Stoffel Vandoorne, McLaren, Shanghai International Circuit, 2018

Fuel limit raised again for 2019 to allow flat-out racing

2019 F1 season

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Drivers will “be able to use the engine at full power at all times” following a decision to raise the maximum fuel limit again for the 2019 F1 season.

The fuel limit will be increased from 105kg to 110kg from next year. It was previously increased from 100kg in 2017.

The move is part of a package of changes for next season the FIA has announced following a meeting of the Formula One Strategy Group and F1 Commission in Paris today.

As revealed by RaceFans in February, F1 will also introduce a new rule to separate the weight of the driver from the weight of the car. The minimum driver weight limit will be set at 80kg.

From next year drivers will also be required to wear biometric gloves to gather medical data to enhance safety.

Discussions regarding potential changes to the aerodynamic rules in 2019 remain ongoing, the FIA added. Teams are analysing proposals which have arisen from an FOM study aimed at allowing cars to follow each other more closely.

2019 F1 season

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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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54 comments on “Fuel limit raised again for 2019 to allow flat-out racing”

  1. I don’t think they ever start a race with 105KG in the tank. Starting with 90 and saving while using dirt air to protect track position gives better results, no?

    150KG fuel limit and we still won’t see flat out racing. We will still see them nursing tires that don’t wear enough to make an extra stop worth it but at the same time can’t be pushed flat out as they overheat. Maybe 200KG fuel would fix that???

    1. Agreed. They should rather give the teams a range, say 100-110kg. That way, we know they will burn the fuel. Probably more so in the first stint since the faster you can lose fuel, the less your car will weigh. That would counter the effect we see with cautious first halves of the race because drivers pace themselves for the second stints.

      1. They would still be doing a lot of management as they need the engines to last so long that they can’t run them at full power for very long. A lot of the management in a race is purely down to making the engine components and tyres last, not fuel saving.

        1. I don’t know what people have against management. It’s been a fundamental aspect of all motor racing since forever. F1 isn’t a sprint race. It’s Grand Prix.

      2. @chrischrill: That wouldn’t work. It would take the teams a matter of days to develop a way to burn 20 kgs of fuel in the formation lap, and they would end up starting the race with as little fuel as they want anyway.

    2. Good point, they could maybe set a minimum limit as well – encouraging teams to burn it.

    3. @dusty hopefully they will go ahead with the front wing changes and dirty air won’t be so effective anymore (although time will tell how much difference this will make).

      I agree completely about the tyres though. This season has already been far too focused on tyres, much more than last year. All three races so far have been won or lost based on tyre strategy. As long as that’s the case, fuel limits won’t make much difference

      1. @dusty @strontium Yeah for sure tires are very much a limiting factor as they are, but at least perhaps fuel will become one less thing amongst the miriad of things that they have to conserve all at once to extremes in this format.

        Wrt the front wing changes, I’m not going to expect too too much out of this for next year, simply because I don’t think Brawn is wanting to bring in some big change that will then result in big expenditure and smaller teams left out. I think the changes will be more of a minor tweak for now, that will hopefully help, but as I say I won’t be expecting real change until the new era post-2020 when it will be a ground up overhaul front to back. Too big a change to the front wing will result in too much work needing to be done from the front wing back, and I don’t think that is the idea quite yet.

    4. Are you sure?!? All these years I thought that exactly this was the problem: the imposed max limit of fuel to be used in a race was too low compared to how much the engines needed to consume in a race if ran at max potential. That’s why Mercedes dominated, cause their engine wasn’t so thirsty and could be run at max power for longer. Until we found out that it wasn’t that their engine wasn’t less thirsty, but that they burned oil to compensate for the “missing” kgs of fuel needed to run the engine at enough power to dominate the rest of the field.

      1. Not exactly, even if a Renault engine could provide the same output using 110kg of fuel instead of 100kg of a Mercedes, these extra 10kg of fuel will mean the Mercedes-powered car is faster for the same output.

    5. Fuel consumption is not same for every track. On some tracks you’d want more than 110kg and some other tracks you can get by with less than 100kg. Iirc abu dhabi has been all about fuel saving ever since these hybrids were introduced. This new higher limit will help reduce the fuel saving on the tracks with highest fuel consumptions.

  2. Good news. Combined with the talk of the front wing changes, this has the potential to improve the racing next year itself, without waiting for 2021. More importantly, this will also allow them to course-correct in 2021 based on what they see in 2019/2020.

    1. @phylyp +1, I’m very pleased they have decided to make some of the changes sooner. It restores some of my hope in their plans

  3. Flat out racing? In what engine mode? They aren’t gonna crank up the engine just because there’s more gas in the tank… especially with the ridiculous 3 engine limit.

  4. next year drivers will also be required to wear biometric gloves to gather medical data to enhance safety

    Interested to hear more about this. I’ve got assume teams are already monitoring their drivers as intently as they monitor their cars. What kind of parameters can be monitored with biometric gloves?

    1. @knewman, heart rate and oxygen level will be measured in order to asses drivers’ condition if they are trapped in a car under debris.

  5. Let’s be real. They can give them all the fuel in the world to go racing with, but with 3 power units for the entire season we will never see flat out racing.

    1. Exactly. This season the drivers are not allowed the more extreme modes in the race because the engine won’t last not because they don’t have enough fuel…

    2. Exactly my thought
      Of course, we dont know much of the insider info, but I dont really expect it to change anything when people save the engine in the season-opener.

      Also, isnt it fun to watch people propose a minimum fuel limit amidst all this whining about streamlining the rules? :)

    3. It depends how you look at it. Everybody will have to “dumb down” the engines enough to survive as needed, so things will be even. It already happened. If we look at the latest exercise Porsche did with the 919 Hybrid, it seems that the 919 was all the time an F1 car “dumbed down” almost 10sec per lap so it can race in the WEC. I think there’s no series where the cars are raced at their max potential.

      1. @mg1982 In fairness, the 919 was made illegal to race in WEC in order to make that lap record, so for sure take any car in any series and make it illegal, as an experiment, and I’m sure they can do wonders with it.

  6. Better burn fuel than oil :)

  7. Does anyone buy that “flat-out racing throughout” stuff? Teams optimise they fuel levels before the race, take care of the tyres, take care of the engines. I personally don’t see a problem with it. If drivers can run 50 qualifying laps with no stops the result will be decided at the start and race will be very boring because they are already line up in the order from fastest to slowest.

    1. @michal2009b Good point, and I don’t envision ’50 qualifying laps’ because as you say they’ll still take care of tires and engines. I think the point here is that amongst the other aspects of conservation that they have to consider, at least on top of all that, they won’t also have to hold back from racing when the opportunity arises and is appropriate during various times throughout the race, due to fuel concerns.

      I think they are starting to head F1 back to something that is more reasonable and relatable for fans. Do we really want to hear about drivers not racing, in the pinnacle of racing, because it isn’t prudent to do so wrt tire strategies, and the long game of engine and tranny components, or because of fuel? I think Liberty understands that when we hear on the radio of drivers holding station and not racing, in, as I say, the pinnacle of racing, that’s when they know this new era, started in the BE days, must be tweaked and improved, in increments, ahead of wholesale changes to come for 2021.

    2. No, the flat-out racing is a flat-out lie. Unless Liberty gets the paddock to wear their Sprint race suits.

      “be able to use the engine at full power at all times”

      Does all times = 10 laps? Pretty sure it does.

    3. @michal2009b, @robbie, Wait a minute ! 50 Qually laps without an error ? I don’t think so, go back the last 50 races and tell me which driver didn’t make an error, and that’s in out-flatout-in laps, not 50+ consecutive flatout laps.

      1. I’m pretty sure they just mean that at all times throughout a race they will not have to worry about fuel, such that any time they are ready to race somebody, as circumstances arise, they’ll be able to without worrying about fuel. There will never be 100% flat out racing from flag to flag.

    4. If drivers can run 50 qualifying laps with no stops the result will be decided at the start and race will be very boring because they are already line up in the order from fastest to slowest.

      how about 50 quali laps, but line them up in reverse order of current championship points (as opposed to reverse grid from last race result)

      saubers on pole, ferrari merc redbull lining up the back.
      championship contenders lining up last and second last most of the season (drivers like max, alonso would shine).
      and the racing won’t be artificial as we’v seen most of the times a top team starts from the back due to a penalty, they easily get back in the top 5, and if all the cars ahead are slower, they have a good chance to win it also. plus strong midfield teams might be able to win somewhere like monaco.

    5. ‘Flat out racing’ won’t make any sense as long as there is also this 3 engine limit. Flat racing means a greater chance of braking the engine, which means drivers will continue to drive conservatively.

      It could force a change in the design philosophy, eg more robust engine and gear box designs, leading to more weight knowing the engines will be driven harder for longer. More weight from more fuel would also imply more robust brakes.

      All this might take us Back to the days when race cars were built like tanks to last several races, rather than designed to last for just the one race.

  8. 80kg (12.5 stone/176lbs) minimum weight limit for drivers?? What??

    Thats fine for drivers over 6 ft but how many are that tall? I weigh 66kg (10.5 stone/145 lbs) at 5ft 8, i eat ~3000kcals a day while training 3-4 days per week and struggle to get beyond that weight. That could be a struggle for the smaller drivers.

    1. I doubt that means that they have to gain weight, most likely it means they will have to add ballast.

    2. Adam T Blumenthal
      17th April 2018, 20:52

      I’d bet that the 80kg includes helmet, suit and probably the seat. and then they ballast the rest so that everyone is equal.

    3. The driver doesn’t have to weigh that. If they are less it is made up with ballast like the car and engine minimum weights

      1. That makes much more sense, obviously, haha. Thanks

    4. I am around 5’9″ and I assure you it would not be difficult for me to get over 80 kgs lol.

      1. haha, when i saw the article i was picturing what Anthony Davidson would look like at 80kg and thought surely to god that can’t right :D

  9. “be able to use the engine at full power at all times”
    – I doubt that’s actually going to happen, though. In the end, F1 has never really been about racing flat-out all the time 100% of the time not even during the refuelling-era.

    1. @jerejj True and I think Liberty knows that too. I think the point is just that when it is appropriate to race another driver during a race, fuel concerns needn’t hold them back from doing so at any given time. So ‘at all times’ they will have the option to use full power, when the tires in the state they’re in can be pushed, and when a driver has the go-ahead to race another driver, say in the last 15 or 20 laps, when they are ready to use up some engine and tranny life because there is a passing opportunity or podium, or what have you. I doubt they think that drivers will actually suddenly be doing quali lap after quali lap just because fuel is less an issue.

    2. @jerejj,@robbie, There will be no resting up the front when the next junior hero(s) in back and midfield cars can keep their foot in it and try and take a big-name scalp.

      1. @hohum Lol sounds good but the big-name scalps will be on the throttle too anybtime they need to enlarge the gap.

        1. @robbie, that’s right, a chain reaction from back to front.

  10. I thought the problem was the 100kg/hr max FLOW rate. Not the total amount of fuel. Nobody revved their engines to the 15k limit because of the flow limitation. I just don’t see how more fuel or more flow changes the overall problem. If they only get 3 engines a year, nobody is going to run flat out because of longevity. I say lift the flow restriction and increase total fuel amount in conjunction with allowing say 7-10 engines a year. This would increase power and also allow the teams not having the top motor to develop/update the engines. Having only 3 limits everything from teams catching up to drivers being able to push more. Also updates can bring more unreliability. I know I am old school, but I used to love the stress of wondering if a motor would make the end of a race.

    1. We’ve definitely already heard drivers this season having to conserve fuel, so the amount is still a problem, not just the flow rate. I think they are talking about more engines per year too, and changing the penalty system for using too many, although I’d be surprised if the number became 7-10 engines.

      1. We’ve definitely already heard drivers this season having to conserve fuel, so the amount is still a problem

        Only if they started with the full amount. In the majority of races they don’t: The teams under fuel because that makes for a faster overall race pace.

        Increasing this will only make a difference at the tiny number of tracks where they are fuel limited. There will be just as much fuel saving as there is today, because that’s part of raving.

        1. *racing

          @keithcollantine any chance we could get editing of comments at some point?

    2. Some of the problem lies with the points structure and the need to be super reliable – finishing 3rd and 4th is better than a win and a retirement. The point is you can’t afford to take to many chances – consistency wins the day.

      Now if you had bigger pints gaps it may be worth your time going for a win or place – even if it means theres a thirty or forty percent chance of not making it….

      Also I wonder if any teams would consider saying – ok, we will run our engines as if we get five – that will give us an advatage in 19 races of the season – but we sacrifice two with a big penalty? Again it would help if there was not this need to be so consistent – created by the piints scoring system…

  11. All teams have to start with 110kg of fuel! Mandatory! Lets go racing now!

    1. Many think the oil squirting out the back of the Ferrari now is bad, wait till they start pumping the fuel out on the warm up lap!

  12. Imho a 5 kg increase covers may be the weight increase for 2018, so not enough to allow flat out racing, because we did not see that last year or the years before.

  13. It’s proven that bringing less fuel and have to lift and coast is quicker than the weight penalty given by bringing more fuel, so this change will be superficial anyway. If what we want is flat out for most of the race then refueling is the solution, but of course it will have it’s own downside. But when people saying refueling making overtake only happens in pitstops, isn’t that what also happening right now? Overtaking is mainly done by under/overcutting, so I don’t think bringing back refueling is going to change much in term of overtaking anyway.

    Driver minimum weight is a good thing so the drivers can train their muscles again and eat more delicious meal.

    Biometric gloves sounds awesome even though I have no idea what kind of data and how they can be used. Another contribution from our sport to humanity.

  14. Agree with all of that. If you have a minimum mass of fuel, teams will just run the car rich as possible until the extra burns off. If you ban that somehow, cars will be slower for the extra mass. If you up the flow rate, it will intensify the dynamic of saving fuel and then pushing later that people don’t seem to like. Because since there is an optimal race start fuel mass, using higher flow for periods will mean more coasting in other periods. The only upside of a fuel minimum would be huge fireballs on the overrun for the cameras.

  15. F1 drivers will “be able to use the engine at full power at all times”

    If this only would be true, I’d be really exited. But since you need to last the engine for several races, this is not the case.

  16. they will still under-fill the tanks and life and coast because it´s faster.

    You will have to enforce a minimum fuel load if thus is going to make any difference.

  17. @keithcollantine, many people are commenting on this article that the extra fuel loads will not be used for various reasons. What’s your take on this?

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