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”

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  1. 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.

  2. 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

  3. 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…;)

  4. 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.

  5. 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).

  6. 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.

  7. 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?

  8. 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.

  9. 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.

  10. 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.

  11. NO WAY.. PLEASE PLEASE NO WAY. Against this 100%. Some of the most exciting parts of this season (and the few gone by) have been during the pit stops. I personally love it when you see teams frantically looking at the weather and wondering what tyres to choose or fuel strategy changes during safety cars etc. Also, isnt it great when you see a heavier car trying to defend its position from a lighter one?

    Finally, im really hoping that this is not an idea being thrown out there because Ferarri cant get their stops right. I think we’ve all had enough of that this year…

    Crazy idea. NO NO NO

  12. Adam – “I personally love it when you see teams frantically looking at the weather and wondering what tyres to choose.” Banning refuelling wouldn’t change that.

    “Isn’t it great when you see a heavier car trying to defend its position from a lighter one?” How often does that ever happen? With the current qualifying rules the light cars qualify at the front and drive away.

    “I’m really hoping that this is not an idea being thrown out there because Ferarri cant get their stops right.” If the other FOTA teams thought that was the case they probably wouldn’t let it go any further.

  13. Kieth. As teams set their fuel levels to coincide with tyre wear I think it will take alot of excitement out. I understand where your coming from but the “Trulli train” the past couple of races has been great too watch as drivers have no choice but to overtake as Trulli has been heavier.

    I just think F1 is fantastic as it is now and i enjoy guestimating strategies and seeing the occasional Mark Webber on the front row running lighter.

    I do think something should be done about this safety car issue though as that its just a joke.
    Thanks for reply

  14. Ethel the Aardvark
    14th October 2008, 18:10

    What goes around, comes around!

    These ideas are always floated every few years or so. What everybody seems to forget is that this is no longer really a sport for the drivers (Safety issues aside). It’s a sport for the paying audience (ie us if Mr Ecclestone allows us to watch it.) Money generation and profit by sponsorship has always been the true game. The sport gets manipulated to bring the money in! Disagree?
    Why a night race? Why?…because most of the rich nations paying for the rights to broadcast are on the otherside of the world…
    Why refuelling? Because if you are old enough to remember, races were predictable…
    Why tyre changes (slicks, no slick and next year slicks again? To slow the cars down (part safety issue to aviod uprating the tracks and avoid moving the watching public away from the circuit) To try to improve overtaking and stopping distances.
    Why change qualifying every few years? To avoid the 30min session being turned into 27mins of pitlane waiting and 3mins of one qualifying effort…
    Why change engine sizes? To slow cars down/improve overtaking, reduce costs? etc

    At the end of the day, they all have one thing in common, to avoid TV audiences dropping and keeping the sponsors and money flowing.

    This idea will be in, out and back in every so many years so in the end…who cares? I don’t.

  15. I don’t know where I stand with this refueling debate. I think if it is done right, and the rules are improved upon year in and year out, the races will be just as exciting.

    Having said that, I think the biggest change that needs to be made is in the F1 management and stewardship. How many time just this year have we seen inconsistent penalties handed out, or outright unfair penalties. Bring in a professional team of race stewards for EVERY race. The same ones for each race. And get past drivers and engineers to take the lead in writing the rules and technical regulations. After all, who could argue the fact that Michael Schumacher has an immense amount of invaluable experience, as well as most other past F1 drivers.

    Currently, I get the impression that the powers that be in F1 are trying to make the rules so strict that every car on the grid will be essentially the same. Although this may make the racing more exciting it would destroy what Formula one is all about: pushing the limits of engineers and drivers while improving the safety on track.

  16. Watching some of the old pre-refuelling clips it often happened that someone would come in for new tyres and chase down the leader who’d stayed out on older ones. This made for exciting racing. I’m all for it to be banned. I can’t get too excited about a team ‘out-strategising’ another and a pass occur in the pits. I’d much rather see it on the track.

  17. Like you said, please please please please please please. :)

    Thanks FOTA for putting forward a great idea. Listen to them FIA.

  18. UsF1Fan
    You got it right. The rules we’ve had in recent years have been made to sort of have a standard looking F1 car.
    The cars all must fall within a certain dimension. First we had that all engines be V10s, then now all engines must be V8s. The engines must have a bore and stroke ratio that is almost square. Then we have all fuel tanks conforming to a certain size, and on and on and on. Matter of fact everything points towards standardization.
    But if F1 is going to be a uniform formula, why don’t they just have the teams race the GP2 cars, its already an order of magnitudes much cheaper than an F1 car and its associated running costs. Then lets see where we will be in a few years time.

  19. I agree with you in qualifying but you don’t need to ban refuelling, just gave freedom to the teams to set the cars with the fuel they consider for the race, after qualifying. So, during qualifying, the fastest driver/car will take the pole.

    If new aerodynamics rules for next year facilitate overtaking, will be great to follow the races with drivers running under different pit-stop strategies.

  20. Race fuel qualifying has to go either way.

    The three session knock-out format is working well but Q3’s fuel rules are just stupid.

    I’d like to see refuelling banned during the race but, as I’ve mentioned before, I think the cars should have a set fuel limit for each race. This could be reduced every couple of years to encourage fuel efficiency.

    It would also remove the need for rev limiters and the engine power reduction measures the FIA would like to bring in as a small reduction in the fuel limit would reduce the top speeds of the cars.

    I’d keep pit-stops though.
    I used to love the race in the pits more before refuelling as there was no time penalty for fuel, the teams just raced to change the tyres.

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