Ferrari chief says refuelling return not dead yet

Ferrari chairman Sergio Marchionne has not ruled out making another push to bring refuelling back to Formula 1 in 2017, despite sporting chiefs rejecting the idea in Canada. revealed on Thursday that a meeting of F1's Sporting Working Group unanimously decided that there was no evidence to suggest that bringing refuelling back to the sport would be of benefit.

Those findings are now due to be taken back to the next meeting of F1's Strategy Group where a final decision will be made about whether or not to pursue it.

Matter not closed

Despite the outcome of the SWG, Marchionne thinks it is too early to rule out refuelling completely.

He suggests that the Strategy Group, on which he sits, needs to look at the matter in much more detail rather than accepting the findings of the SWG at face value.

"It is interesting because I am not sure what the findings are actually saying," Marchionne said on a visit to the Canadian Grand Prix.

"Refuelling by itself has no value other than the fact it adds variability to the race. Fuel loads, how many times you refuel, when you refuel, they are all things that are important.

"There are some people that argue that you can come up with a deterministic model that will make everyone refuel at the same time, which is absolute hogwash.

"Especially if you combine that with a higher degree of freedom on the choice of tyres, which I think is probably a lot more important than the refuelling strategy."

He added: "I think there is a willingness on behalf of Pirelli to provide that flexibility to the teams which will create additional variability and will make the sport interesting to watch.

"It is not just a question of the quality of the drivers. It is the combination of the technical choices that the team make and the way in which they drive."

"Kitchen-concocted studies"

Marchionne wants there to be a proper evaluation of its impact – and concedes that if it is agreed there will be no benefit to the spectacle then it should be dropped.

"If the findings are such that it provides zero additional spectacle value, in the sense of creating something that the sport fans want, then I think we should stay away. I haven't seen the evidence.

“We keep on hearing noises about what kitchen-concocted studies have yielded. I understand them. The question is you have to find out the impact of the combination of refuelling, tyre changes and variety of other changes are going to have on the sport.” 

He added: “Singularly it may not be the answer, but combined with other things it might be. So I am totally open.”

Mercedes against

Despite Marchionne's belief that refuelling needs further evaluation, other team principals remain against it.

Red Bull boss Christian Horner said in Monaco that he did not support the idea, while Mercedes team principal Toto Wolff said in Montreal that he too was not in favour.

“When we discussed it in the Strategy Group it didn't have a lot of support but we agreed to explore it, discuss it, and analyse it properly.

“The feedback was negative 100 per cent. It was too expensive, not safe enough. It was detrimental to the races and the strategies.

“So it will go back to the Strategy Group and my opinion is it should not happen. I am not keen for getting refuelling back to F1.”

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About this article
Series Formula 1
Event Canadian GP
Track Circuit Gilles-Villeneuve
Teams Ferrari
Article type Breaking news