Jenson Button, McLaren, Circuit de Catalunya testing, 2015

Button “very excited” by McLaren gains

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Jenson Button, McLaren, Circuit de Catalunya testing, 2015In the round-up: Jenson Button says the progress McLaren have made with their Honda power unit is highly encouraging.


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Button: McLaren-Honda progress 'very exciting' (F1i)

"we had a lot of reliability issues in the winter and we didn’t really run too much, so to be where we are now I think is fantastic. It’s very exciting seeing the progress."

F1 rule changes: What do they mean for the future of the sport? (BBC)

"Many insiders - drivers, engineers and team bosses - will privately admit they wish Michelin would come back, for no company is regarded more highly when it comes to providing strong, consistent, grippy tyres for circuit racing."

Williams reveal large cost of engine change (The Independent)

"Costs went up by about £20m and the reasons for that were three-fold. The first one and the most significant one of all of them was the increase in costs in the power unit. So, moving from the traditional V8 engine to the new V6 hybrid essentially doubled the costs of the power unit and that was the biggest chunk."


Comment of the day

Will bringing back refuelling lead to more or less overtaking? @Gt-racer crunches the statistics:

In 1993 without refuelling the average number of overtakes was 26.36 per grand prix. The highest average during the refuelling era was in 2003 at 15.4. The last year of refuelling (2009) saw an average of 14.4 overtakes per grand prix.

2010 which was the year refuelling 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) and stayed low throughout the next 15 years while refuelling was in place.

As soon as refuelling was banned in 2010 the overtaking averages went back up to where they had been prior to refuelling been introduced.

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101 comments on “Button “very excited” by McLaren gains”

  1. The PR train at McLaren is so annoying, I honestly feel sorry for Button having to play this ridiculous nonsense.

    1. One can’t help but think JB’s post race comments in Barcelona were a lot closer to the truth (or even remotely near it)

    2. Got to agree. First Button goes on to say that this was the scariest driving experience of all time, where the car was terribly unpredictable and unstable. Then he says that scoring any points this year will be a challenge.

      Then he turns around and says how excited he is about this magical journey… blah blah blah

      The Mclaren Honda partnership is already a write off. Honestly, I think Monaco is Manor’s best chance to put Mclaren in dead last in the WCC

      1. McLarens pr is becoming legendary. I Australia they were going to get solid points in Spain then it became Monaco now it is Silverstone with a b spec. Pre season they had issues but said they would scare Merc by the end of the year, now a podium would be a miracle and they are looking at solid points.

        This is like the Alonso pre season crash their stories keep changing the only constant is they keep producing promos involving their 1988 car.

        They could do worse than get money by lending their PR to a political campaign. Does Peter Mandelson work for them now?

        Rons McLaren will be in the 3rd year of a 2 year plan for years to come.

      2. Calling it a write off is a bit ridiculous at this stage. They are making strides at every race and they are coming from a very low point. They still seem to have lots of potential, they got some good testing for the first time ever in Spain and that can’t be underestimated.

        Yes the car want where they wanted it to be in the last race and had some serious issues but that happens with upgrades sometimes to everyone and I’m sure they have sorted it. Even with the problems they still out on a reasonable show.

        I was a bit disappointed after the race but I think there are still good signs coming out of there. The engine design is good, the car design is good. Just needs time. Of course the pr train is overly ambitious but that’s their job.

        I’m happy to watch and enjoy the public display of development process.

        1. The engine design is good, the car design is good.

          How can you be so sure?

          They are at a 3 sec deficit to Mercedes. From what experts say, around 50% of that is engine (1.5 secs a lap) , and another 50% is chassis (another 1.5 secs a lap).

          I do not doubt that they will claw back at least 1 second of engine performance to Mercedes by the end of the year, but to claw back 1.5 secs of chassis performance is not that easy, especially with how well Mercedes have been developing their car.

          Even on the optimistic (yet realistic side), they will claw back 1 second on engine, and around 0.5 secs on chassis by the end of the year. That will still leave them 1.5 secs a lap off Mercedes, and close to a 0.6s to 1 sec behind Ferrari…. and a few tenths behind Williams. If Renault get their reliability sorted, then expect Toro Rosso and Red Bull to be at their level as well.

          At the very best Mclaren will start the 2016 season as the 3rd or 4th fastest car. That’s when this magical journey of ‘giant strides’ will fade away and they realise that once again they will not be able to fight for the WDC unless there is another regulation shakedown.

          Boullier already said that he was looking forward to 2017’s rule changes, further implying that this season and the next is a complete write off.

  2. As the COTD illustrates, pit stops are detrimental to actual racing, there is little difference between light fuel loads that are fast but need to be replaced more frequently than heavier/slower fuel loads and soft but faster tyres that need replacing sooner and harder but slower tyres that need replacing less often, both are detrimental to real on-track passing, having both would be the worst possible formula for car on car racing. Having neither would/was the best possible formula because drivers would have to make passes on track in order to gain points,podiums and wins, drivers with the skill and intelligence to make passes would be even more valued and successful than they are in this era of driving to a plan.

    1. I have always thought a good way to make pitstops more exciting and reduce costs would be to reduce the pitcrew members and maybe have it inside the garage until the car is fully stopped (that last part is a bit impossible due to the dimensions of the average pitlane, especially Monaco). But having only one guy per tyre, plus an IndyCar style jack (don’t know the exact name, sorry) to avoid incidents like Grosjean’s and Alonso’s and others before, that would be a challenge for the crew and the strategists.

      1. @carlitox, reducing the size of the pitcrew is a great way to make pit stops too time consuming to be used as a tactical weapon, unless regulations mandate them, obviously in the event of rain tyre changes will be needed, but if only 4 crew are allowed per car they will all be similarly slow.
        But rather than trying to make pitstops entertaining we should focus on making the entertainment happen on track.

    2. @hohum Cotd is a flawed stat. 2010 was the first Pirelli year and from 2011 onwards overtakes have been highly affected by Pirelli. Comparing overtakes from different eras is also wrong because the cars technology etc changes far too much. As ctod said the trend is too have less overtakes as cars evolve and disapear from the grid, you can’t really overtake unless you have opponents. Finally even if take cotd stat lightly, and consider that refuelling can be for many reasons bad for overtaking, looking at the big teams answer to the proposal you know this is the right thing, the big teams prefer to underfuel cars at the start and manage fuel from the lead, rather than risk having to fight with light cars or have mistakes on their part.

      1. 2010 was the last year of Bridgestone, 2011 was the first Pirelli year.

      2. @peartree as @moshwan has pointed out, Pirelli didn’t become supplier until 2011.

        The massive increase in overtaking between 2009 and 2010, when the only significant regulatory change was the banning of refuelling, demonstrates perfectly the point.

        If you want overtaking in the pits, bring it back. If however (like most fans) you prefer your overtaking on the track, then reinstating refuelling is a very silly idea.

  3. @Gt-racer – Wow seriously good COTD.

    Informative posts like that are one of the reasons I keep coming to this site

    1. @fletchuk It is also highly misleading.

      In fact, the major downward trend in overtaking was from about 1985 to about 1996 and it stayed about the same from 1996 to 2009.


      It is true that the figures went up from 2010 onwards, but it is at least very arguable that it was primarily down to the tyre philosophy change as well as DRS rather than the ban on refuelling.

      1. @atticus-2 We’re talking 2010 here. No DRS, no K(ERS), Bridgestone tyres, and a whole lot of complaints about how the races were boring.

        1. 2010 had the F-Duct. The precurser to DRS. Half the teams had it by the end and it did the same thing as DRS.

          1. Except that F-duct usage is not artificially limited by having to be within 1s at the detection point. The guy in front could use his to defend too

        2. spafrancorchamps
          17th May 2015, 10:45

          There certainly was KERS in 2010. KERS made its introduction in 2009 as a choice for teams to use, and was made mandatory for 2010.

          1. That’s not correct: KERS was introduced in 2009 and some teams used it. Then in 2010 there was an agreement between the teams that no one would use it, which they all stuck to. Then in 2011 most teams used it.

      2. @atticus-2 There was a general downward trend before 1994 but it was at a fairly steady rate & was in part caused by the driving aids that were coming in that was creating much larger performance differences between the front & the back of the grid, Especially in 1992/1993.

        The drop in overtaking was much larger from 1993 to 1994 which was when refueling came in & the stats stayed low through the next 15 years & as soon as refueling was dropped for 2010 the stats go back up.
        In 2010 there was no DRS, There was no KERS, We had the very durable Bridgestones & apart from refueling been banned the regulations were the same so its a very good comparison between refueling & no refueling.

        Anyway stats aside surely all one has to do is actually compare the racing with & without refueling to see the effect it had on the actual racing. You only have to see how fuel strategy worked to see how it had a detrimental effect on the quality of the racing because it moved the racing into the pits, Strategy was king & everyone saw strategy as been far more important than the racing which is why teams invested so heavily in strategist’s & computer simulations to work out fuel strategy of not just there driver but everyone around them (estimating fuel load based on the laptime delta).

        Also consider this as David Coulthard said back in 2008, If you qualify on low fuel & then race with 15-20 laps of fuel (For a 2-3 stop) there is less variables to change car performance so you will see less position change (As we saw from 1994-2009).
        If you set the grid on low fuel & then start the race on full tanks then cars will handle differently & you get far more variables between car performance through a race & that will create better racing & more room for overtaking (Which is what we had Pre 1994 & from 2010 to today).

        1. @gt-racer I can see your point it did drop a bit more heavily from 1993 to 1994 than it did year-on-year earlier.

          However, I still think there’s something kind of an agenda against refuelling in F1, because it is present in WEC as well (as well as in many other series) and people seem to have no problem with it at all. In fact, the WEC is often hailed nowadays for it’s ‘pure racing’ and ‘great battles’ aspect.

          What I consider good in fuel strategy is that it’s a huge element in reducing race times and thus in racing in general. You want to fastest way to get your car from the start to the finish!? Refuel to have the weight advantage. That’s a core element of ‘pure racing’, I would say. (Compared to, say, the increasingly complicated start systems, which saves you 1-2 seconds maximum – this way, we might as well introduce autopilots when not in wheel-to-wheel battles.)

          1. @atticus-2 True that other categories use refueling but in those series refueling works in an entirely different way & they have it out of necessity as you couldn’t design a fuel tank big enough to run the Indy 500, Le Mans, Daytona etc.. Non-stop.

            Going back to how its used differently, If we take Indycar they all run the same fuel levels, They all have the same fuel tanks, they all pit at around the same time (Depending on who saved more fuel & can run a few laps longer) & they all fill the tanks up at every stop so refueling isn’t used as a strategic element to the same degree it was in F1.

          2. Haha, Keith just argued in his newest article that those circumstances in IndyCar gives fuel strategy even more importance.

          3. *give

      3. @fletchuk @davidnotcoulthard In any case, the 2010 figures were still poor compared to years other than those of the 1996-2009 period. The really big increase came at the same time when tyre philosophy changed and DRS was introduced.

        Let’s not delve into the ‘quality passes’ argument here, we’re talking about passes in general, because that’s the figure the OP goes by when arguing against refuelling.

        1. 2010 were not poor compared to years 96 to 09 they were the best since 89. This feels like people just want to have a go at anything which is how this horrible idea of refuelling is back on the agenda. CITD is spot on for me and is backed up with actual figures but people still try to pull it apart. Surely those that want refuelling are a small minority but by god they make themselves heard.

          As for tyres I hope Michellin do not come back just iincase F1 goes back to Indy.

  4. Its a joke how ppl relate excitement in f1 with how many overtakes u have in races…. DRS gave what ppl want and look what happened im watching f1 long time now and I don’t k ow for some reason since the DRS was introduced I can’t even remember an overtake held my eyes open…. Yes there are many overtakes but they r just numbers on papers nt real racing

    1. If those 10 overtakes a race are spectacular, then i won’t mind refueling

      1. @mota18 a few Hamilton on raikonnen monza passes would go down a treat.

        @lozi there have been great passes in the DRS era (Webber on Alonso in spa, ricciardo on Vettel in monza, Hamilton on Alonso Nurburgring 2011) but they’ve been overshadowed by the number of other passes facilitated by DRS

    2. @lozi It is people like you, no offence, who just keep looking to the past with rose-tinted glasses and complain about the the current F1. I have watched F1 since 2004, and never has it been better than in the last five years or so. Why? Because of overtakes. I honestly ask you, why weren’t the Russian (2014) and Australian GP (2015) considered to be boring? Or even recent Monaco races. Overtaking is what makes F1 exciting. The main reason for which I watch MotoGP is simply because they have so much overtaking there. And I’ve said this before, and I’ll say it again: DRS isn’t that bad. It is just being exaggerated by these Pirelli tyres. Would F1 have as many DRS overtakes in the refuelling era, or even in 2010? No. And from what I’ve seen, people (friends and relatives) have become more interested in F1 since 2011 due to more exciting racing instead of people being stuck behind a car for 70 laps. And also, if DRS is as effective and overpowered as you think, then why did people like Hamilton and many struggle to find their way past slower cars despite having DRS? Think, if you were new to a sport, which would you prefer? Only with many overtakes and close racing, or one with 3 or 4 overtakes after 2 hours.

      1. @mashiat While I take your point that some people compare F1 to the past and do so longing for a time gone past, I think @lozi has a valid point. I’ve been watching F1 like a a man possesseed since 1991, and in all that time, there were some thrilling lunges, dives and great manouvres that we don’t see now days because of DRS, and if we tie in what the COTD has said, the added element of drivers taking the safe option of trying for the undercut/overcut in the pits is something we’ll see more of when refueling comes back into play.
        Just to clarify my position, I like the concept of DRS, but the implementation is very hit and miss, its either too easy or too hard to utilise, Spain this year demonstrated how ridiculous the technology can be, while at Monaco, it won’t help a single driver overtake.

        1. Maybe we need a way of rewarding drivers who make good passes, not necessarily a gimmicky thing where we hand extra points out, but maybe where fans have the option to vote on the best overtake at the end of the race and the winning driver gets a reward, with there being an option to vote for no overtake (to ensure that a mediocre overtake isn’t rewarded in a poor race).

          1. @williamstuart Let’s just hope Maldonado doesn’t long for that reward otherwise Gutierrez could be the most leniently dealt with.

      2. I’ve watched since 1994, and the best seasons for me are 2005 – 2008. Also enjoyed 2011.

        Actually, any season is great (for me) when there is no dominant team. I like this sport so much more in those cases. It doesn’t matter how many overtakes there are (i’m not to overly enthousiastic about DRS), if there is fuelling or not, just as long as there isn’t one team standing out to much. That’s whats killing a season.

        1. Oh, wait make that 2010 (instead of 2011)

        2. Finally somebody who agrees with me! I’ve been watching since 1998 and 2005-2008 was a fantastic period of F1. 1999 and 2010 were the other 2 stand-out years.

          In that time, I was completely hooked. DRS has definitely killed that for me to some extent. I don’t get as ‘into’ the races as I used to because there’s no tension building up to the pass anymore. Either you know they’ll get through because the tyres are in no shape to defend (Lewis v. Kimi, Spain 2015) or they’ll open the flap and breeze past (multiple occurences, Spain 2015).

          Unfortunately, I use the most recent race as a negative example twice here, but let me give a positive example from that same race of what I used to enjoy in the past. The unknown, the tension, the car behind crawling all over the back but not knowing if/when they would be able to get through (Lewis v. Seb, Spain 2015). Can refuelling bring this back on a regular basis? Maybe – but only if DRS is gone and the tyres are more durable. Do we need refuelling to bring this back? Nope – 2010 proved that. Would I like to see refuelling back? Yes – but only because that’s the F1 I grew up hooked on.

  5. I’ve come to the sad conclusion that we should all hope Bernie gets his way, only then can we hope for a new better Formula Phoenix to rise from the ashes after F1 collapses in debt with Bernie sacked and CVC dumping its holding before it becomes a financial liability unable to fulfill contracts. A lot of people are going to lose their jobs and or fortunes sooner or later, better sooner I say while there is still a core of devotees to support a new series when it happens.

    1. ColdFly F1 (@)
      17th May 2015, 10:21

      @hohum, I agree that revolution is more likely to give us a good Formula rather than the current evolution. But with Bernie cunning using legal bribery to keep the big names team in line it is unlikely to happen.
      There is only one party that can make the difference, and that is CVC when they kick BE out. But being a realist that is not going to happen; last year they had the perfect chance and reason, but they failed to do so.

      I can only hope for an Egon Musk to come to Formula racing and create something truly novel and spectacular. Maybe a solar/rocket powered electric car using a hyper loop with online content available via PayPal.

  6. I’m thinking that having tyres that last and refuelling will surely take the racing to the pits, its simply replacing one thing with the other, however with this Pirelli tyres, having refuelling perhaps adds another dimension to the strategy.

    Let’s stop kidding ourselves, there hasn’t been any meaningful racing at the front of the grid for a very looooong time. And in any case with Mercedes being 1.6s/lap ahead of everyone and having strong, consistent, grippy tyres we might as well hand everyone else a head start!!

    1. Let’s stop kidding ourselves, there hasn’t been any meaningful racing at the front of the grid for a very looooong time.

      I disagree with that, I think we have seen some very good racing at the front the past few years.
      Look at Bahrain last year for instance, A thrilling fight for the lead over the final part of the race which was something that was repeated at the next race in Spain.
      Hungary last year saw a good scrap at the front as did Montreal (Until the ERS failures) & Brazil was good also.

      In terms of close racing & especially racing for the front few places I would argue that we have seen more of it the past couple years than we had done for much of the previous decade.

      1. And regardless of what is happening at the front we need good racing throughout the field, not drivers looking for their own private piece of track in which to circulate at a delta time that might leap-frog them 1 place forward during a pit stop. Winning isn’t everything.

        1. Last year gave us incredible racing throughout the field, and there were a lot of high quality overtakes not just DRS overtakes.

      2. @gt-racer front few places? Front 2 places is more like it. Maybe it’s just me but having only 2 guys fighting it out while one of them seemingly has the other guy all but figured out is not exciting.
        Anything to change the status quo. My dream scenario would be HAM, ROS, VET, KIMI, MAS, BOT, RIC, KVY, ALO, BUT all battling for maybe the same piece of Tarmac and not we currently have.

  7. I say give them super grippy tyres that last all race and fuel for full race, but give 10 points down to 1 for qually positions and then race reverse grid with a race win worth 15 points (with points still down to 10th) that way the fast guys are still rewarded on Saturday for being quick and on Sunday there would be plenty of overtaking (maybe even less need for DRS) as the fast cars come through the field and battle each other for the win, while still giving the mid-field a chance to upset the Apple-cart. Doing away with pit stops completely and running reverse grid, would in my view give the most exciting and interesting racing we would see in a long time.

    1. Interesting idea, I don’t like gimmicks but if we must have them this sounds a much better idea than the slapstick committee have come up with, although I can see teams trying to optimise points by qualifying 5th. or something.

    2. @bullwhipper This sure would be fun, but surely this isn’t F1? F1 has been about the fastest car being first (or you get what I mean), and in a place like Monaco, we could have the top runner trying to be last in Qualifying so they can get 1st for the race? Somehow, that’ll just make it worse. Just saying…

    3. Ugh. Absolutely not. Especially points for qualifying. Reverse grids are certainly a gimmick too far.

    4. ColdFly F1 (@)
      17th May 2015, 10:34

      @thebullwhipper, I quite like many parts of this.
      Points for qualifying is not wrong IMO as it will do no harm to racing during the real race (as long as quali points are relatively minor).
      Reverse grid is quite gimmicky, but then again so are fast degrading tyres. Maybe have 2 races of 150km, with one of them reverse grid. This will then also stop the need to do in-race refuelling!

    5. Reverse grid on Monaco is a race I would like to watch.

  8. ‘Overtakes’ is not a reliable metric for how F1 should be ‘measured’. Since when did we become so over enamoured with the term?

    Refuelling with pirelli tyres and more mechanical grip will lead to enough overtaking anyway to those that want a quantitative measure to something that is anything but.

    1. True, but a lack of real overtakes suggests a lack of actual racing. Rallying tries to avoid overtaking by staggered starting but I don’t think it would work on an F1 Tilkedrome.

      1. @hohum I vehemently believe that the suggestion is wrong – F1 is such a tightly competitive sport that the link between overtaking and racing is very weak. When you have a rule that says everyone has to be within 107% of the fastest time to even compete, and where fractions of a second are used to measure significant differences in pace over a whole lap, you need to look close than merely overtakes and position changes for racing.

        Look at Bahrain last hear. Apart from the start, there wasn’t a (kept) change in position all race, yet it was one of the most exciting and entertaining battles for a long time. I’m not saying that there’s nothing to fix in F1, but measuring success based upon number of overtakes is hugely flawed.

        1. @fluxsource, You wont be able to sell me that line, Ive just finished watching the Le Mans MotoGP along with 93,000 spectators and Jean Todt who were at the track (TV 4 me), epic racing, fantastic battle for 4th with 2 riders swapping places back and forth on the same lap for several laps and yes the winner was unchallenged from shortly after the start but who cares when knees and elbows are dragging on the ground at 200kph millimeters away from another bike and rider, riders are crashing out or making up places and there are 3 in it for the championship. I’ll not miss F1 as long as MotoGP keeps serving up races like this.

          1. @hohum Arg, don’t spoil it! Been out so wasn’t able to watch it!

            I understand your point, but it’s a totally different sport. A bike can never have the same level of aerodynamic downforce that a car can, by the nature of how it corners. And it’s that downforce – which enables F1 cars to have so much speed and grip in a corner – that makes overtaking such a difficult prospect, and why we’ve now have a seemingly never ending stream of gimmicks to try and promote it.

            I’m not pretending that overtakes (or attempts) aren’t great – and helps the entertainment value immensely – but they’re cannot be used as measure of the quality (not entertainment value) of the racing.

            I may be in a minority here, but I personally find the integrity and purity of the sporting side of F1 far more valuable and important than profits, viewing figures or entertainment levels.

          2. @fluxsource, I was going to apologise, then I got to the bottom of your comment impugning my integrity,purity and sporting beliefs, I just prefer F1 as racing, not a series of time trials and I believe the turbulence problem can be mitigated by sensible regulation.

          3. I got to the bottom of your comment impugning my integrity,purity and sporting beliefs

            @hohum I did no such thing. The last past of my comment was a reaction to the constant call from many for a more “exciting” F1. It wasn’t intended to be directed at you specifically, but as an explanation of my point of view. If anything, I’ve found the majority of your comments across this site to be insightful, informative and generally in agreement with my view of the sport be both love.

            Sorry if you took offence at that. I wasn’t intention.

          4. @fluxsource, I spoke in jest, but you did place yourself in the minority, anyway why are you still here? you should be watching the MotoGP and I do apologise, at least I named no names.

    2. Overtakes aren’t necessarily a reliable metric, but wheel to wheel racing is exciting (and what I believe most people want out of F1 as long as team competition still features). And the best metric for that is overtaking, as long as you look at it with the caveat that after 2011 many DRS passes don’t constitute wheel to wheel racing. Also a lot of passing that would happen under re-fuelling, with cars on such vastly different strategies that the lead car can’t possibly defend, wouldn’t really count.

      Perhaps for the purity of racing, the teams should decide themselves what the fastest way to the finish is. But as much as I’d love to get all my enjoyment from that alone, in reality I need the racing to be a little more exciting.

      1. @matt90, right on, bring back flag to flag racing.

  9. I still remember Canada 2010, when Vettel found himself behind Alonso and the McLarens, he radioed his team asking what they could do on the pits and they told him: “you’re going to have to battle it out yourself”. But that was with stone hard, grippy Bridgestones.

    Now we have the degrading Pirellis, don’t we already have a strategic level in which the teams can play to adapt their races and make overtakes easier ? And isn’t DRS already making it easy enough?

    Returning refuelling for the sake of strategic variation makes every single one of the decisions made by the FIA until now (degrading tyres, DRS, qualy tyre rule) an absolute failure. Adding another layer of variation… what tells them it’s going to make a difference?

    It’d increase the risk in the pitlane (and we’ve seen in Barcelona it’s already risky enough), probably increase the costs (not something some teams can afford, but who cares about them anyway?), and it won’t make fans totally droll with enthusiasm.

    It makes no sense.

    1. @fer-no65, actually Canada 2010 is not a great example. For some reason the Bridgestones couldn’t handle the Canadian surface that weekend, and every driver had to make two or three pit stops. The resulting spectacle was so fantastic, that the next tyre supplier was asked to provide tyres that also had to be changed twice or thrice per race…

      1. @adrianmorse I know but that was when that chat between Vettel and his crew happened :P

  10. I posted this yesterday but figured i’d bump it onto the new discussions.

    An article written by David Coulthard in 2008 on the ITV website calling for refueling to be banned in which he puts forward several of the reasons those who would rather not see it brought back are arguing now-

    From my point of view a bigger drawback of refuelling is that it detracts from the racing by turning the grand prix into a series of low-fuel sprints between pit stops.

    In the days (pre-1994) when you carried your entire race fuel load on board the car, there was a much bigger role for the driver in managing the tyres and brakes.

    You could even opt to run non-stop if you could make the tyres go the distance, while someone else might pit twice.

    And because the car’s weight changed so much more in the course of the race, there were more fluctuations in performance and handling characteristics, which in turn created more overtaking opportunities.

    These days, in dry conditions, you very rarely see anyone win from further back than the second row of the grid, because race pace largely mirrors qualifying pace – which is not surprising when the conditions are so similar.

    So if we need to spice up the racing, in my view one of the best ways of doing that would be to ban refuelling.

    It could also chime in nicely with the desire for F1 to pursue a ‘green’ agenda, in that the FIA could give every team a fixed and publicly known amount of fuel for the race distance and they would have a clear incentive to be as fuel-efficient as possible.

    As a driver at time time I’m sure he would know more about the effect refueling was having on the racing than any of us.

    1. Quite right to, but if I may repeat myself tyres that only last a few laps of flat out driving before needing to be replaced are the same as a light fuel load that only lasts a few laps before it needs replacing, both require the team to find a clear piece of track to drive in, both discourage doing battle with another car, both need to be gotten rid of to force drivers to gain positions by passing cars on track.

      1. @hohum I agree regarding tyres & there is a really easy way to fix that problem…. Simply make the tyres a bit more durable or at the very least change the way the tyres wear.

        The problem with the current tyres is that there relying on thermal degredation so if you push the tyres a bit more you put more heat into them which causes more degredation, Hence why drivers back off so to not put too much heat into the tyres.

        The thing with these current Pirelli’s which I think most people don’t really know is that the actual compounds are pretty hard & could actually last well over half a race in terms of wear, But the thermal deg eventually reaches a point that see’s so much time loss its impossible to actually run that long.

        If Pirelli made softer compounds & dropped the philosophy of thermal degredation then we would see tryes that could be pushed much harder for a bit longer but that would still suffer wear that would keep strategy a part of things (Especially if teams had more freedom with what compounds they could run).

        Interestingly there was 1 year where Pirelli had that tyres that were more inline with that & that was there 1st year in 2011 & I would argue that the 2011 tyres were probably the best Pirelli have used in F1 in that there was wear but it wasn’t that extreme & we didn’t see drivers having to back off at the same levels we have since.

        1. @gt-racer, I’m a simpleton when it comes to racing, I want to see drivers trying to pass and drivers trying to defend, not strategic circulation. Get rid of pit stops and positions have to be made by passing and kept by defending.
          Not sure about Pirellis 1st. year, it may just have been the teams learning curve.

    2. @gt-racer, excellent find, and as far as I’m concerned Coulthard’s 2008 article could be comment of the day, tomorrow.

      In defence of a return of refueling, it might not detract from the on-track action as much this time. First of all, the difference between fuel loads between cars will rarely be more than 35kg, and also new tyres will often offset this extra load, so the undercut will still be possible.

      Having said that, I don’t really see the point to refueling. If it is only to reduce lap times, then surely that can be achieved in other ways. Didn’t the original rule book for 2014 include ground effect? They should re-introduce that for 2017, and not bigger wings which will only make it more difficult for cars to follow each other.

      Finally, to go even more off-topic, I do like the rule that allows teams to choose their compounds, and I disagree with Pirelli that the big teams will all make the same choices. In recent years we saw some teams that preferred the softer tyres, such as Lotus and Force India, and this year Ferrari. I don’t think Ferrari would have brought the hards to Barcelona, and qualifying on softs would have put them on the pole. As for small teams choosing super soft to put their car higher on the grid, great! We then have a natural (i.e., non-reversed) mixed up grid, which can spice up the racing.

  11. The ask is that what is the notion of the new tyre supplier exactly?

  12. Actually just 1 final point for tonight on refueling that I think people should consider.

    Given the performance advantage Mercedes have, If we had refueling & they were really able to push that car on low fuel between fuel stops; Do people really think that would result in the racing been better or that would be conducive to overtaking?

    Also if there qualifying on low fuel & racing on broadly similar fuel loads why is there any reason to think that the race order will not be the same as the qualifying order given that there will be far less variables to affect performance?

    Without refueling you see differences between how cars work from qualifying to races & you see race performance & race orders change based off that which is a part of why you see more overtaking & closer racing.

    Take the last race, The STR’s were stunning on low fuel in qualifying but there race pace wasn’t as good & that allowed some good racing & overtaking to occur as cars that were not so good on low fuel but that were working better in the races caught them.
    We see with Ferrari that there car works better in race trim so there able to give Mercedes a harder time in races even though there further behind on pace in qualifying.

    Going back to my 1st point if we had low fuel stints between fuel stops with less differences between a qualifying car & race car in terms of performance why expect anything other than race order to remain a lot more static.

    That is a big part of why there was far less position changes during the refueling era & why races like Suzuka 2005 where you had fast cars starting further down the grid (Due to grid penalty’s or mistakes in qualifying) were more exciting than races where everyone started where they qualified based on pure performance.

    1. Schumacher+Ferrari+refueling = 5 WDC, no reason to think it would be any different with Hamilton+MB+refueling.

      1. Vettel+RedBull-refueling= 4WDC not bad for not having refueling… if a car is dominant in a given set of rules, it will be dominant despite having or not refueling… as far as mercedes keeps doing such a good job with his car, and Hamilton driving as good as he’s been driving, i don’t see why can’t win two or three WDC more in the following years

        1. That’s true but it still illustrates the fact that refueling is not going to make the championship any less predictable.

  13. What’s all this crap about overtaking stats? Who cares about lots of overtakes? A 1-0 football game can be far more exciting than a 10-6 scoreline. Now people are complaining about too much overtaking with DRS and then not enough with refuelling! No wonder the FIA never makes people happy. I remember some incredibly exciting races where there was little overtaking, but lots of almost overtaking, which was thrilling. It needs to be hard. Not common. So blabbering about 14.6 overtakes in blah blah blah vs 23.7 in blah blah is just ridiculous. It means nothing.

    1. Unfortunately we have no stats on almost overtaking and sure DRS warps the figures but simple observation and logic tell us that pitstop tactics reduce real overtakes as well as almost overtakes.

    2. @selbbin Well when we had 14.6 or whatever with refueling I recall everyone complaining about there been no overtaking which was a big part of why the FIA made the 2009 aero changes.

      I’m actually with you in the sense that overtaking stats are not everything, To me its more the quality & excitement of the overtaking thats important & thats a big part of why I dislike DRS.

      When looking at the race refueling however the reason I am interesting in the stats is that I woudl actually like to see some overtaking & some close battling between drivers with those attempted overtakes & its pretty clear not just from those stats but from watching the races through the periods & since that we did get less of those when we did have refueling & that 90% of the racing in that era was done in the pits & I’d really rather we don’t go back to that sort of fuel strategy/pit-passing.

    3. I’m pretty sure there’s no way a 1-0 is more interesting to watch than a 10-6 football game.

      The only thing I remember from the world cup is the 7-1 from Germany against Brazil.

      1. @selbbin @paeschli Yeah, can someone link me to a league where football matches end up with 16 goals in a game? I’d love to see that… ;)

    4. @selbbin A 1-0 game of Football is never more exciting than a 10-6 game of football. I would like some examples please.

    5. @selbbin You’re part right. What we want is wheel-to-wheel racing or at least strong defending rather than necessarily straight up overtaking. That means that easy DRS passes are of no interest, and neither are guaranteed overtakes between cars (sitting ducks) on vastly different strategies (unless it’s important for the overtaker to be fast and decisive to maintain an advantage over a pitting rival). But all of that is difficult to quantify, and if you are getting any of the good racing we look for then normally a lot of easily countable overtaking also happens – that’s normally the result if cars are able to get and stay close, eventually some drivers pull it off. So overtaking stats are useful and do mean something.

      The difference with football is that stats like shots and shots on target are readily available, and presumably that can make even a 0-0 interesting and you would see a good correlation between that and exciting matches.

  14. I have no issues with refuelling. High number of overtakes does not mean good race, look at what we have got for last 4 years with Pirelli.

    And why should F1 be all about the driver? F1 is first and foremost a team sport, so team strategy (which will play a big role once refuelling returns) is a welcome addition.

  15. stats are highly misleading and lots of over-takings in non-refueling era are due to KERS/ERS + F-Duct/DRS, and attributing overtakes to fueling or non-refueling is utter non-sense.

    1. Exactly! Obviously there were more things that changed beside refuelling.

      Qualifying also changed, but most importantly the increase in aero dependence was having it’s effect.

      The number of overtakes had been plummeting for years since the performance differences were more and more down to aero development. Senna complained that it had gone too far just that before he died and it got only worse in the few years after that.

      And then the overtakes increased again when aero dependence was decreased and F-duct/DRS and self destructing tyres were introduced.

      If you deduct the tyre difference related drive-by’s, I doubt if we actually have any more “real” overtakes now than we had during the “refuelling” years.

      So the stats on cars changing position on track have gone up, but do we actually have more overtaking?

      1. So the stats on cars changing position on track have gone up, but do we actually have more overtaking?


    2. thing that boggles my mind is that people are trying very hard to “prove” refueling is responsible for decrease in overtaking, but a bit common sense will tell you any difference in weights of cars can create more performance differential and if anything can lead to more overtaking !!. There are other legitimate reasons against refueling like safety n costs which is different discussion and i do not agree, but god people are trying so hard.

  16. While Williams’ statement is if course true, as with most things in F1 it doesn’t tell the whole story. Part of the reason the costs went up so much on the power unit side is because the FIA kept the cost of the V8 artificially low. Essentially the full cost of the V8 wasn’t passed on to the customers.

    1. and remember also that the 2.4L V8 was nothing more or less than a 3L V10 less 2 cylinders, there wasn’t a lot of development cost involved in building them.

      1. Exactly @hohum.

        When they were introduced the manufacturers quickly tried to raise power outputs by trying to achieve higher and higher max RPM’s, a few of whom managed to get to 20,000 rpm which is staggering. But that development was curbed quickly, leaving us with those gutless, rev limited sewing machines.

      2. That wasn’t really an issue. They were still spending a fortune on developing the engines. Adding a few dozen bhp every year.

        That pretty much came to a halt when the engine specs were frozen. Which was around 2006/2007.

      3. @hohum, whilst the engine manufacturers sold the changes as simply being a V10 with two cylinders removed, quite a few teams simply started from scratch when designing the V8 engines (there was a quite interesting article a few years ago in Race Engine Technology about Toyota’s engine development program during the V8 era).

        The development costs were, therefore, very high – inflation adjusted, the costs were actually fairly comparable to today.

        @patrickl, according to Renault, the engine manufacturers were still spending relatively heavily – their annual development budget for the V8 engines was €120 million a year, and their rivals were spending comparable amounts as well.

        All of the manufacturers were still developing their engines at the time, because they won a concession from the FIA to allow them to make changes for cost reduction or reliability grounds (particularly once the lifespan of the engines was increased).
        There were some fairly persistent complaints that quite a few outfits were abusing that provision – a couple of manufacturers were accused of introducing “reliability” changes that just coincidentally happened to increase the power output of the engines as well.

    2. Indeed. It’s like with the overtaking stats. People only look at a tiny bit of the picture and assume they saw it all when they see the bit they like.

      Renault already stated that the engine prices may be high now, but they will fall when development tapers off in the years to come. That was the whole plan. If they throw away the plan, costs will simply remain high.

      1. They should learn from F-22 development story..

  17. To people saying overtaking isn’t that important because watching clever pit-stop strategies is also fun:

    When the season is over, I like to watch ‘Top x0 overtakes of 201x’ videos on YouTube. I never found a ‘Top x0 best strategy calls of 201x’ video.

    Why? Because it’s boring.

    1. Touche.

      I can’t imagine the excitement of a 2 min clip where you have some great Pit radio communication –

      Pit – “Box Box Box”
      Driver – “Ok”

      Pit – “Stay out Stay out”
      Driver – “Ok”

      1. Highlight Reel over

  18. Just (another) word on the McLaren livery. I wonder if Gene Haas is disappointed as his car was going to look almost like its twin.

  19. Dr Robert Jones
    17th May 2015, 13:26

    Refueling again ? This was never discussed in depth with many of the teams not understanding the issues. Refueling represented a delayed pit stop which let your competitors by to allow real racing especially at circuits that you could not overtake. Nothing has changed.

    The BSC Consulting Group was right each circuit needs mandatory pit stops.The forth coming Monaco GP is a disaster for F1 racing representing only a possession followed by parties for the very rich.In such dysfunctional curcuits the race should contain at least 4 mandatory pit stops to allow racing. It”s a farce it has got to change.

  20. I must say that more or less everything that seems to have gotten out of the Strategy group meeting looks like a confirmation of Keiths headline of a few days back

  21. Every week we have a Tom or a Dick or a Hardy come here and tell how DRS has ruined racing and how many of these overtakes are highway passes.

    Now to support their claim against re-fueling, they are considering these highway passes?

    It’s a good thing that the people running F1 don’t take the fans opinion. Most would come with worse ideas than Bernie’s sprinkler.

    We all fussed about slow cars; that would be taken care of through re-fueling. The strategic side of F1 will continue and engineers will try to get their man ahead without the need for a fight.

    Just need to get used to it.

  22. F1 should be careful with this push to make the cars significantly faster.

    Anyone who follows Indycar & have been watching this week at Indy will know that they have made a big push for more speed with more engine power & the new aero packs & we have had 3 cars take off & now there working on ways to slow them down again.

  23. Regarding putting two turbo’s on the V6 instead of one:

    As far as I know splitting 1.6 litres into 6 little pistons is bad enough for efficiency and car layout. They thought about an I4 engine for good reason, it would be easier to get more power and save fuel. Throwing another turbo would make things worse, IMHO

    Just about every manufacture is moving to a I4 turbo for power and efficiency. Heck, F1 could be somewhat forward thinking and do a 1.5 I3 turbo hybrid…….even this would be barely ahead of current production car tech. Keeping a V6 because the engine layout seems more ‘prestigious’ is a silly waste.

    I like F1 being high tech, I might be in a ‘geek minority’ but some common engineering sense should drive the decisions about power units.

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