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

Posted on | Author Keith Collantine

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”

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  1. 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.

  2. 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.

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

    1. I thought that too.. KERS cars use more fuel perhaps?

  4. 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!

  5. 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.

  6. 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.

    1. I think they do award points for overtaking already …

    2. Everyone will want to qualify at the back. More points in passing cars than winning the race!

  7. 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.

  8. 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…

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

    1. HounslowBusGarage
      20th August 2009, 9:59

      Unfortunately, yes.

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

    1. 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.

  11. I’ve heard some people object to the banning of refuelling, saying ‘it brings another dimension’ the races.

    i may not be the only one to have used those words, but still flattered nonetheless.

    i never felt the refuelling ban was wrong, only that refuelling had its time and place. given that grand prix racing has degenerated into a parade of cuckoo clocks (ross brawn’s term) it’s clear that refuelling, among other things, has to go.

  12. WOOHOO!!

    Proper Qualies!!! And no winning races from the pits, proper wheel to wheel racing!

    I admire the strategists for their quick thinking..but not at the loss of great racing!

  13. Another thing I’d love to see banned for 2010 season, are those wheel spinner thing-me-bobs, they are damn right ugly. I dont care if they direct air under the car, just get rid of them please! :D

    1. Another thing I’d love to see banned for 2010 season, are those wheel spinner thing-me-bobs


  14. I would love to see refueling as it is part of the show.
    In qualifying the cars needs to be low on fuel.

    1. 2 things i take issue with here:

      the first is that quali should be each drivers fastest possible time, while complying to all the minimum regulations (ie. low fuel).

      secondly, about in-race refueling…ban or no ban we are back to the same “hurry up and wait” of ’09. the windows to pass another driver during pit stops will deffinatly shrink, as a driver may elect to run of worthless tyres then pit and loose position (after all, this is modern F1 where passing is rare or impossible) but essentially nothing will change. drivers still need to run min 2 set of tyres, and given that we go back to pit stop leap frog that we have grown so accustomed to. the only chance a good driver will have is to manage his hard compounds down to the last few laps/millimeters of tread.

      anyway, its late here, and ive probably rambled or made very little sense. so good night and have a great start to a great race weekend!

      1. oops, that wasnt at you, wasiF1.
        i meant it to be its own comment….see i am tired after all…

  15. Question: Was there a time that a race had no tire change & no refuelling?

    1. Yes there was. For most of the 60’s and 70’s, tire changes and refuelling was permitted, but mostly not done, unless a tire was damaged or fuel consumption proved excessive. For the most part, it was game over if a driver had to pit. Also, the tires were hard as iron and would last forever.In the early 80’s when tire wars heated up, it was discovered that starting on soft tires and half distance fuel loads would beat hard tires and full tanks. Later refuelling was banned, but tire changes were hee to stay.

  16. Doesn’t this blow away your support for KERS. If the cars have to carry an extra 40kgs of fuel, it kind of eats a “little” bit into the extra 15kgs weight limit.

    My sums say they will have to take out the KERS system as well just to stand still on weight.

    1. weights are without fuel, won’t make any difference there at all

  17. Sorry but i loved the thrill of the pit scrambles, fuel mishaps, fueling strategies that win or loose races, like two races in one!

  18. at least we won’t be having alonso getting pole position with a teaspoon of fuel anymore

    1. I thought that was great.

  19. This is great news for the most part, although I wish they’d get rid of the ridiculous tyre rules of having to run both optimal and sub-optimal sets.

    The only disadvantage I see to the ban on refueling is that the cars that are not as quick as the front runners have very little chance now to make a dent, whereas before, a clever fuel strategy could put the slower cars in contention (somewhat)

    1. untill they pit and drop back down in the order, get stuck behind heavier cars and hope they can get to score some points?

      Yaaaawn, how thrilling.

  20. Judging by some of the comments here you would think that F1 was really dull before we had refuelling. I’m trying to think of all those races where a lesser team won because we had refuelling. Yes, we’ve seen a bit of a mix at the sharp end; take this year with Renault (for example). But for most of the qualifying over the past 15 years the better cars still end up near the front of the grid and the rubbish ones at the back, and race results paint a similar picture. However, refuelling has lead to many occasions where overtaking was made during the pit stops window and not on the track.

    The only times I can think of where refuelling really mixed things up during a race was with the random inclusion of the safety car and, of course, rain; but rain always mixed things up anyway. And there have been many occasions where a driver’s race has been compromised or ended by a rubbish fuel stop but I hardly find that entertaining; I was really looking forward to seeing how Alonso would do during the race in Hungary. Of course, there is the potential excitement of cars catching on fire; fortunately, they are few and far between.

    Sorry but I don’t need my racing spiced up with refuelling.

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