Niki Lauda, Paddy Lowe, Mercedes, Jerez, 2014

Lowe hopes fuel saving won’t dominate races

2014 F1 seasonPosted on Author Keith Collantine

Niki Lauda, Paddy Lowe, Mercedes, Jerez, 2014Mercedes’ executive director for technical Paddy Lowe hopes F1 races won’t be dominated by the need to save fuel under the new regulations.

Drivers are limited to 100kg of fuel per race and a peak fuel flow rate of 100kg per hour this year.

“I think we might be overplaying that aspect,” said Lowe when asked about the importance of saving fuel under the new regulations. “Certainly it’s a factor in the races but I hope we won’t see it as a dominating factor.”

“There were occasions, we saw that last year, where it was stopping the driver, and Malaysia would be an example, from pushing to the limit every lap.”

Lewis Hamilton was repeatedly told to slow down to save fuel during the closing stages of last year’s Malaysian Grand Prix.

“That’s sometimes very frustrating,” Lowe admitted. “But actually that’s been the case in Formula One I think over most of many years of existence, that managing fuel and tyres has been a factor.”

“So of course it will be a factor in 2014 but I hope it won’t be so dominating that it [diminishes] the spectacle.”

Red Bull’s chief technical officer Adrian Newey has warned that it will be necessary to save fuel during most races this year.

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48 comments on “Lowe hopes fuel saving won’t dominate races”

  1. So Paddy Lowe says fuel-saving is probably being overplayed and Adrian Newey says fuel will dominate most races? Interesting… Have Mercedes (and other Merc engined teams) managed to pull off something that suggests their engine can manage with the fuel restrictions?

    Cant wait!!

    1. Well to be fair, Newey didn’t say fuel saving will dominate races, he said “Most of the races we anticipate will be fuel capacity limited.” That simply means that if they went flat out with the engine turned up to 10, they’d run out of fuel before the end.

      Similarly, whilst Lowe said that in his opinion, we might be overplaying the situation, he also said ““Certainly it’s a factor in the races but I hope we won’t see it as a dominating factor.” The use of the world “hope” suggests that he doesn’t know if it’ll be a dominating factor or not yet!

      Effitively, all either of them had to say was that the teams will have to save fuel at some of the races this year…. Not exactly breaking news!

    2. @arijitmaniac Not to mention that Fry said there would be flat-out races, so Ferrari is also confident they’ll have good fuel management even if the opener is one of the worst in that respect. Personally I hope it doesn’t dominate races because it would handicap drivers racing for position to even further help the leader that’s already better on tyre management so fight for 2nd are still going to be expected.

  2. And this is where efficiency becomes critical. Assuming all 3 types of ers recover and redeploy the max joules the rules allow, the engines ability to convert the very limited fuel into the maximum amount of energy will be critical as opposed to max Hp. Renault may still be a winner here…..

          1. I doubt they will make any kind of official announcement, and last season they had already explained that not only would this year’s tires need to be more durable, they would also not need to be so much the story of F1 as they were mandated to be over the last 3 years. The new technical regs should shake up the predictability factor this year, so tires don’t need to be the story. And I’m sure, given that they haven’t been afforded much more if any more testing time, Pirelli won’t be nearly as daring as they were last year for fear of the same thing happening, even if they had been asked to still make their tires the story of F1 for the year.

    1. @BasCB Why not? :)

      Don’t shout there, I’ll save fuel when I have a chance
      I can’t save any more fuel
      Vettel apologises to Ricciardo for not saving fuel
      Fuel saving row casts shadow over Magnussen’s maiden win
      Vettel saves enough fuel to clinch title

      1. Hm, yes. When the action is not action packed enough to keep us interested, all the funny radio messages are a nice backup plan. But I prefer to have one of them hearing about saving while the other gets fired on to push!

  3. The biggest issue I see is if when a car crosses a certain point in the race where spending more then 100kg is unavoidable, except by parking the car, how the FIA will act on that. WIll they DQ somebody for spending like 0.5kg more? Or just a penalty?

      1. Because you need to. I’m suprising myself everytime how many people believe that you are only allowed to put 100kg in the tank. No no no no no and… no. This is simply a very wrong perception.

        You are allowed to have as much fuel on board as you want. The limit is on the fuel you USE starting from the green light until crossing the chequered flag. Literally. That leaves you with an installation lap (getting to the grid), formation lap, an inlap after the race AND a 1litre fuel sample. So the moment you leave the pits at Sunday, you’ll have around 105-107kg fuel on board, and not 100.

        But that extra fuel can’t be seperated from the 100kg. So if you hit bad luck somewhere that suddenly rises your fuel consumption beyond controllable limits, you’ll be either spending more then 100kg, or be parking the car aside the track.

          1. yes they will be. the 100kg rule only applies from the green line until the chequered flag. They still need to do an installation lap, a formation lap, an inlap and hand a 1l fuel sample.

  4. It will only be a problem if Lowe doesn’t do his sums right! The rules give everybody 100 litres, figure out how fast you can go and have enough fuel at the end to meet the rules. It’s that simple. The old saying ” to finish 1st you 1st have to finish” is still true.
    Ooopps! I meant 100 kg. Hahahaha! I guess I’d be in trouble!

  5. FIA could use their fuel restriction rule (which I’m not a fan of) for busting the entertainment and excitement. Just imagine watching the red signal for empty fuel by the rev meter and speed dials, so that the fans could know who is racing on fumes and who is pushing the pedal to the metal. That way we could all judge more realistically the skills of the driver versus the fuel economy of the engine.

  6. I honestly hope that fuel saving won’t dominate races.
    Although, hopefully Marussia (I’m a fan) and Caterham (No longer a fan after
    after they dropped Heikki and have a simply terribly 2014 design) will score their first points! Perhaps the fuel saving will play into Marussia’s hands, or Williams, or even Toro Rosso! Oh, and Caterham!

    Sorry to any Caterham fans! Hoping for Marussia…

  7. Well all things being equal, the fuel saving should be a pretty much blanket effect.
    100kg of fuel, 3 engine manufacturers and similar ERSs I don’t see the problem.

    If the top 10 all have to save fuel in a race, it will balance out and might even prevent races like the ones we were stuck with in 2010 with one car being almost a second per lap faster than others. Hey ho.

    1. I can never tell when an F1 car is saving fuel anyway. They’re still going ridiculously fast, only the driver and the team feel it, so I’m really not fussed at all. Besides, it’s part and parcel of the sport. And since the environment is going to complete tosh, every little helps

  8. I’m already picturing the scenario: 20-15 laps to go at any GP, Team Principals ordering their drivers fighting/racing for positions:”Hold position, we would race them if we had enough fuel to do it, hold position and save fuel”…I hope I’m wrong…

  9. I am amazed over some comments given with positive view on the eco-drive direction F1 has taken. Gone is the magic with drivers really racing and F1 being the pinnacle of motor sports. The winners in 2014 are not the quickest but rather the most efficient driver. COME ON – how fun is that? Not to even mention the other changes with low-rev-not-so-loud engines, electric motor racing and silly looks and the fact that GP2 cars will be quicker on some tracks… Expect less people in front of the TV’s/Pads and less in the grandstands. Sorry to say. Sad times…

    1. The winners in 2014 are not the quickest but rather the most efficient driver

      The winner will still be the driver who crosses the line in the least time and the highest average speed or i’m i missing something ?

      1. I think this escapes people a lot as they believe at one point F1 had bulletproof tyres and unlimited fuel, hence flat out racing, didn’t we hear of teams short fueling their cars, also no such thing as flat out racing this is not F1 on PS3 .

  10. Nobody who understands racing would think that any car or driver combination had been driven in a Grand Prix ‘flat out’ for the entire race. The critics of recent developments in F1 seem to me to be making the valid point that pushing their machinery to the limit for more than a few corners is no longer an option. The last few seasons have seen tyres that degraded so quickly that in some cases they had a severe performance drop by the end of one qualifying lap . I understand that this years tyres are supposed to be more resiliant, we may not find out if the drivers have to regulate their performance for fuel economy . But if we hear constant references to reducing pace to save fuel this may appeal to a limited number of strategy geeks but it is not Grand Prix racing.

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