FOTA discusses F1 refuelling ban

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. sven duva said on 14th October 2008, 12:13

    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…

  2. Shahriar said on 14th October 2008, 12:16

    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

  3. Sven Weichbrodt said on 14th October 2008, 12:16

    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.

  4. John Spencer said on 14th October 2008, 12:22

    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.

  5. 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.

  6. Dorian said on 14th October 2008, 12:56

    I’m completely for the ban on refuelling. Both for safety and to reduce the chance of a ridiculous outcome of a race should a safety car or a fuel-rig problem occur.

  7. Having been a huge fan of F1 since 1987 I could not agree more about getting rid of refuelling. It’s a totally artificial way of making the races more interesting and having been on the edge of my seat through some terrific, Prost, Berger, Patrese, Schumacher and Senna battles I think it would only be for the good of the sport.

    I’ll never forget watching Mansell try to push his car across the line having just run out of fuel yards from the finish line

  8. I wonder where they got the idea from, Ferrari perhaps..? I am not totally for or against. But the timing is wired,

    mmmmm .. Iam still wondering…

    Is it because Ferrari can not make a decent pitstop the whole thing has to be banned.

    Just wondering…;)

  9. Pingguest said on 14th October 2008, 13:59

    I’m not sure whether a ban on refuelling will make us having a proper qualifying again. Remember, the post-qualifying parc fermé mandates drivers to qualify with a race-setup, including fuel load.

  10. cyanide said on 14th October 2008, 14:01

    There was never any need to make qualifying so complex. It was only done because Michael Schumacher had been running away with qualifying and races in a rather dominant and ruthless manner for atleast two years. These days, with the similarly matched drivers in equivalent cars, they can simply have the old qualifying format back and it would solve the problem of different qualifying strategies.

    But then, do you really want to make qualifying boring again? A lot of F1′s thrill is in seeing drivers like Alonso, Webber and Vettel in top spots with their not-so-good cars. This, in turn, makes the starts more exciting and consequently, the race itself. As for refueling itself, I’m quite neutral to the concept. In a way, it allows the superbrains like Brawn to come up with awesome strategies, and at the same time, McLaren’s joke strategies (Silverstone would be a good example).

  11. if they do drop it, there will be cars that just sit behind others the entire race. i don’t think it’ll encourage more overtaking at all.

    i like the strategy aspect to the sport, not just the fastest car, but also a combination of good team work and smart minds to win a race.

  12. John H said on 14th October 2008, 14:02

    Moe, I think that’s going a bit too far to be honest. Personally, I’m not fussed to much either way, there are benefits for both. Qually can be improved just by taking away Q3 race fuel as mentioned in many comments here, but that’s all – no need to ban refuelling alltogether.

    The real issue is preventing the singapore SC lottery. Perhaps all cars can have a reserve fuel tank for safety car periods – has this been proposed before?

  13. Can’t say it’s a totally bad idea , but I am thinking about a car that’s 6 sec’s slower at the start than near the end , could be a bit weird getting use to. As for qualifying with race fuel , I fully see why they do it now , but with next years rules creating better overtaking opportunities , maybe it’s time that got scrapped.

  14. I guess I’m one of the few who like refuelling as it makes a race less predictable and more interesting. The FIA just need to apply common sense to rule making and application, and furthermore streamline the rules although this is easier said than done regarding the latter due to the wonderful brilliant ingenuity and technological developments of the teams.

  15. Oliver said on 14th October 2008, 16:08

    Its not the fact that we have refueling, that gives us this crazy qualifying system where u put in fuel and qualify with it. That was done by the FIA to try get slower cars up front. Lets not forget, we’ve had refueling for over 13 seasons and drivers could still quality without race fuel for about 10 or 11 of those seasons.

    With a ban on refueling. The cars will be forced to carry 3 times the amount of fuel they usually drive with currently. Thats a lot of fuel to be carrying about. It also increases the risks of a massive inferno if they do crash during a race. While the fuel containment cells they produce now have been very effective till date, it is however easier to build a smaller fuel containment cell than a much bigger one.

    The cars are also going to be much heavier, thats a lot mass that would be moving at great speed.

    F1 is currently a sprint race. Full race fuel will make it and endurance race even if its within a 2hour time limit. The races themselves will
    be run much slower than they are currently run.

    Finally, it will put greater emphasis on the driver, and the team as a whole goes on holiday during the race, only having a role to play if a driver is forced to change a tyre or has a repairable damaged car.

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