Jenson Button, McLaren, Albert Park, 2014

Fuel saving takes away the fun – Button

2014 Australian Grand PrixPosted on Author Keith Collantine

Jenson Button, McLaren, Albert Park, 2014Jenson Button says the importance of saving fuel in 2014 has taken away some of the fun of driving.

With only 100kg of fuel for races this year, drivers will have to adjust their technique to conserve petrol during the races.

“The long runs weren’t as much fun as I’d hoped they’d be, because you need to save a lot of fuel,” said Button after today’s practice.

“And that’s such a different way of driving – you’re lifting off very early, and there’s lots of lift-and-coasting around the lap.”

“On low fuel, however, it’s really fun to drive,” he added. Button also said the new cars “work better around here than I’d imagined”.

McLaren completed more laps today than any team bar Toro Rosso, which Button was also satisfied with. “I’m happy that we’ve got a lot of good data to go through,” he said.

“So now I’ve got to sit down and work hard with my engineers and the rest of the team to develop the car ahead of qualifying tomorrow. We think we know where to take the car from here, but as I say there’s still plenty of work for us to do.”

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Image © McLaren/Hoch Zwei

51 comments on “Fuel saving takes away the fun – Button”

  1. I’d hate to see shortened GP races but if fuel saving ends up looking ridiculous it would be a way out. 250km race distance instead of 300km for an example.

    1. @f1lauri
      What about living with it for a year and allow the drivers to carry 120kg of fuel next year? That won’t be very hard, and will stop the complaining.

    2. not if they would then only have 84 kg of fuel though.

    3. Melbourne is the 2nd highest on fuel consumption so this scenario is not going to be norm. What I’m disappointed with is that the cars seem to under-steer first and then over-steer as the power comes in and as you know under-steer is the enemy of overtaking so I’m even more worried about wheel to wheel racing.

      1. @peartree Agreed but I bet on a quick evolution of the handling. There is already so much progress if you look at the very first test. We may well see a lot of opportunistic overtakes, who knows?

    4. I don’t think they will have as much fuel saving as Jenson is fearing. They only used 145kg of fuel at Melbourne last year, on average, and if the engines are really ~30% more efficient, that is almost exactly 100kg of fuel.
      On top of that, they had PLENTY of teams running race simulations in Bahrain the last couple of weeks and the average fuel use there was 142.5kg last year. So they’d know if they had a serious problem already.
      Of course, I’ve already predicted that McLaran has made a mistake with their “butterfly suspension”. It may give them a bit of downforce, but that’s nearl 2ft^2 of material causing drag at the back of the car and I don’t think they’ll be able to overcome that extra drag over race distance while watching their fuel gauge…at least compared to the teams who have optimized for lower drag.
      Look at what Mercedes has done with their “joined front suspension” to try and reduce drag. Look how tightly Newey has packaged the RBR. I doubt those are accidents.

  2. I was afraid that would be the case. If the drivers aren’t enjoying it, how are we supposed to enjoy it then?

    1. Exactly, less enjoyable for us and less enjoyable for the drivers, at least they are getting paid not to enjoy it.

    2. @andae23 Many drivers said the same thing in the past, and not all were right. I’d say let’s give it a shot. I just hope they will be able to react and adapt if things go wrong.

    3. The farce of 2014 has begun
      This eco-drive crap is just another stupidity by FIA heads…the list is long. The magic and fun is gone. Sad times.

      1. You are one NEGATIVE dude. Why don’t you just quit watching and quit posting on here. Reading your posts is such a downer at EVERY turn.

        1. BAD things should be debated and challenged in my world. Bending over to the FIA heads and buy all the crap they introduced is not my style. There are more dudes than me that feel the same way. Even drivers and team presidents.

          1. But you don’t even wait for them to happen. You just complain about what “might be” without even seeing if it comes true or if there are any upsides to the new rules.

          2. seems like you enjoying bending over….

          3. You’re a really offensive person. I don’t agree with your whining so you’re making gay slurs?

          4. joc_the_man
            15th March 2014, 9:22

            ..then, what is offensive to me is to silent different opinions to your own. It is healthy for the FF forum to have different views expressed and when Keith write articles related to the new regulations I think a balance to all the cheering is needed. I oppose to the BAD leadership by FIA heads – seems to be what it takes to be president. Why does Balestre vs. Ayrton in a drivers briefing -89 comes to mind…?

    4. Formula 1 is headed down the wrong path, in my humble opinion. I don’t mind changes, but the changes made have rendered the cars limp and the drivers impotent. The ridiculous tire situation from last year turned the drivers into the world’s most highly paid babysitters, and the saving of fuel instead of pushing hard to get an advantage is a slap in the face to racing fans everywhere. Saving fuel. What a joke. To top it all off, the v6 turbos sound uninspiring, and quite bland, at least on TV. I have a nice a/v setup and always look forward to turning up the volume to enjoy the sounds of F1, and what I heard made me sick, and sad. Formula 1 engines now produce a sound that is far less impressive than those found in nascar, indycar, motogp, you name it, it sounds better than F1. Where is this sport going? What a disappointment. I think the season will be interesting, and I am glad to see new names and teams getting an opportunity to compete for wins, podiums, and points, but isn’t there a way to achieve this level of competition without neutering both the cars and the drivers?

  3. Sign, I knew the cutback was too dramatic, they should have done a graduated approach over 3-4 years. Say 140-145kg this year and reduce by 10-15kg per year until they are at 100kg. It would give the teams time to adjust and the engine manufacturers to develop the engines. Sigh again, they always do this, sweeping changes instead of slow gradual ones. Exactly what is the FIA trying to do with their premier series? Anyone?

    1. Destroy it by moulding what once was a sport into entertainment, show or whatever you want to call it.

    2. @dedischado given the new formula I doubt that 145-145kg would have resulted in any fuel reduction at all. The turbos and hybrid systems would already have reduced required fuel load below that level at almost all circuits. In reality the required fuel load even at Melbourne could be as low as 105-115kg anyway so the fuel saving is probably nowhere near what you suggest – and Melbourne is one of the heavy fuel load circuits, some races this year may not even need 100kg.

      1. Surely, then, each race should have its own fuel quota rather than a standard 100 kilograms for each circuit regardless of the configuration?

      2. So reduce it to whatever the teams need and then reduce every year further from there.

    3. Exactly that, 20 kg less in 2014, another 20kg less in 2015, and a final 10 kg less in 2016, that would be an achievable goal for development and would lead to actual improvements in efficiency, driving slower may use less fuel but achieves nothing in terms of improving the automobile, forty years ago speed limits were reduced to save fuel, it’s nothing new.

  4. I’m gutted to hear that my fears have been realised.

    I don’t care what settings the car is in and whether the engine is turned down – F1 should be about drivers pushing 100%.

    If they’re having to coast around for 90% of the race, what’s the point in watching? I could sit outside my house and watch cars cruise around.

    I’m really excited about this season but I am also really nervous about Sunday! I know tomorrow is going to be great but I’m worried that Sunday will simply be cars cruising around slowly afraid to race each other.

    1. @petebaldwin, sigh, for a change I will be hoping for a long safety car period, I normally hate them, to allow for a good sprint race at the end, 15 laps of real racing beats the pants off 60 laps of tyre and fuel management.

      1. @hohum – ha yeah true. A safety car just over half way for 6 or 7 laps would be perfect!

        1. I think they might need more than 6-7 laps.

  5. I guess it’s the same kind of fun they are having since 2011 and necessity to run in races 2 to 4 seconds per lap slower than possible due to “show” tyres. Fun, fun everywhere!

  6. Positive side could be that when teams manages to optimize fuel consumption it will be automatic. And drivers have very-very powerful push-to-pass button to their exposal. It could end up really good also…

    1. Try thinking that through again.

  7. Paul (@frankjaeger)
    14th March 2014, 15:51

    What is the logic behind this cut in fuel consumption?
    Forcing cars to lighter thus producing quicker lap times, although isn’t this counter effective since cars are backing off to save fuel?

    1. Rob (@silverspooler)
      14th March 2014, 16:40

      The basis is Emissions and Safety but the outlying goal is engineering and development of alternative resources to fuel to power both race cars and trickle down into passenger.

    2. Trying to make F1 greener and more relevant to road car engineering. Getting back to some of that “racing improves the breed” spirit.

      It’s probably driven more by marketing than engineering. Trying to counter the criticism that racing is a waste of precious resources and contributes to global warming.

      1. Paul (@frankjaeger)
        14th March 2014, 23:32

        @aardvark @silverspooler Hmm rightyho. I’m still a little bummed that this might replace last years tire woes and a reason to prevent drivers from racing. I suppose the development will catch up soon enough

  8. We’re only friday gents. The first race will soon be there, you’ll probably never notice the fuel saving.

    1. Just like we never noticed the tyre saving?

      1. @ardenflo @hohum hahaha you both made a point :)
        I, for one, prefer ardenflo’s more optimistic views.

        1. I hope he is right too, but I lack confidence in his theory.

  9. Surely the idea behind the fuel limit is to force the engine manufacturers and aero designers to come up with more fuel efficient designs, not for the drivers to have to ‘lift and coast’? The idea behind new engines was to make F1 more relevant, fuel economy must be a part of that

  10. the safety car view on race is 100% safe ……no worry for fuel……….

  11. All this clutter is so frustrating, isn’t it. I mean, everyone knows that fuel-saving and tyre-saving are areas where some drivers excel and others don’t, but having these fairly uninteresting and tertiary skills become the bedrock of whether you win or lose a race is pretty pointless, really. Fuel efficiency is a good thing, obviously, but this is F1, and, personally, I don’t watch it to encourage the development of new technologies for the road – no matter how beneficial those things are. I watch it to see teams and drivers race.

  12. The real issue will be Barcelona. For all other tracks, the need for fuel saving will not be too bad. I think it will be ridiculous in Barcelona, though.

    1. Button says its already ridiculous in melbourne.

  13. I’m willing to keep an open mind and watch a few races before judging if the edge is lost by fuel saving. Though they should have implemented the changes a bit more gradually once it was clear that manufacturers won’t meet the min. weight.
    Especially for guys like Jenson who are tall, the saving starts already at the dinner table to watch their own intake.

  14. So the Winner will be the team that works out the most fuel efficient way to complete the the event. Wouldn’t it be amusing if they all got it a bit wrong ,and nobody managed to finish the prescribed distance. Pity it’s not an allcomers ‘race’ some bloke in a rickshaw might get the 25 points in Singapore.

    1. Great image! Thanks, I needed the laugh.

  15. johnny stick
    14th March 2014, 21:07

    So if one was to dump the wings and all the less efficient downforce components, but keep the high efficient ones, like the diffuser, then the cars maybe blindingly fast, but still very efficient. I think the paradigm has not shifted far enough yet.

    1. Or if they were to put “spoilers” on the front wings as they do in Formula E and older Formula 1 from the 70’s, then they could get rid of a tremendous amount of drag on the front wheels and still leave plenty of room for sponsor logos.

      It would also save huge costs for the teams because those 5-7 element front wings are incredibly complex and take a huge amount of resources and time in CFD, wind tunnels and track testing. Hey, they want to reduce costs…do it in a way that also increases efficiency and top speed.

  16. Well, this may turn out to be a problem, and it may not. Why don’t we wait and see. A safety car or two because or reliability problems (which WILL happen) in a bad spot, and they won’t have any problem racing around like gang busters when the green flag resumes.

  17. I just wish they would let the drivers race! The drivers need to be allowed to push the cars as hard as they possibly can without being held back by things like tires and fuel consumption.

  18. One of the design greats (Adrian Newey?) has said for many years that the only rule should be, you get a fixed amount of fuel, go as fast as you can to the end of the race.

    He reckoned it would lead to the greatest engineering innovation. No restrictions on engine size, weight, aerodynamics, dimensions etc. Whatever combination is the fastest.

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