14 reasons to love the refuelling ban

CommentPosted on | Author Keith Collantine

Drivers will have to pass on the track, not in the pits, in 2010
Drivers will have to pass on the track, not in the pits, in 2010

The F1 Sporting Working Group has been asked to come up with new ideas to “improve the show” in F1 in 2010.

But the best decision to improve the show was taken this time last year. After 16 years, refuelling during the race is finally being banned. This will make F1 more exciting, easier to follow, less expensive and safer.

1. Qualifying will be more exciting

For the past few years whenever a driver pulled a quick lap out of the bag to snatch pole position the response was not “what a great lap” but “How much fuel has he got on board?”

Next year when a driver hangs it all out and grabs the number one spot by a few thousandths we’ll know it’s because of what he got out of the car and not how little fuel was put in it.

The nay-sayers who insist it will lead to the fastest car always starting from pole position should pause to consider the last season in which we had proper low-fuel qualifying. Juan Pablo Montoya started from pole position seven times in 2002 – but never won a race.

Read more: Real qualifying returns in 2010

2. Easier to compare drivers’ performances

With all drivers qualifying on low fuel we will be able to tell very easily who got the most out of their car over a single lap – especially between team mates. The tedious and contrived calculations about who did the best ‘fuel-adjusted’ lap will go in the bin.

3. Easier to follow races at the track

Sat at home with the television broadcast, F1.com’s timing screen and, of course, the F1 Fanatic live blogs, it’s easy to keep on top of the race strategies. But sat in the rain at Pouhon without a TV screen, no Kangaroo reception and the tannoy drowned out by the scream of the engines, who knows which driver is on what strategy.

Yes, they’ll still be tyre stops in 2010, but the added complexity of different fuel loads will be gone, making it a lot easier to follow a race. That can only be a good thing for the accessibility of the sport.

4. Racing will be less artificial

Although knockout qualifying has brought an exciting dimension to Saturdays, it has created the strange phenomenon where drivers on row six can be better-placed strategically because they didn’t make it into the final ten and therefore have free reign on their fuel strategy.

In short, qualifying ninth or tenth can put you at a disadvantage compared to starting 11th or 12th. This artificial advantage will be neutered in 2010.

5. It will save the teams money

This is the main reason why refuelling is being axed – and it’s a sound one.

Lugging a pair of refuelling rigs per team around the world isn’t cheap, especially when there’s a bunch more new teams showing up.

Read more: The cost-cutting plans: refuelling ban

6. No more fuel-saving means they’re flat out all the way

If the widespread use of in-car radio in F1 has shown us anything it’s that as soon as drivers get stuck behind a rival they concentrate more on trying to save fuel – and therefore pit later and more advantageously – than trying to overtake.

I doubt banning refuelling will lead to a lot more overtaking – that problem is more to do with the aerodynamic sensitivity of the cars and, to a lesser extent, track layouts.

But it will at least remove an incentive for a driver to sit back and not try to overtake, which can only be a good thing.

7. Race strategy will be more interesting and exciting

Smart tyre strategy helped Schumacher win in 1993
Smart tyre strategy helped Schumacher win in 1993

Banning refuelling does not mean the death of race strategy. Instead, Grands Prix will have a strategic dimension which has more interesting consequences for the racing.

Now it will be all about which drivers can get through the race on a single tyre stop, nursing their car in the early stages on a heavy fuel load, and which ones have to make an extra stop. Already some commentators are talking up the chances of drivers who are kind to their tyres (like the current world champion) versus those who might not be (like the last one).

When the refuelling rules were brought in for 1994 the governing body ignored the fact that this very facet of the rules allowed for one of the rare occasions when the dominant Williams of 1993 was beaten by a lesser car on a dry track. Michael Schumacher elected not to make his final stop for tyres at Estoril and clung onto his lead despite being chased down by Alain Prost in the closing stages.

There are rumours the governing body is considering making two pit stops mandatory in 2010. That would be a terrible idea as it would completely kill any potential for strategic variety. Instead, they should go in the opposite direction and remove the present need for drivers to make at least one pit stop.

8. Fairer competition

F1 has never been properly set up for refuelling, in the modern era at least. F1 pits only permit one car to be serviced at any given time, forcing teams to run drivers on at least slightly different strategies.

So on occasions where the safety car has been deployed we have seen drivers’ races ruined because they had to queue up behind their team mate before they could take on fuel.

It’s disappointing no-one tried to fix this problem in the last 16 years, but at least it won’t matter any more now.

9. Harder for teams to favour one driver

There is no question there is always one fuel strategy that is superior to another – even if the difference is only a lap here or there.

Without refuelling it’s going to be a lot harder to have those “Team X always favours Driver Y” arguments in 2010.

10. More challenging for the drivers

No-one’s saying F1 is easy. But at the moment F1 drivers have to prepare their cars to work within a weight range of around 630kg to 700kg. That range will be roughly doubled next year, leaving them having to prepare cars that will handle radically different at the start of the race to the end, with lap times falling by around five seconds during the race.

That opens up a far greater scope for variety in set-ups, strategies and performance – not to mention potential for people to get things wrong and end up with a car that destroys its tyres at the beginning of a race or can’t get heat into them at the end.

11. More exciting pit stops

The pit stops that do happen will be brief, exciting bursts of energy as teams scramble to get four tyres off and on the cars as quickly as possible.

As refuelling almost always takes longer than a tyre change the pressure on the mechanics has been less severe in recent year.

But in 2010 how quickly they turn the car around will determine how little time their man loses. In 1993 Benetton whittled their best tyre change time down to a blink-and-you’ll-miss-it 3.2 seconds. Will any of the teams be able to top that next year?

Read more: A brief history of pit stops in F1

12. No more races ruined by rigs

Giancarlo Fisichella pits for fuel at Catalunya in 2006
Giancarlo Fisichella pits for fuel at Catalunya in 2006

Despite having 16 years to perfect refuelling rigs, last year faults were still causing drivers to receive too little fuel, ruining their races – notably for Felipe Massa at Catalunya.

No more will we see a closely-fought battle between two drivers spoiled because one of their races was ruined by a dodgy rig.

13. Improved safety

Just as 16 years of development hasn’t stopped fuel rigs from failing, it also failed to weed out refuelling fires. There was a spate of fires at the Hungarian Grand Prix last year and more incidents this year too.

The trade-off for that is that cars will be carrying much more fuel at the start of a race, which is potentially an increased risk. However cars today are far less likely to catch fire on impact and marshals are much quicker at arriving on the scene than they used to be. On balance I suspect we’re better off this way.

14. Overtaking will be more important

A battle for position is more exciting when it’s significant. A driver on a lighter fuel load breezing past a much heavier car is less compelling because you know he’ll eventually have to pit and, in all likelihood, lose the position again.

Next year when a driver passes another it’s much more likely to be decisive. I’d far rather see that than an occasional jumbling of the order just because some drivers have pitted to refuel.

I know some people are unconvinced about the refuelling ban – especially those who didn’t watch F1 before 1994. There are downsides to the refuelling ban but I think they are vastly outweighed by the benefits. Tell me what you think in the comments.

F1 2010 rules: Refuelling ban

Image (C) Williams/LAT, Ford.com, Renault/LAT

154 comments on “14 reasons to love the refuelling ban”

  1. A lot will depend on what type of tyre is used at each race won’t it? If Bridgestone take something that is much harder and will last, then the more aggressive drivers will be favoured?

  2. Oh! Keith! you are goin’ to get a real slack on this issue :( But I support you 7 the ban on re-fueling.

  3. “There are rumours the governing body is considering making two pit stops mandatory in 2010.” Please nooooooooooooooo! You may as well not ban refuelling then!

    Give the rule change a chance before ruining it! The prospect of having a number of drivers on differing strategies during a race will add a new dimension to races in the 2010 season. Personally I can’t wait for the first time a driver decides that the time he will loose while making a stop for fresh rubber is worth it because he’ll be able to breeze past the car in front once he catches him up again! What drama! The last 20 laps of F1 races will be a spectacle again, not a farce with cars cruising around in an attempt to “save the engine”.

    Let’s just wait and see how the races pan out in 2010 before making pit stops mandatory. If the powers that be are considering a rule change, they mandatory use of two tyre compounds should be the first to go…

  4. Agree on everything.
    “There are rumours the governing body is considering making two pit stops mandatory in 2010” really I hope it doesn’t happen.
    In general, to me, we need to have as less rules as possible. I don’t want races to be determined by a mandatory pit stop, or a mandatory stop and go for box speeding, or some grid penalties and so on. These rules make the races too complex. We need to keep Formula 1 to “drive and go (and overtake)” at the most.

    1. Your speed limit argument is weak. Drivers need a speed limit and it as to be harshly enforced. Otherwise they would all try to get the most out of the pit lane.

  5. Keith, I think you’re my hero. Your articles are awesome. Aren’t you published in the mainstream press yet?

    1. Aren’t you published in the mainstream press yet?

      What do you mean mainstream? F1F is the main”est” of all the streams! Its like the Amazon river, the rest are tributaries :P


    2. It is an awesome site and I would consider it mainstream. It is ran so well, that it is hard to believe it is ran by a single person. Ohhh, I know he is not doing everything by himself, but he is the most ‘hands on’ administrator I can remember seeing and is an awesome writer, SUPER informative and fully deserves a spot at any top level F1 publication. GJ Keith. I too am a fan of F1Fanatic and recommend it highly.

  6. Prisoner Monkeys
    17th December 2009, 7:55

    15: Compromise, compromise, compromise

    Given the varietry of conditions the cars will be ruunning under – no fuel, fresh rubber in qualifying; full load, fresh tyres / half load, worn tyres / half load, fresh tyres / low fuel, worn tyres and everything in between in the race – it’s going to be impossible for the teams to produce a car that will be the best in the field under every single condition. It will be possible to make a car that is a jack of all trades and master of none, but that is going to require compromises. The FIA seems to be daring the teams to build a car that is good under certain conditions so that they’ll be the strongest during a certain phase of the race, which is a major argument against building a jack of all trades: if your car is decent all the time, but mine is excellent at the start of the race (but not so much at the end of it), we have a situation where you might catch me – but you’d have a better chance if your car was designed to run best at the end of the race, even if it means sacrificing the start. It will be interesting to see which cars perform best under which conditions of their relative fuel level and tyre wear.

    1. yep I like the idea,I would even like to go further with the renascence of f1 and ban telemetry.
      Ok for fuel/water and oil temp, but no yaw/dampener/rev etc none of it.
      Let the driver communicate to engineer what the car is doing and what he wants rather than staring at a graph and numbers.
      We will see who is the best rounded driver..one that is fast, and also can communicate and has a firm understanding of the car.
      It will also add in an element of uncertainty as cars wont be as precise as now, and may just lead to more racier drivers struggling with cars that weren’t digitally re-mastered in the pits.

  7. I’d far rather see that than an occasional jumbling of the order just because some drivers have pitted to refuel.

    hear hear !

    My fav jumbling of last year was Singapore, after some mayhem the display on BBC had Sutil in 6th place, there was so many cars pitting the LG computers didn’t know who was where.

  8. i agreee with 9-10-12-13-14

  9. I agree with you on many points,but mandatory pitstop will be a nightmare for the spectator.But I am thinking places like Monza which is one of the killer on brakes,we saw many times in the past that 1 stopper are having trouble on brakes,with 200+litre of fuel,roughly 180 kg (if I am not wrong) will any team struggle on brakes.But I think in raceday refuelling was a part of the show.

    Can anyone tell me what will be the fuel tank capacity for 2010?In 2009 it was 150 litre.

    1. This was addressed by the teams by proposing larger discs. Williams (suprise suprise) were the only team to block it. Anyone know the state of play on this at the moment? I hope we don’t end up with more retirements like Hamilton at Abu Dhabi as a result.

      1. Hamilton’s problem in Abu Dhabi was in the brake manufacturing process, nothing to do with the size or thickness. There were several cases last year of people running thin on brakes though (Webber in Singapore is the obvious, also a few guys in Valencia iirc).

      2. NO to bigger brakes!!! crickey lets have drivers adapt and nurse cars if they need to instead of getting bigger brakes and then finding a way to use them to 120% as they do now…meaning there would be no difference to now. Plus overtaking would become even harder.

  10. inc0mmunicado
    17th December 2009, 8:35

    Reason #5 is probably only half as good a reason than you thought—Bernie’s paying for shipping everything for all the flyaway races. It’s just gonna cost CVC less money…

    I think banning refueling will be a good change overall. We will probably see quite a few races lost by teams that spend too much time fixing broken front wings…or by teams that don’t get the lugs on all the way cause they rushed (like Renault:P).

    Questions remain though–is the FIA mandating a fuel level for starting each race? How will they know how much fuel to put in at a new track…I don’t want to see a race end with everyone running out of gas..

    1. José Baudaier
      17th December 2009, 20:50

      Don’t worry, the teams will know.

  11. Although I advocate the ban on mid-race refuelling, I don’t think it will have a huge impact. The post-qualifying parc fermé will continue to exist (Sorry Keith, ‘real’ qualifying won’t return) and engines are still homologated. Without the engine homologation manufactures would have had a clear incentive to improve fuel efficiency. Due to ‘engine freeze’ some manufactures have an unfair advantage.

    1. The engine manufacturers are allowed to make updates on the engine that do not increase its power output. Therefore it is possible for them to improve the engines fuel consumption throughout the life of that particular type of engine.

  12. Great article! And, you made a mistake, Massa had a refuelling problem in Singapore, not Catalunya.

    1. He did at Catalunya, as the team didn’t know if he had fuel put in and he had to let Alonso through.

      1. remember this year saloolas?

        well i thought keith was meant to say singapore too but after a while i figured it out. the pic of fisi at catalyna doesnt help either, makes it look as if keith has made a mistake

    2. Oh, right. Thanks

  13. I have one question though – how will they put fuel in the cars before the race. Or in qualifying as I presume the cars will allways drive with minimal ammount of fuel.

    1. Cars will still be refueled in practice and quali but not with the super high tech rigs from 2009. Time won’t be a factor so in theory you could use a gas can and funnel to refuel. Even if it takes 30 minutes.

  14. Id ban all pitstops, its a contrived nonsense anyway. No pitstops means lugging even less tyres around therby saving more moneyand also means theres no chance someone can “kimi”* past another driver whilst they pit, they will have to ACTUALLY overtake on the track. !!!gasp!!

    *deliberately provactive namecheck to wind up kimilubber lubbers

    1. if they change for tyres it wont make a big difference like it did this year, if it was 1 stop min, pitting wouldnt cost you any time because the feul load would not change at all, infact being out on fresh tyres could help you be faster than the guy you were racing before you pitted

    2. Never mind, you can just drive round the outside of the trees and pass someone, but then block pass them onto the inside and get them dq’ed.

      Even more deliberate spa/non racing driver namecheck intended for the same wind up. Merry xmas antonyob

    3. Not quite sure how that would work with changing weather conditions.

  15. I agree with Keith. I’ve watched F1 pre 1994 and I prefer to see drivers pass for position on track. Even if it means less passing (yes, there could be) it will mean that drivers have to pressure the guy in front to make a mistake and pass him.
    I’m also really looking forward to low fuel qualifying and the super quick tyre change pit stops. Bring on 2010!

  16. I cant decide if this is a good or bad thing so far.
    Dont agree with point 1 but point 5 is good, allows for more teams etc.

    Im worried though that this new ban on fueling strategy will result in drivers who are good to there tyres but not especially fast holding the pack up as its still hard to overtake.

    We should be favouring the true racers who put it all on the line.

  17. Re. point 7 about being kind to the tyres. Why are people still stuck in 2007 with regards to Lewis Hamilton – it really irks me. In 2009, he was on a one stopper in Turkey (where he had previously had to make 3 stops) and in Brazil. If he was that bad with his tyres, he wouldn’t be able to make a one stop strategy work. As it was, he went from 17th to 3rd in Brazil and didn’t harm his tyres at all. For God’s sake, can we all now put to bed this “ruins his tyres” nonsense once and for all? It is clear he has learned and adapted, as any brilliant prodigy of a driver like Lewis would be expected to do.

    1. And I forgot to add that he pitted on the FIRST LAP in Brazil so made his tyres work for the entire rest of the race.

      1. I agree with you 100%

        1. I know, it’s so annoying to see the same old rubbish regurgitated again and again when it is simply NOT TRUE!

    2. S Hughes, can’t you post at least one comment without making a reference to holy Hamilton?

      Is he your boyfriend or something?

      1. Why don’t you read my post and comment on its content instead of carping about my posting about Hamilton?

        Do you agree that Lewis now doesn’t have a problem with his tyres? That would be interesting to discuss, not my fandom of Hamilton.

        1. Hamilton sets up the car with more oversteer and so he will be impacted more relative to the other drivers. But don’t forget Senna did the same of course and he didn’t fair too badly in the ‘no refuelling’ days.

          The fact is his driving style is less suited to these conditions – specific cases aside (Turkey only really… I don’t think any driver has a problem with wear at Interlagos).

          1. But he was on a one stopper in Turkey this year and managed okay.

          2. Keep in mind an understeering car is just as likely to kill the front tires too

    3. “, as any brilliant prodigy of a driver like Lewis”
      Ok man that just make me ill…and it’s kinda creepy too.

    4. you can damage tyres in 10 laps, altough you can save tyres if you dont have to break to late or your car is gentle to tyres. if you remember Kimmi makes a flat spot on front tyre because of late braking driving for Mc Laren.

  18. Hooray for point 9 re. having same strategies for teammates. But Keith, you and I just know surely that that won’t quell the “Hamilton is favoured over Button” hoo ha in 2010!

    On balance, I agree that banning refuelling seems like a good thing for F1, but I never watched before 1994 so do not know what the downsides are. Could Keith or anyone else in the know give a rundown of the downsides?

    1. Nigel Mansell could probably give you a couple

  19. dam the error 500 !

  20. even just the 1st reason is enough for me, 2010 rules are better than 2009 rules.

    However I would rather go back to the pre 2003 style refueling rules, refueling allowed but no race-fuel qualifying. That way a driver in a lesser car had the chance to run an agressive strategy(fuel and tyres) and had the potential to win.

    1. I agree. Its a pity that lesser cars will have lesser chances to forge ahead even for a sight of a win. I do understand that this is all about the car’s performance and driver skills but still.

  21. HounslowBusGarage
    17th December 2009, 10:09

    6. No more fuel-saving means they’re flat out all the way
    If the widespread use of in-car radio in F1 has shown us anything it’s that as soon as drivers get stuck behind a rival they concentrate more on trying to save fuel – and therefore pit later and more advantageously – than trying to overtake.

    If the drivers are not allowed to refuel in the race they will be even more anxious to save fuel. To pass the bloke in front, all they will hae to do is wait for him to pit to change tyres and put in a couple of quick laps and the job’s done. Still won’t see more overtaking.

    I doubt banning refuelling will lead to a lot more overtaking – that problem is more to do with the aerodynamic sensitivity of the cars and, to a lesser extent, track layouts.


    But it will at least remove an incentive for a driver to sit back and not try to overtake, which can only be a good thing.

    Nope. It may actually increase the incentive to sit back and not try to overtake as there will be the added uncertainty as to whether a driver can finish the race with the fuel he has left. The last part of the race could becone an ‘economy run’ with everyone watching their fuel gauges.

    1. To pass the bloke in front, all they will hae to do is wait for him to pit to change tyres and put in a couple of quick laps and the job’s done. Still won’t see more overtaking.

      That will only work if they’re able to put in quicker laps. In your example the driver who has putted will have just put fresher tyres on and so may be able to lap more quickly.

      But by having changed tyres early they may find themselves struggling for grip later on.

      The last part of the race could becone an ‘economy run’ with everyone watching their fuel gauges.

      I doubt that very much. This isn’t the mid-80s with the combination of tight maximum fuel limits, unpredictably thirsty turbos and rudimentary fuel management technology which led to drivers crawling to the flag on fumes.

      1. José Baudaier
        17th December 2009, 21:04

        Yes, I hardly doubt any driver will have even a remote possibility of going empty. The teams knows exactly how much fuel their engines comsume.

        I only can think in an opposite scenario. In a race where the SC stay on track for several laps, the cars will end up with more fuel than needed to finish the race.

        1. James Alias
          1st March 2010, 21:42

          In that case the teams can tell the drivers to enrich their fuel-air mixtures to maximum so that can max out on their engine power / consume all the extra fuel they’d have leftover.

    2. “wait for him to pit to change tyres” you may never know when it can happen…that’s the difference with fuel pit-stops.
      Tyres degradation depends on many factors, fuel consumption had been nearly a constant.

    3. With aero rules as they are, if you follow a car too closely you will slide more, which means your own tires will degrade faster. Add to this if you have the speed to overtake him during pit stops then you should have the speed to overtake him on the track (no low fuel quick laps).

  22. Keith, they wont be flat out all the way. The cars have one tank of fuel and that is it. If the cars were flat out all the way, some would run out of fuel with a few laps before the end of the race. The teams which will suffer from this are Ferrari, Toro Rosso and Sauber as they are powered by Ferrari engines, historically very thirsty cars.

    It wont necessarily be teams that will be affected, it’ll be aggressive drivers too, such as Lewis and perhaps Vettel.

    I’m pretty sure F1 and the fans will suffer from the ban… If I didnt have so much work to do for uni, I would offer to do a counter arguement post =(

    1. So it means that cars with the mercedes engine (who are known to have a low fuel use) or a similar engine will have a little edge by putting less fuel at the start?

      1. My understanding is that the cars will have smaller tanks by a few litres perhaps, which will mean they will be a little lighter.

        The Cosworth engine is apparantly going to require a mammoth fuel tank because it’s fuel economy is so dire. I reckon it’ll be all about Mercedes powered cars.

        In fact, I reckon F1 in the future will be all about a Mercedes car dominating, as the current Formula for the cars is to change in 2012 (or 2013, I forget), where the cars get a set amount of fuel for the race, no more, no less – and I reckon Ferrari will suffer. The just cant design a car that drinks in modertation. The idea will be for the teams to get the most out of that limited amount of fuel. It will apparantly lead to the return of turbo chargers, on the up side.

    2. José Baudaier
      17th December 2009, 21:51

      Don’t think that’s much of a problem. Even with refuelling, if engineA would comsume more fuel and engineB, engineA cars would have to put more fuel to race the same ammount of laps the engineB cars would do with less fuel, thus they would be heavier anyhow. And we know that never stopped Ferrari, so I don’t think it will now.

  23. The main reason I am glad refuelling is banned is that it means a return to proper low fuel qualifying.

    I am disappointed that drivers will still have to use both types of tyre compound so they will still be forced to make a pit stop, otherwise a driver could have attempted to go the whole race without stopping, whereas if a driver has not used both types of tyre we will know that he will be forced to pit again.

    1. Fully agree.

    2. José Baudaier
      17th December 2009, 21:54

      Fully agreed. [2]

      Low fuel qualifying is much better. And maybe next year they stop with this “use both types of tyre” thing. It’s so useless, let drivers use the tyre they want.

  24. Hi,

    Perhaps you could balance this by listing some of the downsides of having a re-fuelling ban – for the less well informed ?

    1. Just what I asked above.


      Lower ranked teams now have little to no chance of ever getting a podium due to fuel strategy. Maybe this is more pure racing but too bad if your favorite driver is on a rubbish team.

  25. Whatever happened pre 1994 has no relevance to now. Teams were alot less sophisticated in their race management then and tended towards the overtake method of gaining places rather than banging in hot laps to pit take a rival. Schumacher really introduced that rather tedious art.

    My previous reply was error 500’d but i think the “aerodynamic sensitivity” of the cars is overplayed. I think the art of overtaking has been lost becuase teams look at time sheets and if the screen says hes quickest, hes hired. No computer can look into a drivers eyes and gauge if he is brave and if he has the wit to outfox opponents. Theres too many quick drones in F1 not enough Mansells (ironically he droned out of a car more than just a little!)

  26. Bang on Keith, I well remember pre 1994 too and totally agree with you. Entertainment value will be much better, and the competition for quickest pit stops will resume too. Something you didnt mention that may seem like a trivial point, but the visual appearance of the pit lane will be much clearer and less cluttered. Not only a lot of paraphenalia removed, but also the extra personnel. Surely this will make it much easier to see what is going on for the tv cameras.

  27. This talk of economy runs and hanging back, not overtaking is pure and utter rubbish. These guys are “racing” drivers and this is called “racing” for a reason. If it was about economy runs teams would all be running toyota prius hybrid engines. All the teams will be putting in a fuel tank that enables their driver to go for quick lap times for the length of a race. Anything else would be plain stupid. A driver’s outright speed and ability to manage tyres will be the main factors for 2010.

  28. …two pit stops mandatory in 2010. That would be a terrible idea…

    That’s dead on. Hopefully the compulsory stop will last only one year until the new tyre supplier comes in. I hope they have less of an “all publicity is good publicity” approach than Bridgestone, and develop some F1 tyres that work consistently instead of rubbish ones in an attempt to get people talking about tyres…

    Also – are there any loopholes in the new rules when the one stop is not compulsory, such as when it’s wet?

    1. Good point about ‘wet tyres’. I would imagine that they could do an entire race distance on one set of wet tyres if the actual tyre remained in a good enough condition to do so.

      I also hope that we don’t have a mandatory two stop rule. That would be really stupid.

      I had read somewhere that Bridgestone were only confident that their slick tyres were good for 125 miles (thinks back to 2005!?), and so one stop would be necessary, but maybe you could then put the same compound tyre on if you so wished?

  29. No one should ever run out of fuel if the ECU allows for it. For example, in MotoGP, the ECU monitors the amount of fuel left in the tank (mandatory 21 litres) and calculates how much can be used each lap in order to finish the race. If you go ‘bananas’ at the beginning of the race, then the ECU will cut your fuel rationing from thereon. I would assume that this can be over-ridden if required.

  30. One point stands out to me! Given that the cars are going to have massive design changes for everything from the fuel cell size/positioning, weight distribution, suspension strength, change in wheel sizes, not to say aerodynamics etc, I would have thought for safety’s sake an early test couple of days well in advance of the season would have been implemented to allow teams to at least see if they are going in the right direction! This would prevent any fiasco for all the teams on an equal basis, give ample time for design changes and massively raise F1 interest in the off season.

    1. I’d always wait until we can have a few suprises at the first GP myself, but I guess that’s just a matter of opinion.

  31. I was against this refueling ban. Since, I haven’t seen any pre-1994 races.

    What I felt was that the fastest car would just run off into the distance.

    But JPM’s example is a sound one. If he couldn’t win a race from pole 7 times, surely, there are reasons to love this ban.

    But I don’t agree with no. 5 Cost cutting

    Teams still have to carry fuel rigs, how are they going to refuel the car before the race otherwise?

    1. Except that the JPM’s example is the exception to the rule. In most cases the cars in front would indeed disappear into the distance. Regarding the fuel rigs, without refueling during races, the equipment could be much simpler – in theory one could make do with a bunch of jerry-cans. Putting fuel in the car has just to be done, it doesn’t need to be done fast.

    2. What Antifia said above, if you can find any pictures of refueling during testing (or I think practice too), they just have a big can like in other racing series.

  32. Agree with every word, Keith. Also agree with PM but I’m on an iPod and can’t seem to reply directly to posts on this format.

  33. Semantics, but, is it just me or do points 1 and 2 have nothing to do with the refueling ban? They are related to an entirely different rule change? They could make the pack qualify with full tanks and still have refueling ban.

    Initially I was against the refueling ban, but some of your points do make sense. I do think the racing will be ‘purer’, but perhaps less exciting. I have watched f1 since the early 80’s as a kid and remember some absolute snoozefests.

    I guess we’ll have to wait and see tho. F1 is pretty much always exciting to me no matter how much the FIA try to muck it up.

  34. Excellent article Keith! It will be fascinating to see which drivers can better deal with the greater variables in 2010, including tyre management, performance change, braking and hopefully overtaking as you mention above. For the teams, strategy will of course be vital too.
    All in the refuelling ban is an exciting prospect.

  35. I’m in favour for two reasons – one of which you have mentioned – the disincentive to follow a car and save fuel. The second is simply that change brings new interest. Since the qualifying format was settled a few years back, race strategies have become too well understood. A change in this area will cause teams to rethink their approach, hopefully with interesting results.

  36. Some great comments all round, but just to throw another in I would remind everyone of the 1987 British GP. This was the race in which Nigel Mansell chose to pit for fresh tyres when teammate Piquet opted to stay out, leaving Mansell some 40 seconds or so behind the Brazilian. Mansell caught up with Piquet over the remaining laps, dramatically taking the lead with just a few laps to go. The TV cameras were shaking due to the jubilant reaction of the crowd – one of the most dramatic races in the 40 or so years I’ve been following f1. Point is, a race/result like that could never happen with refuelling. Personally I’ve been praying for it to be banned ever since it was introduced; bring on 2010!

    1. Unfortunately something like that is not likely to happen since now they are forced to pit at least once so they can try both compounds.
      Piquet tried to stay with the same tyres hoping that Mansel wouldn’t catch up but he was suffering from degradation and Mansel with new tyres was able to put fast laps and catch him before the end. Now they will have to come at least once so that scenario is difficult.

  37. Going against the tide, I have to say that I like refueling. The advantages in relation to qualifying that are mentioned could be easily solved by allowing the teams to re-fuel after the qualifying. When safety and costs are concerned, I must confess that I am not a safety and savings guy when it comes to F1 – my own work is safe and relatively low cost, and nobody with a sane mind would enjoy watching two hours of it on TV. I know I wouldn’t. In relation to overtaking, one can safely say that the lack of it is due to track and aero features – while banning refueling will limit changes of position in the pits, it will do nothing to address the problem on track. But my main bone with it is that it will favor Prost-style over Senna-style drivers. Bureaucratic drivers will find themselves in a better position than the go-for-broke ones. This is a matter of preferrence, of course, but Prost was to F1 what Germany is to football: Efficient, alright, but utterly boring (if you want to have a glimpse into Prost’s racing mind, watch the 1985 review – in it the winning driver comments each race. When it is Prost, instead of comments about how fast you can go in each part of the circuit, it is all about sparing tyres, sparing fuel, sparing the viewer’s the will to live…). Anyway, good for Button: This is certainly an advantage to him vis-a-vis Hamilton…. And if you want to talk about anti-climaxes, wait till that on-track battle ends because one of the drivers ran out of fuel with a couple of laps to go – and I bet it will happen very frequently.

    1. Anyway, good for Button: This is certainly an advantage to him vis-a-vis Hamilton….

      Oh no, not this old chestnut again.

      1. Don’t get me wrong here – I don’t root for LH but I find him a much more entertaining driver than Button wil ever be. But what is wrong with the analysis? Button is much kinder on his tyres than Hamilton is. Add to it that the cars will start the race much havier and this ought to translate into an advantage to Button. Furthermore, Lewis will not be able to compensate for that with an one-extra-stop strategy (like he did in Turkey 2008, for example) because, without the possibility of running lower on fuel in each stint, such an strategy is just hopeless. I still believe that LH will come up on top, but this change in the rules should close the gap between them.

  38. So, there’s a rule that a driver has to use two types of tyres in dry, but not in wet conditions. So imagine Monaco GP, that is much shorter than the others, and imagine rain there, with some crashes and safety cars. That would make it a no-stop race for some.

  39. I do not agree wuth a word Keith has written about how this makes qualifying and races more exciting. Fuel loads are nothing but an additional variable in the team’s strategy. Reducing it just reduces on the excitement and the mystery behind the team’s strategy.

  40. Ah the sight of driver after driver running out of fuel again… I can’t wait!

    Don’t get me wrong, I was uber-excited by the ban on re-fuelling; it will add to the spectacle plus keep the F1 nerds happy trying to figure out who’s car is set up to perform better when.

    Or will it? With the cars going into parc ferme after qualifying they will all be set up to be fastest when they’re lightest, so wouldn’t they all wallow around on hard tyres for the first fifty-odd laps then dive into the pits for a blazing bout on the softies? You might as well split it and have a feature and a sprint…

    Obviously the driver who has to carry less fuel will be the fastest under all conditions so apart from the drivers right foot what other areas unique to each driver or team affects fuel consumption?

    My guesses would be (in no particular order);
    1) engine economy – a trade off between pounds and ponies.
    2) aerodynmic efficiency – you’d think this field would be covered quite well in F1 but ironically Brawn suffered from his rival Neweys traditional hamstring of beng too slippery and not having enough mechanical grip to get heat into the tyres… a fundamental design issue that meant they had to pile on the wing angle and hence lose the speed.
    3) total overall weight – we know the tolerances are so tight at the moment that the drivers stopped just short of hacking off limbs so they could get some KERS on their car.
    4) teammates – will this signal the resurgence of team number 1’s? Look at cycling where the star in the team will cruise along behind the hole-in-air-punching juniors before breaking out the thigh motors when it’s time to sprint. These sort of tactics would make a huge amount of sense when it’s getting tight at the top towars the end of the season…

    Can anyone see anything else?

    1. I like your point no 4.

      With more balking there’d be more overtaking.


  41. so if its tracks and aerodynamics that limit overtakes how do you explain Buttons frequent overtakes when it was “do it or bust” ?

    By common consensus it is tracks and aero but that doesn’t make it so and if you add in Jensons failure to do Webber in the last race when it wasnt “do it or bust” then maybe you come to a different conclusion. Either way it is crazy to spend millions on track changes and over taking working groups and then find out oh um sorry turns out it was the drivers fault after all.

    1. Look, a driver in a top car that finds himself in the middle/back of the grid for one reason or another (as Button did for 2/3 of the season) will always have an overtaking field day – except perhaps in Monaco-like tracks. It happens all the time and with an array of different drivers. That is what happened to Button: After bad qualis in a top Brawn, he would storm through the Toyotas, Torro-Rossos, Williams and so on. And you would watch it, and think it was unique, because, since he was leading the championship (and being British) he would be on the BBC screen for most of the time in the races. He did nothing spetacular – take Brazil, for example, were people say he drove and overtook like a champ. Both Vettel and Hamilton started behind him and finished ahead of him…see? nothing special about starting in a Mclaren or Redbull in 15th and 16th and finishing in the top 6 – this happens all the bloody time!

      1. Completley agree.

    2. I think if you watch the Button webbber battle again, you’ll see it probably had more to do with Webber driving well then Button not trying hard enough.

  42. I am happy with the ban, I hope that they do as you say and remove the required pit stop, however they will probably leave it in or increase it to two so there is more exposure for tires and they can attract a tire manufacture after Bridgestone leaves.

  43. Great article keith..now somehow im convinced that its better to ban refueling..but if there is not much overtaking next year than i have to say..FIA should think of bringing back refueling in 2011.so that drivers can atleast make up positions in pits.

    1. if there is not much overtaking next year than i have to say..FIA should think of bringing back refueling in 2011.

      No, I think that’s the worst criteria they could use. I don’t think the refuelling ban is likely to make a very significant difference to the amount of overtaking that happens. But like I said in the last point, the passes we do see will be more significant.

  44. calm down antifa. its a blog, your supposed to have different views. And you do have a point.

    I remember Webber nailing someone when he was angry at himself, it mightve been Rosberg and i thought with a bit more fire in their bellies the drivers may be able to do more. Theres also plenty of examples of Vettel not coming thru the field when he should do sso its not all car just as its not all driver but there is a fixation with aero sensitivity and that is undeniable.

    1. Agreed – I did not have the intention to sound aggressive or something. Returning to the discussion, you might agree that one sees more passes in some tracks than one will see in others though.

  45. if only the cars ran on hopes and dreams, then this fuel issue could be resolved…

  46. Rubbish really.

    I am under no illusion that the racing will be improved. And the cost cutting is rubbish. How will they fuel them now? Out of a Jerry can? All that expensive kit will still go with them, it just won’t be seen on race day!

    If you are claiming that it is dangerous (!), well surely cornering in an F1 car flat out is dangerous.
    There is every fail safe practical for the application. Surely when the teams get it wrong, it should serve to remind us that this is an inherently dangerous sport.

    At least something ought.
    (Massa’a freak accident aside, F1 has taken a beating with the revalation of Piquets cheating and all that entails).

    As far as low fuel quali goes, we already had that- it was called quali 2.
    Now we will be sat ready to watch as the faster cars go even faster as their fuel runs down, and the new teams on the block get lapped within 8 laps. It will be predictable.
    More predictable than Luca calling out for re-fueling to be reintroduced, after we see yet another Ferrari run out of petrol 2 laps prematurely. ( I’m sure that this was introduced to stop them making fools of themselves again).

    As for the ‘it will mean we will know who was fastest by quali?’- surely that negates the race? And fastest lap?

    The beauty of previously NOT knowing (didn’t like the publishing weights cr*p) fuel loads was guessing who had gone light or who had put in a storming drive.
    I liked to have my suspicions confirmed that Renault hadn’t turned their dog of a drive into a monster in 2 weeks when Alonso pitted after the spotting lap, or guessing that one team mate had outqualified his team mate even with a heavier fuel load.

    All that is gone.

    Re-fueling was introduced to add more variables into the design process and add freedom to strategy.

    I look forward to viewing a series of spec engines racing on set fuel.

    Most interesting. When the ovals?

    1. Did you watch F1 before refueling was introduced?

      1. Yes Maciek.

        Have been since 1976. Have you before Kubica?

    2. F1 cars nowadays use pump fuel, so after quali they cars will be driven to the closest pump filled and brought to parc ferme. :)

  47. I somehow think instead of trying to save fuel when stuck behind someone teams will just save tyres instead.

  48. Juan Pablo Heidfeld
    17th December 2009, 16:32

    This article helps to define JPM’s raw talent, which could also show some suprises next season…

  49. I am very disappointed that refueling is gone next year. So, I don’t agree with most of the points you mentioned:

    Point 1: The qualifying was very very interesting this year I think.. Q1 and Q2 were flat out where as Q3 was about strategy.. It had its fair share of excitement..

    Point 2: As I mentioned earlier, Q1 and Q2 were still flat out.. In addition to that, drivers did not know what strategy the others were on… So, they had to give more than 100% to ensure their strategy work.. This year Saturday practice will give a fair indication of qualyfying…

    Point 3 &4 : The race strategy always was a big reason that fascinated me… Specially in those circuits where overtaking is very difficult, only strategy was the only thing that would spice up races… Now, we have to for a safety car to spice up those races…

    Point 5: Though I agree with you on this point but it does not help the audience much…

    Point 6: I think the reason why the drivers did not follow each other closely is mainly tire degradation than fuel saving.. This year without refueling, this problem will only increase…

    Point 7: I am not sure how the race strategy would be more interesting.. There were two parts of race strategy, tyre and fuel.. Now 50% is gone.

    Point 8. Though I have to agree with you on this point, the same thing might happen for tyre changes.. So, I can’t say it would be 100% fair..

    Point 9. Though its true for race strategy, the problem will remain for drivers not getting equal equipments. But overall I think this would be a positive.

    Point 10. I am not very convinced on this one.. Will see how it turns out.

    Point 11. I don’t think the pit stops would be more exciting. It will just take less time..

    Point 12. How many races have been ruined by fuel rig? I think very few.. And the chance of this human error also made the races more exciting..

    Point 13. Though it will improve safety, but we did not have any major accidents with refueling.. So, I don’t think it will make that much of a difference…

    Point 14: Overtaking was always important.. But with refueling gone, I fear most of the races will be processional…

    Having said all this I hope I my worries are proved wrong.. Though the only hope I can see is the news teams being off the pace an d the rookie drivers make mistakes while being lapped :D

    1. maestrointhesky
      17th December 2009, 23:19

      Initially I was sceptical of the refuelling ban but I have to say, I’m more convinced than ever this is the right thing to do.

      Surely saving fuel behind a slower car means that you’d be carrying excess fuel/weight at the end of the race when you don’t need it. This to me says puts emphasis on doing everything you can to make the pass as soon as possible as this will also mean you won’t be destroying your font tyres if you can get out of the turbulent air of the car in front . There’s also risk of getting caught and passed by the chasing pack – this is a race of course! I suppose you could gamble on putting less fuel in than a full race distance on some of the street circuits on the premise there will be a high probability of a safety car enabling you to save fuel for the laps you’re behind it. If this didn’t happen though, you would be forced to slow down to make race distance or risk the Ferrari style splutter to a halt of old. Whether the pass can be made is another question but my view is that a driver has more pressure progress and is therefore more, and not less likely to try and pass on the track as there will be uncertainty that their competitor will pit at all. This, coupled with a premium on finishing first should lead to more paint swapping incidents at least, and…….. favour the racers dare I say it!

  50. I agree w/ Keith on this, that there are more benefits in the refuelling-ban decision than drawbacks.

    Is the 2-tyre-type-per-race policy still in place for 2010 ?

  51. wow, keith. you really put the wood to refuelling!

  52. OK-points 6 (flat out racing) and 7 (Strategy)not valid. See A.Prost in the 80’s, who learned how to bury his fuel gauge in the red for the first portion of the race and coast in the second half while staying ahead of everybody else.
    Point 12 (Ruined races-and Championships, too Felipe!)certainly true…13 (safety), too.
    Point 14 (overtaking important), ehhhhhh….
    Great article, Keith-lots of food for thought!

  53. Agree with….. Oh wait., NOTHING.

    Banning refuelling in f1 in the present situation(s) that it’s in will dramatically decrease excitement in 2010. Just wait and see…

    Thank god we have some interesting driver line ups.

    1. Can I ask why? I mean it seems pretty obvious to me that qualifying, for example, will be much more exciting without the unknown factor of fuel loads next year.

      1. But Keith, can you explain to me why you have tied the change in qualifying format to the ban on refueling? I would have thought these are separate changes not covered by the same rule change? Or am I mistaken?

        The way I see it is that there are some positives to the rule change, but also some negatives. I think we will have to see how it pans out, but I don’t think we can assume it will automatically make F1 better.

        1. It is true that we could have refuelling with low-fuel qualifying. But because refuelling has been tied to race-fuel qualifying for several years, getting rid of refuelling now also means bringing back low-fuel qualifying, so I’ve included it in here.

          The governing body didn’t set out to bring back low-fuel qualifying, they set out to cut costs. Getting low-fuel qualifying back is a fortunate side-effect.

          1. And what if they made the teams fill up their tanks before the qualifying, without allowing re-filling them after it? That would be interesting too – if you go for that extra lap to try and grap pole, you may find yourself having to control your pace during the race to save fuel…

      2. But race fuel qualifying had the advantage of innovate grids. For example a Alonso would’ve never been able to pull out his BS pole at the Hungaroring. As the grid is still a decisive factor, these variations are more interesting. And before you counter with, ohhh, it’s gonna be so close, think: what if one team has THE breakthrough and goes to the absolute top. While an upsetting low-race fuel qualifying might shake up a grid and therefore manipulate the race, low-fuel qualifying closes this chance.

        Otherwise I concur with DASMAN, let’s wait and see. We shouldn’t put the refuelling ban in the realms of being the F1 Jesus but we shouldn’t claim it to be horrible before the first races. At least I won’t, I have enough things in F1 to be frustrated about, I don’t need myself to worry about this one as well.

      3. But Keith, this is your opinion.

        I see it completely the other way.
        It is known that neither will stop for fuel. How is that less predictable?

        There is nothing here to change the cars ability to overtake.

        The FIA had that opportunity and blew it by not upholding the protest against the diffusers (the banning of which could possibly have aided overtaking).

        But you have to hand it Mad Max.

        He has everyone talking about this rather that how he could manipulate the vote into getting his advocate (the weasly toad, sorry Todt) into the chair!

  54. maestrointhesky
    17th December 2009, 23:31

    Surely saving fuel behind a slower car means that you’d be carrying excess fuel/weight at the end of the race when you don’t need it. This to me says puts emphasis on doing everything you can to make the pass as soon as possible as this will also mean you won’t be destroying your font tyres if you can get out of the turbulent air of the car in front . There’s also risk of getting caught and passed by the chasing pack – this is a race of course! I suppose you could gamble on putting less fuel in than a full race distance on some of the street circuits on the premise there will be a high probability of a safety car enabling you to save fuel for the laps you’re behind it. If this didn’t happen though, you would be forced to slow down to make race distance or risk the Ferrari style splutter to a halt of old. Whether the pass can be made is another question but my view is that a driver has more pressure progress and is therefore more, and not less likely to try and pass on the track as there will be uncertainty that their competitor will pit at all. This, coupled with a premium on finishing first should lead to more paint swapping incidents at least, and…….. favour the racers dare I say it!

  55. I don’t think ban on refuelling will improve overtaking.

  56. Keith negates many of his own points. He is as usual well written but he has argued poorly. There will still be pit stops, they will still primarily occur at ideal/predictable times, and thus the dreaded passing in the pits will continue. Also,anyway, Keith assumes that drivers now don’t pass because they are able but simply unwilling. There’s little evidence of that. Passing is hard and will remain so—and the risk of frying one’s tires to gain one spot may cut deeply against Excitement. Regarding strategy, there will simply be a replacement of some parameters for others, and these will be no less opague than the previous set.I will grant that qualifying will be better in some respects. And yes I remember well the world before 1994.

    1. Keith assumes that drivers now don’t pass because they are able but simply unwilling.

      No I don’t.

  57. I’d also like to read a post by someone putting up the counter arguments.

    Personally, I’m for the ban. But I’d like to hear points of view from the other side of the debate. The main ones seem to be that it was “interesting” to guess the fuel strategies after qualifying and that rubbish cars getting pole because they were on fumes somehow added to the excitement. Why not just have reverse grids or some other contrived way of getting poorer cars to the front?

    This is the pinnacle of motorsport, so if the fastest cars are at the front when it comes to the start of the race then what’s the problem?

  58. I’d also like to read a post by someone putting up the counter arguments.

    Well, despite I think fuel ban is an improvement, I will try to put something on the other side:

    1) Pit Stops will be less spectacular:

    Today, pit stops are quite a lot complex and very articulated with so many people involved. It’s great to watch all those people acting in one of the most sophisticated maneuvers one can see. We will miss that.

    2) Pit Stops will be far more predictable:

    From the moment pit stops will be related just to change tires, we will be able to predict far more accurately the timing for every driver. Today, timing is variable depending of fuel quantity, so give us some more excitement in guessing how much time will take the pit stop for each of them. On the other hand, that will take out one option for race strategy. So, race strategy will be less open than today.

    3) Keith has said, fuel ban will give us more exciting Qualifying:

    I’ll would not say qualifying with minimum fuel, is something brought because fuel ban during pit stops. That could be established independently.

    Not a long list, and because that, I think new rule will work better than previous one.

    O the other hand, I would like to see changes in tyre options also. I don’t like tyre manufacturer dictating all teams which compounds they have to use in each track.

    I see the benefits of restricting tyre options because costs, but at least let each team to determine what options they want to use in each track, hard-medium or medium-softs… Tyre manufacturer should not have to “impose”, just giving advise.

    That will give us new excitement seeing some teams struggling because wrong tyre strategy and other teams, performing much better because of having an extra advantage because they take some risks with tyre options.

  59. i agree,thats the right thing to do.

  60. god help the day that the pit stop “excitement” is a reason to watch F1 !

    best side of this is qualifying times will be an absolute measure of speed. The rest is conjecture.

  61. While it is true that refuelling did not stop low fuel qualifying, the return to proper qualifying is a welcome consequnce for me.

    I notice that some posters have said that we already have low fuel qualifying in Q1 & Q2 where we got to see the best times, however this is not the case. The only purpose of Q1 & Q2 for the top teams is to get through into the next session not to set the quickest lap times. There have been many occasions when a driver knows he has set a quick enough time to get in the next session so he does not go out to set a quicker time to save a set of tyres and the car, so the driver at the top of the timesheets in Q2 is not necessarily the quickest on the day.

    I am not sure if my memory is entirely accurate regarding this example, but in Hungary 2008 when Ferrari and McLaren enjoyed a significant car advantage I think Massa went out for an extra run in Q1 or Q2 when he didn’t need to. Then in the race when his engine failed three laps from the end I remember wondering if he hadn’t made that extra run if he would have made the finish.

    Some have also claimed that because drivers will still have to make a pit stop due to the two compound rule, which I personally do not agree with, we will still have passing in the pits. But it will be different scenario to how it has been with refuelling.

    Now teams pretty much know within a few laps when other teams will be stopping, and if one driver is stopping later those extra laps he stays out he will be faster because he has the lighter car.

    With no refuelling drivers will only come in when they need to change tyres so teams will not know when their rivals will stop, and the cars should be quicker after a pit stop not before it as the weight of the car will not have increased but they will have fresh tyres, so staying out longer won’t be as much an advantage unless you didn’t have to stop again.

    1. Some have also claimed that because drivers will still have to make a pit stop due to the two compound rule, which I personally do not agree with, we will still have passing in the pits. But it will be different scenario to how it has been with refuelling.

      How? Can you explain?

      Will the car stop? Will time elapse? Will the car resume?

      So how exactly will it be different?

      1. Sorry, I tried to explain what I meant in the last couple of paragraphs in my post but I am not the best at getting across what I mean.

        With refuelling unless a driver has completely ruined his tyres staying out longer is usually the best strategy, as after their rivals stop they will have a lighter and therefore quicker car than the driver who stopped first.

        So if two drivers were close on the track but the second driver was stopping a few laps later, as teams usually know when everyone is due to stop, the usual strategy would be for the second driver not try to overtake on track but to follow and then put in some quick laps before his own stop to gain the place.

        With no refuelling under the current rules drivers will only have to make one stop to as they have to use both tyre compounds, although obviously drivers will usually probably have to make more than one stop depending on tyre wear at different races.

        Teams will now not know when other drivers will make a stop, although they may try to guess from looking at the lap times. As the stop will be only tyres and not for fuel the car should be quicker after its stop rather than before, so if a driver tried the same tactic of stopping later to get past the car in front, unless something like traffic has been a factor, he will probably find that the other car has in fact increased its lead.

        Teams and drivers will have to judge when is the best time to change tyres based on the wear rates and when their rivals will stop, and then work out if making any extra stops for new tyres will be quicker than staying out trying to preserve the tyres, so the pit stop strategy will probably be more likely to change during the race with no refuelling than it is with refuelling.

        I don’t know if I have managed to explain myself any better this time or not, or if anyone else understands what I mean and can put it better.

  62. I’m still going to stick with Martin Brundle in that the refuelling ban is a bad idea, but I’m happy if next years racing proves me wrong.

    However I must say that I sometimes despair at F1 fans. We always comment from our armchairs and think we know better, much like many of the stewards who have no racing experience and caused us such grief.

    We will never attain a perfect set of racing rules, but hopefully over time we will get closer to a fairer system. Banning refuelling is sweating the small stuff where there are far more important things concentrate on…

  63. Considering the number and content of the above submissions I’d say there is some question as to the effect the refueling ban will have on the “quality” of the show.

    One thing is certain. Removing fuel, especially in the form of a high pressure refueling rig, from the pit environment is a real increase in safety, especially for the pit crew and other individuals within the pit environs. Any situation in which fuel, people, heat, and machinery are combined in a limited space, and operations are conducted under stress and at high speed, has the potential for catastrophe at a significant level.

    Also, fueling errors have resulted in drivers having their races, and eventually seasons, ruined…just ask Felipe.

    I would certainly rather see the race outcome decided on the track…by the drivers…than by the lollipop guy!

    1. Have any pit lane injuries been attributable to the transfer of fuel?

      No. The system has been safe for years (and only really had any problems when teams messed with the fuel rate and/or filters).

      All the incidents have been to do with human error- drivers stopping in the wrong place, leaving to early etc..

      I’m sure if there were significant deficiencies with the system it would have been re-designed.

      All of the ‘dangerous aspects’ of a stop- the human element- will still be present.

      As they should be.

  64. the fuel isnt held under high pressure the only pressure on the fuel is gravity. a fairly necessary force.

    1. I don’t think that fuel would flow at 15-20 liters a second (is that what it is?) through a hose of such a cross section were it not under high pressure anthonyob.

  65. Banning refuelling won’t lead to a massive improvement in the quality of racing but it will cut out a couple of annoying things as far as I’m concerned. Namely fuel adjusted qualifying and passing in the pits. That’s good enough for me.

    There may still be passing in the pits but it won’t be as guaranteed as before with differing fuel loads. Now it’ll be a more even fight between cold tyres and worn tyres. So if one driver stays out 3 laps longer there’s no guarantee those 3 laps plus in/out laps will be quicker than the guy who pitted.

  66. Also, can a pro-refueller put up some pro points of keeping refuelling rather than just disagreeing with the pro points of banning it?

  67. Refuelling was brought in to add interest to processional races. I don’t know what’s different now. The fastest guys will get to the front and start pulling away from the pack. End of interest in race.

    What about making refuelling optional? Anyone got any idea whether we would get a mix of strategies, or would everyone use their compulsory tyre pitstop to refuel? Maybe force refuellers to qualify on race fuel, while non-refuellers can qualify on minimum fuel. Anything to shake things up a bit.

    1. Essentially refuelling was optional under the old rules, if a team thought it would be quicker over a race distance they could have designed a car that could last the whole race on one tank of fuel or at the minimum do a one stopper to refuel when they had to change tyre compounds.

      It is like the double decker diffusers, they aren’t compulsory but the advantage they give means teams had to have them on their cars or risk being left behind.

  68. This will only work with a corresponding change to the aero rules. With too much aero grip, there wont be much overtaking, and without pitstops, we’ll see a lot of processional races…..

  69. This all falls into the hands of Lewis Hamilton!
    F1 Sporting group is making it too easy for him. The fabled “kind to tyres” won’t apply next year TRUST ME on that. This view is also backed up by Alonso and Hamilton the two fastest guys on the grid.

  70. Looking at a slightly more machro-type picture, I like the ban on refueling because it introduces some different strategy options for the team and some different driving techniques required, that some of the people in F1 have never been involved in before.

    Take the whole general feel of a Grand Prix and give it a big mix-up and them see who still is brilliant. Probably the same guys as before but it’ll be more interesting to watch. F1 has never been about the quanity of passes, but the quality of them – this has been one of Bernie’s big theories over the years and I happen to agree.

  71. Racing is Racing whether pit stops or not…

    even though i like the extra dynamic and spectacle of refuelling, its generally wasteful and expensive and lets face it really dangerous.

    i hope that fuel saving becomes a feautre now which can only be good for ecology and the planet.

    i remember races were no less exciting before refuelling… bringing costs down is going to help and getting mosely out of the way is going to help even more!!

    lets see a grand new era of F1 and hopefully soon get rid of th ancient internal combustion engines and go for something genuinely high tech.

  72. “nay-sayers who insist it will lead to the fastest car always starting from pole position…”

    Horrors! The fastest car on pole position – next thing you’ll be telling me that the fastest car and driver will be winning the races, too! How terrible for the ‘show’…


  73. The best decision reached by F1 in years…

    next stop: running a race on one set of tires.
    the stop after that: running a whole weekend on two sets of Tires.

  74. My concern regarding the refueling ban is that the added pressure on pitcrews to perform quick changes may result in more errors in the pits and more races being decided by variations in pit times rather than on the race track.

    Previously the fact that refueling took longer than tyre changes meant that all pitstop times were fairly close together and thus not the decisive factors on who took the podium (except in the rare cases when a crew made a bad error). I think we can expect more mistakes and more time differences from stop to stop and these might even be more decisive than accumulated lap times. I hope I am wrong though… and I am happy that racers will no longer have a good package and strategy spoiled by a fuel rig issue.

  75. I think the refuelling ban will definitely freshen up the strategic battle, particularly with the two compound rule staying. Strategy got a bit predictable in the last few years, as the teams all had the same data and had a good idea of what everyone else would be doing, so hopefully that’ll change.

    But I’m not convinced it will improve overtaking. There’s a lot said about drivers “waiting for the pit stops”, but we’ve seen plenty of occasions where a driver is losing huge amounts of time behind slower cars and still not overtaking.

    I think a lot of people look back to the “golden era” before refuelling, i.e. the 1980s and early ’90s, but we’re not going to see that kind of racing again without drastic changes. The track layouts are very different now, the aerodynamics of the cars discourage overtaking, and the cars are generally much closer in performance.

  76. 1, 2, and 4 have absolutely NOTHING to do with the refueling ban and EVERYTHING to do with a change in qualifying rules. The rules of qualifying only have an effect on the race (other than order of the field) if the rules state that they do. Refueling has nothing to do with it. Ex. Montoya in 2002 that you reference in 1. There was still refueling and yet the amount of fuel and the tires used in qualy had nothing to do with the race itself.

  77. I think it’s fair to say the Bahrain GP vindicated 0/14 of these predictions.

    Let’s see if the other races are any improvement…

  78. Yes yes yes. We just need technical changes to support the ban. We have had fourteen years, or so, of regulation changes all designed to convince us that overtaking in a pitstop while watching a series of time trials was the real thing. I am sick and tired of every discussion regarding slipstreaming being hijacked by propeller heads talking of drag, downforce, aero-grip and mechanical grip. Take a car from the 70’s and 80’s compare them to modern cars and strip off the bits that prevent slipstreaming. Then ban the bits that are removed.

    While I am into this rant. I hate the two rubber rule, I won’t go into that although I have plenty to say about it. But why is it that pitstops have to be over in a few seconds? Why not limit the number of mechanics that can touch the car?

  79. Omar Roncal
    10th May 2010, 22:21

    Yeah, but it still feels like there’s something missing in the races. When I see videos from the 90s and the spectacular overtakings then, I wonder if the “evolution” of F1 has damaged the show

  80. point 6, 11 and 13 proved to be wrong but overall, I like the refuling ban… Is there any way to force cars to start with a minimum amount of fuel meaning they can’t start with not enough in to go the full distance though?

  81. My view on the points @ keithcollantine has mentioned:
    point 1- Agree
    point 2- agree
    3- agree, although i havent been to a race before
    4- Neutral. Drivers who have little chance of qualifying above 8th can opt to stay in the pits. Plus if a driver in 11th/12th has an advantage, he may finish higher in the race, which makes the results even more exciting.
    5- Agree. Biggest advantage of the ban.
    6- Disagree. These days drivers sometimes are forced to look after their tyres, so the aren’t pushing harder. Refuelling would make no difference in such a situation.
    7- Neutral.
    8- Disagree. It may be bad for the driver, but such a situation makes the race interesting and contributes to the unpredictability of F1.
    9- Agree
    10- Agree
    11- Agree. Really love the fast pit stops.
    12- Disagree. Its hard for the driver, but it does make the race exciting if a leading driver’s race is ruined. F1 still is a team sport.
    13- Agree
    14- Agree

  82. Let us not forget that FIA has created a task force named “Overtaking Working Group”, and all what they could come up with was DRS. Not even the reinstatement of full slicks (to replace the grooved tyres) was initiated by that “Working Group”, it was just a change of rules from FIA itself, without further consultation.

    And matters become worst when you recall that Bernie has advocated installing “water splashers” in the circuits in order to turn tracks wet suddenly at certain areas, running very high risks of causing severe accidents when unaware drivers would be faced with artificially damp circuits unexpectadly.

    I really like DRS. What I don’t really like is this “desperation” shown by the key people in this sport to try to make the “show” more attractive. Haven’t the Romans already invented everything in terms of disgrace at their horror shows in the Colliseum? Do we still have to improve the methods used to crash and burn F1 drivers at present times?

    I watch F1 not because of the circus where someone might die for being so daring…. I watch F1 because I enjoy motor racing, and hope you all do for this same reason….

  83. Interesting to read this article ~3 years on.

    1. Qualifying will be more exciting

    It certainly was in 2010, though Pirelli have changed the game here.
    That being said I’d trade boring quali for a good race any day of the week

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