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. 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

  2. Keith Collantine (@keithcollantine) said on 14th October 2008, 17:29

    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.

  3. 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

  4. Ethel the Aardvark said on 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.

  5. usF1fan said on 14th October 2008, 18:49

    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.

  6. 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.

  7. Smitty said on 14th October 2008, 20:23

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

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

  8. Oliver said on 14th October 2008, 20:30

    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.

  9. 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.

  10. beneboy said on 14th October 2008, 20:48

    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.

  11. Saamer Jasem said on 14th October 2008, 21:34


    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!!!


  12. Pete Walker said on 14th October 2008, 21:44

    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.

  13. 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 :)

  14. the limit said on 15th October 2008, 4:03

    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.

  15. 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.

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