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. F1Yankee said on 20th August 2009, 1:26

    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.

  2. Jay Menon said on 20th August 2009, 1:50

    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!

  3. Alex20 said on 20th August 2009, 2:02

    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

    • Maksutov said on 20th August 2009, 17:42

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

      lol

  4. wasiF1 said on 20th August 2009, 2:08

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

    • DomPrez said on 20th August 2009, 5:25

      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!

      • DomPrez said on 20th August 2009, 5:27

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

  5. Dr Jones said on 20th August 2009, 6:05

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

    • garyc said on 20th August 2009, 18:45

      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.

  6. 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.

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

  8. sicali said on 20th August 2009, 8:04

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

  9. Puffy said on 20th August 2009, 8:05

    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)

    • gabal said on 20th August 2009, 9:39

      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.

  10. 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.

  11. manatcna said on 20th August 2009, 8:13

    I’m aginnit

  12. Ronman said on 20th August 2009, 8:21

    Can’t wait for next year, this year seems so irrelevant in terms of the true performance of each team and driver… like blip in the history, an adjustment phase…

  13. DGR-F1 said on 20th August 2009, 8:26

    I think overall the ban on refueling will bring back a better kind of strategy from the teams as they have to pretty much judge their drivers against each other and the opposision, as to who is better with a heavy car, and who is better in a light car – and we might be in for a few surprises next year…..
    Also of course, even though there will be the pit stops for the mandatory mention of Bridgestone, they will be a lot shorter, so in effect the drivers will be on track more in every race, and again, we will be able to see who are the endurance kings, and who are not.
    I much prefer to see a proper long Grand Prix, man against man, machine against machine, rather than the short sprints we have now. I just wish the OWG would wake up and sort out the aerodynamics once and for all, so we could have decent overtaking……
    I’m not sure whether KERS staying is good or not. Does this mean that all the teams will be using either the Mercedes or the Ferrari systems? Will the new teams with Cosworth powered cars have to get KERS fitted at some point? Won’t that defeat the purpose of them having lower budgets?

    • Maksutov said on 20th August 2009, 17:46

      I’m not sure whether KERS staying is good or not. Does this mean that all the teams will be using either the Mercedes or the Ferrari systems? Will the new teams with Cosworth powered cars have to get KERS fitted at some point? Won’t that defeat the purpose of them having lower budgets?

      I ask those same questions, good point

  14. Steph90 said on 20th August 2009, 9:36

    Hopefully more racing though I’m not sure about tyres-that still leaves a lot to strategy but I think getting rid of refuelling is excellent!

    I’m not sure whether KERS staying is good or not.

    Well Fota agreed to scrap kers ages ago but since then Williams are meant to be hoping to run kers and expressed some support for it and mclaren might not want to get rid of theirs-it is the best there. As for Cosworth and kers I have no idea.

  15. Although I wouldn’t argue strongly either about banning refuelling, I think the return of low fuel qualifying is great news.

    Since they got rid of low fuel qualifying every pole position earned does not mean the same as before, yet in the record books there is no distinction. For me pole used to be a measure of the quickest lap time possible, but then it turned into being about how much fuel the car had onboard and more about race strategy than the ultimate pace of the driver/car combination. So although technically Schumacher has the record for most poles for me he never got a chance to beat Senna’s record because the rules changed, (although if the rules had remained the same I think Schumacher would have managed to take the record).

    As they have banned refuelling it is a shame they have kept the two tyre compound rule, as it will still mean drivers have to pit and we won’t see anyone try to go the whole race without stopping. You could have the scenario where two cars are racing for position but you know that one of them has to pit because he hasn’t been on the soft tyre yet.

    Regarding tyre warmers can anyone tell me when they were first used in F1 and then how long till they became commonplace.

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