F1 2010 rules: A return to proper qualifying and real Grand Prix racing

Ayrton Senna won the last refuelling-free race at Adelaide in 1993

Ayrton Senna won the last refuelling-free race at Adelaide in 1993

Surely the best news in the 2010 F1 rules is the confirmed return of low-fuel qualifying and a ban on in-race refuelling:

29.1 b) Refuelling during a race is forbidden.
2010 F1 Sporting Reguations

The needless and uninteresting complication of fuel strategy and and tedious race-fuel qualifying are being swept away. This is a return to proper Grand Prix racing.

F1 2010-style will be about who can manage the changing performance of their car over a 200-mile distance. The cars will start the race heavy with fuel, and be much quicker at the race’s end. It will also make races last longer.

We should see different drivers performing better at different stages of the race, instead of all the cars being optimised to work within a narrow performance window, giving little variation.

And, of course, the skill of the driver will mean much more to boot.

I’ve heard some people object to the banning of refuelling, saying ‘it brings another dimension’ the races. I’ve never felt refuelling brought anything other than a tedious diversion from where the action really takes place: on the track.

A clever strategy means little. But an exciting battle for position, a rapid lap, a bloody-minded defence of the lead for lap after lap – these are what make for great motor racing. I can’t wait for 2010.

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135 comments on F1 2010 rules: A return to proper qualifying and real Grand Prix racing

  1. Dougie said on 19th August 2009, 21:04

    It’s everything I’ve been crying out for for years!

    Reduced aero grip, improved mechanical grip by bringing back slicks, and ditch refuelling!!

    Back to Formula 1 Grand Prix racing as it once was, as it should always have been, and as it will be once again.

    Bring on 2010!! Woohoo!!

    • Hakka said on 20th August 2009, 10:50

      If they would only do away with the tyre rules and focus on keeping the rules stable, it would be perfect. I would also like to see even more reduced aerodynamic grip, but I’ll take what I can get.

  2. Tiomkin said on 19th August 2009, 21:09

    I liked refueling. It made the race about more than just the driver. A race could be lost with a bad pit-stop. F1 to me is about team work, from the strategies from the ‘brains’ to the guy responsible for the lolipop. Now its just a drivers sport. I presume that there will still be tire changes?

    • mp4-19b said on 19th August 2009, 21:20

      don’t worry, people can still lose their tyre during a pitstop :) once a lolipop, always a lolipop, they will always commit blunders :)

    • gabal said on 19th August 2009, 21:21

      There will still be pit-stops as they still have to change tyres. Also, pit-stops will be even better now as they will be faster. Now it doesn’t matter how fast they put those tyres back on if they do it before the refueling is done. How many times have we seen all 4 wheels are secured and they are all waiting for refueling to finish. Now fast changing will actually have impact on lenght of pit-stops every time, not just when there is a problem…

      • HounslowBusGarage said on 19th August 2009, 21:47

        If you reckon that (this season) a good-ish pit stop is 8 seconds stationary, I suppose next season this will go down to about 4 seconds as there will be no refuelling. But the cars have still got to go into and out of the pit lane, so the total time lost on a pit stop could only reduce from 30 seconds to 26 seconds.
        It’s not going to have much impact on racing as it will still be easier to wait until the car in front goes for a pit stop and then put the hammer down for a few laps to make sure he’s behind you when you come out after your stop.

    • To me its about the Driver and his skill ,, same for about 90% of the ppl watching F1

      Like it or not ppl love their Heroes,,,

      Its the human factor (the driver i mean) which interests audiences not anything else… ppl love drivers more than the team or their strategies…

  3. Bartholomew said on 19th August 2009, 21:17

    “We should see different drivers performing better at different stages of the race, instead of all the cars being optimised to work within a narrow performance window, giving little variation.”

    Good insight Keith — I like all this.

  4. It’s not often I totally disagree with something you’ve written Keith, but this is one of those times.

    Remove refueling and we’re left with one dimensional races and although the puritans are all reveling in the return of low fuel qualifying, I feel it robs us of the “cat amongst the pigeons” factor of someone going light in order to propel themselves up the grid.

    The fastest cars are going to start at the front, the slower cars at the back and very little will change in the 70 laps that follow. Ladies and gentlemen, Formula One 2010.

    • it propels them up the grid only for them to fall back quite abit, thus gaining nothing by it.

    • exit said on 20th August 2009, 8:54

      Matt, there will always be f1 drivers who will choose to compromise the qualifying session for a 1 stop strategy, so they will start from the back and have a chance to race for the win…Also there will be a competition between the mechanics from the teams to change the tires faster(i think the record is set by BMW about 4sec, i wonder who will crack that :) ). It will be quite interesting for all of us. 2010 here we came !

  5. Cars will still stop for tires, as they did in the olden days of no-refueling. There will still be plenty of strategy, but it will relate to tire wear and tire stops. The optimal race time will surely involve sacrificing 18 seconds for a tire stop.

    I don’t have a problem with refueling and the conceptual argument that it takes away from the driver’s ability to manage an ever changing car is exactly backwards. Under current rules, the cars go through this dynamic change in the cars physics from converting mass to energy two-three times per race, instead of one long gradual change.

    One thing you will see that is new is a car creeping around in the final stages to conserve the last drop of fuel, or backmarkers going down an extra lap on purpose to make the finish. Its a lot harder to estimate total consumption over a race than a stint and many will get it wrong.

    I’m happy to see again real qualifying, though I find the current format exciting, but the effect on the racing will not be dramatic or propitious.

  6. Joe Smith said on 19th August 2009, 21:36

    I’m so glad refuelling is going to be banned, hopefully this will help to return Formula One and the quality of racing back to where it was before refuelling.

  7. Rob R. said on 19th August 2009, 21:51

    This is a very good thing, but I’m not going to rejoice about “the return of real F1″ until they take those snowplough wings off the front of the car, and figure out a way to stop the teams using the engine mapping to create those artifical starts.

  8. RANDY said on 19th August 2009, 22:15

    i think gas mileage will affect outcomes. every body will get different mileage so tank size and weights will all be different

  9. Owen G said on 19th August 2009, 22:26

    The talk of tyre strategy is the key point in this debate in my opinion.

    I’ve mentioned before that after the final round of pit stops all cars are usually the same with regards being fuelled to the finish and on similar tyres. Not always, but mostly. So there is little disparity in the cars meaning races are often decided by the order after the final pit stops. Drivers are told to turn engines down and coast to the finish in the position they are in.

    With the new regs we will see some drivers on fresh tyres driving flat out and some on old trying to conserve and defend. This will conceivably continue to the chequered flag so we should see more racing right to the very end.

    I can’t wait!

  10. Let’s not forget that refuelling has been banned not to improve the spectacle, but to save costs.

    I think it will make the spectacle worse to be honest, it’s not going to magically solve the overtaking problem which is the main reason F1 isn’t as exciting now as it used to be in the past.

  11. Brian said on 20th August 2009, 0:12

    There is one thing I wish they would do to help increase overtaking.
    I would like them to try awarding points for overtaking. I will give an example. They just start the 2nd lap, VET overtakes BAR, VET gets the point but he has to keep BAR behind him for at least two full laps before he is officially awarded the point. Should BAR retake the postion before the two laps, then BAR will be awarded the point so long as he remains ahead for two full laps.
    At the end of the race, if VET had passed three cars, then he gets three extra points for the Drivers Title, the team only gets points based on where he finished as per usual (aka first). ;)
    I would just like to see them try it. And as we have learned from the recent past, a single point can make a difference in a championship.

  12. I’m glad that you’ve all got to grips with in a new thread about something that I posted in the “More changes to aid overtaking thread” much earlier yesterday.LOL

    Yes I’m glad to see the back of refuelling too.

    Point system stays the same,and eight cars will go out of each qualifying stage.All good,except for the tyre warmers.

  13. Juhhi said on 20th August 2009, 0:54

    Next season we will really see who driver is quick. No more stupid talking like: ” 10 kilograms means 0,2s on lap time, so Heikki was quicker than Lewis if compared fuel strategy etc etc”….

    offcourse there will be still fuel and tire strategies going on…

  14. TeamOrders said on 20th August 2009, 0:58

    Did they keep the silly rule about being forced to run both option and prime tyres in a race?

  15. marc said on 20th August 2009, 1:05

    i bet in the first race there will be like 20 DNFS because they miss calculated the fuel

    • GB2009 said on 20th August 2009, 6:33

      This is F1, not club-level Formula Ford…it might happen to one or two, but they will get it right.

      These are the most clever people in the business…give some credit.

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