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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    ALL THESE PROPOSED RULE CHANGES ARE TAKING AWAY THE HEART OF FORMULA ONE. Leave it as it is…look how great the last couple of seasons have been!!!


  2. Sounds good to me. Imagine a wet/dry qualifying session seeing some of the slower cars start the race up front and watching the drivers try valiantly to hold on to their positions against the established front-runners. Great stuff.

    I’m a little concerned about some of the other suggestions though. Martin Whitmarsh mentioned they’re also discussing shortening races (which I can only imagine is another ‘green’ initiative) and, more worryingly, making Saturday and Sunday ‘a bit less predictable’… Here’s hoping the team bosses care enough about the soul of Formula 1 not to bring in reverse grids or success ballast.

  3. I have never seen a race without refulling, but from the argments many of you make, I must say that I am in favor of banning it. I am concerned with the races becoming too short- can anyone tell us if they have always been about this lenght even before refulling was introduced?

    On one funny note, if refulling is banned, I suppose we will need to wave goodbye to seieng the refulling man for Williams standing out in the Petrobras green and yellow overalls- I always get a kick out of that when the cameras go to a Williams pit stop :)

  4. Ideal world. No refuelling, slick tyres, no aero, V10 engines, no tyre warmers, no limit on the type of compound you can use (i.e 3 sets of hard tyres or 3 super soft) whatever the team decides, pitlane open even under safety car conditions, ban on paddleshift gearboxes and a return to manual ones, new circuits to be designed by more than one designer, atleast one race to be held on a full sized, American style oval, points given for leading laps.
    No more than three night races, no more than one race per country, a prize of $2 million for the racewinner of each race, except the finale where the prize should be $10 million, a cap on drivers salaries, even for frontrunning drivers. $45 million a year is way too much, and the money should come from winning races, salaries should not exceed $2/3 million a year tops.
    No more private plane rides to test tracks such as Jerez and Fiorina, or Paul Ricard. Make the drivers and teams fly on regular, commercial jets, such as Easyjet and Ryanair around Europe.
    A ban on expensive, ludicrously big motorhomes. A complete downsize. The ‘WOW’ factor should be in the pits or to the left of the pitwall, not behind the pits.
    Only the winner allowed on the podium, second and third can celebrate in parc ferme with their teams and sponsors. The theme, WINNING! Winning, winning, winning.
    Vote for the Limit, as new FIA President for 2009. The only whipping you’ll see will be by the drivers, on the track, instead of some dark, seedy London basement. Lets give this sport back to the fans, and show those nasty NASCAR pukes that we mean business.

  5. Yes, Ferrari would love to have refueling banned so they don’t have to worry about their drivers leaving the stalls with the rigs still hooked up.

    They can claim it will reduce costs by no longer requiring the use of the fast-fueling rig too.

  6. Jonesracing82
    15th October 2008, 7:59

    another point u missed Keith!
    in a very safety concious world that F1 is in today, refueling is the most dangerous aspect of the sport today!
    i am all for it also!

  7. Yes, apart from the safety aspect, the cars won’t need a huge fuel cap, the Pit Box will be emptier, there won’t be so many Pit Crew, there will be less for the Teams to carry around, and it will be easier for the Stewards to know how much fuel is in each car.
    Oh, and of course it will get back to real racing, and I for one enjoy the thought that maybe a couple of Teams have misjudged it and the cars run out of fuel before the end of the race….

  8. HounslowBusGarage
    15th October 2008, 10:36

    I tend to agree with Steve W at post #18. I’m not sure which year(s) it was, but once there was a ban on refuelling and a limit on amount of fuel during the turbocar era. As a result there were endless races where the only excitement was to guess which car would run out of fuel first. And while they were all trotting round on economy runs, one of the minnow teams would turn up the boost and get their car to the front in order to show the sponsor’s logo on TV. Good racing it wasn’t!
    So are you suggesting: limited fuel and no-refuelling or unlimited fuel and no refuelling? Change tyres, but no refuelling? No tyre change and no refuelling?

  9. Hounslow – I’ve seen a lot of people make this point, but remember that was over 20 years ago and both turbo engine technology and engine management systems were enormously less sophisticated back then. Even by the last year of the turbos (1988) the problems of cars running out of fuel late in the race were largely sorted. I doubt we’d see anything like the kind of problems they had in 1984, when they first started to limit tank sizes without refuelling.

    So to answer your question: I want no refuelling, limited tank sizes, tyre changes allowed, races remain the same distance.

  10. I disagree with the pit lane thing you mentioned about Kubica, remember that he only won in Canada because Hamilton took Raikkonen and himself out in the pits.

  11. The FIA doesn’t want to discuss getting rid of refuelling. The notes for a forthcoming meeting between Mosley and FOTA read:

    We believe that priority should be given to things which the public cannot see (eg telemetry) rather than visible parts of “the show” (eg refuelling during the race).

    How typical that Mosley should refuse even to discuss something that would contribute to his cost-saving goals and do much to improve racing in F1. More proof, if it were needed, that he is not interested in consultation, merely in dictating his own terms.

  12. schumi the greatest
    15th October 2008, 12:20

    After reading everyones comments, im still un decided. It would definitley bring alot more responsibility to the driver to look after the tyres etc.

    ive read so many times about prost making late charges during races to win because he’d saved his tyres earlier in the race. i suppose that sort of thing would be happening alot.

    but like i said originally, just get rid of race fuel qualifying and id be pretty happy whether refuelling was banned or not.

  13. schumi the greatest
    15th October 2008, 12:22

    keith, where did you read this?

    mosley is a ******* ******

  14. STG – Sorry thought I’d posted a link. It’s in the Times.

  15. Ive never seen any season or race without refueling so i have no idea on this one

  16. Carrying fuel for full race distance is just as dangrous as refuelling during the race.

    Here is a reminder of what fuel + fire =

  17. As a newer fan to F1, coming from NASCAR I can say I thoroughly enjoy F1 qualifying. I respect that F1 is and needs to be different and I love watching the strategy unfold in qualifying and the race. Refueling is and should not be an issue. IT NEEDS TO STAY!

  18. I love F! and am a true fan!!! Hamilton Rocks!!!!
    But refuelling and race strategy are what makes the races fun, especially when teams such as ferrari get it really wrong, allowing torro rosso and force india cars half a chance at podiums, If u take away the refuelling then the fastest car will always win and it will be as dull as the old days!!!

  19. Can somebody please confirm for me that refuelling during a race is not currently compulsary? If it was such a bad thing (teams losing out on points on a regular basis in particular) the teams wouldn’t do it, they would put larger tanks in their cars and not stop all race.

    I am definitely against the ban on refuelling because it lessens the impact the team has on the outcome of a race – not only the pit crew who do the refuelling, but the strategists who pick the best time to come in and refuel.

    I am old enough to remember the boring mid-race stints where nothing was happening . At least now you get people on different strategies pitting at different times, feeding out amongst others who have either already stopped or are yet to stop.

    Something does need to be done about the safety car rules and the qualifying though.

  20. Refueling is not compulsory, it’s just a good idea. If you must stop to change tires at least once, you might as well fill up on fuel at the same time, since you are allowed to do so- carrying more fuel than needed to get to the tire change is dead weight.

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