Magnussen and Steiner criticise F1 fuel-saving after disqualification

2018 United States Grand Prix

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Kevin Magnussen says fuel-saving is spoiling Formula 1 races following his disqualification from the United States Grand Prix.

The Haas driver was found to have exceeded the maximum fuel allocation of 105kg during the race.

Magnussen originally finished ninth between the Force Indias of Esteban Ocon and Sergio Perez. He said his car was quick enough to allow him to beat both of them, but he had to back off to save fuel.

“I passed Perez just after the pit stop and I was faster than Ocon, but I had to save so much fuel that I couldn’t afford to attack him,” said Magnussen.

“It’s a shame that we have fuel saving in Formula One and not being able to attack. At the end of the day, what the fans want to see is great racing. We can’t do it because we have to save fuel. It’s disappointing.”

Ocon was also disqualified after the race for an infringement related to fuel use. He was found to have exceeded the maximum fuel flow rate on the first lap of the race.

The maximum fuel allocation, which Magnussen fell foul of, will increase from 105kg to 110kg for the 2019 F1 season.

Haas team principal Guenther Steiner echoed Magnussen’s criticism. “In the end, that’s our responsibility to control the fuel amount, but I still disagree with Formula 1 having to run on these rules.

“I hope next year, with having 110kg, this will change. But we change another rule and put a big front wing on, so maybe this will be the same.

“One day we’ll get to have a good show, but at the moment it isn’t.”

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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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61 comments on “Magnussen and Steiner criticise F1 fuel-saving after disqualification”

  1. JohnnyRye (@)
    22nd October 2018, 2:14

    Steiner of all people should know that whatever the limit, teams will push it.

    105 to 110 kg won’t change anything. Say what you will about the rules in F1, but it doesn’t change the fact that they are what they are and you knew them going in. If you break them you deserve to be penalized.

    1. JohnnyRye (@)
      22nd October 2018, 2:16

      And to clarify, I’m not saying they were cheating but at some point you say you messed up and move on.

      1. Hi JohnnyRye…

        First I will say that you are right, if you break the rules you deserve to be penalized, but I will also say that I want the punishment to suit the crime.

        And both in Ocon and Magnussen case [and for that matter also in Ricciardo’s case from 2014], I’ve would say that here the punishment are to big for the “crime”, in Ocon’s case he had a higher fuel mass flow than was is allowed in the rulebook, Charlie Whiting said “for the majority of the first lap”, where Ocon drop from 6th place to 9th place, and in Magnussen’s case it was a “over consumption” of about 0,1% of the authorized weight of fuel, and I don’t remember how long/much Ricciardo’s higher fuel mass flow was.

        But still I will say the punishment is to big, you can replace your engine, turbo, gearbox, MGU-K and MGU-H before a race, and all you get of punishment is to get dropped to the back of the grid [which for some can be only a few spots], so when comparing these things, I really think that the punishment for the fuel mass flow and the total “fuel flow” in the race are too big, but okay, that is just my opinion….

  2. Haas and Steiner always are first of the sore losers. Sometimes in life you should just accept you are wrong and take the penalty, rather than answering back. The team are very poor role models.

    1. He isn’t happy when he gets disqualified for an illegal floor or for an illegal fuel flow rate. Clearly the rules are wrong and should be adjusted so that Haas can finally get what they want.

      1. They are actually talking lift and coast races is not the right F1 we want.
        You read as you like, but they did not mention the dis qualification.
        Its more a strategi race now a days and to stop hunt down slower cars because of fuel is a concern I share with the Hass guys in this article. They know the rules is like that, but still their point are a valid comment.

    2. I did quite like Haas, the new comers. Beating established teams this year was great to see, until the complaining started… I can’t see them winning any fans at the moment and possibly alienating a few along the way..

      1. They have won me as a fan :-)

        And, they are not complaining about the disqualification. They are complaining that there at all is a rule that limits racing to just driving around in a line. And I really, really, really dislike the fuel rules too.

  3. Fuel saving in racing….asinine. Bring back refueling, let the teams play with fuel flow and filling level and give the fans more variability. The more variables there are the better the product.

    1. There will still be fuel saving when the is refuelling, as there is when tyre saving when the are tyre stops.
      It’s called race management.

    2. @jblank, does it really bring more variability?

      Usually there is one single optimal strategy with refuelling, and a driver is locked in to that strategy because he has to stop on a particular lap – most teams would normally pit their cars within a handful of laps of each other. If anything, most probably feel that, in the end, it tended to reduce variability rather than increase it.

      You would still see fuel saving in that period too, as sometimes a team might ask a driver to see if he could stretch out a stint by an extra lap in order to try and pass a rival that way.

    3. @jblank Refuelling was detrimental to on-track overtaking and fuel-saving has always existed in F1 to some extent even during the refuelling-era.

    4. Fuel saving is super annoying but that is really the only thing about the current engines that interests the manufacturers. Road relevance = fuel saving. In the real world the only benefit hybrid engines have is lower fuel consumption. And f1 definitely wants to emphasize it by making fuel saving the most important factor in these cars. While the fuel flow limit makes sense (and is better solution than restrictor plates like most turbo series or pressure valves like indycar) the maximum doesn’t.

      All that fuel max limit does it kills the racing in the last 10 laps because everybody are saving fuel. And at some tracks it is really bad. After all the more fuel you burn early in the race the lighter the car later in the race. It is the fastest way to drive these current f1 cars because you can save 10% more fuel per lap for example if you just tune the engine all the way down and rely on the electric recharging to get some of that lap time back. Which in itself is a bit of a joke because the elctrics of the battery and the motors and all the cabling, cooling and computers don’t even make the car fast enough to justify their own weight in the car. I mean you get something like 161hp +plus the turbo gizmo per lap for 100kg of extra weight. You could put an additional v8 engine and 20kg of fuel into the car and probably get more lap time out of that combination (this is obviously a joke)… Or put 3.x liter v12 into the cars and give the teams 200kg of fuel and the cars would still be lighter and faster (this is not). Road relevance. We are not far off the f1 cars weighing 900kg at the start of the race. Typically we lose have about 3 tenths per 10kg of weight added into the car.

      In fact I can calculate that one. Some numbers:
      engine thermal efficiency: 30% (really low number)
      fuel energy per kg: 50 MJ/kg (low number again but let’s try help the hybrids)
      weight of the electric (mgu-k + mgu-h) = 50kg (optimistic as the battery alone is 35kg, source 2013 racecar engineering, page 10)
      continuous electric output in a race per lap= 4MJ (optimistic)

      Amount of energy we can get from the electrics for 50kg of weight in 60 lap race = 4MJ * 60 = 240MJ
      Amount of energy we can get from 50kg of fuel = 50 MJ/kg * 0,30 * 50 = 750MJ
      And those are the most optimistic hybrid engine numbers you’ll ever find. In reality it is even worse because the engine is more efficient, the electrics weighs even more, the fuel has higher energy density…

      1. I like the calcs, @socksolid.
        Your case becomes even stronger if you take into account that fuel is being used up and the average fuel you carry is half the amount you use; which will be offset a bit because the hybrid stuff weighs less (e.g. ES not allowed to be more than 25kg).

        But you forget one important thing.
        The hybrid stuff (MGU-H) is also a turbo (increasing fuel efficiency) and even an e-turbo (spool up turbo/compressor electrically at low RPM). And according to the rules an “unlimited amount of energy can be transferred between the MGU-H and (…) MGU-K”.

        Look at it like this: The whole PU uses 35% less fuel for the same power compared to the old V8’s.
        Then suddenly 50kg of Hybrid stuff becomes an efficient part of the PU (at least 145kg).

        1. I tried to include the mgu-h numbers into the total energy number per lap. I don’t know how much the mgu-h can spend during one lap but in a race it becomes a question of how much you can harvest. Because every joule of energy you use during a lap must be harvested somewhere on that same lap.

          And there are only a handful of ways to recharge your battery. During normal braking. Or by coasting at the end of straights and using only the electric motor on the rear axle to slow down the car before actual braking. Or use the combustion engine to recharge the battery by using both the engine and the electric brake at the same time. Plus the mgu-h. And even then it is not about how much there is but what are the tradeoffs. Coasting into corners may save a lot of fuel and allow you to recharge the batteries but it hurts your lap time. Same with mgu-h. It is not free energy. You need fuel (or oil…) to have exhaust gases to have heat energy into the turbo to spin it to spin the mgu-h.

          Anyways I put the total electric energy output to 4MJ and as the mgu-k can only do 2MJ in best case scenario and is the max limit of the rules then total of 4MJ total for both mgu-k and mgu-h is very optimistic I think. And at the same time if we put the mgu-h to say 10MJ (completely ridiculous) you’d need battery that can hold as much. I’d imagine the batteries can hold something like 4-5MJ. Not 10 or 12MJ. Bigger battery also means heavier battery and the weight is already an issue. Putting 50kg battery into the car instead of 35kg battery would most likely make it impossible to get to the minimum weight limit. Plus you’d carry all that weight through the whole race. Like you said. Fuel burns off. You can put 105kg or 500kg of fuel into the car at the start of gp and you’ll have almost nothing left at the end of the race. But the hybrid stuff you need to carry it through the whole race.

      2. All this talk, and not a single mention of torque? Electric energy means torque which means more usable (higher grade) energy. That’s why the new format is much quicker than the high revving V8 dinosaurs, despite the much wider and stickier tires.
        Equaling combustion weight to battery weight is very incorrect considering the mass distribution, balance and aero implications.
        Combustion production is a dead-end – several manufacturers already announced their complete halts. Battery R&D on the other hand is as hot as it gets right now. Top dollars are spent on increasing storage capacity while minimizing weight and environmental impact.
        Progress is going to happen whether we like it or not.

        1. All this talk, and not a single mention of torque? Electric energy means torque which means more usable (higher grade) energy. That’s why the new format is much quicker than the high revving V8 dinosaurs, despite the much wider and stickier tires.

          All that matters is the torque at the rear wheels. Not at the crankshaft. The new cars are faster because massive amounts of downforce, wider and stickier tires. The v8 cars were also faster than the 2014+ cars becasue the new cars were overweight and heavy becasue the hybrid engines are heavy. The only reason why f1 cars will soon weigh 900kg at the start of the race is because the hybrid engine is heavy. It is massively heavy, it is an undeniable fact. 100kg more than the v8 and even more than that if you take the kers out of the v8.

          Equaling combustion weight to battery weight is very incorrect considering the mass distribution, balance and aero implications.

          Yes, hybrids require a lot more cooling and more radiators which means more drag and weight and bigger inertias making the cars slower to turn, accelerate and brake.

          Combustion production is a dead-end – several manufacturers already announced their complete halts. Battery R&D on the other hand is as hot as it gets right now. Top dollars are spent on increasing storage capacity while minimizing weight and environmental impact.
          Progress is going to happen whether we like it or not.

          But we are not there. Not even close. For race cars na or turbo engines will beat any other car always in terms of lap time. That is not going to change for 15 years at least. We are long ways off from electric/hybrid even being good enough to justify its own weight in the car. And even more further away from it being superior to traditional engines in a race car. And the future is driverless cars anyways. If that is your goal then we are definitely heading that direction with these power units.

  4. 14 other cars today managed to respect the fuel regs, and put in some good racing. Haas need to tone down the complaining. I’m not a fan of the fuel-related regs, but the rules are there today, and have to be adhered to.

    I’m surprised, to be honest, because I thought this was a solved issue for teams, after the initial hiccups at the start of this engine era (most notably Ricciardo’s disqualification at his home race). But yes, as @johnnyrye mentions above, this is F1 and everyone runs things to the legal limit. This time, they put a toe over the line, and were caught doing so.

    1. Why did Haas put in too much fuel anyways?
      They know they can’t use it and it becomes dead weight.

      1. @coldfly – donuts at their home race, in a fit of optimism? Humour apart, that is a very valid question.

        Race fuel + 1 warm up lap + 1 cool down lap + 1 liter fuel sample is all they need. Unless they overestimated the fuel required for the very first and last (non-race) laps, and KMag burnt into that in his fervour to chase Ocon.

        1. The fact is, they should only have 105kg on board, full stop.

          That has to cover everything from Formation lap to Parc Fermé where the one litre sample is taken

          1. @nvherman – the sporting regulations specify:

            30.5 No car is permitted to consume more than 105kg of fuel, from the time at which the signal to start the race is given to the time each car crosses the Line after the end-of-race signal has been given.

            6.6.2 Competitors must ensure that a 1.0 litre sample of fuel may be taken from the car at any time during the Event.

            So that is 105kg maximum from lights off to the chequered flag. They’re welcome to (and need to) carry a bit more for the formation lap, cool down lap, and scrutineering sample.

        2. donuts at their home race

          “fair point”, @phylyp
          105 litres plus an extra 5 litres sponsored by Dunkin Donuts at your home race ;)

      2. @Coldfly: They want to run the car from the finish line back to the pits. They probably don’t want the system to run completely empty. I assume that the fuel measuring stops at finishline.
        KMag only used around 100g too much.
        Offcourse they must be disqualified when they break the rules.
        The critique is not about that at all. They want better racing. The Haas car were faster than Force India, but could not race them because of fuelsaving – So we get less racing! Same issue for Tire Manegment.
        The best race is when everybody pushed the car to the limits all the time! That is not happening today.

        1. I sympathise with Haas wanting to race but maybe OCO/PER were also effectively ‘fuel-saving’, which is why Haas thought they were faster…

  5. I’m glad they were consistent with this. They disqualified Dan Ric for a similar transgression a few years ago. Good to see the same penalty applied for the same thing.

    1. Not quite the same as it was shown he did a large amount of laps w. too much fuel, and was only disqualified after the team had been warned to fix it during the race. Of course, start of the current rules, so maybe more leeway given, but still not the same thing. Red bull were deliberate.
      I still wonder whether fia or team errors gave current results. Or perhaps we’ll hear that the FIA warned before the race as they noticed something in last few races?

    2. No, Ricciardo was disqualified due to exceeding the fuel flow rate, the same as Ocon was.

      Magnusson was disqualified for using more than the total allowed fuel mass

  6. A single lap infringement does make a DQ very harsh. What’s wrong with a time penalty to compensate for any possible advantage? Especially in Magnussen’s case, on a last lap, that would be pretty easy to calculate.

    1. It’s a technical infringment, no different to exceeding RPM limits, capacity limits, or having an illegal front wing or floor. DSQ is the penalty for that.

    2. MAG didn’t gain anything from this but gets disqualified.
      Sainz took a large shortcut and gained multiple positions on lap one. He gets 5 sec. penalty….

      FIA is simply destroying the sport.

      1. Rygiel, surely he did gain from it though, such as by being able to use a higher engine mode for longer if he was not going to end up running out of fuel?

      2. He gained a bit of that speed he mentions he had Rygiel. That still amounts to an advantage others who did adhere to the fuel had not (or had less of).

      3. Fair enough, but surely 100 g of fuel does not bring him from lets say last place (because disqualification = last place) to 9th. So maybe a 5 sec penalty would be more fair, considering the size of the error. I’m not saying they didn’t do anything wrong, but the penalty is way too big.
        After the race he said to the danish media, that the car was way faster than Force India, but he couldn’t save up enough fuel to attempt a successfull ovetake.
        Bottom line, it’s really just not that kind of racing i’m expecting when watching the pinnacle of racing series.

        1. But it’s a technical infringement. It doesn’t even matter if he gained an advantage: The car did not comply with the technical regulations, so he gets disqualified. Fair or not, those are the rules.

        2. Rygiel – but maybe PER/OCO were also ‘fuel-saving’… otherwise maybe they could have also been faster…

        3. 10 kg of weight is worth an average of 0.3 seconds per lap, so 5 kg is worth, on average, 0.15 seconds per lap.

          The US Grand Prix had 56 laps in it.

          56 x 0.15 = 8.4 seconds

          There is no point putting in fuel that cannot be used, so the correct decision would have been to simply not put in the forbidden fuel in the first place. Had Magnussen managed this lighter car correctly, he could have been ahead of Carlos Sainz. However, it’s impossible to know this because he would have had some power benefit from the fuel, and also from the DRS he got from Ocon (who shouldn’t have been there either, as Perez would probably have passed him on lap 1 had his own fuel use been correct…), and the pit stop patterns would have been different…

          It goes to show why breaching a technical regulation is generally a disqualifiable move – it simply isn’t possible to guess what consequences (positive or negative) would have resulted for the one breaching the rules. At least with sporting regulations that is usually possible to guess.

  7. Haas signed up to the formula ,rules and regulations. Other drivers and teams managed to race and give a good show. Steiner seems to be a specialist at complaining about everything when things don’t go his way, yet all others play by the same rules. Rules are rules and should be followed, otherwise what’s the point of racing somebody who’s cheating his way to victory? It’s totally unacceptable.

  8. And once again you can see how Haas will never achieve anything meaningful with this pair of drivers. Instead of another double points finish, which is where the car deserves to be, Grosjean rams Leclerc, while Magnussen forgets he can’t exceed 105 kilograms of fuel allocation. The difference between them and Force India is quite stark. From what I remember looking at the championship standings, FI drivers lost chances of scoring points by making mistakes only 3 times, while for Haas it’s 8 races. They should have been in 4th position, well ahead of Renault and FI, but instead are 20 points behind both teams (yes, I know the FI situation).

    They could have signed Ocon or Perez. Hell, take a risky option and pick Kubica. But nope, Haas is content with Kevin “I’ll put you in the wall” Magnussen and Romain “I like to perform burnouts in front of incoming cars” Grosjean. Great choice, Haas and Steiner, great choice.

    1. @armchairexpert Is the amount of fuel put in his car really Magnussen’s decision?

      1. No, but exceeding maximum amount allowed for the race is. He exactly knew they were tight on fuel, his team knew that, but genius Magnussen decided it’s better to push on and keep P9 at all costs, rather than let Perez by and finish P10, cruising and saving necessary fuel. I don’t know, but I think 1 point is better than being disqualified and putting your team under spotlight with bad publicity.

        1. Do you have a transcript that shows the above is true or is this a pure guess?

          1. @armchairexpert – it was an easy question that you struggled to answer :). Let me help

            You made up the actions of MAG and acted like they were facts.

            FYI, We all know if the FIA can see the fuel use so can the team and the team screwed up.

          2. @blueruck What are you talking about? In my reply above I posted a video of his last 2 laps with team radio on and you can hear how many times he was reminded to save fuel. On top of that you have Whiting saying this:

            “I don’t quite understand how you can go over because you’ve got warnings on the dash. What the fuel flow is measuring is being shown precisely on the dashboard every minute of every lap if you want it, and it’s colour-coded and all this sort of thing. I believe he was being told to save fuel quite often in the race as well.”

            It’s 100 Magnussen’s fault, not good enough to manage his fuel early on and too stubborn to drop by 1 position at the end of the last lap.

  9. Your eloquent rant made me laugh @armchairexpert, thanks for that. You aren’t wrong.

  10. Maybe apart from that Ocon was DSQ due to using a mapping that enabled him to go over the fuel flow limit on lap one this time @bosyber, @armchairexpert, yeah, it does show a wrong focus on the side of the team and the drivers.

  11. What a bunch of sore losers… I didn’t hear them complaning at any other race this year about this. It doesn’t work well if you complain about a rule when you were found guilty of breaking that rule…

    Their are becoming the team I like the least in the whole grid.

    1. @fer-no65: Agree. Steiner the Whiner makes it a Haasle to support this prancing pony B-team.

      1. @jimmi-cynic – the puns. My God. The puns. Nicely done.

        1. Thanks @phylyp. Still available on weekends as F1 pundit.

          1. @jimmi-cynic – a timely response, seeing this discussion that I just commented on.

  12. Not a really an attractive sport when races features excessive fuel & tyre saving with predictable single-stop strategies en route to the checkered flag.

  13. They could allow the teams to decide on fuel tank size, fuel flow rate etc and they will still have elements of fuel saving because they will never put enough fuel in the car to go flat out start to finish, they’d rather save the weight and then try to save a bit of fuel either with VSC, SC etc or when the race positions are settled. Simple as.

    1. @tonyyeb – very true. Winning at the slowest speed has always been the mantra.

      1. @phylyp Absolutely. The FIA could force the teams to fuel up to 150KG and the teams would then find ways to burn as much off, as quickly as possible in the opening laps.

    2. @tonyyeb – that’s spot on, and it’s always been exploited by the teams. If I remember correctly, one of the reasons why Red Bull and Vettel would fly from pole position back in the day is because they underfueled the car for the race and always used a rather short gearing which got them close to the limiter even without a tow and with a heavy fueled car. That gave them an advantage in the first stages of the race, and then it was a matter of managing fuel and track position until the chequered flag. Back in the refueling era drivers would constantly be encouraged to save fuel in order to get to “target +X” laps before refueling. Anything to be able to refuel after rivals and get 2-3 fast laps with an empty tank while other cars came out of the pits with an extra 50 kg of fuel.

  14. Fuel saving has always existed in F1 to some extent, so nothing new on that front.

  15. Nell (@imabouttogoham)
    22nd October 2018, 12:18

    Shows their inexperience…broke the rules? Well let’s complain about how unfair they are!

    1. @imabouttogoham – they broke the one golden rule of F1: “Don’t get caught”

  16. Haas should have just put 105 kg in the tank in the first place (as per the regulations). That would have fixed that one easily enough – it’s not like it requires a fancy computer to prevent that one like the Ocon disqualification.

    Both disqualifications were avoidable, but they were quite different natures of error. Perhaps Haas should consider itself fortunate that its DQ reason has a relatively easy fix and that it is therefore very unlikely they will ever repeat it.

    Changing the rule won’t prevent people refusing to take this sort of physical precaution from risking getting caught out. Back in 2005, the rule was “all the fuel you could eat” and there still managed to be a fuel-related DQ because BAR unaccountably thought fuel could be used as ballast.

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