FOTA discusses F1 refuelling ban

Posted on Author Keith Collantine

The Formula One Teams’ Association is continuing its effort to improve F1. I expressed some concerns about the ideas they were coming up with at first, but this new one has my 100% support:

They’re considering banning refuelling during the races.

I know some people won’t agree with me on this, but I’m all in favour of getting rid of refuelling.

Why? Because we’ll have proper qualifying again. No more tedious unpicking of race strategies and fuel loads. No more drivers waiting until the pit stops to make a pass. No more drivers getting penalties for making fuel stops during ‘pit lane closures’. No more dangerous refuelling fires.

Think how close the three-way title battle would be right now if Robert Kubica hadn’t lost a points finish at Singapore because of the ‘pit lane closure’ rules. We wouldn’t have those rules if refuelling were banned.

Banning refuelling would sweep away many of F1’s most unjust and over-complicated rules with one fell swoop. It would make F1 fairer, easier for fans to follow, and much better.

Refuelling ban? I say bring it on FOTA.

Hers’s some more I’ve written about this before:

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66 comments on “FOTA discusses F1 refuelling ban”

  1. well….im sitting on the fence with this one.

    I started watching f1 a little bit in 96 and from 97 onwards ive been a dedicated fan, all through that period there has been refuelling so i dont know what the racing would be like without it, ive got the end of season reviews from 88-93 to have a small idea but thats hardly a comprehensive view of it.

    I think there will be advantages of banning refeulling, qualifying will be better for a start, no more artificial pole positisons for being lighter than anyone else.

    But without refeulling you do take away some good things.

    Look at hamiltons drive in turkey, that was great to watch because he was lighter on fuel he had to make up that extra pit stop on the ferraris. Look at schumahcer’s win in hungary 98, that was brilliant and it was all because he switched to a 3 stop strategy.

    To be honest eitther way i wouldnt be too bothered, i just wish they would get rid of race fuel qualifying, i cant stand it, it takes away what f1 is all about, being the fastest, its not about whos carrying the least fuel.

    Keith how likley is this to happen?? would it be brought in for next year?

  2. Think how close the three-way title battle would be right now if Robert Kubica hadn’t lost a points finish at Singapore because of the ‘pit lane closure’ rules.

    A bit of a moot point, considering how different the points table would be full stop.

    For a start, In Canada, there would’ve been none of the pitlane shenanigans, France would therefore be unaffected by grid penalties. Massa too wouldn’t have had to stack in the pits and Raikkonen wouldn’t have been taken out. And Kubica probably wouldn’t have won, and so BMWs development program wouldn’t have shifted to 2009 so early.
    In Singapore, Massa wouldn’t have suffered in the way he did, and neither Raikkonen wouldn’t have to stack behind him either, and Alonso would’ve still been stuck in the midfield.
    In Germany, Piquet wouldn’t have got his podium, leaving Massa in 2nd and so on.

    It would’ve been an entirely different championship, but all the stronger for having everything decided on track.
    As well as proper qualifying again, which can only be a positive

  3. Marko – No, they’d just make the fuel tanks bigger (so STG I wouldn’t expect this for 2009, maybe 2010). As for benefits, see paragraph four.

    STG – Take away refuelling and Hamilton and Schumacher are both still excellent drivers who do excellent things in the car. We’ll get plenty of chances to see that without refuelling.

    Refuelling was brought in as a knee-jerk reaction to ’92 and ’93, when Williams were hugely quicker than everyone else which made the races rather dull. But the races were only dull because of Williams’ technological advantage. In 2002 Ferrari had a huge advantage over everyone else and did refuelling make the races any better? Did it hell.

  4. fair points keith, obviously then the advantage will go to the drivers who can look after their tyres better, i dont think hamilton will be looking forward to it too much.

    funny then that its been kept for so long, because after 92 when was the next time 1 team really dominated a season?? well maybe 96 williams but after that it was 01 or 02 when ferrari started dominating the other years in the period 94-02 were all pretty close

  5. I’m all for a ban on refuelling — as long as they don’t shorten the races — but one of your arguments doesn’t really stick with me:

    No more dangerous refuelling fires.

    We’ve seen refuelling during races for as many as 14 seasons, now. During that period only a handful of times, there have been fires in the pit lane. Mostly they were small and were either put out by the pit crew, or because of the car getting up to speed again. Only one exemption: Jos Verstappen’s fire at Hockenheim in 1994. And that was because of the fact that Benetton had removed one of the filters.

  6. Banning refueling would also reduce costs for the teams and therefore might actually have some chance of happening. We know they need to massively reduce costs over the next few years.

  7. When I first got into F1 it was the early 1990’s (Prost, Mansell, Senna), and I remember refueling being a retrograde step, it definitely felt like it made racing worse.

    But, I think, the problem now is if they ban refueling, what’s going to happen about the tyres? Bridgestone would need to be persuaded to provide harder compound tyres to allow a variety of tyre strategies. With the current tyres most teams would still need to do similar pit-stops.

  8. Marko – Yeah that’s the article I linked to. I’d be surprised if they did it because the logic doesn’t follow – they didn’t make races longer when they reintroduced refuelling in 1994. I think F1 races are exactly the right length now, except perhaps some of those at very high speed tracks like Monza which can be a bit too short.

  9. @Bob, I don’t think they would need to offer more compounds, as most of the races, apart from last week, tyre degradation has been rather minimal over the stints.

    It does mean drivers can drive the hell out of the tyres and try and do more stops then usual, or look after them and try a 1 stopper, or a full race distance.

  10. Ahh…….Thank you for getting back to a broad discussion on the Sport of F1. No doubt someone will try and work a conspiracy theory into this discussion but……..

    I assume we won’t be losing compulsory pit stops? For tyres that is. Although I like the idea of not having races influenced by Safety Cars and “who can get into the pits for fuel, first” I would hope that pit stops stay, just to add a little more room for human error or possiblity of. After all there are claims that F1 is a team sport. I would guess also that pit stops would not at all be allowed during SC periods. Tyres, although they wear, are easier to manage behind the SC, obviously.

    On another note. Since things have been spiced up with a night race. Why not add a enduro to the calender?

  11. I would like to see refueling go away, but I don’t know were I stand on other things. The situation now is something in between that I do not like. They basically have to refuel, that have to use two different types of tires, only one race per weekend, conservative point-scoring… It’s a weird mix of tradition and artificial stuff.

    Trying to keep F1 in line with its tradition? One race, pit stops, same point-scoring as today and so on… Or do a complete makeover? And by that I mean stuff like two short races, reverse grid, different point-scoring system, limit on amount of fuel, green technologies, and so on…

  12. but refueling adds some spice in the race… that is without any doubt… sometimes can be negative though…
    the 3 way show down would be very close, but can u assure that there wont be ONLY 3way battles… others wud have little chance…

    the qf wid race fuel thingy on the other hand is a crap, and can be changed – i believe

  13. How quickly we tend to forget. Ban refuelling and be prepared for mid-race economy runs where the crowd go to sleep and the commentators start talking about the past. Refuelling or banning it always seems to be one of those suggestions that crops up whenever people run out of genuine, meaningful and original ideas (and I refer to the FIA, FOCA and FOTA, not th esteemed members of this website).

    Personally I suggest it should remain but with no caveats, ie if you want to refuel, you refuel irrespective of when.

  14. It’s strange. On the one hand, the FIA is supposedly obsessed with safety. On the other, they seem to be perfectly happy for mechanics to be run over and injured on a regular basis, and for the occasional refuelling fire to engulf most of a pit crew. I say minimise the rules as much as is safely possible. They’re not very cleverly enforced anyway. If teams want to run a big tank and not refuel – fine. If they want to run a tiny tank and stop every few laps – that’s fine too. And please, please can we stop this ridiculous Q3 heavy fuel qualifying nonsense. Qualifying should be about the fastest car, not the fastest car with all due consideration to an optimal race strategy.

  15. I’m not sure if it’s a good thing to remove it from the races – but I’m 100% behind the stupid quali rules we currently have. No race fuel would mean the best driver was on pole at every race – in theory at least!

    In the spirit of environmental issues, perhaps a better plan (which could also be included in this) would be to limit the fuel each driver is allowed to encourage improvements in economy as well as outright speed.

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