F1 refuelling decision imminent

Formula 1 teams are expected to decide this weekend on whether to pursue the idea of reviving refuelling for 2017, amid growing scepticism about its impact on the quality of racing.

F1 refuelling decision imminent
Mark Webber, Red Bull Racing, practice refueling
Refuel equipment
Adrian Sutil, Force India F1 Team, refueling
Scuderia Ferrari, refuelling
Pat Symonds, Williams Chief Technical Officer in the FIA Press Conference
Giancarlo Fisichella, Force India F1 Team, VJM-01, refuelling
Paddy Lowe, Mercedes AMG F1 Executive Director, in the FIA Press Conference
Renault mechanics practice refueling the car of Fernando Alonso
Scuderia Toro Rosso prepare to refuel
Refuel at Honda Racing F1 Team
Listen to this article

The F1 Strategy Group caused a stir last month when, as part of a push to improve the spectacle, it proposed that refuelling be brought back.

However, following initial talks about the idea in Monaco and detailed evaluation since then on the positives and negatives of a refuelling return, team technical representatives are due to meet again in Montreal to discuss the matter.

With proper data on the benefits and consequences of a return having been collated, they should be well placed to make a call on whether it is in F1's best interest for refuelling to be seriously considered.

Return must be justified

Motorsport.com understands that team chiefs have made it clear that, amid concerns refuelling could have a negative impact on racing – as it did during the last era it was used – there must be clear evidence that it will be a positive if the rule is going to be pushed further.

One suggestion is to find a way to ensure that refuelling does not take much longer than the current two to three seconds it takes for tyre changes – so adding fuel does not become the limiting factor in stops.

Team bosses also want clear evidence that the weight saving that comes about from refuelling will make a big impact on speeds – both in terms of running a lighter car, but also in drivers being able to push the tyres harder.

If data shows that the impact will be minimal, then there will be little reason to push for it.

Support lacking

The potential return of refuelling has not been popular with fans, and there also does not appear to be much support for the idea in the pit lane.

Williams chief technical officer Pat Symonds has made it clear that the reasons for getting rid of it last time – for safety, costs and spectacle – have not changed.

“Personally I am against refuelling because when we got rid of it, it was done on very solid grounds,” he told Motorsport.com.

“I was not a huge fan of it because we all got clever with it. We were all doing the same things and all the overtaking was happening in the pits. You would do the last pit stop and then drive around until the end.”

Mercedes chief Paddy Lowe added that analysis of overtaking data, and a closer look at how racing has evolved, shows that things improved when refuelling was outlawed.

“Getting rid of refuelling had an effect on [improving] the amount of overtaking and introduced more strategies,” he said.

Strategy Group will have final say

Although those present at this weekend's meeting may decide that refuelling should be abandoned, the final decision will still come down to team bosses.

The Strategy Group will get a full report on the feedback on refuelling, plus a more detailed analysis of further changes aimed at making cars faster, before it makes a call on what aspects should be put forward to the F1 Commission.

shares
comments
F1 drivers overwhelmed by Survey response
Previous article

F1 drivers overwhelmed by Survey response

Next article

Analysis: Why F1 shouldn't worry about alcohol sponsorship

Analysis: Why F1 shouldn't worry about alcohol sponsorship
Why is Oscar Piastri F1's most sought-after rookie? Prime

Why is Oscar Piastri F1's most sought-after rookie?

The Australian rising star is fast, consistent, confident, adaptable and has shown excellent racecraft, but there’s already a taint to his reputation. That hasn’t stopped him becoming the hottest property in this year’s F1 driver market and why McLaren moved fast to snap up the 21-year-old

Formula 1
Sep 30, 2022
The unintended benefit that F1's new engine rules era will deliver Prime

The unintended benefit that F1's new engine rules era will deliver

Formula 1's incoming engine rules shake-up has multiple targets. But it may also solve what has been a bone of contention since the hybrids arrived in 2014. The new plan will allow the series to pump up the volume

Formula 1
Sep 29, 2022
How de Vries made himself impossible to ignore for a belated F1 chance Prime

How de Vries made himself impossible to ignore for a belated F1 chance

Nyck de Vries appeared to have missed his opportunity to break into Formula 1 as he was passed over for more exciting talents who have now become frontrunners and title fighters. But after catching the eye outside of the F1 sphere, before his stunning impromptu grand prix debut in Italy, will it lead to a delayed full-time race seat?

Formula 1
Sep 29, 2022
Can Hamilton produce another Singapore magic moment? Prime

Can Hamilton produce another Singapore magic moment?

The Singapore Grand Prix has, explains Ben Edwards, played an important role in Lewis Hamilton’s Formula 1 career. As the series returns to the Marina Bay Street Circuit for the first time in three years, he faces the latest challenge with an underperforming Mercedes car.

Formula 1
Sep 28, 2022
Why Sainz is key to Ferrari achieving its chairman's F1 goals Prime

Why Sainz is key to Ferrari achieving its chairman's F1 goals

Although Ferrari's chances of title glory in 2022 have evaporated, chairman John Elkann expects the team to have chalked up both championships by 2026. Both require drivers to play the team game and, having now become more comfortable with the F1-75, Carlos Sainz may be Ferrari's key to title glory

Formula 1
Sep 27, 2022
How its faltering first turbo car advanced a Williams-Honda glory era Prime

How its faltering first turbo car advanced a Williams-Honda glory era

Stuart Codling charts the development of the Williams FW09, the ugly duckling that heralded the start of the title-winning Williams-Honda partnership

Formula 1
Sep 25, 2022
The Moss-Ferrari farce that current F1 drivers are thankfully spared Prime

The Moss-Ferrari farce that current F1 drivers are thankfully spared

Recent moves within the driver market have reminded Maurce Hamilton of a time when contracts weren’t worth the paper they weren’t written on…

Formula 1
Sep 24, 2022
The seven factors powering Verstappen's 2022 F1 domination Prime

The seven factors powering Verstappen's 2022 F1 domination

After a tooth and nail and, at times, toxic Formula 1 world championship scrap last year, Max Verstappen's march to a second consecutive title has been the exact opposite. But has he really changed in 2022? Here's a dive into what factors have played a crucial role, both inside the Verstappen camp and elsewhere, in the Dutch driver's domination.

Formula 1
Sep 23, 2022