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. Wonder if we’ll see the all time pit stop record of 3.2 seconds, by bennetton (i think).

    To be honest, i still think qualifying is overly complicated. I’d love to go back to the days of a 1 hour session. Used to love seeing Damon Hill come out with 3 minutes to go, without having put in a banker lap, and put it on pole.

  2. I’m not sure I agree that banning refuelling is a return to “real” GP racing – it simply turns it back from a series of sprints into a marathon. The challenges are certainly different, but it’ll still separate the men from the boys.

    Strategy will still play a major part (as it always did) and the lack of fuel stops won’t be a panacea for lack of overtaking.

  3. Peter Boyle said on 20th August 2009, 12:20

    So, why are zero stop strategies now banned by the
    stupid bridgestone role.

    Teams should be free to slap on a hard compound and
    go race distance if they are light on their tyres.

    So, best would be to stop the stinking FIA choosing
    the teams tyre options for them completely.

    Second best would be to make the two compound only
    apply if the team actuall stops for tyres – this at
    least gives an interesting incentive to go all the way…

    • DGR-F1 said on 20th August 2009, 12:47

      I agree, FOTA and the FIA should be putting Bridgestone under pressure to make hard and soft compound tyres that will actually last full race distance.
      Every other component in the car has to survive that long, and engines and gearboxes even longer, so why do Bridgestone have it easy?
      I’d much rather there only be pitstops if a tyre gets punctured or fuel runs out. To me, an F1 race is a test of endurance. If you want to watch sprint races, there are other series out there which do that….

  4. John H said on 20th August 2009, 13:31

    Totally agree on the refuelling issue Keith for all the reasons you mention. I was baffled by Brundle’s stance on this to be honest.

    Bring 2010!

  5. The_Pope said on 20th August 2009, 13:34

    Am I the only one disappointed by the “return of real qualifying” ? There’s 100-odd comments about mid-race refueling but how does everyone feel about Quali?

    I, for one, enjoy the recent format; having a top-10 shootout is used in other racing formats and I think it works well in F1.

    Watch out in 2010 when we have 50 mins of yawn-fest before all the quick cars pile out for a last-minute sprint (exactly the scenario the recent changes were made to avoid).

    Where’s the on-screen action going to be in the “new & improved old quali” ??

    • They are still going to have a top ten shoot out, the only change to qualifying next year is that they won’t have to do Q3 with race fuel in the car. So all three sessions will be low fuel and we should get to see the quickest lap possible not just the a lap quick enough to get into Q3 as often happens, and personally I think this is great news.

    • gabal said on 20th August 2009, 14:01

      Read more carefully, the current qualifying format stays and the change is that in Q3 cars don’t have to have race fuel but can go and do a low-fuel run (like in Q1 and Q2).

      • The_Pope said on 20th August 2009, 15:01

        Oh yay!

        I did find it curious that more people weren’t upset :)

        Guess we have the best of both worlds now!

  6. gabal said on 20th August 2009, 13:55

    Read more carefully, the current qualifying format stays and the change is that in Q3 cars don’t have to have race fuel but can go and do a low-fuel run (like in Q1 and Q2).

  7. Winkle said on 20th August 2009, 15:38

    Let’s go the whole hog and ban tyre changes too!

  8. antonyob said on 20th August 2009, 17:03

    ..GREAT NEWS !!! but if they can still stop for tyres then we will still see pitstop overtaking. and to answer an earlier blogger who didnt think drivers waited for pitstops to overtake, well they do. Especially Kimi but plenty of others do too.

    • Pitstop overtaking will be more tricky since you may find that the car ahead of you is going almost to the end of the race before it changes to the ‘inferior’ tyre.

  9. Does that fact that we are gonna get low fuel quali and no re-fuelling during the race mean that we may get Sunday Warm-up back ? Cos Parc Ferme for fuel will not be required – the engines per year rule means quali engines are out – so not sure why it can’t be brought back – much better value for money for ticket paying fans on a Sunday seeing them twice rather than just the Race and it gets bums on seats and in the gates earlier so the retailers/caterers/bars do a better trade which in turn benefits the circuits coffers and an extra 30 mins for those at home watching on TV which in turn makes the sponsors happy – can’t see an argument against it really ? ?

  10. I see this as very good news. I always found the refueling arbitrary, ever since it was (re-)introduced in 1994. It’s great this also means there will be a no strings attached qualifying again.

  11. Paige Michael-Shetley said on 21st August 2009, 5:42

    I like the refueling ban, but it should be accompanied by an end to the freeze on engine development. One of the great features of F1 is that it has in the past been a breeding ground for road car technology, and a refueling provides an excellent opportunity for teams to work in the area of fuel mileage if they can develop their engines.

    There are probably things that the teams can do now in just tuning their engines to save fuel, and they’ll definitely go in that direction. As we seen in the past, potential losses in horsepower due to downsizing the engine are more than offset by the effect of saving weight on lap times. Teams can run with lower fuel on more efficient engines and gain a performance advantage with lower fuel.

    Of course, I’d like to see a removal of not only the engine development ban, but also a removal of the rev limit. (My ultimate pipe dream being a return to the V10.)

    I wouldn’t mind F1 going back to the days of 2005 when tire changes were banned. The tires were harder, and it was tough challenge for the teams to get them to work properly as well as manage them. With a ban on tire changes and refueling, we could see pit-free races (barring mechanical issues), which would be just fine and dandy to me!

  12. manatcna said on 21st August 2009, 7:31

    Well, let’s hope we see cars run out of fuel on their last lap. Anybody know when that last happened?

    As someone said, there are clever people behind the scenes, but nobody’s perfect.

    And another thing – I don’t think drivers should be classified if their car is parked out on the track somewhere.

  13. Pingguest said on 21st August 2009, 9:28

    The post-qualifying parc fermé is to stay. I don’t see why proper qualifying would return.

  14. Younger Hamilton said on 27th November 2009, 19:18

    i cant wait for 2010 f1 season New Teams New Drivers and Refuelling is gone so as Wheel Covers are set to be banned means quicker Pit Stops and a Reduce in Costs.A Possible Return for Schumi to f1 to Mercedes GP is taking ups and Downs and we look forward to an all English Line up as well in Mclaren im ok with it really. Narrower Front Tyres !!! Bruno Senna to bring back the senna name to f1 for the First time since his late Uncle Died (Ayrton Senna) that was sad i was guttered when i knew which was this year coz i started watching f1 this season

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