Kimi Raikkonen, Ferrari, Suzuka, 2009

Will refuelling create better races in 2017?

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On Friday the Formula One Strategy Group announced several plans to overhaul the Formula One rule book in the name of making races more exciting.

It’s been clear from your responses over the past 48 hours that the planned returned of refuelling in 2017 has strong supporters and vehement detractors.

But what do most of you F1 fans make of the plan to let drivers refuel during races?

For

The ban on refuelling at the end of 2009 took away one more variable which had the potential to add interest to races. Refuelling strategy gave teams extra flexibility when planning their race strategies and further options to take a gamble during the race if conditions change.

The refuelling ban has also contributed to the cars of today being considerably slower than they once were, especially at the start of races when they are carrying a full tank of fuel. Allowing drivers to refuel will allow them to lap faster.

Against

Refuelling allowed drivers to overtake their rivals in the pits instead of on the track and substituted authentic racing for underwhelming ‘passes in the pits’. The strategic dimension it brought was rarely dramatic and usually predictable.

The obvious safety problems with refuelling were never solved during the last 16 years it was part of the regulations – a refuelling fire happened at the penultimate race before it was banned. And the knock-on effect it had on other rules – such as ‘race fuel’ qualifying and closing the pits during Safety Car periods – created further unnecessary complications and unfairness.

I say

Having watched F1 before the last refuelling era, during it (1994 to 2009) and afterwards, I have no interest in seeing it return.

The claims that refuelling creates unpredictability always seemed overblown to me. In the first years when it came back – particularly 1994 and 1995 – it did produces some surprises, usually when the well-drilled Benetton team used it to outwit Williams. But as with many changes in F1 once the teams had sussed it out it rarely produced any major surprises, with perhaps the exception of Michael Schumacher’s four-stop win at Magny-Cours in 2004.

Refuelling does enliven other forms of racing, such as IndyCar. Why does it work better there than in F1? In IndyCar, each driver has their own pit box and caution periods are more common occurences, which encourages teams to take more risks with their strategies, creating unpredictability. F1 teams do not have the same incentive to take a risk with their strategies. This is why refuelling seldom generated much excitement the last time around, and why I doubt it would improve things if it returned.



You say

What will happen if refuelling does come back in two years’ time? Is it the missing ingredient needed to inject more unpredictability and excitement into F1 races?

Cast your vote below and have your say in the comments.

How will refuelling changes races in 2017 if it returns?

  • Refuelling will make races much better (11%)
  • Refuelling will make races slightly better (17%)
  • Refuelling won't make races better or worse (13%)
  • Refuelling will make races slightly worse (21%)
  • Refuelling will make races much worse (37%)
  • No opinion (1%)

Total Voters: 563

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

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138 comments on “Will refuelling create better races in 2017?”

  1. Much worse. I like to see my overtakes on the track.

    1. Exactly, and having just watched the Le Mans MotoGP I have been reminded of what has been missing in F1 for over 20 years, excitement.

      1. +1, what a fantastic race that was!

    2. With the undercut, we still see a lot of passing in the pits. I think the reason why we have more passing now than during the refuelling era has more to do with DRS and degrading tires.
      So, if DRS and HD tires are staying, I don’t see there would be less passing on the track with refuelling.

      1. It is true that the HD tyres have a similarly bad effect on the racing as refueling, we need to get rid of both of them, swapping one for the other achieves nothing, having both would be an absolute disaster, even if the average lap time was slightly reduced due to cars on light fuel and new tyres circulating clear of other traffic.

    3. I like to see the fastest serie on earth, refuelling is needed for this.

      1. Simon (@weeniebeenie)
        17th May 2015, 15:40

        @favomodo it’s really not. They can make fast cars with 100kg of fuel in them. That is not the only reason they’re 4/5 seconds slower than 10 years ago and there are many ways to make them faster without dropping the fuel.

        Besides, what good is speed without action?

        1. Fuel saving makes the races so boring, it’s much more interesting after a long or multiple safety car stint, cars actually properly raceing wheel to wheel. Either return to refuelling or give them enough fuel to go flat out all race long which is what we got when refuelling was allowed.

          1. You do realize this does neither…

            The max fuel stays the same, they just carry less at the same time.

      2. @favmodo,

        I like to see the fastest series on earth.

        Indy 500 and oval racing is for you then!

        1. ColdFly F1 (@)
          18th May 2015, 10:40

          or drag racing!

    4. Agreed – @craig-o

      Fans want to see passing on the racetrack and refueling would make competition in the pits a higher priority.

      Refueling is a contrivance that has not increased on track overtakes in the past.

      Refueling is a safety risk that has been removed. Why bring it back?

      1. I have ZERO desire to see some poor pit crewman play Johnny Flame just so Bernie can have more artificial racing.
        Refueling is dangerous and expensive and simply another gimmick.

        1. ColdFly F1 (@)
          18th May 2015, 10:44

          @daved, or imagine a kid being reminded every time he pits of images of his father on fire.

        2. @daved – The safety factor alone is enough disincentive for me. And should be for F1 too one would think.

          But, let’s not forget it also brought about new ways to cheat as well.

          Sure, there are ways to stop the cheating, just add more expense on top of the additional refueling expense. Or, just stop the madness before it starts.

        3. @coldfly @bullmello
          Yes, yes, and yes.

          All I can do is shake my head and wonder how “intelligent adults” can come up with an “idea to improve the show” when those same people previously ruled it out because it was too dangerous and expensive.

    5. @craig-o

      Am i mad in thinking that longer races would increase the excitement on track that they need 2 drivers per car or something along those lines? Kinda making it sound like a Formula WEC in my head. maybe not as long as 6 hour races 3 hours maybe?

  2. “Having watched F1 before the last refuelling era, during it (1994 to 2009) and afterwards, I have no interest in seeing it return.”

    Exactly. The teams all have sophisticated simulation techniques so they will all end up with pretty much the same fuel strategies, as they did during the last era. Passes on track will be a thing of the past, again. At a more general level, I have no idea why some fans, and now some of the sport’s most influential people, think that seeing cars stop for fuel makes races more interesting.

    1. Because it makes the cars faster for more of the race. Its not all about races being interesting… That is not the only criteria for F1!

      1. MotoGP is so much more exciting than F1 has been for the last 20 years but they do slower lap times than F1, without timing you wouldn’t know whether the cars were slower or faster than they were in 2004 anyway, where’s the thrill in comparing stats.

        1. Completely true! If they weren’t telling you the times, nobody would even know. It’s about the racing on track if you really want it to be interesting.

        2. I hate MotoGP. I’ve tried to watch it many times but it bores the crap out of me. I like f1. Let’s not make f1 another MotoGP.

      2. But we’ve seen that speed will come with time. Teams have always found ways to make the cars faster as they work the engineering problems of the regulations. Besides, some of the best racing I’ve seen has come from lower categories where cars are considered comparatively slow. Speed does not always make for a great racing series. If all I cared about was speed, I’d just watch drag racing and land speed record videos.

        1. Couldn’t agree more with this…

      3. But you’re blinded if you truly think refuelling is the best way of getting these cars to be more exciting.

        It’s once again F1 band-aiding a problem rather than fixing it.

        1. As I’ve said many times, more mechanical grip is the way to go, but you’ll still have the difference between a high fuel load and a low one. Seriously, I’m baffled by the anti-refueling calls. Refuelling wasn’t the reason the racing was bad back then! It was things like publishing fuel loads and the massive dependence on aero.

          I think it would be great to see the cars going thrillingly fast for most of the race, but I realise not all agree.

          Like I say, watch the start of a race from 2009 and note the big difference in the sense of speed and how exciting it is at the start, well I find it more exciting anyway :)

    2. by the way, very good idea to have that “show/hide” toggle for your opinion @keithcollantine, you keep innovating! How I wish the powers that be in F1 would do that – listen to fans and come op with working solutions.

      Yeah, neither do I have any wish to get back refuelling.

      1. Can we have one for Christian Horner quotes please?

      2. ColdFly F1 (@)
        18th May 2015, 10:49

        @bascb, I wondered what that was.

        Unfortunately doesn’t work for me (OSX10.10 Chrome) @keithcollantine.

        1. sorry to see it doesn’t seem to work for you @coldfly.
          Ha, good one @bullfrog!

  3. Bringing back refueling would be terrible for the sport. No driver wanted to attempt an overtake knowing that if they could stay with the person in front then stay out an extra lap or two to go past them, rather than with refueling banned drivers knew that they had to overtake on track and resulted in more battles on track and entertainment for the fans at the track and on TV. Go back to Canada 2010 when Vettel was told that he had to overtake Button on track rather than in the pits to try and win.

    1. @f199player What about Spain 2015 when Hamilton ask for strategy to pass Vettel in pit?

      1. Thats one of the few times I can think of it happening but in the refueling era it was just about every race for nearly every battle for position

        1. Suhail John
          18th May 2015, 8:16

          Schumi 96 Hungarian Grand Prix when he did 20 odd qualy laps and over took mika on that track. Refueling just brings in so much strategy in to the game.

  4. Mr win or lose
    17th May 2015, 12:05

    It depends a bit on how durable the tyres will be, but racing will be different. With refueling there will of course be pitlane overtakes, but that’s not really different from the current situation. The difference is that there won’t be quite as many overtakes after the pitstops, so the races will be less spectacular. However, if we can trade some uncontested highway overtakes for a few interesting battles, then I think it won’t be such a bad thing. Furthermore, different fuel loads create uncertainty and if the tyres will become more durable drivers can drive flat-out again, which is positive.

    1. JungleMartin
      20th May 2015, 21:22

      Having watched every season of F1 I definitely DON’T want to see refuelling return. Extra expense, unnecessary danger, more emphasis on fuel strategy as opposed to on track racing, and if we still have these designed to degrade tyres* the drivers will still have to hold back on track, even with lower average fuel loads. (* I don’t blame Pirelli, they are only doing what they’ve been told to do. Although we could debate what value there is in them marketing their product in that way.)

      The above post makes a good point though: “uncontested highway overtakes” Our hallowed on track overtakes are currently highly artificial because so many are are done with DRS. How many overtakes are actually exciting to watch? Not many, in my opinion, and those that are are in non-DRS zones, and exciting because they are done using skill rather than artificial help.

      DRS (which could stand for Dull Racing Sham) was supposed to address the problem of not being able to get close enough to the car in front… which is due to the huge aero influence and dirty air behind a car. Treat the symptom or cure the cause? Hmm…

      1. JungleMartin
        20th May 2015, 21:24

        Edit: every season from 1989 onwards! :)

  5. Additional expenditure that the bottom half of the grid can’t afford, another hazard in the pits, more races decided off the track, and no doubt drivers will be forced to qualify with race fuel on board. I’m struggling to see a positive here.

    1. Yep, agree on each point here.

    2. @jackysteeg agreed, agreed, not more or less than we have now, why you can be sure they wont revise/improve the qualifying rules?

    3. Pretty sure this is just Bernie mis-directing us away from the real point of the meeting, castrating the midfield and carving up the pie between FOM and the big4.

  6. It will make things better.

    Don’t foget, in the 2000’s when there was refuelling, the cars were always hard to pass on the track anyways. Super durable tyres, lots and lots of dirty air from the back of cars, and lack of overtaking aids such as DRS and KERS. In that period of time, I can imagine things being worse off without refuelling!

    2007 and 2008 had refuelling, and in those years we still saw decent scraps for places.

    2009 was a one off year cause the whole grid order was topsy turvy that year.

    2010 we saw a decent amount more of overtakes, but I reckon almost half of those overtakes occured at the back of the pack, when drivers who pitted from the midfield for example (or those who started poorly) would overtake the six HRTs, Virgins and Lotuses who very way off the pace.

    Also, don’t forget the easy-to-degrade Pirellis introduced around that time, efforts to reduce the aerodynamic footprints of cars and also the KERS/DRS introduction.

    I’m all for refuelling. To me, we have nothing to lose, but everything to gain that way.

    1. Holy fallacy-ridden rhetoric, Batman!

      2010 was with proper tyres, no KERS, no DRS, without refuelling. The main change between 2010 and the previous 15 seasons was the banning of refueling, and 2010 featured the most overtakes since 1989. The formula may have not been perfect, but it was much better than what has been since 2011 with DRS and Pirelli tyres (because it’s not strictly about the quantity of passes), and even better than what was during the refueling era.

      1. Mr win or lose
        17th May 2015, 15:26

        Actually what Himmat said made a lot of sense. There was more overtaking in 2010 than in the years before because of the new teams and the mandatory tyre stop. Actually, I really liked the 2011 and 2012 seasons because there was so much action.

        1. AND the Double Diffuser, AND the F-Duct…

          There were a lot of changes.

      2. @glue

        The main change between 2010 and the previous 15 seasons was the banning of refueling, and 2010 featured the most overtakes since 1989.

        2010 had 19 races while 2003 only had 16 races.

        Which season featured more overtaking per race?

      3. The reason for more overtakes was the double diffuser. The higher downforce caused by a semi groundeffect made overtaking easier and corner speeds higher. Refueling had nothing to do with that. That immediately explains why in 2011 the overtaking reduced, the rules for double diffusers were being tightened.

        1. And, more importantly, the F-Duct. The first ever year in the history of F1 that has a system to reduce the drag from the rear wing, and people think the re-fuelling ban is what lead to more overtakes.

          Sigh.

      4. Ok, a reminder for you that the F-Duct was used by many teams in 2010 and it did the same thing as it’s replacement, DRS.

        So yes, 2010 DID have a drag reduction system. It was called the F-Duct.

    2. I’m all for it, too. Shorter cars with smaller fuel tanks will also have an interesting effect on car balance.

  7. Aditya (@adityafakhri)
    17th May 2015, 12:13

    what I like in refueling is, we can see the maximum of a car in every stint (relatively), rather than only in qualifying or the end of race. what I don’t like is the cost. and that’s just that. I still haven’t convinced that it will seriously damaged the racing on track. moreover, the combination of ‘free tyres’ and -yeah of course- DRS is going to make it different than in V10 era.
    there will be more variable in terms of strategy. the teams can extract more potential of the car performance without disturbed by freakishly heavy load of fuel. some will hate passing by pitstop, but with other variables, the car behind can still catch the other one who gained advantage in pitlane. in optimum pace.

    1. Refueling is a massive attraction for the teams to use in order to overtake. For a normal, on-track overtake, you need a certain advantage over one lap. In a refueling pit stop context, you can effectively gain several seconds in the stretch of a few hundred meters, as there are more things that can go wrong or right. The problem is not the fact that it would be impossible to overtake on track, the problem is that teams will emphatically resort to fuel stops to gain position.

    2. we lose the 2.3s pit stops, which in my view are spectacular

  8. Personally I am against refuelling mainly because I had to endure the initial mandated refuelling era where most races were tactical battles revolving around who will stop one lap later. Races were obviously made considerably more predictable, read worse, when the fuel loads were worked out pre-race! However, I respect that there is an element of sprint racing which is currently missing from races. My issue is that this is yet more artifice, in a sport where there was very little need for it. The COTD in todays round-up explains that overtaking fell considerably in the refuelling era but it also coincided with the most complex aerodynamics any sport has ever seen so I’m not willing to completely write refuelling off as a concept. I simply believe there should be a set of regulations which say that there are 6 types of tyre available and a fuel limit which must be followed. Therefore teams would be able to decide which was the fastest way for their car and even individual driver to approach the race. Imagine a Monaco GP where one driver was intent on doing a Senna and going all race on one set of tyres and not stopping for either fuel or tyres against someone who decides to stop twice for softer rubber and less fuel. There would be an interesting dynamic that allows four or five strategies every race and there would be no need for DRS or degradable tyres. Let’s not forget how refuelling came into F1 with Brabham. They simply believed it would allow them to be fastest and have the best chance of winning. Surely that should be F1 in a nutshell?

    1. Just shows how much I’ve forgotten, I thought Brabham were long gone in 94, how did refueling work out for them? @rbalonso

      1. Mr win or lose
        17th May 2015, 15:40

        He was referring to 1982.

        1. Totally missed the 80’s, was Bernie the owner of Brabham then?

  9. Well, I think 2009 was an absolutely fantastic season, and if that was because of refueling or not, I don’t know, but I’m just saying.

    For those of you who didn’t like the 2009 season, I feel no need to explain my views: I would like refueling to be back.

    For those of you who DID like the 2009 season: just think back to Fisichella’s pole… :)

    1. Regardless of the fact that you don’t feel the need to explain, I’m curious what you enjoyed about 2009 besides that one pole? I massively enjoyed the result along with the ‘fairytale’ story of Brawn, but the quality of the actual racing did nothing for me.

    2. What did Fisichela’s pole have to do with refuelling?

      1. @mashiat They were qualifying with race fuel that year, But even then Fisichella wasn’t fueled lighter than those around him so his pole wasn’t related to refueling.

        Fisichella in that car was just on it that weekend, If Kimi hadn’t had KERS allowing him to pull a gap onto the 2 long straights (Also was a big factor in him making the pass) Fisi may well have won that race because he had the pace that day.

        1. @stefmeister But doesn’t that just prove that refuelling won’t throw up any surprises in Qualifying?

          1. @mashiat If they continue to qualify on low fuel as they currently do then refueling will have no impact at all on qualifying.

            If they go back to that stupid system of qualifying on race fuel however then obviously qualifying performance would be affected by fuel loads.

            I’m firmly against it been brought back BTW.

          2. @stefmeister Yes, but isn’t the original comment saying how Fisi’s 2009 pole was memorable also somehow proves why he wants refuelling to come back. Unless I read that wrong.

  10. Bad…. turns F1 into a series of sprint races with no long term strategies and reduces the incentive to overtake on the track.

    As it has been for 20 years, F1 needs a radical AERO overhaul if it is to improve the spectacle and RACING ON THE TRACK.

  11. I didn’t have an issue with refuelling. I don’t have an issue with the current ban either.

    We’ve had plenty of good seasons with and without refuelling.

  12. I vote for it wont change the race for better or worse.

    However I’m a strong proponent for it to come back. Why? Because people hate it for wrong reasons. The true problem lies in the (in)ability for a car to follow a car in front closely because F1 cars depends on aero too much now. So in order to pass a car on track you need to have a car that 1-1.5s quicker per lap. Naturally this create a situation where passing in the pit is much more easier and less costly than passing on track. This statement is true during refueling ban era and it still true now. Try to count how many overtake done since 2011 that not the result of DRS, the car is effectively on different tier, very large tire degradation level or type, or all of them, and see how much those passes are the exciting passes we want to see. Also during the refueling era we also got the silly qualifying era. 1 lap only, reverse grid run, need to burning fuel, and the biggest flaw of all is start on your qualy fuel. If they keep the current qualy format and freedom to start the race with any fuel load, and reintroducing the ability to refuel but it wasn’t mandatory (still keeping the 100kg total of fuel rule), I can see refueling will make races more exciting and still easy to follow.

  13. Bring on refuelling.

    It will generate good battles on track as well as pits.

    Remember, in the 1994-2009 era, it was almost always the overcut that worked because a heavier car was always slower as tyres were durable. In 2010-2015, it is the undercut that almost always worked because the car was faster on newer tyres and same fuel load.

    But with degrading Pirellis, we won’t be sure what will work as the undercut has advantage of fresher tyres but the disadvantage of heavier fuel load thus making it possible that both undercut and overcut work in different races depending upon traffic, track and pace difference between cars.

    There will be equal onus on pit crews, drivers and team strategists to make an overtake happen. F1 will be back to being a team sport again.

    1. F1 will be back to being a team sport again.

      Have the drivers been designing, building and preparing their own cars and servicing them during pit stops for the last few years or is that statement pure hyperbole ?

    2. In 2010-2015, it is the undercut that almost always worked because the car was faster on newer tyres and same fuel load.

      It was the same with refueling though & thats why we saw so much passing in the pits.

      Drivers would sit back, save some fuel to aim to go 1-2 laps longer than the car infront, They would then put in 1-2 super fast laps on low fuel then make there pitstop & end up ahead of the car they had been behind without needing to overtake it on the track.

      This idea that the undercut only started when refueling was banned isn’t correct, Its something that we started seeing when refueling came in & its a tactic we saw a lot more during that refueling era & that is a part of why the levels of overtaking declined because most of the position changes were been done via pit stops.

      1. Get rid of refueling and tyre changes then drivers have to make their passes on track.

  14. When I started watching F1 in 2004, I didn’t know any better. Yet it became clear very quickly in 2010 that the new system (of no refuelling) was far superior. And even when I didn’t know better, trying to watch and understand qualifying felt like a farce when it would end with speculation about who was actually faster thanks to adjusted weights. I like qualifying to actually reward who is fastest and most of all to tell me who that person is. Seeing graphics trying to explain the ‘true’ pole managed to all at once be meaningless (do I really need all this complicated analysis to know, when the race will just reveal it tomorrow), important (it helped explain if team mates were actually doing well comparatively, and whether that driver’s strengths laid in quali or the race), and overall entirely tedious.

    This stupidity was only exacerbated when the otherwise fair and entertaining qualifying system started. Having some drivers qualify on low fuel and decide their own starting fuel, while those in Q3 actually went slower than their previous times in 2008 (in an effort to remove the equally silly fuel burn which happened in ’06-’07) and had to decide their fuel a day in advance, was a joke.

    If they finally did re-fuelling with a vaguely reasonable qualifying format, I would forgive it that at least. But I still wouldn’t forgive it the reduction in wheel-to-wheel racing.

    1. This stupidity was only exacerbated when the otherwise fair and entertaining *current qualifying system started.

  15. I personally am against mostly on safety grounds, i don’t want to see cars lighting up on the pit lane and risking the driver’s lives, not to mention the mechanics. When it comes to the racing it may be a bit different because a car with let’s say 10kg of fuel which will pit in 2 laps will easily overtake a car with 50kg of fuel which will finish the race on that load, but on the other hand, that’s also what the Pirelli tires can do so i think that refueling is unnecessary and that the Strategy Group should look into the other options to make the sport more exciting

  16. It depends whether mechanical grip can be increased in my opinion, so to vote on this in isolation is to me very difficult.

    Pit passes in the past were so predominant because you couldn’t follow another car, and trulli trains were so common, so everything was planned around refuelling.

    Increase mechanical grip, and get rid of DRS, then probably refueling will be not too bad because we will have faster cars at the start of races (just watch a rerun of a race from 2009 to really see the difference, its actually amazing) whilst still having an incentive to pass on track.

    Anyway, as I say. I think a bit of a difficult poll this one.

    1. If DRS is available back then I think we wont have the phrase Trulli train and maybe people wont blame refueling for reliance on passing on pit.

      1. @sonicslv But do we really want to increase reliance on DRS?

        Saying that refueling would work better now because we have DRS is just as bad as what we had back then because we still wouldn’t be getting the sort of exciting overtaking than I would suggest most fans would prefer to see.

        I’d much rather they look at doing things that would remove the need for DRS rather than doing things that may well see them relying on it more.

        1. @stefmeister Or couse not and that’s not what I’m saying. I just say the blame is not on refueling.

          I think I make my view on this matter pretty clear on our last night discussion that the problem is the aero making passing in pit much easier, safer and less risky than on track. Like it or not DRS make on track passing easier (and could easily eliminate Trulli train problem if it was available back then) and even with it, cars on same tier and same tire wear usually can’t pass each other easily and still rely on pit strategy anyway. Even Ferrari can’t pass Williams at Bahrain and Spain where they supposedly have a better car.

    2. @john-h, I believe the lack of action in early laps is purely down to the need to preserve the tyres.

  17. As a general rule of thumb, I’m not sure that the solution to an already overly complex situation is adding more complexity.

  18. I keep having a feeling that this whole refueling malarkey is a very potent red herring: it detracts from the main issues F1 is having regarding teams’ parity (financial or otherwise), and it is sufficiently divisive to ensure the emotional involvement would drive the debate around refueling.
    I only hope that the red herring has been inadvertently created by the Strategy Group’s incompetence and myopia. If they have the ability to manufacture this sort of distraction, it would sadden me to think they could not channel their ability towards saving the sport.

    1. @glue, I don’t think it was inadvertent at all, just Bernie being divisive and misdirecting attention away from his real plan, just as a threat to kill a film stars dogs took all the publicity away from Australias budget debate.

  19. Watching qualifying specialist like Hamilton,Rosberg and Vettel blossom in the refueling era

  20. “Will refuelling create better races in 2017?”

    The long answer? No.

  21. Cars will become faster more spectacular to watch and also cars will become much more attractive that said if you take Pirelli show tyres away the teams will only use pit stops to overtake as it will become impossible to overtake on track again.

  22. I seriously wish they could avoid the pits as much as possible. Probably because of the era I started watching F1, but I just don’t get the appeal of any pit stops. Maybe each driver making 15-20 per season. Re-fueling is just another gimmick in a sport that is now full of gimmicks.

    1. @darryn, so there are 2 of us, pitstops are totally unnecessary except for rain and punctures, they have an adverse effect on the quality of racing and like most of Bernies big ideas they should never have been introduced in the 1st. place. Let’s start the campaign for no unnecessary pitstops.

      1. like most of Bernies big ideas they should never have been introduced

        While Bernie was owner of the Brabham team, the idea is widely attributed to Gordon Murray.
        And while I certainly don´t want refuelling back, the question about which way they´d go nowadays on a combination of tyre-war + no rules forbidding or mandating stops + 100kg race-fuel-limit is intriguing. Problem is, this question would be answered within less than half a season.

  23. Michael Brown
    17th May 2015, 14:41

    Let’s look at 2009 and 2010. The biggest difference between those two seasons was the banning of refuelling, and overtaking increased dramatically. It seems to me like the Strategy Group are listening to the rose-tinted glasses fans, the same who complained about drivers changing helmets.

    1. You must mean the Rose tinted teen-agers, those of us who watched F1 before refueling are well represented in the NO vote.

    2. Biggest difference was the introduction of six new cars who were a good couple of seconds slower than the midfield pack.

      1. What does that have to do with overtaking?

        1. Mr win or lose
          18th May 2015, 9:07

          More cars is more overtakes, especially if the added cars are much slower than the rest.

  24. This is complicated. On one hand, this is not such a bad rule change, compared to most other proposals from the Strategy Group. It is pretty clear that drivers will like it because they want to push as much as possible. It is also difficult to argue that F1 cars should not be faster than they are now.

    On the other hand, the 2010 season is my all-time favourite (I have been watching F1 since the end of 1996). 2010 was the first year without refuelling and Pirelli and DRS had not arrived yet. So while I would want to give refuelling a chance, I do not think it is something that will make races more exciting for me.

    I am saying that refuelling will make races slightly worse and I am hoping to be proven wrong.

  25. The last thing F1 needs is refuelling. Last time, all I remember were artificial grids caused by someone willing to do just 10 laps in the race and then go backwards due to higher fuel load in the races, while those on a decent strategy just drove to the end without needing to overtake anyone. Dull and predictable.

    If you want exciting races, you actually want the cars to spend less time in the pits. What I would like to see is tyres that can last the entire race. Tyres of various compounds, depending on the compound the tyre will either be slow and consistent or fast and tail off at the end of the GP – it would last but the performance would tail off, not off a cliff but tail off. The team would not need to use 2 compounds per car per race and each car picks one compound (a bit like MotoGP). I wouldn’t even mind if the driver was allowed to put a harder tyre on one corner to compensate for races that are particularly hard on one tyre.

    The driver chooses his own preferred way to get to the end. You can change tyres during the race if you wish, but you don’t have to.

    You can go supersoft and go flat out pitting twice and hoping to make the time up on track.
    You could go medium and pit once.
    You could put the hard tyre on and go all the way to the end.
    Or you could be Perez or Button and make the difference.

    The tyre choice would be locked in at the start of qualifying, so no one would know what anyone else is doing until its too late to change.

    This would mix the teams up (those that are easy on tyres would get an advantage by being able to use softer tyres, but not necessarily on outright pace – they would have to work their way up as others tyres faded), let the drivers drive hard (actually reward hard driving – more excitement for fans) and encourage overtaking on track and not in the pits (those likely to qualify at the front would pick harder tyres to avoid pitstops and losing track position).

    It would also mean the aerodynamicists would be forced to create a car that could follow another closely to allow them to make up places when the car in front may not pit.

    I hope I’ve explained this idea OK.

    1. In theory that would be ideal race, however lets say we eliminate DRS and made-to-degrade tires. Also all team have healthy financial situation so they can develop things. We will have golden era filled with cars that the pole position and last man on grid is separated by 1 second. Sounds good?

      Then all race will be procession because no one can pass another except on start and rare occasion like failure or Maldonaderp. The top drivers will play it safe (logically and I think will be asked by the team) because getting points home and try to qualify better on next race is better than risking getting no points and still have to qualify better next race. The tire choice will be decided by computer simulations on which will give the fastest way to complete the race.

      In F1 its hard to pass when you only have few tenth of pace advantage. Also you mentioned MotoGP where it has so many action. You must remember a bike has lot of racing lines in corners and its impossible to defend most of the times. In F1, due to the car width you effectively only have 1 racing line in corner. Even with few tenth advantage it will be very risky to try a pass and will be easily defended. Try to watch blancpain sprint series where they use wider car than F1 but can still follow each other closely, you’ll see it’s that hard to pass someone with only little advantage especially when you dont have the racing line to run side by side properly.

      I’m not defending DRS, super degrading tires or strategy group here, but the fact is our ideal cars means very dull race. And I hope you can see why they trying to make artificial large performance gaps between cars and super wide tilkedromes.

  26. If they bring back refuelling, they should make Grand Prix a 2-hour timed race, so you know what time to switch on to watch the last few laps (and avoid the tedious, confusing waste of time that comes before)

  27. Will refueling be mandatory?? I say ditch the tire compound rule. It would be interesting to see a high fuel load hard tire no stop strategy vs a 4 stop super soft low fuel load. Can the 4 stop make up the 2 minutes of time he will be on pit road? Would make an interesting last lap :)

  28. F1 could work with refuelling again, but it would have to give serious thought to the current fuel regulations.

    In terms of costs, I’d like to see FIA supply fuel pumps and covering the costs of transportation (possibly getting some of the money from FOM), the teams still pay (or have agreements) for the actual fuel, but as they do that already I can’t see there being a big problem.

    The biggest shame would be the loss of these 2.3 second pitstops I’ve enjoyed watching. They’ve been a great joy to watch and admire. If the car is going to be in the box for 4-5 seconds then there’s no reason for the tyre changers to work at 100%.

    To be honest, of all the changes that the Strategy Group unveiled on Friday, refuelling is one of those I feel pretty neutral about. If it’s done properly, then it could be great. The chances are, however, that it will be botched and not work out..

  29. I was a fan of refueling when it was introduced in 1994 all the way to 2009. But now I am moving towards neutral. The 1998 Hungaroring and 2004 Magny Cours are etched in my memory for ever with Schumacher and Brawn coming together. Also I was used to reading headlines where it said ” XXX won the race in the pits ” . Needless to say the dangers of refueling . I still remember the flames around Michael in the Pits during his pit stop. And the many times the driver running away with the Fuel hose creating the imminent dangers . I also remember Massa losing the WDC in 2008 with this error in SGP. On top of all these , the cost of hauling these equipment across continents when teams are struggling to Survive is unbelievable.

    If the Poll was “Do we need to bring back refueling in F1 ?” I will answer “NO” .

    For this poll, I answered “Refueling will make races slightly better” due to the additional variable creating the complexity. Although my heart says “Refueling won’t make races better or worse” and it was a close call.

    Although I must admit that with refueling back , the strategy based on tires will reduce and people like Button , Perez and Kimi who can work a longer stint with their tires will find it more of a disadvantage. I am not sure how Vettel and Lewis will fare though !!!!

  30. Theoretically, having strategy decided by more pit stops on lower fuel or less pit stops with more fuel or having more pit stops with fast tyres or less pit stops with slower tyres should be the same. When refuelling was banned, focus moved to the tyres and the Pirellis were brought in to leave some freedom to strategies. However, they were and are too severely limited in usage, such as the unnecessary rule which obliges the top ten to start on their qualifying tyres.
    Theoretically, if one prefers to keep track position but be vulnerable at the end of the race or wants to attack on fresh rubber/low fuel none of either strategy should make racing “worse” in itself, and anyhow racing isn’t just overtakes.
    If qualifying is run with everyone on low fuel and remains an indicator of the true speed of cars and drivers, I have no problem with refuelling. If it is used to jump another car without having to battle on track, that can’t be easy to do because it can’t be foreseen and planned, and if it is decided during the race that a change in strategy is required it may all go wrong and actually add to the entertainment. I know the extra rules are always added to prevent “boring scenarios”, where the drivers who qualify in front also get to pick the best strategy, and tries to force the teams to choose between grid position and race performance, but if the “sport” part of this show isn’t devalued refuelling is free to come. At that point tyre degradation must be thought again, I reckon.

  31. I’m slightly in favour of refuelling, it will lighten the cars to make them faster and make pit stops more interesting but as with all changes we won’t truly know if it’s a good thing until it happens and we see how other changes work along side it.

    What I find interesting is that when the few ‘casual’ fans I’ve spoken to (friends and family) have asked me if I’ve heard the news they all take it as a good thing and ‘getting back to how it was’. I wonder what polls on key issues would look like if they took views from the entirety of F1’s audience…

    Ultimately fanatics like us will never be happy with everything as we all want different things from racing. People want more overtakes then say it’s too easy, they ask for better tyres then complain when someone only stops once, we want faster cars but also to have them all close together.

    In the end, to me, the racing has been as good recently as ever so although I’m against some things I’m happy to see new (or returning) ideas as long as F1 doesn’t change too much and stays enjoyable to watch. Whatever we all find enjoyable.

  32. Racing had gotten incredibly boring when it was all about not risking an overtake because strategists estimated that the driver in front was lighter on fuel.

    I remember the odd surprise when a driver when lighter in qualifying to get a good grid position (Alonso’s pole Hungary 2009 springs to mind), and it would be interesting to see them get chased by quicker cars on Sunday. Usually the racing hapenned in the pits when the lighter driver pitted first. It was very anti climatic to see drivers duck out of a battle due to fuel strategy

    I honestly think the 2010 formula was great. And as mentioned by many f1fanatics, it was a season with the maximum number of overtakes in recent history. It also had one of the closes WDC battles, with 4 drivers taking the WDC battle to the last race.

    If we just take a look at all the elements for 2010 – 1) Durable tyres, 2) No DRS 3) Full Tanks of Fuel

    Therefore, I think it’s funny that the FIA decided to go refuelling out of everything to make the races more interesting

    1. Michael Brown
      17th May 2015, 23:35

      Actually, I think 2011 had more overtakes due to the introduction to DRS. But like Keith wrote a few years ago (after Spa 2013?) DRS is killing my passion for F1.

      While 2010 was an amazing season, most discussions about that season I see involve the two worst races: Bahrain and Abu Dhabi. Surely 2010 is known for more than just that? They were awful tracks.

      1. And the biggest problem with Bahrain that year was the extended endurance loop which they decided to run which was awful & had far more to do with that race been dull than anything else.

        I always make the point that there was 2 GP2 asia race weekends held at Bahrain that year. The 1st happened 2 weeks before the F1 weekend & was on the traditional layout & put on 2 of the best GP2 races I’ve seen. The 2nd took place during the F1 weekend on the extended track & with the same cars/drivers produced the 2 most boring GP2 races i’ve ever seen.

        As Will Buxton wrote at the time having spoken to drivers, The extended loop which was very slow ended up stringing the cars out so when they got to places where we used to see overtaking the big gaps that had built up in the new loop had cars too far back to have a go at overtaking.

  33. I can’t see any reason why you would want to return to in race refueling. The number of safety related incidents should be sufficient reason alone. One of the problems that I saw with refueling was the lack of some sort of “transmission disabled” and “car refueling light” inside the car, meaning there were instances where cars were released from the box while still refueling. I could never see any reason why these weren’t mandatory.
    If they want to bring back in race refueling then there should be proper safety measures built into the cars to ensure the car isn’t being refueled when it is released from the pits.

  34. A waste of time. F1 is dead until they bring back ground effect aero and reduce the cars’ dirty airflow wake.

    1. Would have to agree with you. Not being able to follow another car closely has been the recent holy grail of f1. If a car can follow closely without destroying his tyres too much or overheating, then we have the perfect formula. No DRS required, no show Pirrelli tyres, no refuelling.

  35. Refueling was not safe in the past(remember F Massa leaving his pit dragging the fueling hose in a flaming Ferrari; now that was exciting!!) and will not be any safer in the future. Best of all worlds, let them load up with as much fuel as the team wants and let them use the fuel anyway the team seems fit. Why in the world would you make a fuel flow restriction (nascar plates be damned) in a race car, ESPECIALLY in F1… Thanks, Norris

    1. The fuel flow restriction is needed for safety reasons. Other option would be turbo pressure restrictions as used in other motorsports. Which also has it’s problems.

    2. Refuelling is save or else no government would let you refuel your private car.
      What made it unsafe is that the teams tried to do in the shortest time possible. Maybe you noticed but pit times have gone up since the FIA is giving lots of unsave release penalties, so they will do the same refuelling. As option one can also say fueling must be done before the tier change, or car is not to be dropped until fuel nozzle is securely in fuel rig receptical thingy.

  36. I don’t really care about the strategic aspect of refueling. In fact it has ruined potential beautiful battles.

    For instance Monza 2008, when Hamilton was on his way to win the race coming all the way from the back. Unfortunately he ran out of fuel just before the weather changed and of course he then had to pit again after the weather changed.

    I guess it was cute that Vettel won that race, but him coming second after a battle for the lead with Hamilton surely would have been a much better race.

    On the other hand, it’s embarrassing how slow F1 cars are driving during the first half to two thirds of the race. All because they are hauling a full fuel tank around.

    Refuelling would at least be an easy fix for the poor laptimes and long race durations.

    The high fuel load also means drivers have to drive extra slow during that first half to two thirds to preserve their tyres. It essentially means the drivers are waiting for the end of the race to start their attacks and by then it’s often too late anyway, so no attack happens at all.

  37. Alex McFarlane
    17th May 2015, 21:47

    No.

    I don’t think it works in indycar so much as it being less of a distraction, pit stops in that series are by nature slower as there is only one guy changing each wheel so there is extra time to take the fuel on board, and you still hear drivers and commentators asking if the car has enough fuel on board to make a stint – meaning it still has to be managed.

  38. I think the issue of adjusting fuel levels to “pass in the pits” could be minimsed by only allowing one refuelling stop per race and a reduction to 70kg fuel tanks.

    That could be an interesting strategy element. Teams will roughly be locked into their race strategy ‘fuel wise’, but can still pit for fuel earlier if they want to but not too early due to 70kg tanks needing to last the rest of the race.

    Alternatively, changing tyres could be banned during refuling stops.

    1. Michael Brown
      17th May 2015, 23:49

      Or they could use the WEC rule in which you can’t change tires and refuel at the same time, which may encourage double stinting tires.

    2. Yeah, and we could insist they use square tyres for X laps, etc etc.

  39. I think it will bring different strategys and more excitement.

  40. Absolutely, bring it back!

  41. I have to agree with the majority of cases for leaving re-fuelling out of F1. If the purpose of re-introducing it is to “liven the show” then it is more likely to have a negative effect and passes will more likely be made in the pits.
    Ok so we have that to an extent at the moment where teams use pit stops to try to “under-cut” their opponents, but re-fuelling will have a greater influence on pit-stop passes.

    My opinion is that the cars need to be tougher to drive. Present day F1 drivers have been often commenting on the ease at which these cars can be driven, and how they admit not being at 100% capcity within the car. If the cars were trickier to handle, more mistakes will be made (unless you’re a certain venezuelan of course) which will lead to more on-track overtaking.
    If F1 had hardier tyres that didn’t require constant managing, and less reliance on aerodynamic grip (and more on mechanical grip) it would allow drivers to have a greater chance of following the ar in front, push more and give chance to more organic overtaking manouvres (not DRS assisted).

    There are a lot of intelligent people in F1 who I have no doubt can suggest how this can be achieved, its is up to the FIA to listen and regulate as required. Hopefully then we might see a return to good on-track racing.

  42. Mar my words, this is what will happen. It will come back into the sport and with Mercedes dominating we will have another 2002/2004 on our doorstep. Only then will many see what a foolish idea it was. Only then will people start to realise what wonderful seasons 2010-2013, and partly 2014 was. We’ve been spoilt but will only recognise that when it is already to late. Sure bring back refueling, so when you’re going to ban it again you can ban DRS, tissue soft tyres and a lot more along with it.

  43. People keep making the argument that refuelling leads to passes in the pits, but with the exception of DRS that is largely what happens anyway. I would venture that most position passes that aren’t DRS are done via undercut, i.e. in the pits. At least with refuelling they can push like it is the last stint rather than like it is the first.

    1. Discounting all DRS passes we still see more overtaking on the track than we did when we last had refueling.

      I also saw some stats last year posted on another forum which I can’t find now which actually showed that we don’t see that much passing done via the undercut when compared to even Non-DRS passing on the track.

      I’ll have to see if I can find those stats as they gave a full breakdown of DRS, Non-DRS, Pit position changes etc… Was very comprehensive. Think they may have come from Mercedes as they used to do those sorts of stats.

  44. The thing that I have found amusing the past few years is that for all of the 2000’s everyone was complaining about there been no overtaking, about how there was no good racing & how there was too much of what was dubbed pit-passing.

    It was those complaints that led the FIA to make the various changes we have had over the past 15 or so years from the 2003 qualifying changes & qualifying on race fuel (To try & mix up grids), 2005 tyre change ban, Several small sero reductions, The big 2009 aero regulations, Return to slicks, DRS, High degredation tyres & countless changes to circuits in the name of creating more overtaking opportunities.

    Since 2010 we have had more overtaking, I would argue that we have seen more close racing & generally more competition through the field & we have seen less of that pit-passing… However people are still complaining about there been little overtaking, no good racing etc… & how everything is boring.

    This is actually why I think that to a point the FIA, Teams etc… should largely ignore the fans & make the regulations for the good of F1 & not based on the fans whims which change constantly & in which (As we see with refueling, DRS & the tyres) split fan opinion to the point where there is no consensus as to what the fans want because everyone wants something different.

    1. @stefmeister I have a little sympathy for your point of view, in that I’d like to see someone with the guts and the vision to stand up and say ‘this is what we want F1 to be, this is how we’re going to do it and we think people will enjoy it’ instead of guessing what fans want and coming up with ‘solution’ whch are seldom more than half-baked gimmicks. Neither of the two men in a position to do this – Ecclestone and Todt – have shown any sign of doing so.

      But I don’t think it’s accurate to suggest, as you do, that the majority of people’s objections to F1 now are all the same as they were ten or so years ago. This is basically the lifetime of F1 Fanatic we’re talking about, and from the hundreds of thousands of comments posted here in that time I see many more these days which are concerned about the dumbing down of tracks and cars, how easy DRS has made overtaking, and increasingly concerns about what the prize money distribution is doing to smaller teams. Go back ten years and a lot of that didn’t apply.

      If FOM or the FIA wanted to know what fans think they could run regular surveys or set up focus groups, but they don’t. The best we get is teams like Ferrari paying the merest of lip service to fans’ views in order to push their own agenda.

      1. The problem is that even when they do try to ask the fans they don’t ask the right questions. They asked if fans want more overtaking and of course the answer was yes given the other option. This in part lead to DRS, However I think most fans want the on track fight and not necessarily overtaking as with the Schumacher/Alonso battle at Imola in 2005. Asking questions specifically tailored to get a certain response is an old trick which those involved in F1 use to great effect.

  45. Why don’t we have a common fuel station (akin to the common tyre supplier) in an F1 race? The drivers would have to swipe their fingers over biometric devices and punch the required quantity of fuel in their steering wheels. This would increase the unpredictability in racing and ensure a fight for the dash to the fuel station. May be Bernie could spruce the show up by having multiple fuel stations across the circuit and randomly opening and closing each of them during the race. You know that is what the fans want to see, don’t you?

    Excuse me. Now I have to sleep. ;)

  46. As a very important and significant point, it should be noted, that refueling basically came into play in 94, as a way of what is now known as “spicing up the show”, and pretty much everyone knows what that means.

  47. The only reason I have interest in refueling, is so that we can dispose of fuel saving, and potentially, let the engines rev to 15k under power. Even with the V8’s, I was watching Canada 2012– half a dozen laps into the race, Rosberg was being told to save fuel.

    As for safety, I would point out that IndyCar seems to be able to make it work safely, because there’s an interlock on the fuel system– if the nozzle is in, the transmission won’t engage. I’m sure F1 could develop something similar.

    I’m still a bit confused by people who want flat-out racing, but don’t want refueling. I’m not sure how F1 can manage that.

  48. Glen Donnelly
    20th May 2015, 17:05

    I think refuelling will make F1 worse. Don’t go backwards Bernie.

  49. So long as teams aren’t required to refuel I’d like to see it come back. I want the teams to have the freedom to do whatever they want in terms of strategy and for me the problem always comes when they are forced to do something whether it’s refuel or use certain tires.

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