Felipe Massa, Ferrari, 2009

“Refuelling strategies are more predictable” and the other reasons it shouldn’t return

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Mercedes team principal Toto Wolff thinks Formula 1 should keep an open mind about whether to bring back in-race refuelling.

“We should have no holy cows,” he argued earlier this year, claiming that allowing drivers to refuel during races “provides another unpredictability factor”.

However his technical director James Allison is not convinced. Asked by RaceFans last year what he thought about bringing it back, Allison stated “refuelling strategies are more predictable and allow less variation in the race and less surprise in the race than non-refuelling strategies”. It’s hard to put it better than the blunt, economical language of an engineer.

“Once you put a chunk of fuel in your car, you have to stop on the lap where you run out, or a lap or two before, and everyone knows when that is going and it just stops the surprise ‘undercut’ or the chance ‘overcut’ that comes with the current [rules],” Allison explained.

While team bosses often stand accused of having a team interest to put forward whenever a matter of the rules comes up, the same is not necessarily true of their designers. If anything, they usually want greater freedom from rules, so they can do as they please. So it’s interesting to note Allison’s view was shared at the same time by one of his opposite number at Red Bull, chief engineer Paul Monaghan.

“I suspect all the teams’ strategies would converge on the same thing,” he said, “because you no longer have an ever-decreasing car weight, you reset every time.”

The rose-tinted specs brigade won’t have any of this. ‘Bring back refuelling’ is their standard knee-jerk response to any dull race. But speaking as someone who watched every single grand prix throughout the last 16-year spell when refuelling was permitted, from 1994 to 2009, I also doubt reintroducing it would make a significant positive difference.

Damon Hill, Williams, Interlagos, 1994
Refuelling temporarily enlivened the action when it last returned
Certainly, when refuelling was re-legalised in 1994 some teams grasped its nuances more quickly than others, and that produced some interest at first. At Benetton, Michael Schumacher, Ross Brawn and Rory Byrne deployed the understanding of refuelling strategy they had honed in the World Sports-Prototype Championship to superb effect and ran rings around Williams.

Even into 1995 Benetton continued to outfox Williams. But soon they and the rest wised up and refuelling strategy became more a means for out-of-position drivers to avoid making passes on the track and less a variable which enlivened dull races. Hungary 1998 and France 2004 were arguably exceptions, but the key word is “exceptions”; two examples of entertaining races from the 12 years before it was banned again in 2009 do not make a compelling case that refuelling can regularly improve the quality of racing.

At a push, I might be persuaded that F1’s last flirtation with refuelling was fundamentally flawed, and that done properly it could be much more effective.

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In IndyCar racing, where refuelling is essential due to the high speeds average over long oval races, each driver has their own pit box. This gives them total freedom to do what they choose with their strategies. But in F1, each driver has to share a pit box with their team mate. As this was the case when refuelling was last permitted, it meant each team inevitably had to make one driver’s strategy secondary to the other.

Simon Pagenaud, Penske, IndyCar, Iowa, 2019
Unlike in F1, each IndyCar driver has their own pit box
Give each F1 driver their own pit box and refuelling would have a greater chance of throwing up a surprise result. But would it make a significant difference? I doubt it, for the persuasive reasons given by Allison and Monaghan, and more besides.

Now 10 years on from the last race with refuelling, the sport has developed in such a way that its return would seem absurd. The current V6 hybrid turbo engines are masterpieces of efficiency when it comes to extracting power from a limited quantity of fuel. Previous engines extracted less than 30% of the available energy from their fuel; today’s get more than 50%, far in excess of a typical road car.

If allowing refuelling meant teams could use unlimited fuel, that would make a mockery of six years of incredibly expensive engine development. Alternatively, if refuelling was allowed within the current maximum tank size, the amount of fuel going into the car at a pit stop would make much less of a difference to performance. Today’s cars are much heavier than they were 10 years ago, and the fuel makes up a smaller percentage of that weight.

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So it’s small wonder the drivers were muted in their reaction when, having urged the sport to make their cars lighter, FIA president Jean Todt reacted by suggesting it be done by bringing back refuelling.

We all know how drivers feel about press conferences so it caught my attention that, when I put the question of reintroducing refuelling to the top three finishers at the British Grand Prix, Hamilton lengthy opening answer – and then came back with more.

Valtteri Bottas, Williams, Melbourne, 2014
F1 cars gained almost 50kg in 2014
“The cars don’t need to be 730 kilos,” he stressed, “they just don’t need to be that heavy. They used to be 600 or something was it, years and years ago. I spoke to my engineers and they said if they change the rules we can make it that weight. We just have to take some things off the car but we can make it lighter.”

“What do they need to take off?” I asked (off-mic, and therefore not recorded in the FIA’s transcript). “I think there’s performance items [that] should come off,” he answered. “But they can do it.”

The chief causes of the rising weight of F1 cars are safety innovations such as Halo, which are not going to be reversed, and the introduction of V6 hybrid turbo power units five years ago. The motors and batteries add significant extra weight, and the power unit’s weight has been pegged to reduce development costs.

It seems unlikely that will change soon. Asked last month for his view on F1’s future power unit regulations, Wolff called for an increase in the role of electric power, creating a “50% hybrid” engine.

But if F1 is serious about giving drivers lighter cars it should forget about refuelling and consider the weight of its chosen engine format. After all, there should be no “holy cows”…

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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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  • 50 comments on ““Refuelling strategies are more predictable” and the other reasons it shouldn’t return”

    1. I understand why some people are against refuelling but I think too many of the arguments revolve around remembering some bad races in the past. Growing up I used to love watching the refuelling and trying to guess how far they would go but it’s not all based on past experience that I want it back.

      Teams will always get on top of strategies but more variables will only ever increase the options available and the main reason is that bringing it back will make the cars closer to qualifying speeds for more of the race instead of only getting there close to the end when they’re spaced out.

      Also losing around 50kg of weight (rough guess) will give more space in the car and make it lighter as drivers have been asking for.

      1. @glynh

        bringing it back will make the cars closer to qualifying speeds for more of the race

        Which would actually be a negative in terms of the racing because it removes the variable of a car’s performance changing as the fuel burns off throughout a race. That was one of the key arguments David Coulthard (Among others) would use as a reason to ban refueling.

        Right now for example you often see performance variables between cars in qualifying & the races because a Ferrari may work better on low fuel but a Mercedes or Red Bull may work better on high fuel which creates some of the performance swings between qualifying & the races we see now (Verstappen in Austria for instance).

        With refueling race pace largely mirrors qualifying pace because the cars are in the same performance window.

        Coulthard in a 2008 column for ITV.

        “From my point of view, a bigger drawback of refuelling is that it detracts from the racing by turning the grand prix into a series of low-fuel sprints between pit-stops. In the days when you carried your entire race fuel load on board the car, there was a much bigger role for the driver in managing the tyres and brakes. These days, in dry conditions, you very rarely see anyone win from further back than the second row of the grid, because race pace largely mirrors qualifying pace.”

          1. +2

            because race pace largely mirrors qualifying pace

            Hence why the Haas boys are keen for quali racing. Saves them learning how to engineer a race car.

    2. I think refueling in conjunction with other things could provide some unexpected results. One of the problems is the FIA insist that everyone do ‘X’ a minimum number of times, the result being everyone being on the same strategy. If for example, refueling was optional, teams had freedom in their tire choice/usage and set-up changes could be made after qualifying, I think we’d have a better chance of seeing different strategies and consequentially, unexpected results.
      Lining cars up fastest to slowest, not allowing changes after qualifying and forcing the teams to use at least two tire types ultimately results in one prime strategy and a second which is done in hopes of a safety car.
      I feel that the more options teams have, the greater the chance of varied strategies and thus the greater chance of unexpected race results.

      1. if There were no refuelling but the other changes you suggest were adopted racing might well be much better especially if the current tyre requirements (ie 2 sorts in one race) were to be kept.

      2. Refuelling was never mandatory between 1994-2009. The only way to make refuelling optional would be making it very slow. Something like going through the race, refuelling exactly halfway through the race would need around 50-second pit stop.

    3. ”Once you put a chunk of fuel in your car, you have to stop on the lap where you run out, or a lap or two before”
      – There you have it. Precisely what I’ve been pointing out this whole time, LOL.

      – I agree with the last paragraphs of the article: The batteries should be made lighter, or at least, that should be easier to achieve now than at the beginning of the hybrid era due to how much this technology has evolved and matured since then, and another way to shave off some of the overall weight would be to make the Halo lighter, which as well, should be easier to achieve by then than it was at the beginning. Or reduce the number of PU elements a bit, whatever.

      1. @jerejj
        I think the teams and the engine manufacturers will try their best to reduce the weight of the power unit as much as possible, so I don’t see how this should be a solution. Either you have to change the engine regulations or you have to reduce the weight limit, which might encourage teams to give up some engine power to reduce weight, otherwise nothing will change in the short run.

        The main disadvantage of the current regulations is that strategies are copied and therefore neutralized. With in-race refueling teams have less strategic freedom, which in my opinion is a good thing.

    4. Refueling seems to be the least of the issues with the current cars. Ground effect aerodynamics are far more important, imo.

    5. Wolff called for an increase in the role of electric power, creating a “50% hybrid” engine.

      What would be the point in introducing a new kind of engine that is just an evolution in the wrong direction? 50% hybrid means more electric than now, and that is not going to happen without adding batteries and more complexity. Which means more weight and costs. And most important aspect is that 50% hybrid would not bring any advantage for manufacturers with their road cars, as nobody (except Toyota) bets on hybrid anymore: it’s either ICE or fully electric.

    6. If refuelling was really such a bad thing for F1, why did they keep it for sixteen seasons? This during the time when F1 was at its most popular by the way, and even when they banned it, the sole reason was to cut costs at a time when they desperately needed to, rather than for improving the racing (which never really happened because smaller teams lost a chance to get in the mix more often).

      1. You do make a good point here and I think many would agree that racing was better in those years than today. Surely however, this was due to other factors in those days eg much different aero design on the cars, less difference in budgets and less reliability in cars.

      2. It was retained for 16 seasons because Bernie blocked all proposals to ban it. Refueling was a Bernie idea & it was he who pushed it through despite opposition from a majority of teams/drivers of the time. The only team who were in favor if it was Ferrari who served to benefit from it’s introduction as the V12 engine they ran back then used more fuel & so required a larger tank.

        The teams tried a dozen times over the years to have refueling banned not just on cost/safety grounds but also because by 1996/97 it had become clear to everyone in the paddock that it was having a negative impact on the racing. Even Ferrari eventually dropped there support for it & the only thing keeping it in place was Bernie who would always be backed up by Max.

        In 2009 the teams were unified via FOTA & it was they who unanimously voted to ban refueling for 2010 & Bernie opted not to try & block it given how the teams were in a strong/unified position at the time while Max/The FIA had been weakened by scandal.

        Refueling was put on the Agenda by Bernie & Jean Todt in 2015 (To be introduced for 2017) with some backing from Sergio Marchionne. The other teams were luke warm to the idea but agreed to do a study into the effect refueling would have, They concluded it would have a negative impact on the racing & put the findings to the Strategy group who presented it to the FIA who dropped the idea based on the findings. In early 2016 Bernie again pushed for it to be reintroduced but again the idea was dropped because at that point even Sergio Marchionne had concluded it was a bad idea & therefore Bernie had no support to push it any further.

        1. @gt-racer This is good information, thanks for providing some context.

        2. @gt-racer – whereas alot of your post is spot-on there were too many other variables in that era that make it definitively difficult to lay all the blame at re-fueling. some might agree, as i point out, that is has more to do with the coinciding ban of active supsension and introduction of grooved tyres. thereby reducing mechanical grip with a flat-bottom chassis along with the FIA’s on-going efforts to reduce cornering speeds all adding to the over-reliance on surface aerodynamics. the cars kept getting faster as we all know but they did so at the expense of their race-worthiness. as the racing became poorer and poorer the cause(s) became obfuscated by the many unaligned agendas and politics of all the stakeholders, including the fans. whereas it appears there is near-unanimous support against re-fueling here, something like 65% of fans in recent survey’s would support its return.

      3. If you look at the f1 car weight and see what changes every time the weight goes up the pattern is very easy to see:
        https://www.racefans.net/2019/07/18/we-cant-turn-the-clock-back-call-for-lighter-f1-cars-frustrates-brawn/
        More electric engine components = weight goes up. Let’s focus on the 2009 onwards situation as that is most relevant here.

        2010 and 2011 the car weight went up. What’s the cause. Kers increase of 15kg first in 2010. Then +10kg more for kers in 2011. Then 2014 the minimum weight increased once again. But the minimm weight increase was smaller than the actual weight increase. Cars could no longer even make the minimum weight. Let alone carry ballast. This was to become big issue later on as the cars had 0 room for any small changes. Any safety rule change would directly increase the car weight more from minimum weight. Naturally this heavily favours the big spenders who can create everything from space age materials to get to the minimu weight whereas the not so wealthy teams need to focus on other boring things like having enough money to buy the massively expensive engines. Not to mention drivers having to lose weight to unhealthy levels because the engines were so massively obese.

        2015. Again more weight. As the 2014 weight increase was not enough to fit the obese hybrid engines the minimum weight had to be increased again. 2016 was the only year of hybrids when the weight did not go up. Think about it. 6 years of weight increase with just one year when it doesn’t go up.

        2017 was yet another weight increase. The hybrid engines were so heavy that people were complaining about the cars being too slow to be f1 cars. Well, that happens when you put 100kg heavier engine into the car. But bigger cars with bigger tires and wings weigh more. Downforce is easy way to make the cars faster but it makes the car heavier. First year we add 20kg, then 10kg and then 7kg. These are all massive increases on yearly basis. And f1 needs to increase the minimum weight limit everytime it wants to add a sticker or flap of carbon on the cars because there is no room to put anything without going overweight. Pirelli also wants the cars to weight the same. Be that all of them weight 840kg and not that some weigh 820 and others 840 kilograms.

        Out of all these weight increases the engine is the cause for 100 kg whereas the rest is safety features. Halo is 10kg. Not 100kg so it should not even be mentioned in the same sentence with these massively obese engines.

        1. @socksolid Thanks for that information. It is common to see a car with the wheel off, and that hub certainly does look as though it would weigh quite a few kilos. If one were to get rid of the MGU-K then we’d be loosing 25 to 30 kg, but you’d need bigger brakes, so you’d probably have to add a few kg to each wheel to compensate, so say 12 kg. If we went back to a 1950s style car without aerodynamic fins then we’d loose another 40 kg or so, but may need to accommodate the radiator at the front of the car, which is extra drag. I guess the question is then would this car produce lap times comparable to what we see now?

          1. Just take out hybrid engine and put a 3 liter v10 in it and it will be seconds faster already. Same power, 100kg less weight. You are probably correct in that if you take a modern f1 car, take away all the wings, remove the tires and brakes and then even remove the mgu-k it would still be heavier than the same car fully dressed but with v10 engine.

      4. F1 was probably also at its more popular in those years because you could watch all the races from beginning to end on the BBC, for no more than the standard TV licence and without any ads. And in the bargain you had the unforgettable Murray Walker’s comments.

    7. If they want more strategic variation they should make the easiest change out there: allowing cars to run the compound they want, the way they want it.

      Refuelling was great for sprint racing, lighter cars ,drivers surely loved it but in no way it made racing better. If anything it was a lot more predictable than with the current 2 compounds per race rule.

    8. You can’t change tyres and refuel at the same pitstop. That would be interesting.

    9. As I said yesterday…..

      My dislike of refueling wasn’t so much it’s effect on overtaking, It was more that I just didn’t like how it affected the racing as a whole. I mean I do believe it had a negative impact in terms of overtaking but as @pantherjag points out it wasn’t the sole factor.

      I just didn’t like how refueling shifted the focus away from the race track & into the pits & put a far greater emphasis onto fuel/pit strategy. Before 1994 the focus was on the racing going on out on track, If a driver was behind another car they would push & fight to overtake. From 1994-2009 it always felt like the track action was secondary & that all the focus was on the pits with drivers behind another car less frantic in there attempts to overtake if they knew they were on a better strategy that would jump them ahead via the overcut.

      Additionally Pat Symmonds made the point when refueling was brought up a few years back that with refueling teams decided on a strategy on Saturday & and were then locked into it. If you put 20 laps of fuel in at the start you stop on lap 20 with little to no options to change it as once you decided the length of your 1st stint there wasn’t much room to alter the 2nd/3rd stints in reaction to how your race was playing out.

      With no refueling strategy is more reactive & open with teams having more options to adapt it on the fly & with drivers having more input. You can decide on a strategy pre-race but there are many more variables that can force you to change on the fly & adopt a different approach which simply isn’t possible with refueling in the mix. Tyre wear can be better/worse than expected, One tyre compound can work better/worse than expected, What other teams do can force you to adapt your strategy & of course the way a driver drives will affect tyre wear which can also force changes to strategy.

      Refueling strategy is more planned while without it when your only concern in tyres strategy is more fluid & reactive.

      1. And to add something related to todays post

        Hungary 1998 and France 2004 were arguably exceptions, but the key word is “exceptions”; two examples of entertaining races

        I would actually argue that they were not examples of exciting races in the refueling era, I would actually use them as the 2 prime examples of the negatives of refueling.

        2 races where the 2 drivers fighting over the lead/win were nowhere near one another on track. There was no close racing or good, close scrap for the lead or any exciting overtake. It was 2 drivers essentially engaged in a time trial which was something you saw a lot throughout the refueling era.

      2. @stefmeister I agree with you that refueling should not be seen as a measure to increase the number of overtakes in a race. Rather, it should be seen as a fundamental shift in what an F1 race represents. Do we want races in which tyre management over the course of the entire race is the crucial strategic element? Or do we want races in which drivers are allowed to push their cars for as much of the race as possible?

        IndyCar has both refueling and plenty of overtakes, but I don’t think the two are necessarily correlated. If we want to improve the overtaking situation in F1, then we need to focus on improving the aero situation and decreasing the spread of the field.

        I do think that some refueling opponents are trying to have it both ways in this debate: they say refueling will reduce on-track overtaking and emphasize undercuts and overcuts, while happily quoting James Allison—who says exactly the opposite. If we want to reduce undercuts and overcuts and increase overtakes on track, then according to Allison, we should bring back refueling as soon as possible!

        1. @markzastrow

          James Allison—who says exactly the opposite. If we want to reduce undercuts and overcuts and increase overtakes on track, then according to Allison, we should bring back refueling as soon as possible!

          James Allison has said a dozen times over the years that he is against refueling.

          He was part of the team study a few years ago that concluded that refeuling would have a highly negative impact on the racing and they advised against bringing it back.

          1. @PeterG I’m aware—this is exactly what I’m referring to. I assume you read the quote in the article:

            it just stops the surprise ‘undercut’ or the chance ‘overcut’ that comes with the current [rules],” Allison explained.

            Yet many of those opposed to refueling believe that refueling will bring back more under/overcuts!

    10. ”Once you put a chunk of fuel in your car, you have to stop on the lap where you run out, or a lap or two before”

      For a smart man this is a really odd comment. Though the above is obviously true. IF the leaders are all stopping on different laps it adds to variety and unknown factor for the viewer, undercut, overcut, jump them in the stop etc. If people think the teams all choose the same lap they obviously didn’t watch F1 between 94-09. Id say forget qualifying on fuel loads, it had its merits but kind of ruined saturday.

      The fact this article suggests there was only 2 races that were exciting due to fuel strategies is just rubbish and laughable. Countless times someone light hassled or passed a heavier running leader. And with DRS now making overtaking quite easy, someone is more likely to take a risky 3 stop.

      Michael Schumacher and Ross Brawns whole reputation is made on exciting races due to bold fuel strategies or have we all forgotten that?

      1. the fact this article suggests there was only 2 races that were exciting due to fuel strategies

        Then name more because i can’t think of any races that were made better thanks to bore-fueling but can think of dozens that were made far worse.

        in fact tbh i’d say the 2 he listed were not even exciting races and were actually examples of races that were made worse by bore-fueling. i mean in both of those races where was the exciting racing? there wasn’t any because the bore-fueling strategy had the 2 drivers going for the win separated by a 10-20 second gap most the race.

        there was no good racing those days because fuel strategy was king at the expense of the on track racing i tune in to watch on a sunday.

        the overtaking stats are very clear. refueling halved when refueling was introduced in 1994 and then doubled back to pre refueling levels when it was banned in 2010 (before drs & high deg tyres were introduced).

        And with DRS now making overtaking quite easy, someone is more likely to take a risky 3 stop.

        Pretty sure the plan is to get rid of DRS for 2021.

        1. Then name more because i can’t think of any races that were made better thanks to bore-fueling but can think of dozens that were made far worse.

          I’d say virtually every IndyCar race, ever.

          1. @markzastrow Indycar is completely different to F1.

            Additionally i would argue that pit/fuel strategy has hurt a lot of races in indycar and not really been a benefit to any of them.

            so many times you have a group of cars bunched close together fighting over a spot, they pit for fuel (usually within 2-3 laps of one another so little/no strategy variance) and more often than not are a lot more strung out than they were before so we get less battling and close fighting.

            we have 16 years of data from refueling in f1 that show very clearly that for f1 refueling is a negative. and the teams and engineer’s who looked into it on behalf of the fia a few years ago came to the same conclusion.

            when f1 had refueling last time the fans complained about the effect it had on the racing and the same would be true now. if f1 was to bring it back i guarantee within 5 years everyone would want it banned again once its negative effects on racing become clear once again!

            1. @PeterG I’d argue just as often you find cars that aren’t together on the track brought together by pit stops, resulting in more battling.

              But I agree—F1 is not IndyCar. IndyCar, for instance has no tyre warmers, which means pit cycles add the element of coming out on cold tyres and increasing the potential for overtakes. (I dearly hope tyre warmers do not return in 2021!) Refueling in and of itself is no panacea for a lack of overtaking—rather, it is more of a philosophical question. Should a grand prix be a contest to go as fast as possible, or should it be an exercise in managing pace? There is no right answer.

              I do find there to be a fascinating contradiction, in that—judging from comments here—it seems that a majority of fans are clamouring for tyre management to be less of a deciding factor in F1, yet a majority of fans also oppose refueling because it would eliminate tyre management as a strategy.

        2. @roger-ayles Historically, in-race refueling has been proposed every time when there is not a lot of on-track action. In the early-1990s racing started to suffer as aerodynamics got more advanced, so refueling was thought to make races more interesting again. The same happened in 2015, when the high-degradation era was nearing its end and racing was really poor. I personally believe Formula 1 couldn’t be much less interesting than it was in 2015 and 2017; I mean, even with DRS the races were very static and predictable, so I wouldn’t mind seeing the return of in-race refueling. The fact that the cars will get lighter is a nice added bonus.

    11. Refuelling will be great entertainment if they don’t allow refuelling while stationary.

    12. If allowing refuelling meant teams could use unlimited fuel, that would make a mockery of six years of incredibly expensive engine development

      Spot on ! It’s incredible how this sport is run by bunch of incompetent intellectually broken people. Whenever they came up with an idea, it seems that it is contradictory to principles that they have implemented before.
      Refueling doesn’t make any sense with the current PUs, it is however suitable with the thirsty V10 engines
      For this particular reason, I hope refueling won’t be brought again to F1 so the next time people who are writing the regulations should think twice before coming up with these ridiculous ideas. However, I know that they are so arrogant so to the point that they will keep coming with this kind of rubbish forever…

      1. @tifoso1989 I think you underestimate the strategic impact that fuel economy plays in refueling races. In IndyCar, over the past few years, Honda has consistently had better fuel mileage than Chevrolet and that has played a significant role in allowing Honda cars to fight for victory against Chevy’s horsepower advantage—especially in the Indy 500, but also on road courses.

        1. @markzastrow
          Thanks for the info, good to know this as I am a casual IndyCar viewer. I watch races whenever I get the chance to mostly due to timezone difference. However, my point was not about refueling in general, it was about the fact that it is contradictory to the target objectives set by the FIA when they moved to the current PUs.
          Manufacturers invested billions to develop these PUs which are masterpieces in terms of fuel efficiency. It doesn’t make sense to reintroduce refueling just 6 years later.
          It’s true that fuel economy has a strategic impact on races but in F1 and during the refueling era I think it was the other way round. Schumacher/Brawn have proved that they can win races with an extra pit stop and driving flat out for the whole race (Hungary 1998, France 2004…)

          1. @tifoso1989 I don’t see them as contradictory at all, as refueling does not negate the importance of fuel efficiency. I would argue that the cars refueling two or three times a race would showcase the fuel efficiency of these engines even more as their gains would actually be more visible to the fans in the form of different fuel strategies. As it is, in F1, with a single fuel stint, the cars either finish the race or they run out—and they basically never run out. We hear that different PUs are indeed more efficient and can start the race with less fuel, but there is no way to see that difference as a fan. But we would be able to see such differences under refueling, as the cars with the most efficient PUs could extend their stints by a lap or two or more to open up more strategic options.

    13. Teams already now quite clearly when the other teams will pit without the need of refuelling, just by looking the tyre degradation and 20+ seconds time gaps. Ban the realtime data analysing and you will cut costs and increase the unpredictability

    14. Neil (@neilosjames)
      23rd July 2019, 16:04

      There hasn’t been a single moment since refuelling was banned that I’ve wanted it to come back. ‘He’s got three laps more fuel, so he’ll just overtake in the pits’ isn’t a thought I ever want to have again.

      1. Hmmm, your “kinda quote” looks familiar. What could it be? …Ah!
        “He’s got three laps fresher tyres, so he’ll just overcut in the pits”
        Or, in another way: “He pitted three laps earlier so he just undercutted his opponent”.

    15. “What do they need to take off?” I asked (off-mic, and therefore not recorded in the FIA’s transcript). “I think there’s performance items [that] should come off,” he answered. “But they can do it.”

      I’m starting to think that fia and merc, ferrari and renault (or maybe even liberty?) have imposed a ban on everybody so they can’t criticise the hybrid engines in any way. Same with brawn who is brilliant engineer but is and was a company man first.

      Despite the hybrid engines being 100kg heavier than the engines before it is a bit too convenient that nobody ever mentions the weight even when asked directly like hamilton was asked. Can’t just say it. Not allowed? Only positives which there is one. Fuel saving (calling it efficiency is funny because carrying 100kg extra is not efficient). Which is not even a positive because it encourages lifting and coasting. The censorship strategy seems to be working well as there seems to be many vocal people who want to be totally oblivious to the weight issue who seem to enjoy the fuel saving aspect of f1 when we talk about engines but not when talking about the races…

      1. @socksolid, is this going to be another of your rants based on that single six year old and inaccurate article? Or is it going to be one where you just keep increasing the weight of the engines until you get the answer that you want to get when comparing the weight of the current power units against the V10 (much like the time when I questioned your previous claims about the weight of the V10s and the current V6 engines, and you then arbitrarily kept adding on another 25kg to the weight of the current power units to try and fix the figures in your favour)?

        How much are you going to try and claim that the power units weigh now? 250kg? 300kg?

    16. Four circuits this year had their lap record broken. Another 9 have a lap record from last season. A lap record is the consequence of the best power to weight and drag ratio. If 600 kg cars were the best then all the lap records would show that, but the records don’t show that. Currently there are 8 circuits with lap records that predate the hybrid era, the rest bar one date from 2018 and 2019. I’m expecting most of those 8 circuits to have their lap record broken this year.

      1. The old lap records were driven with cars that had half of the downforce and narrow grooved slicks. If anything it proves how much performance you need to add to the cars to get the same lap time out of 150kg heavier car.

    17. What … no mention of the safety aspect of refueling.?
      I have tried to count the number of people in the picture at the head of the article, 20 seems to be correct, but I remember seeing 21 mentioned previously.
      That’s 20 pit crew exposed to traffic and to a potential fuel spill and fire. There was a reason for banning pressurized refueling.
      When you look at what is involved in a refueling stop, 2+ stops per car per race and over the years and number of races, the safety record is phenomenal. Still, putting 20+ team members (and a driver) at risk this frequently, is lunacy. You know what can happen, just a question of if and when.
      While not a fan of NASCAR, you have to admire what one of their pit stops entails. The training they put in is remarkable as are the results. Four tires, with lug nuts, two manual jacking operations, manual gravity fuel addition, windshield clean, suspension adjustment and only 4+1/2 over the wall …. in under 15 seconds.
      You want to spice up the F1 Show, cut the number of crew working on the car. As it is now, there are two who’s function seems to be … “Hold The Car.” Eight sounds like a nice number.

      1. I have been watching F1 since 1997. Here is my view. I am leaving “how” to the experts.

        a. Driver factor needs to be increased.

        b. Tire factor / performance between different cars should be neutralized to the point where the tire wear is the main factor (perhaps airflow to the tires and certain damping elements should be standard?)

        c. Different compound usage is a good idea. If tires are made more durable, while loosing the performance over time more quickly due to wear, we may see more exciting strategic battles. So safety wise, a car can finish the race with 1 stop , while 3 stops can make a car go faster in a raw time trial.

        d. Making the overtaking easier ( ground effect and revisiting aero rules) so that traffic factor would be less of a issue making number of pit stops vary for drivers choosing more stops.

        e. After every race adding/removing weight to the cars according to their results. I.e. the winner car would run with 10kgs extra for the next race while number 10 gets 1kg etc. This can be calculated in a way to nullify performance difference up to 0.7-0.8 seconds between 1st and 11th car.

        g. Teams would be obliged to share technical details of the certain upgrades during the season with each other (aero upgrades mainly).

        The biggest problem I see in F1 is predictable the top 6 after first 3 laps of the race. The points battle in midfield is always exciting, so this leads me to the conclusion that the main problem is not the pit stops/refuelling, it is the performance difference between cars. If top 5 teams would be in 0.5 seconds as per race pace with easier overtaking, alternating stragies would come naturally. This could even make 10th fastest car to try agressive strategy for a podium shot with easier overtaking.

        As it stands, free practices and qualifying gives too much information about the pace, everybody knows how fast their opponents are and the gaps in the grid are usually too big such that, different pit strategies giving a marginal 5/10 second overal advantages are not worth.

    18. 2 points,
      1: I clearly remember Bernie saying he wanted refueling to make F1 more interesting (saleable) to Americans because they are used to it and they like to discuss sport statistics as in gridiron, Bernie lusted for American Football’s following.
      2; Your/my rose tinted specs have a wavelength that is specific to the era you first became a fan in. My yearning is for gimmick free racing where winning drivers go from flag to flag without stopping, as in the 60’s and 70’s.

    19. @hohum,
      1: i think that’s why it’s coming back. again.
      2: my dream is that the new regulations present the 1970 formula/rulebook & say go at.

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