Brawn, Monaco, 2009

No agreement yet on return of refuelling in 2021

2021 F1 season

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Formula 1 teams remain undecided on whether reintroducing refuelling for the 2021 season will be “worthwhile”.

Team principals and their technical chiefs met with FIA and FOM representatives at Geneva on Tuesday. FIA president Jean Todt’s suggestion that refuelling could return to the sport 10 years after it was banned was one of several discussion points.

However Haas team principal Guenther Steiner said teams “didn’t come to a conclusion” on whether refuelling should be allowed again. “There is more work to do to see if it is worthwhile to do it or not,” he added.

Another key focus of discussion was recent calls for drivers to be given greater freedom to race each other without fear of receiving penalties. Steiner said “no conclusion” was reached on this subject either.

“It’s one of the things that I’m fully for,” he added. “We are here to race, that is what we should be doing.”

Asked by RaceFans whether the meeting was constructive, Steiner said: “I think we talked a lot about tyres.”

But while Steiner conceded “not a lot was achieved” in the meeting, he is confident progress will be made in subsequent summits between now and the deadline to approve F1’s 2021 rules in October.

“I think it was one of the meetings where there wasn’t as much progress made as the last one, but that doesn’t mean there was no progress made,” he said.” It’s more than one meeting, there’s two more to come, and maybe what we spoke this time didn’t make progress, paves the way for next meetings to be more productive.”

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Dieter Rencken
Dieter Rencken has held full FIA Formula 1 media accreditation since 2000, during which period he has reported from over 300 grands prix, plus...
Keith Collantine
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20 comments on “No agreement yet on return of refuelling in 2021”

  1. So, a very inconclusive meeting then…

  2. calls for drivers to be given greater freedom to race each other without fear of receiving penalties

    This easiest to achive by removing rules which prevent more than one defensive move, removal of rules that define track limits (verstappen 2017 usgp), unsafe entry to track after going off the track (vettel canada) and causing a collision. Maybe even remove the penalties for false starts. Yeah, that would be great. If a rule exist the the stewards must issue penalties of rules were broken. If you don’t want penalties then you must get rid of the rules.

    1. Gloves-off racing can reward driving talent and be spectacular, but also dangerous. So in my view, there have to be some basic rules (e.g. when is it too late to cut off your opponent). Otherwise gloves-off racing merely benefits the bully-type racers (“let me do my thing or we’ll collide” is not my idea of healthy racing). So yes, less rules, but still rules and clear rules at that! False starts are called “false” for a reason and should still be punished, though.
      Regarding track limits, I’d prefer it if the track itself penalised you for leaving its limits (as someone suggested some time back, why not put a limited strip of grass or gravel = enough to cost you time, but in case of emergency there is still asphalt run-off behind it). I feel many tracks have lost their edge because with these endless asphalt run-offs driver mistakes carry far less of a time penalty. This could also be one way for driving talent to stand out (as it once was).

  3. Just fit in a 1 hour reverse drivers championship race with points given exclusively to the drivers. That’s it. And then F1 can carry on with whatever traditions it wants.

  4. I find it astounding that all parties have known about the need for regulations to be defined for 2021 by June 2019 (now October) since Liberty completed its purchase and still seem to be so far from anything concrete.

    Discussions about refueling should have been had last year at the very latest.

    Because there has been so much dithering (or complete inaction other that making sweeping statements about how much they want to “improve the show”) it seems more than likely that once again a half assed job will be done again because the deadline will be reached with nothing decided.

    And everyone says Bernie was bad.

    1. @dbradock I think you are ignoring a likely mountain of work that has gone on behind closed doors since Liberty took over. If it is down to debating refueling or not, and how much to lighten up on the drivers wrt latitude on the rules of driver to driver combat, then that is a good thing as those things are small potatoes in relation to the big meaty issues they have been agreeing on. Come October we’ll have confirmation of much better cars on different rims and tires and no drs, and solid moves towards capping costs and providing better money distribution to the teams. Those things we can say with confidence are happening and they alone are going to take care of many of the main problems in F1. And it is always going to be a work in progress.

      Yes BE was bad particularly in his last decade with CVC which is exactly what has made Liberty’s job upon takeover of improving everything more challenging, so for me it is a great insult to Liberty to suggest come October nothing will be decided. They’re actually turning F1 on it’s head, because it has needed it.

      1. @robbie I can only conclude that you’re representing Liberty given that every time someone suggests that the job is not being done as well as it should you roll out pretty much the same “things were really difficult, there’s lots of great things coming, DRS is bas and it’s going” etc etc.

        The fact of the matter is every time the rules have come up for reset and every time things like budget caps were tabled, they fell in a hole because they couldn’t get everyone to agree and decisions ended up being rushed.

        Bernie was bad in the sense that he screwed promoters and failed to recognise that social media etc were going to have a huge impact on viewership but when it came to regulations and teams, he actually wasn’t as bad at herding cats as people think.

        I have no problem in insulting Liberty – you yourself insisted that everything would be ready and greatly improved by the June 30 deadline so why should we think that things will be any different by October. Perhaps instead of continually saying “there was a huge mess and lots to fix” there should have been a greater focus on solutions a lot earlier instead of mission statements.

        1. @dbradock You don’t seem to realize that the ‘every time’ you are talking about wrt resets was under BE. BE is no longer in charge. Liberty has been working hard in the background and rallying all the teams and are poised to make sweeping changes that are badly needed, and those can’t happen contractually until 2021. That it is going to take them 4 months longer than they hoped to ratify everything is a sign that they want to get it right, but you choose to look at it as a sign they don’t know what they are doing, and I strongly disagree and think you are wrong.

          ‘There should have been a greater focus on solutions earlier?’ I suggest they have had their noses to the grindstone from the minute they took over. What you are calling mission statements is just your cynical approach, but to me the irony is that you are cynical about F1’s ability to decide because of the very behaviour of BE that you seem to so admire over the new entitiy that hasn’t even had the chance yet to put their twist in the plot onto the track.

          I guess you think everything was fine under BE and you wish for it all to remain as it was with CVC. Or, I’m afraid you’re just going to have to wait and see how Liberty’s plans come to fruition once they legally can. Yup, for now it’s all on paper, but boy they sure have all the right things being addressed. Somebody had to take over from BE and whoever that was to be was going to be in the same boat as Liberty and Brawn. I see no reason for pessimism when they’ve only just begun to create a much better F1 as soon as they or any other entity post-BE can.

    2. There are disagreements that only a deadline can resolve.

    3. @dbradock

      Discussions about refueling should have been had last year at the very latest.

      They had discussions about refueling in 2015 & 2016. A study was done into what effect it would have on the racing & it was concluded it would be a negative which is why the idea didn’t go any further.

      If they looked into it & found it would be a negative then I don’t see what would have changed now.

      1. Exactly.

        To me, they’re still grabbing at straws in the hope that something will improve. Sound familiar?

        I guess soon someone will suggest sprinklers.

        1. @dbradock: Good guess. Let’s outfit every track with sprinklers. And celebrity lawn ornaments!

  5. Overtaking improving with the ban of refuelling is the biggest fallacy in f1.
    Rule change seasons are always worse for overtaking and it turns out that 94, the year that started the fallacy, had it introduced and overtakes decreased, 98 wasn’t about refuelling and they dropped increasing in 99. 2014 big rule change followed by a drop in overtaking. 2009 was a drop on 2008 even though the cars were made to better overtake each other and as ever following the year of a rule change, overtaking increased in 2010, also 2010 has more races, including canada which is always one of the top for overtaking and 2 more cars to race with, not to mention Abu dhabi 2010 a race won in the pits, there goes everyone’s criticism for refuelling.

    The truth is 2010 was exciting, 2009 was strange, but the racing was far better in 2009, also look at 2011 do you think that’s great racing, drs overtakes for you then.

    It’s also notable that when a regulation change has been introduced, such as in 2009 (pictured) and ’14, the number of passes has fallen compared to the previous year.

    2009 with refuelling

    16.5 (malaysia) races
    22 cars
    8 dif pole sitters
    6 dif winners
    211 overtakes

    2010 without refuelling mandatory pitstop
    19 races (canada back)
    24 cars
    5 dif pole sitter
    5 dif winners
    452 overtakes

    2011 Pirelli mandatory pitstop and drs
    19 races
    24 cars
    3 dif pole sitters
    5 dif winners
    821 overtakes

  6. If refuelling is reintroduced, it should be optional. You can either fuel for the whole race i.e. without a pit stop, or refuel but the pit stop must not be combined with a tyre stop.
    Therefore, a race with a one (tyre) stop strategy could become a two stop race, one fuel & one tyre, or remain a one tyre stop race. Let the teams decide. That way you could see a variety of strategies.

    1. @chrisr1718 that is the exact kinda rule I despise. If a car stops in the pits, they should be able to bleed the brakes if they are OK with the time penalty…

      Two types of regulated pit stops is asinine, and is exactly what’s wrong with f1. People thinking they have the solution to all f1’s foibles… just introduce this stupid new rule!

  7. I think the main reason they are even contemplating refuelling again, is as a result of consideration towards the effect that weight has on the cars, following the much bigger review of overtaking and the subsequent 2021 aero package.

    In other words, before the finalise and publish the definitive aero rules, lets take a final look at other aspects of the car that affect the racing, like the lifespan of the tyres and the factors that reduce their longevity – ie weight….. and what besides the aero determines the durability of the tyres…? Weight

    So, before we go redesigning the cars and the fundamental aero formula, can we make the cars lighter (and no they wont and shouldnt remove the batteries or MGUH) – hence refuelling is “back on the agenda”

    All seem quite logical to me

  8. Oh my goodness team principals, “no” is the correct answer to the question of whether refuelling should be reintroduced for heavens sake…it is really simple.

  9. I really don’t like refueling. It pretty much locks in the strategy from the start. How is this a benefit for racing? Right now if a driver can squeeze out a few more laps on his tyres he can maybe even switch from a 2-stop to a 1-stop. Like Hamilton did to win in Silverstone.

    Another example is Monza 2008 with Hamilton on the verge of winning that race all the way from the back. He made it back to the front and had one stop to go. Then a weather change was coming, but Hamilton ran out of fuel and had to stop. So 4 laps later he had to stop again and ended well down the order.

  10. overtaking aside i just don’t see refueling been a benefit to the racing or even strategy for that matter.

    with refueling you decide your strategy on saturday & then have very little room to alter it with drivers having a lot less input as even with fuel saving you can only really extend a stint my 2-3 laps.
    without refueling strategy is more of a moving target. maybe tyre wear is worse than you thought, maybe it is better and drivers also have a far greater impact on this so a driver has far more say in been able to extend a stint which in turn gives teams far more flexibility with the strategy options.

    when strategy is just tyres you can go into a race planning to pit on lap 15 but maybe you find you have to come in on lap 10 or maybe you find you can go a lot longer to lap 20-25. You simply don’t have that same level of flexibility with refueling as if you start the race with 15 laps of fuel you pit on lap 15-17 & that limits your options.

    i just see no benefit at all in terms of the racing or strategy with refueling.

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