Goodbye to?? refuelling

Felipe Massa might not be too disappointed refuelling is being banned

Felipe Massa might not be too disappointed refuelling is being banned

It’s the last race of the season so we’ll be saying our farewells this weekend – some of the fondly, others not so much.

One goodbye likely to divide reaction among fans is the long-awaited banning of refuelling.

When we witness our final refuelling pit stop this weekend will we have lost something special from F1? Or, like me, will you be saying good riddance to the tedium of race refuelling strategies?

Refuelling was last banned at the end of the 1983 season. Today fans are likely to argue about whether it makes racing better or worse – but on that occasion it was banned because it was deemed unsafe.

Even 25 years later, safety is still a concern. During the last race at Brazil we saw Kimi Raikkonen’s car set alight when another was sent from the pits with a refuelling hose still attached.

This time refuelling is being banned to save money. Lugging two refuelling rigs per team to every race incurs huge freight costs, especially for flyaway races.

Banning refuelling is going to have a big affect on F1 and that will be the subject of a later article here.

But as F1 approaches its final race with refuelling I wanted to ask a different question – whether refuelling has become irrelevant as part of the F1 ‘spectacle’.

F1 coverage, in Britain at least, is much more sophisticated now than it was 15 years ago. We know how much fuel a car has at the start of the race, and when they make a pit stop we can predict quite accurately when they’re going to stop again.

So a change of position due to a refuelling stop becomes more or less inevitable. When Jenson Button beat Rubens Barrichello at Spain because he used a two stop strategy instead of three there was little excitement or surprise at the outcome – other than the fact that two team mates had been put on different strategies.

To my mind it’s been five years since anyone did anything remarkable with a pit stop strategy – when Michael Schumacher won with four pit stops at Magny-Cours.

I’ve got a list as long as my arm of reasons why I’m glad to see the back of refuelling. But the most compelling justification is that it’s always the same and no-one seems to be surprised by it any more.

Are you happy refuelling is going? Was Grand Prix racing better before 1994 or after? Share your reaction in the comments – and do mention whether you watched F1 before refuelling was brought back in 1994, and what you thought of it.

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247 comments on Goodbye to?? refuelling

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  1. James said on 26th October 2009, 19:56

    In today’s era where there is little more than a second seperating all the cars on the grid (granted that maybe a little more next season), refuelling allowed the added uncertainty and element in every race.

    Refuelling also emphasised the point of a team effort in this sport. All the teams say they believe each operation (particuarly sucessful ones) is a “team effort”, now they’re losing members of that team and effort

    Races could be largely processional next season, with some cars (or perhaps all) making the same number of pit stops.

    It will also mean that the racing will most likely be of a slower pace as drivers try to conserve their tyres and what fuel they have on board. People that like/love agressive racing will probably see little of it. People think that the Hamilton/Alonso battle will be the tastiest battle since Schumacher/Hakkinen or Senna/Prost or Senna/Mansell etc. WRONG.

    I don’t consider safety much of an issue either with regard to refuelling. The drivers are paid massive amounts of danger money anyway, and the pit crew probably get a relatively handsome amount. It’s part of the job, you accept it. Like a fireman accepts that he will be going into a burning building. I dont think refuelling rigs take up a particuarly massive amount of space in the haulage crates, but then I could be wrong.

    YOu may have a list the length of your arm as to why refuelling should be banned, but I can bet I’ll have a list double that as to why it shouldnt and why it will be missed.

    • Keith Collantine (@keithcollantine) said on 26th October 2009, 20:02

      Did you watch F1 before 1994?

      • James said on 26th October 2009, 20:04

        Funnily enough, 1994 was my first season of watching F1 aged 5 years… I’m 20 years old =P

        But I have seen races pre-94 and still believe that the races are far more exciting with refueling than without. Oddly, I think it’s great the drivers crack under pressure and take the fuel hose with them. Sort’s the men from the boys.

        • Terry Fabulous said on 26th October 2009, 21:04

          I started watching in 1985 (I’m so old!) and can honestly say that banning refuelling will not suddenly produce super racing week in week out.

          However, what it will do is
          A: Challenge the drivers to master another skill. They are very adept at going fast on fresh tyres in a light car. But lets seem them manage a VERY heavy car. Especialy into the first corner of the race.
          and
          B: Force faster drivers to overtake on the track. There are few things more depressing then when a faster driver gets on the xhaust of a slower one and you know that they are going to leapfrog in ten laps when they go to the pits. Now, the driver behind will have to do it on the track (Provided tyres are being looked after).

          One of the amazing things about Senna was his ability to drive very fast in a heavy car on cold tyres. Let’s see who can do that today!

        • Shocking- I hope it will not come to pass.

      • Damian said on 27th October 2009, 4:01

        Is the official FOTA website a shameful “journos”?

    • Damon said on 26th October 2009, 21:17

      It will also mean that the racing will most likely be of a slower pace as drivers try to conserve their tyres

      Huh??
      It is refuelling that will be banned – NOT pitstops for tyre changes.

      • James said on 26th October 2009, 21:26

        Yes, but on some tracks with short laps i.e. Interlagos and Hungary, the penalty for taking a pit stop will be very high, so drivers will be looking at one stop at best on said tracks, in fact, I reckon most of the races will be one stops.

        • Travis R said on 27th October 2009, 4:03

          Exactly- hopefully they aren’t signed up to any kind of contract with the FIA. Same for Cmpos and Manor, for that matter.

        • Derek said on 27th October 2009, 14:05

          I think it will still be two stop because I think the regs still state that both sets of tyres must be worn during the race. So you would not want to complete half the race on the crap tyre!

      • Except drivers will have to drive a bit more carefully when they start the races with 150kg of fuel if they don’t want to ruin heir tyres in 5 laps.

      • sato113 said on 26th October 2009, 23:30

        but SURELY the teams will still need to transport big fuel rigs around the world. otherwise how do they give their cars a quick splash of fuel in the dying moments of qualifying???!!!

        • Nitpicker said on 27th October 2009, 10:59

          Maybe there’ll be a Shell pump at the end of the pitlane.

        • Derek said on 27th October 2009, 14:14

          They used a messured can with a funnel spout in the old days and the filler cap was mounted on top just behind the big airvent behind the driver. They could put the exact fuel in for one two etc laps.

    • Great post James !

      Says it all. Refuelling adds an ants nest of very busy pit crews doing rapid, potentially dangerous things. Humans can panic, misread signals. Machines can and do mysteriously malfunction.

      It all adds to the pressure pot effect and we are about to lose some of that compelling sight of humans under pressure.

      Shame.

      • Chalky said on 26th October 2009, 23:36

        Refuelling adds an ants nest of very busy pit crews doing rapid, potentially dangerous things. Humans can panic, misread signals. Machines can and do mysteriously malfunction.

        OMG! Did any of you see the pre race refuelling pits stops?
        Tyre changes will happen next year and a good crew can get that done really quick without refuelling. Under pressure mistakes happen and now they have less time to think about it.

        I’m with Keith and I’m looking forward to it. Drivers will be forced to try and overtake on the track.

        Also drivers will have to be carefull they don’t burn up their tyres under a heavy fuel load.

      • Travis R said on 27th October 2009, 4:04

        Ahh yes but the smart lawyer would ensure that if the FIA are unable to provide a decent field that no doubt FI, Williams and co. have signed up to compete again, he would/should a clause to the effect of “If the Federation and governing bodies are unable to provide all the conditions to which the undersigned have committed to, then it is at the discrection of the undersigned as to if they are going to compete in the competition for the duration signed”. Or there abouts! Let’s not forget that Max’s list for who is signed for 2010 included FOTA members. If they’re not going to compete then I would suggest that have breached contract if not some other law.
        I think all that makes sense?!?!

      • Nitpicker said on 27th October 2009, 11:03

        It all adds to the pressure pot effect and we are about to lose some of that compelling sight of humans under pressure.

        So pit crews won’t be changing tyres as fast as possible then? Pit stops will be a leisurely affair, like at the beginning of Talladega Nights?

      • BT52/B said on 28th October 2009, 0:57

        Agreed, good post James!

        I also fail to see how banning refueling adds excitement, and from Keith’s report it seems as if the real problem is not the refueling but us (the spectators) knowing how fuel the teams are carrying. Also, although I only started following F1 for real in 1999, I’ve watched various races from other eras and I don’t think the lack of refueling was the reason they were (allegedley) more exciting. This was due more to the drivers and the cars overall shaky reliability, which meant there were more crashes and retirements than today. These two things you can’t have back.

        In summary, refueling not only adds excitement to the race but also emphasizes the team effort that is a race. It as a quality of the sport that I admire, how the team works in synch for the result, yet the F1 bosses seem keen on showing only the most flashiest element of the team, the driver.

    • StephenH said on 26th October 2009, 23:29

      Agreed as a whole James, but the biggest reason why I think banning refuelling will make little or no difference to the quality of the racing is actually the current engine parity / freeze / regulations.

      The last time there was no refuelling, we had a mixture of V8′s, V10′s and V12′s on the grid. The V8′s would go screaming off into the lead, then the more powerful V10′s and V12′s (Ferrari at the time) would catch them up once the initial fuel load had burned off.

      With everybody having V8′s on the grid this time, any difference between the cars will still be aerodynamic … the biggest stumbling block to overtaking in F1 – unless the spec Cosworth is anything like they had back in ’06′ !!

      • James said on 27th October 2009, 18:08

        Which is surely the problem? All that seperates the cars now is aerodynamics, which is likely to be homolgised in the future i.e. parts become standard and areas of non-competition. F1 is slowly turning into Formula Renault/BMW/Ford. *yawn*

    • Damian said on 27th October 2009, 4:01

      Really? REALLY really? I’ll believe it when I see it. Shame on the journos (like the one on 5live) who are taking this without a pinch of salt.

    • The answer to this problem escapes me, as well. Other racing disciplines manage to follow quite closely and overtake. I know most F1 people look down on IRL, but perhaps a look at their aero setup may be in order, as they manage to run nose-to-tail at 200mph. Not saying copy them, but have a look for anything that might apply to F1 and help solve the overtaking problem.

      • Nitpicker said on 27th October 2009, 11:07

        The answer to this problem escapes me, as well. Other racing disciplines manage to follow quite closely and overtake.

        What’s refuelling got to do with on-track overtaking? This issue is being discussed to death elsewhere.

    • Bye bye…

      Bring back real qual.

      Great to see less artificial racing with fuel stratagy.

      Now if the FIA wanted to ber ‘green’ they should limit the total amount of fuel that can be used over the race length.
      The engines would have to be developed to use that amount and still be quick….

      But next year could be interesting in regards with engine mapping…do I go flat out and then limp home to make distance or do I go conservative…etc????

    • nimd4 said on 5th October 2010, 13:17

      [..] Hamilton/Alonso << James, we're possibly in the less-than-%0.01 of population that see it that way (probably even excluding my dad, ffs :));

      .. a guy on page six says: "Personally, I feel that the developments so far these last couple of years go some way to improve the show and that should hopefully continue."

      Gosh darn it, instead of handicapping (or knee-capping the people who write the rules), we get to endure the never-ending bull.

      Perhaps only the drivers' votes should set the season's rules – each vote carrying weight – according to the number of years they've participated.. or something. =)

  2. Lenny said on 26th October 2009, 20:00

    I’ll miss it :(
    The races wont be as intresting anymore. No more excitement guessing whos on what strategy and it takes away an element of the spectacle in f1. As for safety, Raikkonens fire looked worse than it was. The fire lasted less than a second and his overalls can withstand 7 seconds of burning. Also he was in a pitlane full of fire marshalls with extingushers ready to pounce on a spark.
    It will be sad to see the end of it.

    • James said on 26th October 2009, 20:01

      That said he did have vapour in his helmet for the rest of the race. Apparantly he was in tears the whole time because of it. That though, pays tribue to what a great racer he is. Some drivers would have called it day, whereas he carried on and picked up vital points for the team.

      • steve said on 26th October 2009, 20:10

        Before 1994 the cars raced….. simple.

        • Ned Flanders said on 26th October 2009, 20:30

          After 1994 the cars raced, too. It’s only been in the last 4 or 5 years that decent racing has stopped, because of the aerodynamics

          • Agree on this. Aerodynamics have ruined racing, not refuelling.

          • Spot on mate !

            When will they bite the bullet, get rid of ALL external aero and give the cars skirts again. Radical, yes, but we’ll get proper wheel to wheel stuff again.

          • F1Yankee said on 26th October 2009, 23:56

            correctomundo, neighborino!

          • steve said on 27th October 2009, 4:05

            Wow FIA really are stupid. I can’t believe this has actually happened :(

          • Rich N said on 27th October 2009, 15:36

            The problem is aero, but it goes back a lot further than the last 4 or 5 years.

            The big difference is that no refuelling brings in the element of fresh tyres or no fresh tyres at the end of a race. You don’t need to stop, but if you do, you’ll be a second a lap quicker. Is it worth it? Will your tyres last? Can someone else catch you?

            Also it adds the element of skill back into pitstops. Any small mistake is punished, whereas now most are masked by the refuelling still going on.

    • The lowing of the rev limit to 18000 RPM can’t have helped either. A few times this year drivers have been complaining of bouncing off the limiter before the end of the straight, which negates the advantage of the slipstream…

      • Nitpicker said on 27th October 2009, 11:10

        The lowing of the rev limit to 18000 RPM can’t have helped either. A few times this year drivers have been complaining of bouncing off the limiter before the end of the straight

        That’s a problem with how the engineers set up the gear ratios, it has nothing to do with rev limits.

  3. Tod Fod said on 26th October 2009, 20:10

    Completely agree with james. End of refueling is going to make the race and qualifying ridiculously boring. No surprises in Q3, as slower cars cannot choose lighter fuel loads and use their chances to jump the ferraris and mclarens. Race strategy is an essential part of racing, and it will not exist after the refueling ban.

    • Being able only to remember watching F1 when refuelling has been in place this is the opinion I hold. Hope I am wrong though!

      • steve said on 27th October 2009, 4:06

        I don’t think anybody involved is stupid – stubborn, maybe, but not stupid. This may just be the highest-stake gamble ever.

        • Nitpicker said on 27th October 2009, 11:13

          This may just be the highest-stake gamble ever.

          Hardly. What about KERS, the huge changes to aero regs, having a sole tyre supplier, customer cars (or lack of them)… there are bigger issues in F1. The refuelling ban is just to shake up the racing a bit. Give it ten years and it’ll be reintroduced.

    • Maksutov said on 27th October 2009, 5:31

      We need powerful fuel pumps in order to increase top speed. This will lead to bigger breaking distance and as a resault a lot more overtaking.
      I know a v10 engine would be a lot more expensive, but if they keep the engine rules stable without changing their rev limits every year or their approximately life in grand prixs the cost will be reduced for sure.

      • Nitpicker said on 27th October 2009, 11:17

        Fuel pumps! Of course that is the answer. Do you work in Halfords? Maybe the teams could add some chromed mesh to the sidepods and LED strips along the nose!

        The FIA introduces new rules every year or two to limit the speed of the cars and stop them becoming crazy-fast and too dangerous. We must tell them of the potential fuel pump breakthrough immediately. What’s Toad’s number?

        • Maksutov said on 28th October 2009, 12:58

          lol yep, I did not write that, someone hacked in with my username. check the forums, you will also need to add an avatar with your username ,…do it asap.

      • Maksutov said on 28th October 2009, 0:53

        WT#$!!!!!!

        I didnt write THIS!!

        Keith somebody is logging using my name!? WTH my name is written on this message and yet i did not write this nonsense .

  4. Alpha said on 26th October 2009, 20:12

    I love to see more uncertainties. By allowing refuelling , it gives teams flexibility to play with different strategies. I enjoy watching it as an audience too, like when a driver is physically leading the race, but in actual fact it might not be the case due to different strategy used. I think it makes it much more interesting.

    I seriously doubt that by banning in race refuelling would save teams a lot of money. More to the point, I don’t see why we need to go in the direction of cost saving at all! There are sponsors lining up to sponsor F1 teams. I am proud that F1 is the most expensive sport of all !

    • Keith Collantine (@keithcollantine) said on 26th October 2009, 20:32

      I love to see more uncertainties. By allowing refuelling , it gives teams flexibility to play with different strategies.

      But it’s not uncertain and hasn’t been for ages. We know what they’re doing and we usually know how it’s going to work out.

      I am proud that F1 is the most expensive sport of all!

      How many teams have to quit before you change your mind?

      • Brian said on 26th October 2009, 20:50

        There is a simple solution. The only people that the teams should have to tell about their fuel loads is the Stewards.
        I don’t have to know how much fuel is onboard the car, and the other teams don’t need to know either. Making the fuel loads public was a bad move.
        I didn’t start watching F1 until after 94 but I will still miss it.

      • Now Im Scared said on 26th October 2009, 22:23

        I think that going back to manual shifting, getting rid of all of the aerodynamic goodies, and real-time data telemetry would make for much more exiting racing. The riddance of traction control, refueling, and tire warmers is a good start.

        • John H said on 27th October 2009, 4:07

          I’m pretty nervous about this news – not quite sure how to feel about it… it will certainly be interesting at abu dhabi this weekend that’s for sure.

          • sumedh said on 27th October 2009, 5:32

            Someone had suggested the use of steel fuel pumps instead of carbon fibre ones. That would cause the fuel efficency to double, it is assumed.

    • GeeMac said on 27th October 2009, 6:01

      “I love to see more uncertainties. By allowing refuelling , it gives teams flexibility to play with different strategies.

      But it’s not uncertain and hasn’t been for ages. We know what they’re doing and we usually know how it’s going to work out.”

      Keith’s point is spot on. In the last 5 years there have only been two instances where refuelling has added value to a race, or where refuelling has caused uncertainty in a race which has kept fans on the edge of their seats. Refuelling is not the sole cause of dull F1 races, but it certainly is a major factor. 20 cars running around on the “optimum strategy” leads to dull races.

      • stjoslin said on 27th October 2009, 11:59

        But if there is only one strategy surely this will create the same situation – a dull race

        • GeeMac said on 27th October 2009, 13:41

          Sure, but if someone in a quick car has mashed up his tyres early and has to fight through the field to try salvage a point it will lead to a great race…

          • stjoslin said on 27th October 2009, 14:35

            True, but then is creates the emphasis on drivers to drive smoothly and not to run to close to cars in front because of the lack will create greater tyre wear. This will mean drivers will adopt a slow and steady approach to driving at the early part of the race which could turn races in to a snooze-fest as the optimum tyre strategy is to push on soft rubber at the end of the race. I am just imagining Barcelona now….

        • Alpha said on 28th October 2009, 3:53

          Agree entirely.

      • Alpha said on 28th October 2009, 4:02

        What I worry about is that, since all cars are using the same tyres, same fuel load. If they did the calculation correctly, they should all pit at the same time, more or less the same lap. With the extra teams, the pit lane will be crowded.

        In strategy wise, don’t you think its boring? Like everything is expected.

        Like last week, when Kov spun his car, they pited him and fueled him up for a longer stint to make up for the mistake, if the strategy work out, it might not be so bad afterall. I am just trying to say that, I love to see the way team use their strategy to recover or optimize their resources in those short period of time.

  5. rampante said on 26th October 2009, 20:20

    Don’t want to moan here but to say that Massa will be happy as a result is a bit lame. He left the pits due to a failure of Ferrari’s new lollypop system. Kovi did it all on his own last week!

    • Kovi had the same problem than Massa. And was not with an automated lollypop system Ferrari was using it manually. For the case of Kova, was a lollypop mechanic’s fault.

      • John H said on 27th October 2009, 4:08

        I can see todt on his knees begging for the ‘refueling to come back when he realises there’s only gonna be three teams capable of designing cars for large fuel tank. The sheet has officially hit the fan!

        • Nitpicker said on 27th October 2009, 11:24

          …there’s only gonna be three teams capable of designing cars for large fuel tank.

          Big fuel tanks are certainly the biggest technical challenge you can ask of a world-class motorsports team. I mean, high downforce aero packaging and seamless-shift gearboxes are a cinch by comparison!

    • mp4-19b said on 27th October 2009, 5:34

      When I first heard about refueling ban I thought it was destined to be a great equalizer when it came to passing. Also, refueling ban would not only create more parity on the track, but also serve as an example of a conservation technology that would, at least in intent, address the real world issue of alternate-energy conservation.

      As the season progressed it became obvious that this was to become an optional technology with teams picking and choosing whether to use refueling or not. In my opinion if refueling ban were mandated on all cars and for all races the overtaking problem would be less of an issue than it is now.

  6. For me, this relates to the bigger issue of overtaking in F1. If banning refuelling means that it enourages more on-track action I will love it, otherwise I won’t. As overtaking is already so difficult, you have to assume the worst. Alot of other agruments are fairly trivial. Drivers often drive to conserve their tyres and fuel already, so that wont change. There will be less risk of fires at pit stops, but they will continue to be dangerous for the mechanics under more pressure with faster stops. I didn’t watch F1 before 1994 so it will be interesting to see how drivers cope with heavy cars sloshing around the track in the early laps. We do already see that cars can handle very differently with different fuel loads, so maybe it will spice up the racing if some are better at different times in the race!?

    • OMG!!!!!!!!!!!
      This is probably what we all wished would happen, but really thought it never would. Yes, no more refueling. Maybe no more tyre warmers?

    • James Brickles said on 27th October 2009, 5:36

      To be honest, I think refueling has improved and to an extent, the new rules have worked. Its only improved from the midfield down the the lower end of the grid.

      I think these double decker fuel pumps are to blame because we saw Alonso and Heidfeld have their battle and Alonso was able to get fuel spray the BMW (Non DDFP). Then we saw Button struggling to even follow Rosberg. He should have been sprayinf fuel over him :D (DDFP).

  7. Keith, I think you mean “1993″ and not “1983″ early in the article :)

    I have become convinced that banning refulling is the way to go, but as with all changes, I suppose we will need to see how it plays out in realtime situations. If it improves the action-and, most of all, makes it safer- no complaints from me.

  8. Ned Flanders said on 26th October 2009, 20:28

    On paper, banning refuelling should make F1 more interesting. It should mean that more overtaking will be done on the track than in the pits. But the problem is, F1 isn’t raced on paper, it’s raced on the track bla bla bla…

    The point is I don’t actually think modern F1 cars can overtake each other often enough to make no refuelling work. In the last 15 years, even the most dreary races have been livened up by short fuel dashes and pit stop fires, but now what will there be to break up the monotony? Manadatory tyre changes?

    I think the refuelling ban is a decent idea, but it won’t work until the cars are (successfully) designed to allow overtaking, and I can’t see that happening for years.

    • Keith Collantine (@keithcollantine) said on 26th October 2009, 20:36

      The point is I don’t actually think modern F1 cars can overtake each other often enough to make no refuelling work.

      True – but these are two different problems. Refuelling doesn’t help cars overtake, it helps cars look like they can overtake, to the untrained eye. Banning refuelling isn’t a cure-all.

    • Mahir C said on 26th October 2009, 22:56

      maybe the designers will have to make the cars less sensitive. They wont have the luxury of waiting until pitstops. We’ll see next year.

      • I am so glad to see Brawn on that list. This is great the champ leader saying they will leave too if refueling is banned. Awesome just awesome f*&k todt and bernie and those FIA a-holes they can all just go and rot in hell where they belong. All the fans will follow refueling well at least 90% of them will, F1 will be no more well at least governed by the FIA it will be no more. NF1 (New f1) will be much better without stupid regs and crazy rule changes every year. Way to say take your refueling and your budgets and shove them where the sun don’t shine.

      • Derek said on 27th October 2009, 14:36

        An F1 car with a fresh set of rubber just out of the pits used to be 1 to 2 sec per lap faster than a car just about to go in so overtaking did go on and still will. Remember any places made up now on the track should be perminent. Two or three stops in some tracks will be the norm, not only for fresh rubber but because an average stop will be 5 or 6 seconds shorter than previous years.

    • Nitpicker said on 27th October 2009, 14:01

      I think the excitement will come when we see cars with varying tyre wear. I’ve only been watching F1 since 1994, but I remember that Silverstone race (85, 86?) where Mansell blitzed Piquet after stopping for fresh tyres. We know how much a difference tyres can make from Melbourne this year. Strategy will live on.

      • Derek said on 27th October 2009, 14:46

        Your right, the strategists will have to work out the time gained on fresh rubber against the time lost in pitting. Pitting is going to be soo much faster. I think the FIA will have to allow the teams to choose what ever tyres the want to impove the strategy.

  9. My view is that this will increase even more technical competition, which is what I love the most about F1.

    Now even single drop of fuel that the engine uses will count, because cars will have to carry more fuel during the entire race. So, while we see today mercedes engines being more powerful than the others, it might very well be that the new Cosworths use less gas over the entire race.

    Can it be that by the end of the next year we’ll be talking about how many fewer gallons newer teams will need to carry, and how faster they’ll be because of that?

    • Leslie said on 27th October 2009, 4:21

      It’s real but I don’t think you’ve seen the last of refueling yet.

      Xtrac will provide the fuel hoses.

      parmalat used to supply most of the teams at one time. In those days the teams used as many fuel pumps as they wanted to.

      It won’t be too hard for honda to get the infrastructure up and going most of it already exists and does not belong to the bmw or brabham.

  10. Chris said on 26th October 2009, 20:30

    If I remember correctly, before 1994, you also had exciting race strategies focused only on tires. Am I missing something, or will that still be relevant?

    Also, forbidding refueling might be a first step towards making fuel efficiency a key factor in the race, ensuring that F1 will lead research in fuel efficiency that will be useful to the car industry, and silence the criticism that motor racing is an environmental waste. Or am I missing smthing here too?

    • Keith Collantine (@keithcollantine) said on 26th October 2009, 20:41

      Forbidding refueling might be a first step towards making fuel efficiency a key factor in the race.

      That already happens – a lot. We’re always hearing radio from the cars where the drivers are being told to put their engines on its leanest settings while stuck behind another car, in the hope of eking out another lap and passing them by pitting later. Yawn…

    • James said on 26th October 2009, 20:41

      I think I read somewhere that when the current Formula is redundent and updated for the 2012 season there will be a focus on cars only getting a set amount of fuel per race, and the team that gets the most from the fuel is obviously going to reap the rewards. I think this is Mercedes territory and most definitely not Ferrari’s.

      • phil c said on 27th October 2009, 4:17

        Well let see what happens now. The FIA will take mclaren and brawn to court, but that cannot prevent them competing in another series where re-fueling exists. Presendence has already been set, todt said f1 doesn’t need re-fueling and further to that, FIA did not force tyre warmers to stay.

        mclaren f1 will go broke then come back .Cant sue a company that is bankrupt.

        Mclaren refueling hose will no longer be part of the sport. So no re-fueling, and the best one for me. Only manufacture teams have been developing the refueling techniques etc etc. Cosworth dont have a refueling rig. Were on earth are these new teams going to get a fuel pump from that can be as realiable.

  11. Refueling will be looked upon fondly by this time next year.

    The problem is that the cars just can’t pass each other given the current state of the rules and the tracks. 2009 rules were a step in the right direction, but the infamous double-diffuser put paid to most of the progress that would have been made. Everyone’s refusal to run KERS next year will also equalize things negatively.

    Consider Valencia this year, without refueling. Hamilton would have sailed off serenely into the distance, while his teammate would have held everyone else back.

    A great result if you are a McLaren fan, but still frightfully dull stuff to watch.

    Now I’m all for getting rid of refueling on safety grounds, but the cars need to be able to pass each other in order for interesting racing to happen.

    • phil c said on 27th October 2009, 4:18

      The best time to push home your fuel advantage is when your opponent is already in retreat & running out of gas.

    • Icarus said on 27th October 2009, 10:27

      You mean to say that Valencia [i]wasn’t[/i] frightfully dull this year? :P

    • LewisC said on 27th October 2009, 13:25

      Hamilton would have sailed off serenely into the distance, while his teammate would have held everyone else back.

      Is anyone else thinking “Mansell, 1992″ here?

  12. Raceaddict said on 26th October 2009, 20:41

    Chris, I don’t think fuel efficiency will be a big selling point. These guys are pretty good at figuring out how much fuel they need.

    A tire war, on the other hand is what I think this sport needs.

    • Leslie said on 27th October 2009, 4:24

      Yeah BRM use to manufacture fuel hoses, but dont now. They have gone from supplying 120 fuel rigss. (3 teams with a couple of mess ups) close to 500 fuel hoses accross the entire grid.

      It takes merc 5 days to build an fuel pump. and i dare say they would have it down pat. I dont think BRM would have it down pat considering they have to revive an fuel pump 3 years old.

      Not only this, I would think some teams like Alfa romeo (merc second team), prodrive,(ferrari second team) would now sign up with FOCA.

  13. Tom Hitchings said on 26th October 2009, 20:46

    Won’t there be refuelling during qualifying next year?

    I was expecting cars to refuel between hotlaps under the new format in 2010.

    Or are they expected to start Q1 with a heavy tank and burn it off through the sessions? If so that would mean fuel strategies become crucial in qualifying (rather than the race).

    • Terry Fabulous said on 26th October 2009, 21:27

      Good question Tom

      I would guess that they are allowed to top up between sessions. Anyone know any better?

      • Leslie said on 27th October 2009, 4:26

        benetton can step in a supply the fuel pumps. Standard ECU of Brabham can still be used as its supplied by a different company. But who cares anyway, I’ll be watching the FOCA side of the wall. By the way how many hundreds of millions did the ITV pay for rights to F1 coverage?

  14. MichaelG said on 26th October 2009, 20:47

    “This time refuelling is being banned to save money. Lugging two refuelling rigs per team to every race incurs huge freight costs, especially for flyaway races.”

    How much exactly do those things weigh? I can’t believe it’s a huge cost in comparison to all the other stuff they haul around the world – not to mention the multimillion dollar motor homes/buildings they cart around Europe, etc.

    • HounslowBusGarage said on 26th October 2009, 21:59

      Yes, and how else are they going to fuel the cars during practice, qualifying and before the race?
      With teacups?

      • The sri lankan said on 27th October 2009, 4:28

        LOL! HounslowBusGarage!

        Some one please tell me this is a joke. i always thaught this idea of a refueling ban was indeed a Leverage plan. why does todt have to bve so dam stubborn? this is exactly what happened to Indyacars and champcars and back in the day that series used to be the alternative to f1 until they destoyed thmselves by introducing refueling. i really trully pray that common sense prevails and these people stick to the normal F1 championship where refueling exists.

  15. Patrickl said on 26th October 2009, 20:58

    I really worry that not refuelling is going to make for seriously boring races. More so than now.

    At least now we have the suspense wether a driver can make his strategy work or not. Like how Barrichello failed to work his (supposedly) faster strategy in Spain by blowing his third stint (losing about 17 seconds in that stint by the looks of that chart). While Button beat him by swapping to another strategy AND making it work.

    This shows exactly how a strategy is not set to be faster. Barrichello was supposed to win with that 3 stop strategy. That’s how they calculated it upfront. In the end he didn’t.

    The only hope I have is that cars will be able to overtake each other better when on a full load and because the qualifying is changed.

    Qualifying is one of the biggest problems with overtaking (after aerodynamics). The cars start in order of race pace. How can you expect them to overtake if the fast car is in front of the slower car? With low fuel qualifying we get a difference in cars that deal well on low fuel but not so good on high fuel. So the grid will be sorted more randomly when considering race pace. I know it’s artificial, but it might just work.

    • Hungary showed that the quickest guys can change from day to day and qualifying pace isn’t the same as race pace!

      • Patrickl said on 26th October 2009, 22:32

        They start the race with the same car and fuel load as they qualified.

        If there is any difference in pace on race day then that’s an exception. A driver that made a mistake for instance.

    • Terry Fabulous said on 27th October 2009, 2:03

      Not necessarily so Patrickl, you will always get drivers like Trulli and Webber who really shine in Qually less so in races and the Coulthard/Button racers who struggle in Qually and are better racers.

      But on the whole, I see what you mean.

    • Hammad said on 27th October 2009, 4:30

      I hope they see it through though. It’s time to have a proper racing . And I hope the court cases against Dallara and Fondmetal, the ones definitely going to happen, don’t detract from this.

    • Maksutov said on 27th October 2009, 16:07

      I really worry that not refuelling is going to make for seriously boring races.

      I fear the same also.

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