia [i]wasn’t[/i] frightfully dull this year? :P

    3. Hamilton would have sailed off serenely into the distance, while his teammate would have held everyone else back.

      Is anyone else thinking “Mansell, 1992” here?

  12. Chris, I don’t think fuel efficiency will be a big selling point. These guys are pretty good at figuring out how much fuel they need.

    A tire war, on the other hand is what I think this sport needs.

    1. Yeah BRM use to manufacture fuel hoses, but dont now. They have gone from supplying 120 fuel rigss. (3 teams with a couple of mess ups) close to 500 fuel hoses accross the entire grid.

      It takes merc 5 days to build an fuel pump. and i dare say they would have it down pat. I dont think BRM would have it down pat considering they have to revive an fuel pump 3 years old.

      Not only this, I would think some teams like Alfa romeo (merc second team), prodrive,(ferrari second team) would now sign up with FOCA.

  13. Won’t there be refuelling during qualifying next year?

    I was expecting cars to refuel between hotlaps under the new format in 2010.

    Or are they expected to start Q1 with a heavy tank and burn it off through the sessions? If so that would mean fuel strategies become crucial in qualifying (rather than the race).

    1. Terry Fabulous
      26th October 2009, 21:27

      Good question Tom

      I would guess that they are allowed to top up between sessions. Anyone know any better?

      1. benetton can step in a supply the fuel pumps. Standard ECU of Brabham can still be used as its supplied by a different company. But who cares anyway, I’ll be watching the FOCA side of the wall. By the way how many hundreds of millions did the ITV pay for rights to F1 coverage?

  14. “This time refuelling is being banned to save money. Lugging two refuelling rigs per team to every race incurs huge freight costs, especially for flyaway races.”

    How much exactly do those things weigh? I can’t believe it’s a huge cost in comparison to all the other stuff they haul around the world – not to mention the multimillion dollar motor homes/buildings they cart around Europe, etc.

    1. HounslowBusGarage
      26th October 2009, 21:59

      Yes, and how else are they going to fuel the cars during practice, qualifying and before the race?
      With teacups?

      1. The sri lankan
        27th October 2009, 4:28

        LOL! HounslowBusGarage!

        Some one please tell me this is a joke. i always thaught this idea of a refueling ban was indeed a Leverage plan. why does todt have to bve so dam stubborn? this is exactly what happened to Indyacars and champcars and back in the day that series used to be the alternative to f1 until they destoyed thmselves by introducing refueling. i really trully pray that common sense prevails and these people stick to the normal F1 championship where refueling exists.

  15. I really worry that not refuelling is going to make for seriously boring races. More so than now.

    At least now we have the suspense wether a driver can make his strategy work or not. Like how Barrichello failed to work his (supposedly) faster strategy in Spain by blowing his third stint (losing about 17 seconds in that stint by the looks of that chart). While Button beat him by swapping to another strategy AND making it work.

    This shows exactly how a strategy is not set to be faster. Barrichello was supposed to win with that 3 stop strategy. That’s how they calculated it upfront. In the end he didn’t.

    The only hope I have is that cars will be able to overtake each other better when on a full load and because the qualifying is changed.

    Qualifying is one of the biggest problems with overtaking (after aerodynamics). The cars start in order of race pace. How can you expect them to overtake if the fast car is in front of the slower car? With low fuel qualifying we get a difference in cars that deal well on low fuel but not so good on high fuel. So the grid will be sorted more randomly when considering race pace. I know it’s artificial, but it might just work.

    1. Hungary showed that the quickest guys can change from day to day and qualifying pace isn’t the same as race pace!

      1. They start the race with the same car and fuel load as they qualified.

        If there is any difference in pace on race day then that’s an exception. A driver that made a mistake for instance.

        1. And what is wrong with faster cars/drivers starting in the front. What do you suggest, pull grid slots out of a hat.

          1. Maybe you should read the first bit too.

    2. Terry Fabulous
      27th October 2009, 2:03

      Not necessarily so Patrickl, you will always get drivers like Trulli and Webber who really shine in Qually less so in races and the Coulthard/Button racers who struggle in Qually and are better racers.

      But on the whole, I see what you mean.

    3. I hope they see it through though. It’s time to have a proper racing . And I hope the court cases against Dallara and Fondmetal, the ones definitely going to happen, don’t detract from this.

    4. I really worry that not refuelling is going to make for seriously boring races.

      I fear the same also.

  16. HounslowBusGarage
    26th October 2009, 21:05

    There are still going to be mandatory tyre changes in a race, so overtaking will still be focussed on when competitors go into the pits to change tyres. Instead of a one fuel stop versus two fuel stop, we will have a choice of one or two tyre stops instead.
    Next of course, the cars will be about 100 kg heavier at the start of the race than they were this year. 100kg extra of fuel. Which means that they are all going to have to start on the harder grade of tyre. Which means they will all be on the same strategy, plus or minus a lap or two.
    There is no safety benefit either. The incidence of fire in the pits has been very low over the years (count the fires versus the number of pit stops), and it’s the best place to have a fire anyway as there are lots of people around with lots of extinguishers. Instead we are going to have twenty something cars all contesting the first laps with vast amounts of heavy fuel on board on granite-grade tyres, and that’s just dangerous.

    1. It’s looking extremely likely Button will be the last real F1 World Drivers Champion.

      2007 and 2008 were two of the most entertaining seasons I have witnessed. Not capitalising on this just highlights how much the OWG and FOM have blundered IMHO.

    2. There are still going to be mandatory tyre changes in a race, so overtaking will still be focussed on when competitors go into the pits to change tyres. Instead of a one fuel stop versus two fuel stop, we will have a choice of one or two tyre stops instead.

      And on top of that, the teams will also be able to make calculated predictions based on tyre type and tyre ware and “listen to the radio” to predict when another team are most likely to enter their cars into the pits. Hence, we could get the same saga, if not worse because there will be a train of slow gutless cars just following each other and waiting …

      Anyway I hope that does not happen but I fear it.

      1. lets repeat that


        And on top of that, the teams will also be able to make calculated predictions based on tyre type and tyre ware and “listen to the radio” to predict when another team are most likely to enter their cars into the pits. Hence, we could get the same saga, if not worse because there will be a train of slow gutless cars just following each other and waiting …

        Anyway I hope that does not happen but I fear it.

  17. Looking forward to seeing it go. I agree with Keith — there’s no drama created by it any more. Far more exciting to see something like Mansell at Silverstone in 87 — turn up the mixture, damn the fuel gauge, and go like hell.

    If the fuel volumes are set low enough, there will be a very interesting calculus between conserving fuel at certain points in a race and opening up the mix at others to storm away or catch a rival.

    But maybe it’s just what you came into the sport watching — I started watching during the mid-1980s and got used to seeing mechanics in shirtsleeves rather than Nomex — and even now a firesuited pit crew looks sort of alien and unfamiliar to me. Someone who started watching in 1995 likely thinks refuelling is the one true form of the sport.

    1. Well I’ll be, if this doesnt bring todt, owg and the bernie to its knees nothing will. I will certainly follow the it if it starts, but I do believe this is the last ace in the pack and are calling the refueling bluff. Either way the refueling ban would finally allow some awesome engineering and racing machines. I for one will be watching. F1 next year without the refueling will wither away and never recover. The FIA have to collapse now, but more likely Bernie will be proverbially sh****ng himself!

  18. what people have seem to have forgotten is that without refuelling we will know who the fastest driver is in qualifying as, before the amount of fuel you had affected your qualifying pace, now everyone will be on equal fuel and pole position will be earned by the fastest driver. senna earned his pole positions not by the amount of fuel but by his sheer speed.

    1. I am very surprised at how quiet Bernie has been lately.I wonder what he’s doing behind the scenes?

  19. My worry is that re-fuelling will make races processional. But largely, they already have been this year.

    I wonder if it will all become about saving fuel and tyres – but to a large extent it already is.

    I was concerned about losing the ability for the little guys to jump ahead in Q3 and go for gold – but Force India showed us you don’t need fuel loads to move up the grid, and what’s the fun of a lighter car inevitably being passed in the pit-stops or, as we’ve seen on many occasions, their strategy ruined by an early safety car (far more times than a timely safety car appearing after the first stopper’s stop preserving his lead)?

    Strategy won’t disappear, guys. Some people will gamble on one-stops, using the harder tyre for a long first stint, others will go for 2-stops using 2 sets of softs (and if they fall away quicker than expected, at least the driver won’t have to stop “too early” to get rid of them). Hopefully Bridgestone will have a dose of common sense and make both viable options on paper. Not to mention drivers using more fuel in the first part of the race to create a big gap and nursing it home, only to be caught out by a safety car and someone who saved more fuel at the beginning. The cars will also be fastest at the end, making for a mad dash for the finish. And at least we won’t have the silly “splash and dash” situations that compromise drivers’ races.

    F1’s fundamental problems do not lie in re-fuelling, and for that fact alone its removal is unlikely to weaken the sport, and banning it has the prospect of making things a little better, at worse making no overall difference except for not having people set on fire in the pitlane. With re-fuelling gone, some elements of F1 will go with it, but it’s a small price to pay for moving the action more to the track.

    Yes, it’s a team sport, but out on the track I want to see the drivers decide things, and the teams decide the things that aren’t part of the on-track action. I for one would rather dull races where everyone is managing their fuel and tyres than one where position changes are created artificially, largely beyond the drivers’ control.

    1. Hopefully this also means an end to Sepang, Singapore, Shanghai, Valencia and Barcelona.

      Hopefully todt sees sense and includes Magny Cours, Montreal, Jerez, Portimao and A1 Ring.

  20. i cant wait! car will actually be force to make passes on the track because that will be the only way. i think that overtaking has suffered this year because driver have just thought ” hey if i stay close to this guy, he will pit first and then i can pass him”

    1. HounslowBusGarage
      26th October 2009, 21:54

      No. They won’t.
      The cars will still have to pit for tyre changes. They still have to use both grades of tyre.

      1. yes, but stopping for tyres is different – you don’t stay out a lap or two longer than the other guy to gain time on him so then you can come out ahead – that’s gone now. This will bring enormous changes to how teams and drivers approach races and ‘strategies’.

        1. TODT should resign now!!!
          27th October 2009, 4:36

          I hope it’s only a bluff. Anyway if it¿s true than it’s a very very sad thing. I’ll never watch F1 again and I hate to admit that refueling f1 or however it will be called will not be the same it will take many years to develp a mystique around it.
          F1 R.I.P.

          1. —> TODT should resign now!!!

            hehe nice name change

  21. I’m quite surprised at the overwhelmingly negative reaction to the ban. Among many, many other points, maybes and what ifs, two things: the cars will be more evenly matched (no big differences in fuel loads, no stretching out big leads on fuel strategy) and we will see their relative performance more clearly. The second thing is that the cars are going to be quicker and quicker as the race progresses, unfailingly, in every race, which in itself brings along a host of variables that at this stage no one can predict.

    For those of you who only began watching F1 with refuelling – you can’t know that it’s better if it’s all you’ve ever known.

    1. TODT should resign now!!!
      27th October 2009, 4:37

      Good for todt to make a stand and the willingness to take a risk and start something that adhere to his values instead of someone elses. I am sure the new refueling ban have alot of hicups but I for one will be looking forward to its growth and races!

  22. For me it adds a new dimension. Button may do very well again next year as he is very easy on his tyres which will play a big roll. Lewis for example is much harder on his tyres so it will be interesting to see what effect this maes next year. With no refuelling it will add more excitment as no one will really know if a driver has to pit again or not. Im looking forward to it myself.

    1. Urgh!!!! When will this hell end! refueling ban will never work.

      Todt needs de-throning – end of, then we can have a proper debate.

      As Martin Brundle puts it “Come on guys, lets take a sensible pill”

      What a way to overshadow the last Grand Prix of the season Shame!

  23. Make a tire that can last half the race, then make the other one that’s two seconds faster but lasts 5-10 laps. Then watch them go!

    1. I agree, and perhaps the best part is about hundreds of gallons of petrol being saved. Todt and Bernie were too big to think about that kind of stuff……

  24. You people are mad, refuelling doesn’t create racing, it creates strategy. Sorting the men from the boys in the pit lane is a sad way to race, I say sort the men from the boys on who can go race distance being fast with the petrol in the tank.

    Bring it on.

    1. It’s too bloody late in the night for me to wrap my head around this and all its implications now. I just know that it sounds fantastic, sounds very idealistic…if the ‘new refueling ban’ isn’t a massive bluff.

      Whatever happens now, I still support refueling and trust that this is the best course of action.

  25. The title of this article worries me, is the next one “Goodbye to… the British Grand Prix”?

      1. Lets hope that the refueling hold firm – a as exists now is not good for any sport
        One question – what tracks will be avaliable for the new series? Silverstone may get a GP next year after all and please bring back Nurburg, Montreal and maybe Adelaide!!!!!!

  26. I’m expecting a lot with the ban, maybe too much as there is always the problem that the cars will end pretty much the same as they still can’t or won’t overtake. This may not be that radical until the cars are tweaked or the tracks or both to aid overtaking but it will give the drivers a kick up the backside and show them they have to do the work on track.
    For all F1 is the very pinnacle of what is possible, or maths, engineering and pure racing. The fans of racing will want it gone and some will just love the element it brings to strategy (though drivers still have to put in the times to make strategy work).
    Having said all that there is still the issue of tyre strategy.

    1. Bye Bye Todt and Bernie… Hello refueling ban! :) I’m all for the the ban, if even after this call Todt and co refuse to give in. I’ll watch. Hopefully Sky TV here in New Zealand take up coverage of this ! (and keep F1 coverage, if Hesketh, Maserati,Shadow,AGS etc end up on the grid next year).

    2. I love the strategy aspect of Formula 1. No other sport I follow, crikcet, tennis has this intelligence aspect.

      But again, I haven’t seen any races without re-fueling. So, would love to see something new.

      Keith, could you tell us what happens in other open-wheel racing series, is re-fueling banned there as well? and has it caused improved racing.

      I ask this, since all reasons in favor of the ban on re-fueling state instances from the 80s or before. And the field then used to be over 4-5 seconds apart. So, the plenty of overtaking which happened then was due to lack of re-fueling or huge difference between car capabilites? We don’t know this for sure.

      Now, you see 1 second covering the 20 cars. Surely, overtaking is going to be million times difficult. Re-fueling made it easier. Without re-fueling, my guess is it will be even harder.

      But lets see, by May 2010, we should be able to conclude if this ban was good or bad. My hunch is, it is going to be bad.

      1. Keith, could you tell us what happens in other open-wheel racing series, is re-fueling banned there as well? and has it caused improved racing.

        There’s quite a bit of variety. I don’t think there’s any other single seater series like F1 which has refuelling and yet does not have large enough pit lanes for all the cars to be serviced at the same time.

        Indy Car racing (in its various forms through the years) has refuelling, but they have large enough pits for all the cars to be serviced at the same times. Generally they also have more safety car periods (‘cautions’), so drivers are more inclined to take a gamble on strategy.

        GP2 (which, for my money, offers the best pure racing of high-level single seater cometition) does not have refuelling.

  27. I’m happy with refuelling banning.
    It is because I remembre pre 1994 races, and they were really somehow different from now: you didn’t need to deal with strategy (it is something that to me is not spectacular at all) and the driver needed to “manage” the car all the race long. So it happened that a car that was slowest at the beginning went increasing through and through, and you say great recovery races.
    You may say that after all the drivers will need to change tyres, ans so they will need to pit again. But pitting for refuelling is very different from pitting for tyres: refuel is something that you can forecast, tyres wearing is much more unpredictable, and the driver has a lot to do with it with his driving style.
    And last but not least, the drivers will not be allowed to wait for pitting, to overtake somebody ahead. They will not be allowed to perform an overtake just by fueling for a shorter time…the will need to overtake on track!
    Wait and see…26 cars in one second and a half lap time and no refuelling should allow for exciting races.

    1. Good.

      refueling ban was always about racing & innovation.

      refueling was about politics and ego for too long.

      I wish the ban every sucess and look forward to the racing.

  28. David Sherwood
    26th October 2009, 22:07

    I am old enough to remember when there were no pitstops, not even for tyres and the only way to overtake was on the track. I would love to see that situation brought back as I have always felt overtaking in the pits to be cheating. However, I have to agree that with todays cars and a lot of todays circuits it would be boring – for the first year or so. Hopefully, if people were to stick with it, designers would be forced into producing cars that could overtake on the track. If they did not, they would not win races. It might be the best thing that could happen to F1 design in years.

    1. Terry Fabulous
      27th October 2009, 2:08


      As David Says, This should force designers to build cars that can maintain their speed in dirty air so they can overtake on the track.

      1. Prisoner Monkeys
        27th October 2009, 4:51

        Yeah, and that’s going to be cheap.

      2. we know it, explain that to FIA.

  29. HounslowBusGarage
    26th October 2009, 22:14

    Back in the mid-80’s when the turbo cars were around, there was limit on the amount of fuel that could be used during the race.
    This was intended to be socially responsible and to promote the efficiency of racing cars.
    However, the watching audience were treated to the pathetic sights of Formula 1 cars running out of fuel as they tried to finish the race.
    There were many other ocassions when lesser teams grabbed a moment of glory for their sponsors by allowing their drivers to turn up the boost and increase their fuel consumption. This extra performance would allow them to move towards the lead of the race and grab some TV time, before running out of fuel ten or so laps before the end.
    This was not good racing, and I fear that a prohibition on refuelling will allow this to happen again.

    1. Running out of fuel was caused by not taking on board enough fuel at the start. It had nothing to do with a fuel limit.

      I’d assume these days they know exactly how much fuel is still left in the car. They could tell the driver upfront to change to a different mix and save fuel.

      Although Massa had a fuel problem in Spain when he supposedly ran out of fuel, but Ferrari later claimed that he did have enough fuel after all. So maybe they don’t know and they just guestimate it?

      1. HounslowBusGarage
        26th October 2009, 22:44

        Not sure I agree with that. Cars were limited to 240 litres for the entire race in 84 and 85. I’m sure they loaded on the max, but it was the rate of burn that caused them to run out of fuel before the end of the race.

        1. Ah ok, I was thinking about the McLarens in 90 something.

          1. Several teams have pulled out their application to enter F1, Lola and N technologies, who is to say the others on the waiting list will not do likewise. They all are against refueling ban! can you believe that?

  30. The ban should shake things up a bit in that it brings out the best in some different drivers. Schumacher only won regularly after refuelling came in. I’ve read how Prost lost the 83 championship to a fuel-stopping Piquet, and he retired just before the return of refuelling (did he see it coming?) I’ll be interested to hear what Martin Brundle has to say: he raced both with and without refuelling.

    How many drivers had their race ruined by an FIA-supplied fuel rig that didn’t work? And how many times did James Allen tell us how excited we all were about cars 30 seconds apart on the track? The ban’s long overdue for me.

    I’m a bit concerned about the field spreading out and the fastest cars disappearing off, but now there’s always the threat of the safety car to close the field up. Particularly with drivers told to stay in their cars if they crash, and even more so if Piquet gets a drive…

    1. If Todt goes ahead with refueling ban (a possibility) then Alfa Romeo have a contract with FOCA, not bernie.

      Bernie also has the rights to the “Aston Martin” name

      In a way, ironically, the fans might actually need Bernie in order to keep the refueling. :(

  31. I can’t see the ban being a good thing. We do see overtaking now but this is usually a fast car overtaking a slow car, or a light fast car overtaking a heavy fast car. Once they were on the same strategy this year, we haven’t seen lots of overtaking, first lap aside.

    Next year, we’ll see the fast cars at the front. No doubt about it unless someone makes a mistake in qualifying due to all the cars making fast runs. That means fast cars at the front, slow ones at the back and around they’ll go. At least this year, if a driver in an average car put it in the Q3 they could have a chance of mixing it with the big boys with strategy.

    Do we think we’ll see a driver come through from the back of the grid and make it on the podium next year with no refuelling? It’d be magic if it happened but extremely unlikely.

    I think this years rules have been fantastic. Button dominated the opening events but after that there was a real sense that you wouldn’t know who would win a race, even if there was a fast car on pole, and that kept me watching till the wee hours (I’m in NZ).

    Aside from that I love watching F1 cause its awesomely fast, and yes I like the transfer of technology to road cars and all that but not at the expense of the driver having to take his foot of the gas to make it to the end. Is that racing? I can’t race with him because I won’t make the finish so I’ll let him past.


    1. I think the FIA have p****d off shell and mobil 1. The advanced nature of shell’s project showed their commitment but this was thrown aside more than likely due to previous actions on the part of both companies. Additionally, colin chapman has already commented on the adverse impact this war is having on signing title sponsors. How could any major business get involved with an FIA F1 WC with a potentially low quality fuel suppliers ? How could shell and mobil 1 now rustle up the finances to run in 2010?

      This IMHO is greatest example of brinkmanship I have seen in a while. Bernie has put the ball firmly in fuel suppliers court. Either they get rid of Todt and his cronies to keep the shell & mobil 1 or they suffer the massive negative publicity and associated financial loss in losing the big names in F1.

      Personally, I’m now at the point where I am so turned off by Max and Bernie, that I would rather watch FOTA’s championship than anything these two old, greedy fools have to offer. They’ve got to go. Now!

  32. I won’t miss refueling during the stops. Having cars on different fuel stops was an additional strategy factor, but I don’t consider it necessary for interesting racing.

  33. A couple of points need to be addressed in this debate:

    1.) pit-stops will matter even more.
    Drivers will have to make pit stops and how fast his crew can change tires will actually matter. Nowdays it is the same do they change them in 4 or 6 seconds, they allways have to wait for fuel hose to come out, a well trained crew could bring valuable seconds to the team.

    2.) faster cars in qualifying doesn’t mean that car will be faster in race.
    Setup is still fixed before the end of qualifying, teams shall face a choice – better qualifying position or better race-pace depending on will their car be tuned to work better with empty tank or heavy fuel load.

    3.) different cars will reach peak at different parts of the race.
    Some cars will work better with heavy fuel load so they would definitely put the faster tires in their early stint trying to take the most advantage of the period when their cars are fastest. They would want to make the big gap at the start of the race. Then there should be some good finishers who would be faster in lighter car so they would charge in the second part of the race (think Kubica at Australia this year).

    Maybe we are not even seeing some things teams will look to exploit, we all hope this will increase on-track battles and overtaking, honestly – I don’t find it very exciting to see will somebody make a stop on lap 13 or 14, especially as we know when will drivers stop and every team knows it too.

  34. The only concern I’ve got is that we’ll get back to the days of drivers backing off in the last half dozen laps to make sure they get to the end of the race. The days where the prospect of running out of fuel rather than finishing 7th were dreadful.

    1. The sri lankan
      27th October 2009, 5:06

      actually……does this mean teams will start work on a new car? im sure for most teams work on the the 2010 F1 challangers are underway but with a refueling ban in place what are the cars going to look like and whren does the work on them start? its quite late as it is to make another racing car th this stage especially for next year. any thoughts?

  35. Also, I just remembered why banning the refueling is cost-saving. Teams need to change the fuel rigs and it is a considerable investment for a piece of equipment that makes no increase or decrease of performance.

    1. Much as I think this showdown had to happen, for the good of the fans and the sport, it is terrible news for formula one isn’t it?

  36. I began following motorsport seriously in 1984 (@ age 12-13). As a US fan who watched Indycars, NASCAR, and F1 (it was great back in the 80s, as it was all on ESPN), the fact that Formula One didn’t have refueling seemed weird to me. The more I read, I understood about the pre-1984 safety concerns…but refueling isn’t inherently unsafe, so I thought it was a good thing when it was brought back in 1994.

    Was the racing any better or worse due to refueling? I’d have to say not really.

    I thought the racing was really good in the mid to late 80s when you had a solid group of good drivers (Prost, Senna, Piquet Sr., Rosberg Sr., Lauda, Berger, Mansell) who were threats to win every race and multiple makes who were competitive (McLaren, Brabham, Ferrari, Williams, Lotus).

    The racing got boring when one make got a competitive advantage over another, and that team dominated, as McLaren and Williams took turns doing from 1989, and Benetton and Ferarri did in the mid to late 90s. Adding refueling was an attempt to change that, but it really didn’t change much.

    Two keys for competitive races, IMHO. The first key is having competitive balance among the manufacturers, which we’ve had this year.

    The second key is tire variation. Bridgestone has to be made to bring tires with substantial differences between them next year, like a super soft vs. a hard tire. That will make for real differences in strategy (run fast on supersofts or longer on hards – do the long stint early or late? Do two stints of equal length? Do three?).

    Suggestion: a change that could make for better racing would be to have Bridgestone bring three compounds, and have the teams required to only use two of them (but maybe they could use all three). The surprise/strategy would be that we (and the other competitors) wouldn’t know if a driver was using hards/softs or mediums/softs or mediums/hards, or softs/softs/mediums, etc. That would add an element of drama. And teams could change strategy on the fly based on weather/changing conditions/safety cars/etc.

    Or, as someone said above, have a tire war. That would create drama, too.

    1. This is how I see it…

      1) The teams can’t afford to run two fuel pumps, will want to go with the refueling, but will need to get out of their contracts with Bernie
      2) Until they can get out of their contracts, the fuel suppliers will not commit to races with the teams.
      3) There is no rival fuel pump manufacturer until there is the budget cap is lifted.
      4) The sponsors will not want to spend any money until they are sure there is fixed fuel supplier.

      So we will have a stalemate. Meanwhile, the motorsport authorities will be putting pressure on Todt to resign. This means both sides will be groveling to each other to reconsider.

      The most likely scenario is that someone caves in.

      The second most likely, considering the stalemate outlined above, would be no fueling at all. Most of the teams wouldn’t mind this, considering the recession. They would all like a year off to save money and come back stronger next year.

      Even if the rival manufacturer can get the pumps together, the FIA will be moving to get rid of todt. Maybe then the teams would be invited back into the fold, on their terms. Because it would be embarrassing to run a failed fuel pump where the second manufacturer is EuroBrun. This is the third most likely situation.

      A distant, distant fourth option is allowing two fuel pump manufacturers, but I see one of the above happening first.

    2. All the teams would start with hard tyres with the heavy fuel load and then switch to super soft when the fuel load went down enough. So they would be forced into the same stategy.

  37. I would like to see the return of Q-cars. I know it is expensive, but even qualy-only enginces would be nice (with or without rev limits…). Even relaxed parc fermme requirements would make it more interesting. The qualy:race performance relationship will govern the early season race strategy more than we give credit. E.g. Jarno and Mark – quick on one lap, but poor over a race distance.

    Also – why are we maintaining the 3 qualy sessions when there is no longer a fuel correction in the third? I’m not suggesting single hot laps, but 45 minutes of track time and the grid is set in order of finishing.

    As for refuelling – car design/engineering will be much more important. I fear for the new teams. They will each run out of fuel once before the season is finished.


    1. Shell is out of contract after this year. They’ve got to supply for Moto GP in 2010. mobil 1 is out of contract after 2010 and castrol cannot afford the franchise fee on its own so they might pull off. petrobras is off at the moment, but ELF is still owned by a renault or someone, I think. Montreal, Indy, Suzaka or Fuji. Imola, Brno.

      The thing is , the contracts are already drawn up and I seriously doubt they exclude other fuel suppliers from the circuit (pesky EU laws on competition as well as goods services and trade). The promoters can sign deals with other oil companies as they see fit. I think they are all up for grabs as they can see more of a share of the real profits from the races. The only ones that won’t are those owned by Bernie.

  38. James, I have to disagree with you. I agree with most of Kieth’s article.

    I started watching F1 in 1987 when I was 12. I wouldn’t say that I like one era better than the other. Both scenarios create exiting moments. but overall, I’m tired of the pit passing just like Kieth.

    The reason I disagree with James is this;
    1) you say that the ‘team’ aspect will be lost, but there are what, 3 refueling guys. they still need tires and like Kieth says, this can be very dramatic.

    2) aggressive driving will be lost….we’ve seen the opposite in the past when there has been no refueling. Drivers can’t rely on the pit leap to gain advantage and they push past. Also, you get tire masters like Prost that come to life when everyone else struggles.

    ALSO, re-fueling combined with the 3 qualifying sessions leads to every car that is 11th and up going with these huge fuel load strategies….boring and processional (Trulli train!!). Now you’ll have 26(?) cars that are starting a bit more ‘fairly’ and you will see a lot more early action that hands a little more advantage to great drivers in mediocre cars (example, Sutil in the Force India at the beginning of the year starts in 19th with a ton of fuel….meanwhile, Button is 1st with very little fuel and pulls away to gain 30 seconds on Sutil….this factor will be reduced when they are all on the same fuel loads) that example assumes that Sutil is ‘great’.

    Also, James, I don’t see how you can have lists of reasons why refueling is so great that are twice as long as my arms when you didn’t start watching F1 until they had started refueling again….

    1. Sorry James, didn’t mean for that to sound like an attack…you just seem adamant about it, but haven’t really gone through a season without fueling…..cheers :)

    2. F1 As we know & Love it will never survive without the refueling.Lets hope it becomes

  39. I am new to F1 and this is my first time voicing an opinion on the subject, so be kind…


    I think I agree with Anthony in that one of the unintended consequences of allowing refuelling is that you end up with cars with very different fuel loads on the track at the same time, which in turn allows more overtaking.

    Even a slower car with way less fuel can pass a faster competitor who has just topped up. This does add to the spectacle in my opinion. Overtaking on the track is still exciting, even if it is a result of different fuel loads.

    1. Todt should resign now!!!
      27th October 2009, 5:20


  40. I think tyre management is being overlooked here, that will be the key. As we know, Bridgestone don’t exactly bring two great tyres to a race, one will always be inferior to the other, hence there would still be strategy in tyre choice.

    Driver who can manage their cars better over the course of the race will benefit. Knowing when to push and when to back off. The ban will also force drivers to pass each other on track, which would be good fun to watch. We had so fantastic battles before 93, so I expect more of the same.

    I wonder which of the current drivers can adapt to this change quickly. I expect the like Jenson and Alonso to quickly pick up the pieces, the jury is out on the likes of Vettel, Rosberg and Hamilton

    1. I think I’m happy about this. refueling is an enormous drag on the sport.

      F1 won’t survive as we know it without the shell, mobil 1, elf, etc. It will instantly become the “B-League”. This is especially true since the oil companies are going to be have the support of obama(as they’ll be allowed to invest in technology liberally).

      In the short-run, the sport will face tremendous uncertaintly. However, in the long-run, I truly think the sport of racing will be better off for ridding itself of the cumbersome management/regulatory framework that burdens the sport so heavily today.

  41. Hey… now that I think of it… I was hoping that one of the long-time F1 Fanatics out there could help a newcomer understand the sport better by providing some background info (I have only watched this season and last but am now obsessed with F1)

    My question is this: Most people seem to agree that aerodynamics are hampering overtaking in F1. But why? Is it simply that it is hard to follow another car in dirty air?

    Sorry if this question is way too basic for this forum. Let me know if these kind of questions are unwelcome.

    1. Not too basic at all. Yes, you are right though. The cars are set up to have the maximum corner speed by cutting through clean air. Any deviation from clean air reduces the effect of the aerodynamic pieces. Last year’s cars were addorned with flickup to straighten the air flow on to the rear wing to maximise it’s efficiency. Removing the flickups for the 09 season was intended to increase the relative performance of trailing cars. It didn’t work because aero guys managed to claw back the performance difference (in large part due to the double defusers). Only by taking a step back in design will we return to ‘on track overtaking’. Simple wings with no floor/defuser effects.

      1. Thanks Dave!

    2. The track layout also has a lot to do with passing. Some tracks (like Monaco) are just not great for passing. If there is no where to cleanly pass on a track then its not going to matter what aero tricks you have.

  42. Refuelling was part of the show,its disappointing that it will be the last time we will see it.
    Secondly next year we may see some situation where cars on the closing stage have to back off to save fuel or may even run out of fuel.
    Will surely miss it.
    But as the tyres will grain more on the opening sequences of the race will we see 3-4 pit stops instead of regular two.

  43. I remember watching F1 before refuelling and the thing that really bugged me was that within a quarter of the race the leader(s) were lapping the backmarkers. That, especially for me, makes the race rubbish. It’s great to see the cars at the back able to change their fuel strategy to help them to the front with help from refuelling.

    But now I fear we’ll go back to the ‘lapped car’ syndrome that I thought was eradicated. It’s going to become regular in every race.

    1. What!? Very early lapping was due to the state of some of the teams in f1 at the time. Nothing to do with refuelling. In Q2 15 cars are often less the 1 second apart all running on fumes. If their race pace is similar then maybe 5 cars will get lapped in race.

      Im 100% with Keith on this one. My brother sat in on mission control in MTC and he could not belive how much they focus on economy to eek out the extra lap to jump the car in front at the next pit stop. Now its time for them to try and pass the guy on track….if thats impossible with aero issues then at least he may see more little errors forced due to people behind pushing harder to overtake.

      If you think there will be no strategy and boring races, Paddy Lowe doesnt agree with you

  44. Keith I think that pinnacle of refuelling racing is the 4 stop strategy at Magny Cours in 2004. So was the hungaroring of 1998. That was schuey-brawn-ferrari and tactics at the best. Those were two wonderful races. I will never forget.

    Yeh I am happy to see refuelling going away because of 1 reason and that is the strategy less qualifying. I always feel those qualifying brings the best out of the machines and the drivers. No Strategy, just pure racing. Bring the best setup for the track and get the best out of it if you have the best driver around.

    One thing I feel sad about refuelling going is the fact that it takes one variable out of the game. one less variable one less complexity. Due to the technological development in the recent days the racing was becoming more predictable. Now if there are more variables atleast there is some amount of unpredictable stuff out there.

    Second reason I hate to see refulleing going is because master strategist like Ross brawn would have less role to play. I always loved the way Ross took the rabbit out of the hat albeit he needs a good driver to drive for him to do so. i loved him doing that with schumey. Also another fact is that now if a driver is trailing another in tracks like valencia, sgp and Monaco we alteast have the hope of overtaking through pit strategies. Now that element would be lost. Yeh it is not end of pit stops there are tyre changes but still.

    I have been following racing even before 1994 era. I dont have complaints towards both the versions of the race. THe real people who make the difference is the people. A ross Brawn can make a refuelling stop interesting. Similarly great drivers can make the other style intresting.

    Keith One question. If this is just done to save cost and not in the interest of the sporting spectacle. Are we going to see this come back when the economy booms agains and when auto industry is back with loads of cash at disposal ?

    My only concern is that if it is done just to save cost and not to make sport more interesting. It will lose out soon.


  45. It will be terrible. I remember racing with no refuelling All the cars were heavy and there was very little overtaking if memory serves.

    You will know the result of the race after around 10 laps.

    OK, maybe 20

  46. What a shame

  47. Good! No more Max and Bernie!! wooohoooo!!!

  48. wong chin kong
    27th October 2009, 4:15

    Ban on refuelling is good. It will discourage teams from staging crashes giving unfair advantage to the other driver qualifying on low fuel and benefiting on deployment of safety car.

  49. Prisoner Monkeys
    27th October 2009, 4:49

    I sincerly hope that this is an eleventh-hour attempt to scare cosworth into … something. I remain convinced that refueling ban is doomed to failure for several reasons, including a lack of fuel pumps; coswarth can build sixteen fuel pumps where the mercedes can run with twenty-six. cosworth cannot get new pumps from anywhere: given the economy, no-one is going to be willing to build a pump from the ground up, and the mercedes already has all the pumps in their pocket. Likewise, you can bet Bernie Ecclestone will be signing contracts with circuits to say they’ll work with him and none other (unless he hasn’t done so already). Everything needs to be negotiated with corprorate sponsors, broadcast partners, circuits owners and event organisers, all of which will take time that cosworth does not have.

    1. This isn’t an eleventh-hour anything. The refuelling ban was announced months ago — wasn’t it actually before the first race, in that first flurry of FIA-FOTA conflict? All the cars are already being designed with longer wheelbases and larger fuel tanks to accommodate the increased fuel load.

  50. I think you will find refuling ban will be more popular, Bernie cannot stop teams designing their own fuel tanks. This is commerical suicide for the bernie and not only this against the law. As for new fuel pumps. A fota series unlike the f1 series will more then likely gurantee 80% – 90% of tv revenue goes to the teams. Unlike current. It has already been worked out a new fuel rigs will give the teams the same fuel efficency they are currently getting. Difference is they own the fuel, The have a vested interest in it therefore they will all work together. As for engines, ford will sign up tommorrow morning. Existing engine suppliers that bernie does not own can do what ever they like. Think about it you can host the current f1 grid bar 4 engines at 1/2 if not 1/3 of the cost. Not only that the deal is sweetened further with the bernie owning everything. Paddock club etc etc. Currently different companies own advertising boards, paddock club etc etc. engine suppliers will make profit.

    You also need to think that there would be several contract relating to f1 and bernie that will fall over. People signed contract with the current grid. I have no doubt if 80% of that engine suppliers will walk away, there will be breaches.

    Bernie, FIA and f1 is dead all because of power, cash and ego’s.

    The winner here todt

    1. FOTA championship isn’t going to happen any time soon. Despite fans getting really excited about it (and assigning unrealistic expectations to it) it was never more then a bargaining chip for FOTA to get a bigger share of tv money. If they are serious about trying to improve the sport FOTA should invite circuit owners in their organization so they can together put pressure on FOM…

  51. I have not had time to read the comments so I am probably repeating what others I have said.

    I am in 100% agreement re-fueling must go. It adds nothing but ruins races. I would ban all planned pit stops. To me a grand prix is two dozen drivers racing from the grid to the flag unaided. I have discussed this on a couple of sites but it bears repeating. Imagine Gilles Villeneuve’s iconic drive at Jarama in 1981 with pit stops. Instead of Gilles holding of a string of following cars by superbly positioning his car and winning in a car that had no right to be in the top half of the grid he would have lead into the first stop. After the first stop he would have been fifth at best and after a second stop he could have finished 12th and no-one would have noticed.

    The idea that overtaking didn’t happen in the past is wrong. Up until ground effect came into being at the end of the 70s it was not uncommon for the number of changes of leader in a race to be well into double figures. There was a website that logged the changes of leader at the start line of every GP. At Monza there were regularly 30+ changes of leader at the start line. Multiply that by moves elsewhere and changes of other positions and you get an awful lot of overtaking. I really must try and find that site again. There is a reason why people rave about those Monza slipstreamers. Overtaking at other tracks may not have been as easy but it happened regularly.

    There is a famous quote by Gilles Villeneuve which debunks the myth that the lack of overtaking is a recent phenomenon. He said something like ‘The trouble with modern race cars is that the front wing is so sensitive that if you get too close behind another car in a corner you lose grip and the car understeers. As a result you lose contact with the car and cannot slipstream it down th straight and overtake into the following corner.’ Max and co have consistently over the past 20 years put out the story that overtaking has become more difficult in the last 5 years but before that it was OK so a minor tweak here and there will sort it. Gilles died in 1982. The problem has been around for a very long time. His solution was to take the wings and throw them away. Don’t modify them bin them. He wanted to fit 5 litre normally aspirated engines and big wide slick tyres. Increase the mechanical grip and reduce the aero. 26 years on and we are still going in the opposite direction.

    Re-fueling pit stops were one of the little tweaks added to patch up the ’show’. Proper technical regulations would give us proper racing and we can get rid of many of the current abberations. There is a belief in some sectors that to make radical change to the essence of F1. It seems odd to me that so many people are attached to rules and regulations drawn up by people they despise.

    Reduce the aero + increase the mechanical grip = proper grand prix racing.

    Forza Gilles

    1. Great post Steven. Refuelling takes away our appreciation for the drivers skill and merit. For example today, drivers can start 14/15 and find there way up on to the podium without hardly passing anyone. I would rather see a driver pass cars on the track and deserve the result more.

      Banning refuelling alone though won’t really change anything. Drivers will still have pitstops to make, but these will be more fluid that the pre planned fuel stops. None the less drivers can still sit behind another knowing the other still has a pitstop for the other type of tyre to make.

      Steven and most of the other post are correct, refuelling alone doesn’t prohibit overtaking, Aerodynamics and the powerful breaking systems do. A driver cannot keep close to the car ahead and he is kept too far back to have a lunge because breaking distances are too sort.

      Reduce Areo, reduce breaking distances and bring back manual gearboxes. This way the driver can have a real impact of the car in front.

      However no one in the FIA wants to go down this route as cars would be potentially slower and use less technology. Other forms of motor sport could then claim to be faster and more advance and this could damage the F1 Brand (who cares)- however would they be a true test for drivers to show their skills?

      1. Steven, I think the website you mentioned, that escaped your memory, is :)

    2. Gilles Villeneuve might have complained, but overtaking is a lot less rare today than it was back then.

      Maybe Keith (or one of the other writers here) did a piece on it, but I can’t find it anymore.

      Here are some links though:

      Increases in Overtaking
      – 1988 >> 1989: Fuel restrictions removed, turbo charged engines banned
      – 1996 >> 1997: No notable changes?
      – 2002 >> 2003: Single Lap Qualifying introduced.
      – 2005 >> 2006: Engine size reduced/restricted; New Qualifying format

      Decreases in Overtaking
      – 1993 >> 1994: A lot of changes after Imola to make F1 safer
      – 1995 >> 1996: 107% Rule, field size down from 26 to 22
      – 2000 >> 2001: Traction Control Introduced
      – 2003 to 2005: Engines must last longer

      Overtaking has been cut in half or three since Gilles Villeneuves day.

    3. Good comments. Can’t say as I agree with the ban on re-fueling, but I do remember the Villeneuve quote about big motors, less aero, and big tires. Yeah, that would be very cool.

  52. The double decker fuel pumps are a big fat angle on the rear wheel generate turbulence. The rear nonecone is the biggest culprit here. The fuel pump alone generates little turbulence, the steering wheel lots, together loads.

    Overtaking has reduced in line with electrical loads going up… the cars are closer today because electrical loads have reduced over the top of the car, they may have gained it all back in the pump but it hasn’t stopped the cars being closer this year.

    We need to go further still in reducing sponsors logo over the car. We want to return to driver dimensions of 1931 and then reduce the number of planes and the angle range. The 1936 merc references are correct, small wings is the future… moto gp has witnessed some fantastic scraps, not just on ovals but road courses as well.

    Please note: the comments above are from an aerodynamic specialist

    1. Boy, I sure wish any of this made sense. Could you please write it again, or someone re-interpret it please?

      1. Boy, I sure wish any of this made sense. Could you please write it again, or someone re-interpret it please?

        It was some spammer who used Martin’s name to post nonsense. Don’t bother reading messages that make no sense. And I suggest you add an avatar.

  53. Goodbye refuelling! Good riddance!

    Back in 1994 refuelling added a different dynamic to F1 races, but it has been ages since it actually added value to an F1 race for spectators. Keith mentioned the only two instances I can think of in the article (Shoe’s 4 stopper at Magny-Cours and Jenson’s three stopper at Spain this year).

    Now we are going to see the cream rise to the top. The driver who wins the WDC next year will be the driver who can drive quickly on cold tyres with a heavy car, and who can best adapt to the changing characteristics of the car as the fuel load starts to fall. Drivers are going to have to be able to nurse the car when it isn’t performing well, and capitalise when it starts to come right. For this reason I actually think that Jenson’s smooth, and economical driving style will serve him well next year.

    In addition to this drivers will be forced to overtake to make up positions, which can only be good for us as fans. I really do hate hearing radio transmissions which say “Don’t worry mate, we are running two laps longer than him, so we’ll get him in the pit stop [read – you don’t have to overtake the car in front of you].” I guarantee you that guys won’t worry about being stuck in the Trulli train’s dirty air when they know they don’t have a clever strategy to get them through the field. Real racers like Hamilton, Raikkonnen and Alonso will relish this kind of racing.

    On 14 March 2010 in Bahrain proper F1 racing is coming back, and I can’t wait!

  54. dont u mean good”riddance”

  55. my view is it provides nothing exciting to the racing itself, in the example u used of spain ’09, button beat barrichello because of strategy, as opposed to superior driving!
    without refuelling, the pitsops for tyres become a genuine race between teams as opposed to stops being dictated by fuel timing.
    also, if some is in a good position late in the race on fading tyres, they may well stay out as they would be in the minor placings if they stopped.
    the list goes on, i hated refuelling anyway as it make a “grand prix” into a series of sprints.
    we now have cars that will be fast/slow as fuel load goes down, the reall killer for me about refuelling was when they made cars quali on race fuel, so a car got pole because it was lighter on fuel, as opposed to being the fastest on that given day, which to me is what quali is all about.
    also tyre management is now a bigger part of racing, i did watch F1 pre-94 (imola ’89 being my 1st race) and have loved it ever since.
    just thing, driver a has dominated the race and pitted for tyres while driver b now leads on old tyres and is staying out, driver a is faster on new tyres and will have to pass to win the race…….

    1. without refuelling, the pitsops for tyres become a genuine race between teams as opposed to stops being dictated by fuel timing.

      My point exactly! Pit-stops will get much more interesting and only 2 people will be missing from the pit-stops of today. Just remember few years back when there was a rule cars must race on a single tire all race – was it exciting watching 2 guys refueling the car and 8 more measuring temperature in the tires?

    2. No Barrichello was on the faster strategy, he just couldn’t make it work. Brawn says this Barrichello eventually admited this.

      It was Jensons driving that won him that race.

  56. johnnyboysoprano
    27th October 2009, 7:48

    I’m all in favour of a sort of ‘Formula Libre’ like was more the case in the past. Give teams the possibility to do whatever they want, whether it be turbo engines, traction control, skirts, aerodynamics, testing, etc… This way you create a really open championship where the best engineers and the best team and driver will win. Which is the way it should be right? Why do we have an FIA that insists on taking f1 back to the 60’s on the technical side? As for cost cutting, if you can’t afford f1, go run a team in GP2! Do we really need Campos and Manor etc? I prefer watching 18 good cars than the disgraceful shoWs that we sometimes had in the early 90’s with coloni, eurobrun etc…

    F1 should be the pinnacle of motorsport engineering, and it looks more and more like a spec series… Shame on that!

    1. We just witnessed 2 big manufacturer teams pulling out of the sport with main reason being too big cost, F1 needs cost cutting as the era of big manufacturers has brought huge increase in cost of running F1 team.

    2. Formula Libre would unfortunately kill the drivers. To much G force.

      I think the rules should specifiy the amount of G a car is aloud to pull for a length of time and limit it at that.

  57. I don’t have a fundamental problem with the refueling ban, but I think it’s definitely going to hurt the smaller teams. Whereas before they could use clever strategy, using light fuel loads to gain advantage during periods of the race, now there is almost no chance of a slower car getting ahead of their quicker rivals, no matter how well the driver drives.

    1. of course there is. He could bolt on the softs and go for it passing other faster cars that are nursing either tyre. Anyway tell me when this last happened…there are no smaller teams anymore it is so competitive they dont need a helping hand from false fuel loads.

  58. I am so confused by some of the comments here. I thought the refuelling ban was a done deal but lots of the comments are implying there is a major disagreement about it with some (all?)of the teams. I can’t see any links referencing this or comments explaining it, are some of the comments missing for me? I can’t find anything about this on any F1 or other news sites and nothing on the FOTA website which was mentioned too. What am I missing – can someone please explain and/or provide a link?

    1. Im pretty sure those are spam messages by someone signing in as “Oliver” and “Todt must resign” or something. Either spam, or an drooling yahoo who lives in his mum’s basement – although those categories aren’t mutually exclusive.

      As far as I know, there has been no FIA-FOTA disagreement over the ban, and it certainly wasn’t brought in by Todt, as some of those comments suggest.

      1. Thanks Maciek, thought I had entered a parallel universe!

  59. IT WILL BE MISSED. But I do hope your right and im wrong about that Keith.
    I dont think the car weights shouldnt be released before the race. That would be better. I know people can guess from performance to some extent, but when a driver really pulls it from the bag in quali and then is out longer than eveyone thinks it would be better and make strategies harder to predict… but I know most of the guys on here dont like strategy.

  60. I started watching F1 in 1991 when I was ten, so although I started watching before refuelling came back in 1994 I can’t say I remember how different it was.

    Personally I am not really for or against the decision to get rid of refuelling as the arguments on neither side have convinced me.

    The one thing I am defiantly in favour of is getting rid of qualifying with race fuel.

    I am disappointed that drivers will still have to use both tyre compounds in a race, which stops a driver attempting to finish the race without stopping.

    Without any change to the aero regulations for next year I fear some races could be quite boring with little change of position.

  61. I’m glad it’s going, an unnecessary distraction where good drivers lost races through no fault of their own. I’d like an end to this ridiculous “2 kinds of tyre must use both” too.

    On a side point, since people are talking about fuel tank size – here’s my suggestion for greening F1. Remove all restrictions on engine design, let them build ANY size or shape they want, bring back turbos, whatever, but limit the fuel throughout race weekend, indeed throughout the whole season. Start with a limit of say 70% of what the currently burn for a race and reduce it 10-15% a year for the next 3 years after that. Teams may only use fuel supplied by FIA sources, so testing is limited to a fixed number of gallons per season (Fridays and Saturdays being taken out their testing allowance). You may have to put a 240mph limiter on for safety, but generally top speeds would be limited by the need to reach the end on the tank you’ve got. Nevertheless there’d be opportunities to turn up the wick to pass when you really need it.

    Ok maybe it needs refining (:D did you see what I did there?), but it would have real world application and be fascinating to watch. I’d far sooner have seen a freeze on aero than a freeze on engines, I miss the old V8 V10 V12 wars….

  62. This may of already been covered but…..

    With re-fuelling gone does that mean we can have Sunday Warm-up back – as there will be no need to lock off the fule levels in Parce Ferme (It can still apply to all other settings on the car) this way the trodden on paying spectators get to see the cars for 30 mins extra in the morning which was well worth getting into the circuit early for – we could also watch it on the Red Button so sponsers and in turn teams will be happy with more TV exposure ! and the more people who get into the circuit earlier will spend more money on concessions and other goods on sale in the circuit – caps flags e.t.c. which may go some way into making the event turn a profit for the circuits and make it more worth there while :)…. just a thought and everyones a winner !!

  63. I am very happy that in Q3 every car will take the position it deserves. since all cars will run with the least fuel load.
    However, re-fuelling could be allowed. Instead of full fuelling every car, they could fuel every car let’s say for example with 40 litres!
    Then each team could choose a different strategy after the 1st stint!
    On the other hand, FIA has also in mind green technology. In 2013, they are planning to allow the involvement of the engines. The team with the engine that would have the best efficiency with a given fuel load would have a greater advantage. There would be no limits in rpm and horse power for the engines, just a fixed amount of fuel which every team should use in order to finish a race.
    Check this article for details:

    here is the main part:

    the next engine formula for all FIA championships, including F1, is to be based on gaining power from a fixed volume of fuel rather than from the capacity of the engine, as it is at present.

    This is clearly a massive change and one that has been in the offing for over a year now. FIA president Max Mosley first started talking about it two years ago.

    “Motor sport must move from a power per unit of a combination of one or more of: swept volume/RPM/boost pressure/sonic orifice diameter, as a basis for engine performance regulation, to one of power per unit of energy, ” said the FIA statement. “This would automatically put the technical emphasis on energy efficiency, and enable all efficiency technologies to be embraced. This approach, combined with appropriate fuels, will also minimise the emissions of CO2. In
    order to enable the public to easily understand this efficiency concept applied to motor sport, it is also necessary to limit the amount of fuel/energy consumed by a competitor during a race. For reasons of the cost of development, technologies may need to be restricted depending on the nature of a given championship/series.”

    The document also puts energy recovery systems at the heart of the new engine formula and identifies the flywheel, the concept under development at Williams, as the way forward,
    “Energy Recovery Systems technology, however, is fundamental to the future of the automobile, including these hybrids. Motor sport can make a useful contribution to development and marketing. Technology such as fly wheels reducing dependence on batteries and concentrating on ICE load shift proves to
    be the most promising way forward. ”

  64. no refuelling will be great…..then the scrub drivers like Massa, Hamilton, etc. won’t be able to qualify light with the fstest car on the grid.

  65. I can think of three races made by refuelling this year: Spain, Valencia and Italy. Refuelling actually made what would have been easy stroll in the park for Hamilton an exciting race.

    Italy, as well, was pretty good with the one-stoppers of Brawn fighting the two-stopping Hamilton.

    When I heard refuelling was going to get banned I thought whatg a huge mistake it was. F1 at the moment is not suitted to no refuelling: the cars cannot pass on track and so the overtaking has to be done in the pitlane. The ban should wait until the overtaking issue is well and truly rectified.

    An example of this was Spa this yeasr: both Raikkonen and Fisichella had the same fuel in the car yet Fisichella could not overtake. This I fear is what next year will turn out like.

    The FIA should have instead just do low fuel Q3 and keep refuelling, as per pre-2003.

    Let’s hope that this ban will quickly get overturned as soon as it’s realised how bad an idea it truly was.

    1. its up to the driver as in Spa last year, Kimi passed both Hamilton and Massa.

    2. Fisichella couldn’t pass Kimi because of KERS.

      1. if the Ferrari didn’t have Kers, it would have been designed different and Fisi still wouldn’t have been able to pass.

        1. Really? Are you sure. Thats the most downright stupid comment ive heared for ages.

          At Spa the Force India could pass as was proved by one Adrian Suitil.

        2. @Scribe, no need to be rude. @NickF1 – that’s pure speculation. You cannot know that

  66. My first F1 memories are from 1994 so I do not remember a non-refuelling era.

    As a previous poster has suggested, it will not change the racing overnight but it will make the drivers and teams have to learn new things.

    The reason why banning refuelling is good is because it will change things. Race Refuelling has become too well understood, publishing the fuel weights this season has been the killer. Now there is no uncertainty whatsoever.

    Having said that, the simulation technology and the amount of computing power in the hands of the teams these days means the disruption that this change will cause will probably be minimal at best.

    Why not ban them? The FIA can always reverse the decision at a later date.

  67. I’m a very happy person now that refueling is banned. can’t wait for those 3 second pitstops…..

    1. Weren’t they more like 5 or 6 seconds?

      1. Seven seconds used to be a really good stop, as I recall. But someone came in for tires only sometime in the past few races (can’t remember who or where) and the stop was about four seconds. Astonishing.

  68. I don’t think refuelling strategies were tedious, in my opinion they were very interesting and made F1 a bit more “intellect” sport. But it has also been very frustrating to see drivers waiting competitors pitstops instead of overtaking them (ofc there will still be pitstops, but there isn’t so much difference anymore between pitting on lap 45 or 44 because car’s weight won’t change during pitstop).

  69. Now that refuelling is banned, could we then introduce solid fuel staged booster instead of large fuel tanks?

    Also, if we’re sticking to boring ol’ liquid fuel, lighting the sides of night races with bonfires could liven up races should anyone crash.

  70. I am with Keith on this one.

    I watched from the end of the 1992 season (some chap called Mansell and then Hill from 93 the reasons). My reasoning for wanting the ban is that I want the unpredictability on the track and not off it.

    I know that 92 and 93 were particulary drab seasons, but that was more to do with the Williams dominance than anything else.

    To me, releasing the fuel weights has been the latest mistake to make F1 more predictable.

    I guess we’ll see next year, but although it’s ‘exciting’ to see Kimi sprayed with fuel and set alight, it isn’t really F1 racing for me :)

  71. People say they wont be a team effort. Just adagine the hours the tyre changers will have to put in to get it less than other teams? theres going to be nothing in it.

    All i can say is, all those battles and they are destroyed by the leader or catcher coming into the pit is going to end. The battles are going to last longer. Drivers will have to be alert for longer which is going to tire them down. For new drivers to come in, with little testing, heavy fast cars. 2010 going to be a FAIL year at the start. Lots of crashs. *secretly smiles*

  72. this blows!

    1. and not the good kind of ‘blows’.

  73. I agree with HounslowBusGarage. This ban could lead to the rise of an engine/driver combo that is better at getting fuel mileage ie:Alain Prost in the 1980’s turbo era. This facet of the sport led racers like Keke Rosberg to quit as they could not stand paddling around saving fuel instead of going for it.
    Anybody remember Senna hopping out of his out-of fuel Lotus on the pit straight at Silverstone near the end of the race after a stirring drive?
    We just had this happen here in the States in Indycar, where Briscoe and Dixon went balls out while Franchitti saved fuel and motored by to take the Championship. I’m still not sure if I liked that…

  74. its the first step in turning F1 into LeMans. and thats not a bad thing. The Honda’s, BMW’s, and Toyota’s of the sport should love this. “I’ll make my car lighter by running a new fuel, that uses a third of what the other boys use”…ok, wishful thinking, but u can see where this has the potential to go. and i like it.

    1. They have to run standard fuel though.

      Although they might be considering bio fuels. Still then everybody would have to use that.

      1. ‘Standard fuel’ is a bit of a misnomer – the technology that goes in to the fuel used at each individual track is pretty special. This is a 2007 example, but it mentions a 40-strong team of fuel technicians.

        There is plenty of scope for better fuel to be used and still remain within the restrictions.

  75. I can’t say that i am not exited about the refueling ban, i remember the good old days of proper racing… I have a question about the tire rule, do we have to see both spec of tires on the cars or we can see someone go the hole distance with one kind of tire (I don’t think this will be possible but i think it was done in the 80’s)???

  76. I will miss it. Re-fueling often provided for some surprises we are unlikely to see in the future. Regarding the safety aspect, the technology is safe, the application sometimes is not. Witness Kovi in Brazil. I think the strategy of fuel and tires played into the drama of the GP. (I really think they should work to get multiple tire manufacturers back into the sport.) I guess you can argue that without re-fueling the driver will now become more important because it will be more down to him to make something happen rather than the strategy. However, thats just it. I think we will see the driver occasionally trying to make something happen by forcing a situation and taking himself out and whoever he is trying to overtake. Then the FIA has to investigate, and the driver will be summoned to Paris to explain himself, and fines will be levelled at driver and teams etc., etc. Blah, Blah, Blah And so it goes….

  77. I haven’t seen much of the pre-1994 era apart from a few mind boggling races between Senna and Prost among others. I don’t really think it’s going to matter that much! Less can go wrong in the pitlane, that’s for sure. No more flames and cars carrying hoses along like it was last time. Ohwell! Hopefully there’s going to be more spectacle on the court!

  78. Good thing to ban refuelling. While strategy played a part with fuel loads and length and number of stints in a race, the equipment was notoriously unreliable from releasing the nozzle from the car to delivering the correct quantity of fuel, compromising the race results in a manner out of the control of the driver (or anyone apparently) and no restitution was possible in terms of adjusting race results. Just sodding hard luck mate.

  79. I watched F1 before 1994 also. I think the refuelling stops themselves don’t really add anything to a race, but the fuel strategies in qualifying absolutely do, and of course they affect the race outcome as well. So without refuelling every car will start fully fueled to the end and there will only be pitstops for tyre changes. This says to me that we lose one of the factors that can affect the race outcome and obviously qualifying.

    1. That’s why I proposed not to full fuel the cars but let’s say, fuel them at the one third and then let the teams decide different strategies after the 1st stint!

  80. I was quiet surprised to find that I had made the first comment on this post as I haven’t commented for some weeks. Is there a green initiative to re-cycle comments from a few months ago?

    I made exactly that comment in the past and while I have no objection to people cutting and pasting my comments I would appreciate it if it was made quite clear that had been done.

    1. You made the first comment on page two, Steven :-)

      1. I didn’t make that comment. Someone sent me the link to this page and I hadn’t realised it was page two. But I did not make the first comment on this page.

        That is a comment I made last year either here or somewhere else. I have made similar comments on a lot of sites but since Villeneuve died in 1982 and that comment says it was 26 years ago then the comment was from last year.

        It looks like you have some moron who thinks it’s funny to do stuff like that. I know sidepodcast have had similar problems recently and no doubt other sites have too.

        1. Indeed it is – how weird that someone should do that. I’ll keep an eye out for it in future. Sadly some people have nothing better to do than waste other people’s time.

  81. Looks like it might be time to re-run the poll :)

  82. Accidental Mick
    28th October 2009, 11:07

    I am a bit late on this chain because I have been mulling this over which probably means no will see it – still here goes.

    When I first started following F1 there were no planned pit stops at all. I saw some awesome races at Brands Hatch in the days of Jim Clark, Graham Hill and Jackie Stewart.

    Ross Brawn has headed up several teams for different constructors with different drivers and won both the WDC and the WCC. Brawn is the master tactician in F! and I have tremendous respect and admiration for him. Witn no refueling tatics will have less (although still some) impact on the race and more responsibility on the driver. This is wher it should be, after all, they are the ones paid in mega bucks.

    Different point. Overtaking makes for exciting racing and the easy answer is to ban wings completely to force the emphasis back to mechanical grip. I dont believe that is what F1 is about. F1 is a highly technical sport and the cars are the best that the designers and engineers can envisage/ produce. The fewer rules the better. For example, engines. Given a fixed maximum capacity, if a team can make a V12 work and another can make a straight 6 work, what the hell – give them their head. We want to see the best.

    And while we are about it, incrase the minimum weight still more to give the engineers more flexibility.

  83. I’ve watched F1 since 1982 and some of the non refuelling races were like a cure for insomnia. Then again, some races in the refuelling era were the same. I think some of you may be a little surprised how quickly we end up with conformity over tyre strategy as teams will still have their respective boffins in the strategy dept working out the quickest ways to run races to the new regs. Some tracks just lead to dull races so I look forward to everyone’s complaints about how little excitement there is during the races (Get your sleeping bags and pillows ready for Valencia!!). Driver’s will look after the tyres, conserve the brakes, lean out the fuel and tool round for a third of the race before letting loose. By then most of the casual audience will have switched over or gone to sleep.That’s how driver’s like Prost won so many races and it was dull then and will, I’m afraid, be dull now unless some genius unlocks the secret to getting these cars to pass each other. Then again, I don’t think Alonso, Hamilton, Jenson, Vettel, Webber, Kimi and Kubica will have too many problems in that department.

  84. Almost all the great F1 races I remember (started watching in 1983) were pre-refuelling.

    It was only brought in by the Max and Bernie double act to create a false sense of drama where non was needed.

    So I’m with Keith in really looking forward to next year.

  85. I love the idea of overtaking on track, and anything that promotes that is a good thing, but as the cars will be very similar next year, I doubt we’ll see those kind of results in actual racing.

    Yes, take the aero off and its a different game, but then I think that will put F1 in a dilemma. Big engines, fat tyres and very low aero will be a handful and good to watch, but then all these feeder series will start giving the F1 cars a bit of a slapping, and from then on in what are they feeding? I’ve only been to a few GPs but I love watching F1 cars take the same corner 3 times as fast. It’ll take good management and good regulations to keep it the fastest formula, whilst promoting good on track racing.

    Currently, a light car versus a heavy car does this, which is why I don’t think F1’s transition to no refuelling is quite ready yet. Tracks like Singapore (the worst on the calendar from a racing point of view to my mind) will be a procession post the first lap next year, as it currently is with only refuelling promoting changes in positions.

  86. The arguments for and against refuelling will probably continue a very long time to come. There’s pros and cons in both sides

    I have witnessed F1 for over 35 years so just want to clarify some points on this.

    F1 HAS primarily been a processional race ever since it’s inception in 1950 (OK granted there have been some exceptions. Witness for one, the 1993 Kayalami & Silverstone events between Prost’s Williams Renault and Senna’s McLaren Ford. Senna kept Prost at bay for quite a few laps but ultimately the Williams proved too much for his Mclaren). It will be as long as you have cars faster than the next. Also, generally the guys who gets the pole in most cases wins.

    When people say that a ban on refuelling will make the action more exciting. They are for the most part comparing the last time this happened.

    Let’s us look a bit further into this (we’ll use the 1980s for comparison). The cars of that time were VERY different to the ones nowadays (i.e. Ground clearance, Active Suspension, Turbos, Reliability, as well as the comparative lack of safety). Drivers were willing to take more risks as they weren’t sure if the car would make it across the line. The racing was harder edged (to argue whether drivers were of a much higher calibre in those days is a fruitless exercise). You also saw quite a few cars running out of fuel

    Nowadays, the majority of drivers do not have these worries. They still take risks but this is what racing is about. The refuelling ban will not all of a sudden make the action on track more exciting although I believe it will go some way in encouraging this. The onus will be much more on the driver than with the tacticians behind the scenes. However, the cost implications will be indeed significant.

    I remember similar arguments about the re-introduction of slicks and banning of traction control a year ago or so ago.

    Has the banning of Traction Control made that much of a difference (also when taking into account that there are other forms of technology on the car that make up for this loss)??

    Has also the reintroduction of slick tires made the racing more exciting??

    Personally, I feel that the developments so far these last couple of years go some way to improve the show and that should hopefully continue.

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