Refuelling return ‘won’t happen if costs are too high’

F1 Fanatic Round-up

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In the round-up: Mercedes executive director Toto Wolff says the Strategy Group’s decision to reintroduce refuelling in 2017 won’t happen “if it’s too expensive”


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Refuelling to return from 2017 (BBC)

"We have agreed to explore this avenue and the cost involved because it could be spectacular. If it's too expensive, we won't do it."

F1’s customer cars decision could kill off minnows (The Guardian)

"The sport has decided to turn its back on the small constructors and the big beasts, Mercedes, Red Bull, McLaren and Ferrari, have been given the go-ahead to become stronger still by supplying other F1 competitors with cars and engines."

Force India angered by push for customer cars (Motorsport)

"There was no interest at all from the manufacturer teams in discussing anything to do with cost controls or more equitable income distribution."

Ferrari the winners in endless F1 power game as financial talks lead to nothing (Daily Mail)

"Ferrari’s massive payments, it could be argued, have made it easier for Ecclestone to count on their support at crucial moments in the sport’s endless political machinations."

Romain Grosjean Q&A: Lotus driver back on the up in 2015 (Sky)

"It clearly doesn’t help your weekend. There are tests you would like to do in P1 and change for P2 to see how the car reacts and then take the best decision for P3, qualifying and the race."

Manor to stick with Merhi for Monaco (Autosport)

"We have all agreed that Roberto will do the F1 race with Manor."

Talks to revamp F1 rules end in farce (The Telegraph)

"Matthew Carter, the Lotus chief executive, revealed that two years ago the team proposed allowing the drivers to push a ‘tweet’ button on their steering wheel during the race."

Pirelli wants to analyse free tyre choice (F1i)

"We would like to look in to what the problem is that's got to be solved, but as ever Pirelli will work with all the teams to find a satisfactory and safe solution"

Video - Ferrari's ride-height adjustment system (F1)

"Ferrari's 2015 machine, the SF15-T, boasts plenty of innovative features, among them this new system for altering the car's ride height."

F1 to be six seconds faster, but 1000bhp dead (MotorSport magazine)

"What is needed... is a thoroughly researched look into whether ground effect aerodynamics would lead to the ability to follow other cars closer through corners (as is widely believed) and whether this would increase the feasibility of overtaking."

Another Fine Mess (The Buxton Blog)

"The potential cost hike for the teams could be catastrophic. Manor/Marussia is already on its uppers. Lotus, Force India and Sauber are doing OK for now, but financial bombs like this will send shockwaves throughout their boardrooms. How will this affect the new Haas F1 team, who never signed up for this Formula?"

The difference between customer cars in F1 and co-constructor cars (James Allen on F1)

"We like the idea of co-constructors, it builds on work that has been going on in F1 in recent years since Force India began the model of buying the engine, gearbox and back end of the car from McLaren and Mercedes, but also it mirrors developments going on in the wider business world, where companies that compete against each other in other industries, also look to share back-room functions as a cost saving move, in areas which aren’t fundamental to how companies differentiate each other."


Comment of the day

Does bringing back refuelling make sense in an era of ‘designed to degrade’ tyres?

It seems a bit odd to bring back refuelling while sticking with the current tyres though – I thought the main appeal of having refuelling was so that the drivers could drive flat-out, but if we are supposedly keeping the high degradation tyres… surely the drivers will still have to drive to the limit of the tyres, so they still won’t really be flat-out?

At least the race times won’t be so slow compared to qualifying times with refuelling. I really hope that they don’t require cars to qualify on race fuel though, I hated the confusion of fuel-adjusted qualifying. Let them qualify on light fuel loads, then start the race with whatever fuel load they want.

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96 comments on “Refuelling return ‘won’t happen if costs are too high’”

  1. lockup (@)
    16th May 2015, 0:16

    Well it sounds chaotic. Why a meeting anyway? Why not email these ideas around so everyone has time to think?

    1. I guess by publicly calling for a meeting and making the decisions known in this manner, a message has been sent that they are indeed taking necessary steps needed to remedy ailments afflicting the sport.

      What I find interesting though is that after all the brouhaha surrounding the meeting, the elephant in the room which is costs required to maintain a viable and competitive F1 team for a whole season and price money distribution was pushed to the back burners, only to be looked into “next meeting”.

      I honestly don’t see how costs will not rise with the new rules which came out today. The re-introduction of refuelling for instance will require extra training, equipment, logistics and so on.

      Perhaps, where costs may rise significantly is in the area of 6 second speed gain and noise increase by 2017. I am not an engineer so I do not know how that would be achieved without significant changes to the engines. Will they simply amplify the engine sound with speakers?

      Only 2 years ago, the F1 community or lovers of the sport, I use love cos I don’t watch any other sport apart from F1 and a few other motor racing series, were told that the new V6 engines and the rules that came with it aptly represents a Formula 1 sport that is forward looking.

      The decisions coming out of the meeting today, sweeping as the various re-introductions are, only point backwards. That in itself is retrogression and inherrent in that is a reasonable loss of revenue for teams who could not perform well within the current rules.

      As I said, I watch motor racing with Formula 1 as my favorite, so I will be watching to see how it all pans out and I hope it improves “the show” as they claim that is what they are trying to achieve.

      1. Craig Wilde
        16th May 2015, 10:38

        The Strategy Group’s made up of a collection of self-serving hypocrites, ie the top teams who aren’t concerned about money and consider the smaller teams to be an inconvenience. Personally, I think these decisions should be taken out of their hands, formulated by a third party (something akin to TOCA) and then presented to all the teams.

        1. – Personally, I think these decisions should be taken out of their hands, formulated by a third party (something akin to TOCA) and then presented to all the teams.

          Now, that’s an idea worth taking seriously.

        2. maarten.f1 (@)
          16th May 2015, 15:56

          I think that was what the FIA was supposed to do, except Todt sold out. Now we’re stuck with the “strategy” group as a result.

  2. So basically they’ve looked at the “echoes of a future past” picture and thought “that’ll do” in regards to car design, added refuelling for some reason (again an answer to a question no one asked) and killed off the independent teams. 1 out of 3 good ideas I’m afraid.

    1. Make that “echoes of a nearby future”. The cool concept pics anyway…

  3. LyndaGreen
    16th May 2015, 0:39

    Last time there was refueling in f1 i wasn’t keen on how it was impacting the races so i stopped watching it regularly and eventually stopped watching altogether around 2004.
    I came back to f1 in 2010 when i heard they were ditching in race fueling & i’ve been watching every race since.
    If they do bring back the in race fuel stops & it is like it was in the past then i will just turn off again because like i say i wasn’t at all keen on the way it changed the races.

    I don’t see the fascination in fuel strategy or cars sitting stationary in the pit lanes for 8 seconds 2-3 times a race; I’d much rather see them out there racing each other in close quarters on the race circuits than them racing each other via the stop watch as there do different fueling strategies which is what we usually saw with the fueling stops.

    1. I have a contrasting opinion. I think the biggest impact of refuelling will be the pace, and the outlook of the cars. Safety measures can be arranged and in terms of costs, surely getting the cars faster because they are lighter should outweight that problem. My only problem is that Keith mentioned, it’s unfair but so it is currently, fuel and tyre management and pit strategy will change very little in terms of outcome for the races if the current tyre situation remains for 2017.

      1. Dude there are so many other ways to make cars go faster. Yes refuelling does it, but it limits strategy options massively. A driver won’t be able to change his/her plan after committing to the fuel load for the current stint, plus, the opponent knows how far he/she is going in a stint too because they can see how long the pit stop took! Terrible!

  4. I just don’t understand how those making the decisions are so oblivious to the actual ramifications, or even the supposed benefits. What’s the benefit of refuelling? That the cars complete a race distance faster? Who cares about that? They could be pushing every lap without refuelling- that just needs slightly less strict fuel guidelines and better tyres- and that is all that’s really important if we actually feel the drivers are having to look after their cars too much. The speed at which they push flat out doesn’t matter if their fastest laps in their last stint are the same regardless. It feels like trying to fix a crack in a wall by taking a hammer to it.

    1. maarten.f1 (@)
      16th May 2015, 5:31

      It feels like trying to fix a crack in a wall by taking a hammer to it.

      @matt90 Isn’t that how Formula 1 usually fixes its problems?

  5. Yay to refueling. Not for the strategy, and not for the drama. It means shorter, faster cars.

    1. It also means less racing & less overtaking.

      Thats certainly what happened last time because all the racing was moved into the pits as strategy became key, Not good for F1.

  6. Someone posted this graph in the comments section of Will Buxton’s article. The number of overtakes per race took a very clear hit during the refuelling years.

    1. Excellent find!

    2. @polo One graph to end the debate!

    3. Pretty obvious that the clown tyres are as bad as refueling, having both at the same time should be a real joke.

    4. It’s also the years that aero development was maxed out and made overtaking pretty much impossible.

  7. Refueling? This just goes to show how out of touch the leaders of F1 are.

  8. I don’t get what’s wrong in refuelling or anything in what was proposed today… I liked how f1 was 10 years ago, at least u cldnt predict the outcome of the qualifying some of the drivers go light and be fast in qualifying… And others think about the race so that makes qualifying more interesting and makes the races better in terms of strategies… Beside I’ve never liked what’s called the undercut in f1 nowadays its so stupid I don’t think its a nice way to overtake ppl infront…. Banning refuelling is the reason we say that f1 was alot faster 10 years ago so stop bragging about it :s

    1. At least people can overtake now.

      1. Oh come on… And that happened because they banned refuelling.. Or introducing that stupid thing on the bak of ech car called DRS… They just made too easy man … When was the last time u said waw that driver did gd in that race cuz he kept off other drivers…. It just got so much advantage to the one in the bak

        1. @lozi refueling was banned for 2010, Overtaking stats shot up in 2010 BEFORE DRS, Pirelli etc.. was introduced.

          Overtaking took a very steep decline from 1993 to 1994 & stayed low during the entire refueling era before going back upto what they had been before refueling the season it was banned.

          As to the undercut you complain about, We saw that happen far more with refueling than what we get now & thats why overtaking declined because most of the passing was been done in the pits.

    2. Beside I’ve never liked what’s called the undercut in f1 nowadays its so stupid I don’t think its a nice way to overtake ppl infront

      With refuelling most passes become like that.

      1. The undercut passes started in 2009 when they banned refuelling… They driver at the bak would pit first even 2 -3 laps earlier than without any disadvantages to his race but in refuelling era it this wold be like heavy cars with fresher tyres vs light cars with old tyres

        1. @lozi The ‘undercut’ did not start when refueling was banned, It actually started in 1994 when refueling was introduced.

          As @matt90 says when we had refueling the majority of passes were done via what is now called the undercut.
          Go watch the 2005 Imola race where Schumacher moved from 10th to 3rd via the undercut without having to overtake a single car on the track.

          1. Refuelling was the overcut. Staying out allowed faster times over those that pit 1st due to weight of car being lighter than those that pit 1st.

            All rubbish. Tyres degrading was designed to force pit stops and strategy but if tanks are 33.333 litres you have to pit every 22 laps of a 66 lap race. If tyres degrade and pit on 17 laps you will have to pit 3 times for fuel, basically no strategy everyone pits twice on same lap. Tyres no longer need to degrade, cannot overcut or undercut so possible have to overtake on track but aero prevents it.

            Just leave as is…in 3 years with no rule changes costs reduce and cars get so much faster through natural evolution. This is all a case of be careful what you wish for you may just get it.

        2. @lozi Good point. I started seeing F1 when there was refueling and hence I don’t really get this opposition towards it. I have seen Schumi go for a ‘splash and dash’ and also seen them many times having huge fuel loads with them for an extended stint/varied strategy.

          Just wouldn’t want the qualifying to carry race fuel. Let the fastest of them be at the front. All strategies need to come into play after the race begins.

          1. @rogerA I wld like to ask u is this kind of overtakes u want to c … For example can u tell me what overtake had impressed u really in the last five years?!? Evn if u found smth would it be special like the way it was 10 years ago like kimi in Japan 2005 or even Schumacher holding Alonso n imola 2006 and the list goes on on and on… So its not all the time about overtakes to improve the show on @evered7 I wldnt let the fastest on pole like u said ppl will start saying that f1 boring the minute that happens cuz its not far to driveres classified 10th or lower for example as drivers from q1’s will go long with their strategy… I don’t care about qualifying all I care about is the races itself “strategies”

  9. Travis Humphery (@)
    16th May 2015, 2:28

    I am really beginning to doubt if I’ll even continue to follow the F1….All of these stupid decisions are making it worse and worse.

  10. Every now and then you get people on this forum waxing lyrical about the WEC. I think they have refuelling too, what I don’t know is how it affects the racing which seems to never end till the flag.

    1. Michael Brown
      16th May 2015, 2:51

      Because of pit stop rules. You can’t refuel and change tires at the same time. Plus, the races are longer, the tires are more durable, and the cars can follow much more closely.

    2. Does WEC even have overtaking?

      I thought it’s pretty much fans have a different expectancy of WEC races.

  11. The clowns are running the circus. The lunatics have taken over the asylum. The Turkeys have buttered themselves up, coated themselves in bacon, cranked up the heat and thrown themselves into the oven. Pitch it however you want. There is no way in which these proposals, if implemented, end well. For the teams, for the sport or for the fans.

    all said in beautiful words

  12. I decided to hold my own F1 strategy meeting in the shower. Here is the published report:

    No re-fueling

    The manufactures choice of engine development, either 4cyl, 8cyl, 6cyl, with a performance cap of 1000bhp.

    Aero rethink. Removing the Front nose rule changes from the last few years, as Newey suggested -it’s far more dangerous to have a car submarining underneath a car than it is to flip a car.

    Wider tyres, 18″ rims.

    Customer cars okay, and the ability for the smaller teams to modify customer cars. Wouldnt want any second grade equipment with updates coming 6 races after the manufacture received theirs.

    Slow Zones on the track during waved yelllows

    Cheaper tickets, WAY cheaper tickets.

    The fact all the corporate boxes and pit paddock passes are reserved for people that are wealthy/good looking/celebrity also annoys me, so lets ban that. they don’t even watch the race..

    Free online stream via youtube.

    And the food trucks they have at Grand PriX’s, they need to be a truck load cheaper. Seriously, unbelievable. Nobody wants to pay $10 for a can of Coke.

    1. HaHaHa, no money for CVC, no money for Bernie, fat chance.

    2. @prof-kirk, the decision to restrict the nose height was motivated by more than just the risk of cars flipping, and Newey himself is partially responsible for that.

      A number of Newey’s cars featured extremely high noses, where the nose cone was higher than the side impact structure. In other words, if one of his cars were to T-bone another car, the nose cone would pass over the side impact structure and potentially strike the occupant of the other car in the head – which is a pretty lethal situation, and one that the FIA was extremely unhappy about.

      And why the obsession with 18″ rims? It’s been repeatedly questioned whether they will actually offer any performance advantage, and in some areas could actually act as a performance disadvantage due to the increased mass and rotational inertia of the wheels themselves.

      1. The 18 inch rims, despite the more inertia, they are more predictable for engineers than the 13 inch tyres because they deform under load more predictably (most of the suspension won’t be comprised of air and flimsy sidewall). Not sure whether that outweighs the extra mass but they do have some racing benefits.

        1. @williamstuart, I wouldn’t say that is necessarily the case, because sometimes the engineers will rely on the increased compliance of a higher tyre sidewall in order to improve the handling characteristics of a car. Nissan, for example, have adopted relatively high profile tyres for their LMP1 car for that very reason, so it isn’t necessarily a disadvantage.

    3. Exactly @prof-kirk! This people is COTD

      1. Peppermint-Lemon (@)
        16th May 2015, 9:11

        No way is it cotd!

        1. Looks like Prof Kirk hasn’t heard of ‘No Free Lunch’.

  13. Well it is all beginning to look like Bernie manipulating the puppets again and creating a giant smoke screen to cover the fact that he still intends to bulldoze through 3 car teams and customer cars because that is the only way to keep profits up as revenue goes down.

    1. @hohum True, considering how much more the top 4 teams spend (and how much extra they get in special payments), it would be much easier for Bernie if Manor were gone and backmarkers replaced by 4 ‘young driver’ cars..

      So, what’s changed? Ron Dennis has finally come around to this, as McLaren need more Honda cars to gather data, not to mention the overflow of talent they have waiting in Magnussen & Vandoorne. Likely, Wehrlein (or Susie Wolff..), Gutierrez (for Bianchi), Magnussen, Vergne etc. get those extra cars, which is good for us, but not so good for the now hundreds of redundant workers from Manor and Caterham.

      1. I think you can add Sauber, Lotus and Force India to the list of teams Bernie wants to be rid of, 4 X 3 car teams = 12 + 4 X 2 car customer teams = 12 + 8 et voila ! 20 car grids and Bernie only has to divvy up with 4 teams after throwing the customer teams a bone.@fastiesty

    2. I still can’t believe six teams agreed on so many things (like refuelling, and how many seconds to speed the cars up by!). It all stinks of one rule change being used as a bargaining tool to get another forced through. And no doubt Bernie’s yes-men and nodding dogs in the Strategy Group did the right thing with their votes.

    3. I really feel pretty down on the prospects of F1 right now. None of the ideas proposed even comes close to solving ANY of the issues the sport is facing (if they leave the engines, the fuel flow and max race fuel the same, what will refuelling actually achieve? Just faster running in between? And how should that go together with higher revs and wasting energy on noise?), instead they give a huge hole for the whole sport to just crash into, while the whole bunch of them who were present at that meeting will be saying how they had the best intentions, but you know, no consensus etc, blabla.


  14. smaller teams have no place in F1 with the proposed regulation, most of what is proposed is to go back to an era where cars were faster to drive mainly due to lower fuel & better tyres… and this is cause Bernie feels that by trying to bring cost down they have devalued the sport. The meeting outcome suggests that they rather go for faster cars and improve the show even if it means smaller teams won’t survive. trying to lower costs have got F1 to a point where it’s more like an endurance race where driver has to preserve everything.

    Smaller teams need to do a recheck about what value they bring to F1, what is their contribution to the sport to increase viewership, fanbase and help attract more sponsors. why should F1 care about smaller teams, if 95% of the revenues are due to top 4 teams? if they are there to just fill the grid and crib about not having enough money, then they can surely stop participating.

    1. Aficionado9
      16th May 2015, 8:04

      You point out the problem very well, if unintentionally. Okay…. try to follow. F1 is supposed to be a SPORT. This generally includes what we like to call ‘sportsmanship’, which is considered to be a form of ethics. This is opposed to a ‘business’, in which ethics are thought of as barriers to profit, and it’s quite alright to sell your own mother if the selling price covers the cost of replacing any benefit she may bring you (cooking your meals, etc.) Why is it that so many people in F1, be it fans (like yourself), pundits or team principals, can’t seem to differentiate these, while virtually every other sport manages quite well? Example: the NBA is careful to create a relatively equal playing field through cost caps and a series of checks and balances (which I believe many would call ‘socialism/communism’) because it realizes that fans have a sense of ‘fairness’, and don’t want to see a team buy a championship. And unlike F1, basketball is flourishing.

      Businessmen… please go play with your stocks or whatever little ‘survival of the fittest’ games you piddle around with, and let us have our sport back before you completely destroy it.

      1. cost control can’t be implemented, instead teams can find ways to improve their marketing skills and get decent sponsorship earn more money… cost controls measures executed years ago are killing the sport… it’s not that spectacular anymore… rules need to be fair and should not have many interpretations. But teams should be allowed to choose how it wants to spend. there is a case for lower teams getting a bit more money from Bernie, reducing engine cost, having a engine parity with the works team.

        And if more spending means more championships… Ferrari would just win it all.

  15. Daniel (@dstaplet13)
    16th May 2015, 4:30

    Refueling will lead to a lot of changes in other areas. For example in qualifying do they go back to the single lap shootout method used in 2004 and for most of 2005 where they qualified on the fuel they would start the race with or do they use the qualifying method used today where they end up doing fast laps on nearly empty fuel tanks and refuel before the start of the race. Which sort of leads to another question, what would the size of the fuel tanks be? Keeping the current size would allow teams to just put in enough to finish the race without refueling (unless they alter the length of the races to be longer or shorter than the current model) and changing the size of the fuel tanks may or may not have an impact in the design of the car, and if it has an impact on the design this would obviously make costs skyrocket at first.

    1. jsw11984 (@jarred-walmsley)
      16th May 2015, 7:10

      Well that could make some good strategy couldn’t it? They could make refuelling mandatory, but allow the teams to choose the size of the fuel tank. So you could go for a larger tank and be a bit slower but not have to pit for as long, or you could have a nice small tank which makes you light but having to be in the pits for longer.

    2. Was the fuel tank size ever limited during re-fuelling? I assumed not and that it wouldn’t be again.

      1. The fuel tank size was not directly regulated, although the constraints that the FIA would have imposed on the teams on where the fuel tank could be positioned and how the teams could design the safety cell surrounding the fuel tank would have placed an indirect constraint on the size of the fuel tank.

  16. UNeedAFinn2Win
    16th May 2015, 5:07

    finn • 11 hours ago
    Well, it won’t be Formula 1 then. I’ll keep watching, but bringing in customer cars is essentially creating GP1. Why, well who would want to buy anything else besides the winning design?
    It may take a few seasons but eventually one or two of the four teams will drop out because of financial reasons.
    Let’s say next year we have a grid of two AMG Mercedes, and eight from customer teams, SFI ,Lotus , Sauber and Manor. The last two would switch to Mercedes because why wouldn’t they.
    That’s the points covered right there in each race, and because money is (partly) distributed per season performance, that’s money right out of the remaining three “Big” teams. They get a slice off the top,yes, but they do get a significant portion of their budget from their performance. So the question is how long is Ferrari or RBR or McLaren willing to fight ten cars for a points finish let alone for a win. I’ll bet not long.
    Unless the idea is to create even more unequality by limiting the customer cars they are allowed to sell. Why would the mid teams stay in the sport if they are not allowed to buy the best car?

    1. UNeedAFinn2Win
      16th May 2015, 5:11

      My initial thoughts last night on another forum, having slept on it and seeing that the refuel smokescreen has clouded the conversation a bit, thought I’d post that here. The sport as we know it is changing fundamentally.

  17. How can they consistently get it so wrong?

    * Tyres that let a driver push near the limit lap after lap.

    * Reduced wing dependence (smaller wing rules)

    * Greater floor / diffuser / ground effect to compensate.
    Remove the plank. GP2 shows there is a reasonable space
    between current F1 and the cars that reacted in such an
    extreme way to attitude upsets that triggered the plank rule.

    * More power

    * Free choice from four standardised grades of tyre.

    * Constructors only, no customer cars, because the moment a customer
    starts beating their constructor their car will be unfairly crippled.

    Reduce/avoid artificial or costly things; rules that do not simply
    “say use the best equipment in the best way to get to the end quickest.”
    * No DRS, or unlimited DRS; guy behind DRS is artificial.
    * No refuelling
    * No requirement to use the wrong tyre compound
    (two compounds means they have to use the wrong compound
    for their car at some point in every race which is artificial).

  18. coefficient
    16th May 2015, 7:37

    Ha ha, yet again F1 meanders into the sort moronic decision that only the out of touch arrogance of the super rich ‘elite’ could muster and they’ll keep doing it their way until you stop watching that rubbish. Vote with your feet people, switch off until they come begging.

  19. I also like the idea of co-constructors, which is described in James Allen’s article. For sure, it would be better for F1 if the teams’ budgets were more equal and they all could build more or less competitive cars but it is unlikely to happen so I guess the co-constructor cars would be a lesser evil. A two-tier championship? We already have it now. A team that is struggling to survive will never be able to win races anyway. So if there is a solution that allows the small teams to survive and still have a degree of independence, then I am ready to accept it.

  20. I am no friend to Formula 1’s strategy group. I have spent most of my career writing remonstrative articles following strategy group meetings. I find it staggering therefore, that I am so utterly in agreement with yesterday’s announcements.

    What is remarkable is the consideration given to the smaller teams and even to the needs of fans. I think they neatly define the appeal of F1: beautiful, fast, loud racing cars raced hard by the best. Plans to create faster, louder and more aesthetically appealing racing therefore will receive no complaints from me. And refreshingly, the measure most likely to throw the baby out with the bathwater, a reintroduction of refuelling, is heavily caveated, and will apparently not be implemented at great cost to the teams or at the cost of the spectacle of the pitstops. In 2009 I was not alone in heralding the end of refuelling as an unfortunate end of an era. In the race, refuelling consistently produced so terrific situations, with the only real downside being the effect on qualifying with weight, and slower pitstops. It could also be argued that refuelling is an all too fundamental component of motor-racing for F1 to ignore.

    Certainly, the proposed 2017 regulations would create cars somewhat agricultural compared with the technical masterpieces of today, since the proposed 30-50kg weight reduction would likely mean that much of the reduction would need to be found in the ERS system. Under these conditions, a detuned ERS system must be a near certainty for 2017. In this respect perhaps the most valid critique is that versus the increasingly formidable technical showcase that is the FIA WEC, F1 would by contrast be going backwards. Also, that “road-relevant” technology doctrine didn’t last long did it?

    And yes, these proposals would herald yet ANOTHER “new era” for F1, with the previous new dawn just three years hence, but frankly I feel such an approach shows real promise.

  21. “Hungary 1998, Austria 2003 and France 2004”
    Interesting choices. In case of refuelling, it looks like #noMSCnoF1

  22. I might be in minority but I like the current formula.
    I think in last 5 or so years it is most exciting than ever was from 1997, when I started watching.
    When a pit stop takes too long (for whatever reason), I call it unforced error.
    When a undercut gives track position, I see it like a well timed shot executed beautifully.
    Even the tires I am ok with the degradation, only thing I don’t like is when the degradation is happening when one is following the other car.
    I like less aerodynamics and more torque and less electronics like ABS etc. even if that makes the cars slow.
    I would love if the cars go super fast in corners, but If I am not wrong, due to safety that is not so recommended because if a driver makes mistake or any other failure in suspension or down force we would end up with 1994. I buy that argument, but I love seeing cars go fast in corners where a drivers control and spatial awareness in defending position can be the deciding factor.
    Given the structure of tracks, the physical dimension of cars and lack of multiple racing lines, I agree if DRS position is well placed can be good. For example driver in front in clean air with more boost defending against driver with DRS but has significant less boost as second driver spent the boost in coming closer for DRS range.
    This needs DRS to be located in a very clever location otherwise passing is easy, although not always.

  23. For all people who think refueling will destroy on track battle I want to ask how is it different than current situation? I present the case of Spain 2015 which still fresh in our minds and featuring:
    1. Lewis Hamilton passing Sebastian Vettel in pit.
    2. Using different strategy with the intention to have big advantage in the end if they fail the undercut (which they didn’t).
    3. After passing Vettel on 2nd round of pit stops, he just need to post quick lap times because he have 1 more pit stop to do, and as the result, we as the viewer is never sure if he really passes Vettel until he made the final stop (or make the required delta which he does at the lap before the 3rd stop).

    Those are the same kind of passing in pit strategies you seems to loathe on, only the trigger is degrading tires instead of car weight by fuel onboard.

    I’m not saying refueling must come back because there still extra cost and extra danger, which I think actually we need that so F1 teams will invent new much better safety standards like invention of HANS or driver helmet construction. But, my point is many people blame refueling for what actually caused by the much more difficulty of passing a car on track rather than via pit strategy. The real problem is because the aerodynamics of the car is not working on dirty air, not because refueling.

    1. I would say for future the teams must look forward to have cars based on ground effect for grip instead of aerodynamic grip.

      1. I actually like to see moving aero devices along with mechanical grip. Static aero already reach the point where any gain is too expensive to research and moving aero already have relevance to manufacturers since latest sport cars already using them. F1 should be our preview of the best of our current technology, not frozen in 90’s or 00’s mindset.

    2. @sonicslv It is true that you do some some pit passing from time to time without refueling, However you saw far, far more of it when we had refueling & all of the overtaking statistics show this.

      Additionally fuel strategy was far more outside of the drivers control, It was decided on Saturday by the engineer’s & there computer simulations & there was then very little room to change it during the race so if a driver ended up out of position & therefore on the wrong strategy for that position his race was basically over.

      1. What the statistics shows is reduction in on track overtaking, not the increase of overtaking in pit, which is different thing. If you have source where it shows the stats of pit overtaking though, I’d love to see it.

        Also if you are severely mistaken if you think the strategy nowadays is not decided by engineers in Saturday with their computer simulations. Fuel, like tires wear is just another variables that they will crunch in the simulations to get the fastest way to complete the race, along with the risk for several scenario (probability of safety car for example). Remember in Bahrain when Raikonnen denied primes and his engineer assured him options is the tire for last stint? Or Monaco 2014 when Hamilton denied pit by his team which may cost him the race? Driver involvement in strategy is never increased or reduced because refueling, their job is to make the strategy work as close as the simulations do or better.

        1. @sonicsslv, sorry to keep repeating myself but you keep asking the same question, the answer is that tyres that need replacing during the race have the same effect as fuel that needs replacing during the race, it all comes down to go faster=more stops versus go slower=less stops so essentially a team needs to find a clear piece of track for the driver to be able to execute the optimal plan, racing with another car just compromises that plan.
          To get back to racing car against car on track we need toget rid of pit-stops so all passing has to happen on track.

  24. A point about refueling that everyone seems to be missing (Or ignoring).

    Under the proposals even with refueling the race fuel usage is to remain at 100kg.

    So they will still likely need to do some fuel saving so its not going to do anything about that particular aspect of what we have now.

  25. Some more exact figures relating to overtaking with/without refueling.

    In 1993 without refueling the average was 26.36 Per Gp, The highest average during the refueling era was in 2003 at 15.4. The Last year of refueling (2009) saw an average of 14.4 overtakes per Gp.
    2010 which was the year refueling was banned (And where regulations had remained stable compared to 2009) the average number of overtakes was 28.9 which was the highest of any season since 1989.

    Last year’s average was 43.5.

    Overtaking averages declined massively from 1994-2009, not just over a season but also when you look at the figures each race. They dropped in 1994 (Very steeply) & stayed low throughout the next 15 years while refueling was in place.
    As soon as refueling was banned in 2010 the overtaking averages went back upto where they had been prior to refueling been introduced.

    1. Just to add that the season which saw the lowest average of overtaking per Gp was 2005 which only saw 9.89.

      The interesting thing about 2005 of course is that we still had refueling but tyre changes were banned.

      1. @gt-racer The highest average is in 2011 with 59.06 and it was the year when DRS introduced. Coincidence? I think not. Also 2010 while the first season when refueling is banned again also the season of F-Duct which is precursor of DRS. Coincidence? I think not again.

        Refueling is decreasing the amount of overtakes in the track, that is fact. But it doesn’t responsible of making the races dull, as evidently we have many seasons better during 94-2009 compared to 2010-2015.

        1. @sonicslv the individual race overtaking stats for 2010 show that overtaking was up before most teams got an F-duct (McLaren were the only team to run 1 for the 1st few races).

          Also remember that when most of the grid had F-ducts from around mid-season & were using them at the same time on every straight the effect was negated so it ended up having very little impact on the racing.

  26. Peter-Williams
    16th May 2015, 13:13

    I really hope they decide against refueling, Didn’t like it the last time & don’t like the idea of it coming back.

    I’m quite fond of some of the other proposals, Refueling is the only 1 I can say that I really dislike so I hope that stays away, Think the racing has been indefinitely better since it was ditched a few years ago.

  27. Done some totting up of comments around the web & it seems based on my admittedly entirely unscientific counting that more are against refueling than for it.

    BTW that unscientific method was number of posts on forum topic/article comments, How many were for/against & then calculating averages.

    7 websites & a few thousand comments I got 73% against 27% for.

    1. That was time consuming but at least gave me something to do while sitting in the security shack all night opening the gate on the few occasions people wanted to come in/out of the facility I work at as a guard in said security shack outside on my own all night. Still it pays well & I’m allowed to entertain myself by going online, playing handheld games & watching F1 when its on during the nights etc.. so its not all bad.

  28. Long time reader, 1st time poster so hi everyone :)

    Can’t say i’m thrilled with the prospect of having to sit through more mid-race fueling races, Was hoping we had seen the back of that for good in 2010.

    Would certainly be something that would see me interest in F1 drop a couple notches & its already dropped a couple thanks to the drag reduction wing & pirelli rubber.

  29. I might have misunderstood, but as far as I know there was no announcement on customer cars yesterday, only discussions. So why is The Guardian screaming about “imminent extinction” of the smaller teams? I’m starting to suspect it’s just Paul Weaver generating some clickbait…

  30. Who really cares about the slow pace of the race starts? As long as the cars are low-fuel in qualifying and at the end of the race, then I don’t see full fuel loads being an issue.

    I thought we (and the drivers) wanted outright pace to be quicker. The new rules don’t do anything about that.

    What the heck?

  31. I am all for to change that teams can refuel, and that hopefully we get several tyre-companies to make it more interesting. Sure it will become a strategic game and maybe some of the racing will be lost, but i can remember that in previous we had some quality racing on track.

  32. For all the talk of refueling, free tire choices, customer cars, engine noise and DRS the REAL problem is aerodynamics!

    The most frustrating part of watching F1 right now are teams consciously deciding to hang back 2 seconds from the rival they’re supposedly racing due to turbulent air. Yes, it’s strategically savvy but awful to watch.

    Forget all the other nonsense. Fix the air flow to allow rivals to get closer to each other (at least within the 1 second DRS zone) without fear of wrecking their tires and “The Show” might just magically improve!

    1. ^ this

    2. Yes, and it’s maddening to see that two of FIA’s newest championships (Formula E & WEC) appear to have solved that problem and provide much better racing – yet the Strategy Cartel doesn’t take a blind bit of notice.

      1. That is because the cars in the WEC are enclosed and therefore have a far smaller aero wake. Similarly, in Formula E the wheels are partially enclosed and therefore have a small aero wake, not to mention the fact that, as the Formula E cars are relatively slow, they don’t have to rely that much on aero for their performance anyway.

    3. There is a simple fix for these problems, get rid of the pit stops so cars have to pass on-track to improve their position.

  33. refuel = yuk
    i am not please if it is allow in f1 again, i rather it continue to be not allow.

    it was not wanted in the 1994, people did not like & happy when it banned & it seem most no want to come back again. hope the f1 people listen & keep the refuel out of the F1.

  34. i’ve been hearing so many stupid reasons against refueling, none of them make sense, unfair how ?? its same for all the teams, and all other series are dealing with it, fact of the matter is it brings lots of strategies into play, allows cars to be faster, allows teams outside top 2 to challenge for podiums, no fuel saving in every race, drivers can push now, will definitely make racing better than today. Safety and cost control issues can resolved by using FIA standardized equipment.

    1. The unfair stuff I don’t get so i’m with you on that.

      I still maintain the view that bringing it back is a negative for the sport. Strategies is fine if thats all you want to see but as we saw the last time that is all we saw as the races became utterly dominated by fuel strategy with the most important thing (The on track racing) been pushed to the rear.
      Overtaking declined, close racing declined & the excitement of the on track action declined from the very 1st race they brought it back & that trend was reversed as soon as they re-banned it.

      I see no positive’s from bringing it back, Its nothing but a negative for the on-track action. It will hurt overtaking & move all the action into the pits, Just like it did the last time & we will see a lot less overtaking just like the last time.

      It should never have been introduced in 1994 (Nobody wanted it as Keith’s look back to 1994 last year showed) & most were glad to see it banned. It also seems most are against it coming back & virtually nobody was asking for it to come back (Especially those who care about the on-track racing & want to see overtaking).

      Refueling should remain banned & never be brought back!

      1. Jumping back to the ‘unfair’ point, I guess the fact the small teams will be forced to spend more money (Money they don’t have) to buy the refueling equipment, Transport the refueling equipment & have staff to operate the refueling equipment as well as completely redesigning there cars could be considered as been a bit unfair (Especially if it helps put them out of business).

        Its fine for the biggest, richest teams & out of touch Bernie to be fine with it because they have no problems affording it… The small teams who don’t even have a say in this absurd strategy group however may well have big problems with it.

        Guess its also not fair for the crew guys who may be injured thanks to it due to been dragged down the pit lane by the hose or burnt when it goes up in flames (There was a pit fire in the Nurburgring 24 hour race just a bit ago to remind of the dangers).

  35. I’ no engineer (well, I am but not that type of engineer) but I can’t see how an internal combustion engine can rev higher (as required in the new proposal) and yet use the same quantity of fuel as the same engine running at a lower rev count. I concede that some fuel saving will come from reduced weight (as required in the new proposal) but is it enough to counter the higher revs?

    1. @glennb, with forced induction that is theoretically speaking fairly simple, it is simply a matter of matching the volume of air to the volume of fuel and mapping it so that the maximum volume of air/fuel doesn’t happen until the desired rev limit.
      A simplistic illustration; make the turbocharger smaller and more revs will be needed for the same volume of air.
      PS. I am no engineer either, qualified corrections gratefully received.

  36. JamesMarcus
    16th May 2015, 18:26

    Well when refueling comes back & you start to see the same sort of really boring races with no close battling & all the position changes been done in the pits just like we saw the last time, I await the cry’s on here from fans wanting to see it banned again.

    And I can 1000% guarantee that this is what is going to happen.

    The racing was utterly crap through the 16 years we last had bore-fueling, I remember our commentators taking in 1993 about how it was going to be a bad thing for the racing, Heck I even recall many of the drivers (Senna included) saying it would be bad for the racing & that opinion turned out to be correct & we were forced to suffer through 16 years of the race killing & dangerous bore-fueling crap.

    Seriously what did it ever do to improve racing or help overtaking? The answer is nothing! It made no race better, it did not do anything that made the racing better & it (As charts & figures posted already very clearly show) was nothing but bad for the overtaking.

    Its complete & utter nonsense to even consider bringing bore-fueling back!
    The rule makers should be utterly ashamed when the racing goes back to been dull when they bring this plague back into F1.

  37. I was just reminded of this article written by David Coulthard in 2008 on the ITV website calling for refueling to be banned-

  38. I think we are grasping at straws with the possibility it won’t happen because of monetary reasons. Wolffe saying it won’t happen if that is the case, just doesn’t really carry much weight in the sense that his influence isn’t really that great. Now if Horner or someone from Ferrari said that this was a possibility I might be compelled to really believe it is a possibility, but as of now, no chance. I also think they prefer it with refueling. The cost prohibitive factor of it being “too expensive” is really relative, and a matter of perspective, and to be fair and honest no F1 team has in the history of F1 shown to be legitimately on the side of doing what may be right even if it goes against their own benefits. Maybe but really only because what helps them at that moment, and what’s right to be done happen to coincidentally fall on the same side of things. Refuelling will happen. They want it that way anyway, some probably shortsightedly, see it as a way to get over on Mercedes somehow, and others know that with the hiring of the right people, they could shift their own standing in F1 much greater and quicker then where it is now with refueling banned.

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