Kevin Magnussen, Haas livery launch, Royal Automobile Club, 2019

Magnussen hopes new F1 rules end “ridiculous” tyre and fuel-saving

2019 F1 season

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Kevin Magnussen says he hopes new rules for the 2019 F1 season will bring an end to extreme race strategies which included lapping eight seconds off the pace to save tyres.

Drivers have been given an extra five kilos of fuel per race this year – up from 105kg to 110kg – in a bid to reduce the amount of fuel-saving they have to do.

“We have a bit more fuel which is a nice thing,” Magnussen told RaceFans and other media at Haas’s livery launch in London today.

“The most frustrating thing is having to save too much fuel. A little bit of fuel saving is fine, there’s always been a little bit of fuel saving in Formula 1. But for me fuel saving in the way that we did it a couple of times last year is a joke.”

F1’s official tyre supplier Pirelli has also indicated it will bring more durable tyres following complaints from drivers following last year’s Mexican Grand Prix about how much they had to slow down to preserve their tyres.

“Sometimes like Mexico it just didn’t work for us,” said Magnussen, “we were going eight seconds slower than what we could do with a new tyre in the race and that’s also very frustrating.

“I just hope we won’t get these extreme scenarios where you’re not racing any more. Its OK to have to manage, that’s expected in Formula 1, one.

“But having to manage in those extreme and ridiculous ways that we had to do a few times, whether it be fuel or tyres, is a bit stupid. I hope that situation is all settled.”

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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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  • 33 comments on “Magnussen hopes new F1 rules end “ridiculous” tyre and fuel-saving”

    1. Agree KM. It has been ridiculous and needs to stop. The pinnacle of F1 should not be the pinnacle of tire monitoring. If they’re going to drive 8 seconds a lap slower, they might as well lose the wings altogether and then we won’t have to worry about processional cars handcuffed in dirty air;) Anyhoo, things should improve a little this year, then maybe a little more next year, then big time for 2021. Going in the right direction methinks.

      1. Magnussen likes to whinge about anything, its just to get attention, he is not a great driver and tends to be a bit dangerous at times, its time for him to leave the sport and let a real driver take his place

    2. F1 has always been saving fuel, even when refueling was allowed. It is all about being on the limit with the weight to get some extra perf, I just don’t get it when drivers make (what sems to be with my humble knowledge of it a) stupid comment like that.

      1. It is all about being on the limit with the weight to get some extra perf

        The limit (105 kg) was set way too low. If the limit was 150 kg and teams chose 120 kg and struggled for fuel still, then this was their choice and now they have to suck it up. But with current regs everyone was funneled down the same stupid fuel saving method because 105 kg wasn’t at all enough to do proper racing on most tracks.

      2. @pyon – I’m not specifically calling you out on this, more the idea that you are espousing–that there has always been fuel saving–because it just doesn’t appear to be true. It may very well be, but I would really like some supporting data/evidence for this.

        Because what I recall during refuelling days was that cars would be fueled to the amount needed for the stint. If you mean that teams wouldn’t regularly overfuel the car, sure, I don’t doubt that. But there were a lot of times where drivers would stay out longer than planned, or would push hard to make up time. Neither of those are options if the car is underfueled or even fueled to the minimum acceptable amount per the stint. Whereas now, once the initial fuel amount is decided, any pushing has to be traded off with later fuel saving.

        PS – I get that tire, fuel, engine saving has always existed in all racing. But I mean specifically planning ahead of time for your race to have a period of lifting-coasting or early shifting, etc.

        1. @hobo I am honestly dont have data to back it up but I have read few “old school” people mentioning it. From memory Lewis Hamilton was one of them.

          1. That feeling when LH is considered old school. Feeling old huh. Anyway, if you’d read closely before calling it stupid, K-Mag says exactly the same thing – there’s always been fuel saving strategies but not to this degree they have to now. What they had before was opportunity to choose between high fuel load and saving it with fewer stops or low fuel stints of qualifying performance in lighter car with more stops. Today drivers can’t do this not only because carrying full tank of fuel, the tires absolutely do not allow that.

            1. Fair point!

        2. I do not recall fuel saving during the refuelling era?

          So no there has not always been fuel saving and there has certainly not been fuel saving of the kind we have seen recently, that as a participant/fan and racer for 50 years.

          Clearly teams under fuel for performance reasons but Mexico, while having unique challenges was just simply ridiculous.

      3. There has never been lift and coast till this dreadful era of hybrids. Even 10 years ago it was about hammer down until you needed to brake and then back on it as soon as possible. When you were at a race you could see the top guys getting on it metres earlier on the exit of fast corners. That was the skill. What is it now?

        Computer modelling all converges on a single optimum strategy, eventually. And to extend that argument, one day you’d see cars crawling round with the pit lane limiter on as the strategy said in 8 races time, that strategy would work. Computers cant make leaps of judgement like humans can, they can only crunch numbers and give you the maximum probability.

        The FIA can give them as much fuel as they want, they can take all the wings off but until they reduce the influence of computers, the sport will remain predictable.

        1. There was never lift and coast till the hybrids? Ok. You need to do a bit of research, go watch some videos at least. You can hear the commentators, drivers etc talking about it.

      4. @pyon did you read the whole article?

        I just hope we won’t get these extreme scenarios where you’re not racing any more. Its OK to have to manage, that’s expected in Formula 1.

        1. @pastaman Thanks for pointing this out, I missed it!

    3. Is there any data on how much fuel they actually use? I find it hard to believe that the fuel saving is any more than it ever was. Didn’t Dennis Jenkinson mention that he was shocked how much fuel saving there was the first time he listened in on in-car radio? The last few years of the v-8’s seemed more excessive than now, but maybe that is just what filters through to the broadcasts.

      1. There’s no solid data, but here you have a driver saying they had to save ridicioulus amounts of fuel, so you can be pretty sure they all used the full amount 105 kg available. Also, you’re nuts if you think V8s saved anywhere near as much fuel as they do today. Which F1 were you watching? Go watch literally hundreds of V8 onboards and find me one lift and coast situation. There’s none. Yes, people saved a bit of fuel when in traffic or similar situations by turning down the engine, not by doing lift n coast 200m before the end of every straight from lap 2.

        1. The BRM and CovCli V8’s were notorious for needing lift and coast in the 60’s, and Rosberg said that his father did it in the 80’s.

          “I remember my Dad [Keke] doing it when he was racing with Alain Prost at McLaren [in 1986, pictured at Hockenheim].

          “They had to save fuel because everybody was running out at the end of races.

          “So nothing has changed there, just that it’s become more professional, more accurate, and more detailed.”

          — Nico Rosberg, in an interview to Autosport’s Glenn Freeman

          1. lol, comparing with 60s, 70s, 80s.. Even so, fuel saving is trash now, and it was trash then, do you think drivers liked it? F1 wasn’t about fuel saving at all for at least 20 years before the V6 and fuel cap. Basically whenever teams can choose the amount of fuel they will never go for such extremes as we have today. Ever heard drivers complaining about fuel prior to 2014?

            Rosberg was saying this quote in 2015, when mercedes was by far the best car in every aspect. He was obviously pulling his own agenda.

            1. Go and see my response to being wrong earlier, for a good example of how to do it gracefully.

      2. @darryn, there was an individual who claimed association with Honda’s F1 engine programme on the F1Technical forums who, if I recall well, claimed at the end of the 2017 season that the average fuel load over the season was circa 95kg for Mercedes powered teams, 100kg for Renault powered teams, 101.5kg for Ferrari powered teams and 104.5kg for Honda.

        He did note that, whilst most individuals focussed on peak power as their performance metric, in reality the gap in terms of peak power of all of the engines back then wasn’t that far apart. He reckoned that both Renault and Honda were closer to the front than most gave them credit for, and that most of the time the sorts of performance deficits that were being bandied about were probably about a factor of two too high – as for Ferrari, even as early as 2015 Honda reckoned that Ferrari was only marginally behind Mercedes in terms of peak power output (probably only about 10bhp in qualifying trim).

        The real difference was their efficiency, both of the engine and the energy recovery systems – so, whilst some teams would be burning additional fuel to drive the MGU-H, Mercedes did not have to do that in order to charge their batteries. That efficiency allowed Mercedes’s teams to run a fraction lighter on fuel, or afford to push that little bit harder if they did fuel up more heavily, and that was where they were gaining most of their advantage.

        Now, there is the caveat that it was a little while ago and, given the nature of the sport, it is going to be very difficult to verify those claims. However, those figures do seem consistent with hints here and there that most of the teams have been consistently underfuelling and that Honda is the only manufacturer that has really struggled with the fuel limits. That engineer noted that the figures were a little high as McLaren’s chassis was probably a bit draggier than they suggested, and their low speed trap figures this season do seem to confirm that, but did concede that Honda were lagging behind their rivals in terms of the efficiency of the energy recovery systems and that they were marginal on fuel usage.

        With that in mind, Magnussen is probably more irritable because it so happens that Ferrari’s engine is the next most marginal in terms of fuel consumption, so naturally he will want a higher fuel limit because he would gain slightly more of an advantage. Really, though, the biggest beneficiary is likely to be Red Bull – the Honda engine is probably still a bit more marginal on fuel usage, and Newey’s design philosophy in more recent years has sometimes resulted in cars that produce a lot of downforce, but at the expense of being a bit high in terms of drag.

        With regards to Jenkinson’s comments about fuel saving, that came from the 1986 German GP – his comment was about how the fans would probably be rather shocked if they knew how much fuel saving was being discussed over the radio, since the broadcasts didn’t hint at quite how much management was going on. He himself complained about “the farce that Grand Prix racing has become” because of how much fuel saving went on, in much the same way that Brundle called the races of that era “economy runs” because of how much fuel saving he had to do.

        As for the V8 era, it is quite plausible that the fuel saving was more significant because the fuel loads were quite a bit higher, and therefore teams did tend to be more aggressive about underfuelling to save weight. If the drivers went flat out, they would have required as much as 150-155kg for some venues (I believe Barcelona was one of the worst and was about the 155kg mark).

        However, the most aggressive fuel strategies reportedly saw some teams putting 130-135kg into the tank, or about 87% of the fuel load that a flat out race would have required, so the amount of fuel saving probably was higher in the latter part of the V8 era than it is now.

        1. this entire post, except for 1986, is not synced with reality. It really got off the rails as soon as it was written that 2017 ferrari uses more fuel than renault and that the engines weren’t “really” that far apart. Hint: they were, as everyone knows.

          1. @juzh

            problem?

            Yes, problem. Your manners are appalling.

          2. is not synced with reality

            I think this report is from the anonymous person who seems to be a credible authority on F1. Whether or not a 2017 Ferrari engine used more fuel than a 2017 Renault engine is less important than the fact a 2017 Ferrari power unit (i.e. engine, hybrid system, and KERS) was better than a 2017 Renault power unit. The fuel load difference suggested by Anon was about 500 grams, or about 1 pound in Imperial measurements between the two fuel loads. I don’t think such a small difference in weight is an explanation for the differences in results. Differences in car weight, driver weight, and engine power and energy recovery system efficiencies could easily nullify the loss in performance from the extra fuel load in the Ferrari.
            Unfortunately, unless both teams make some sort of statement, we are left with wondering if what Anon wrote is true.

            1. @drycrus: True, but this is an internet forum where true isn’t as important as being right. ;-)

        2. Brilliant info, Anon.

          Until the 50%(ish) efficient hybrid engines are 100% efficient some fuel-saving will always occur. Even then, under-fueling will probably remain the optimum strategy.

          Tyre saving is a different, more solvable issue. And Pirelli have solved it for next season by getting Mexico taken off the calendar. ;-)

    4. Fuel, Tyre & general car management has been a part of F1 since the very beginning & will continue to be part of F1 going forward regardless of what regulations are in place.

      It’s also not even as big an issue today compared to the past where there was a very realistic possibility you could run out of fuel at the end of a race if you didn’t save a lot of fuel & in a lot of races cars regularly did run dry either in the closing stages or on the slow down lap. And that doesn’t factor in the higher risk of mechanical failure if you pushed a car too hard in the past.

    5. GtisBetter (@passingisoverrated)
      7th February 2019, 21:47

      It won’t, unless they remove pitstops. It’s simple math. If pitstop time=x and you can drive slower and do one stop and the time you lose is <x then you do one stop and manage in stead of 2 stops and go all out. Same with 2 and 3 stops.

    6. Management has always been part of F1. And always will be.
      Ridiculous is this constant whining about F1. It is the only sport in the world that talk itself down, and a driver like K-Mag should be thankful some crazy F1 boss gives him a drive. If it is so bad go drive something else.

    7. The point really isn’t the fuel saving. Kmag even states that himself.

      But with the current rule set, there is no option. It’s not only restricted in the amount of fuel, but also the fuel flow.
      You can’t gamble and push hard just to conserve later.
      The current engines battles more on fuel efficiency then raw power.

      I do see the frustration from Kmag given he actually used more fuel then allowed at COTA.
      A race where he was able on pure pace to battle Ocon, but had to just follow due to fuel savings.

      This is not the same as the olden days, you could choose to battle and hope to get in a position later where you could save fuel.

    8. I doubt it. The teams are still going to keep on with their tendency of under-fueling the cars for the races for weight saving purposes, so I doubt the increase in the maximum allowance by 5 kg is going to make a noticeable difference compared to the previous few seasons. Teams did the same from 2010 to 2013 as well despite the maximum allowance being 150/160 kg.

      1. Fuel-saving will remain in F1 to some extent at least as long as the rules permit the so-called under-fuelling. Even during the refuelling era, there was fuel saving to some extent occasionally as well most notably with Felipe Massa in Spain in 2009, i.e., even that sixteen-season period wasn’t entirely free of fuel saving 100% of the time. Furthermore, in-race refuelling was detrimental to on-track overtaking.

    9. Raise the limit and the optimum will quickly be set anyways, its maybe not any more fuel than they run today. What I dont understand is the conservative max fuel flow limit, make it MUCH higher so team can vary their strategy much more, it can make for interesting races.

    10. Can someone enlighten me please.
      If KM is correct in saying they were running 8 seconds off their max pace in order to save the tyres, after four laps or so (circa 32 seconds lost) wouldn’t it be better to have come in for new tyres?
      I’m trying to think of what else would be in the equation; lack of new tyres, loss of track position?

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