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Should F1 bring back refuelling

Should F1 bring back refuelling

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2 comments

Should F1 bring back refuelling

Should F1 bring back refuelling

What do this year's Spanish and Bahrain Grands Prix have in common?

They were races that were exciting at turn one and fizzled out in the middle before piquing intrigue with an alternative strategy for one of the frontrunners.

At the end of each race, the convergence of Lewis Hamilton and Max Verstappen created a crescendo that left everybody in a craze of excitement that there was a genuine battle for the lead.

Fantastic! This is what we have all wanted to see in F1. Yet the excitement was not generated by physical on-track action but by the genius of race strategists on the pit wall.

So why not bring back refuelling to spice up the strategical battle in the sport?

On-track action

As mentioned, two of the four races this season have been ignited by a strategical battle between two teams.

Refuelling would open the possibilities for creating excitement further. Some teams could one-stop and spend less time in the pits whereas others could three-stop and thrash the car around, with the viewer unsure of the final result until the chequered flag has dropped.

Ferrari and Michael Schumacher were the masters of the fuel strategy. A remarkable four-stop plan and blistering pace put the German ahead of Fernando Alonso at the 2004 French Grand Prix.

Schumacher was also in with a chance of taking a win at the spectacular 2005 event at Imola where his tussle with Alonso went into F1 folklore. All possible because clever strategy propelled the Ferrari up the field from 14th on the grid.

There is the obvious potential drawback of overtaking being done in the pits and not on track at some events, but the excitement of seeing which strategy would prosper would keep you on the edge of your seat for longer than, say, this year's Portuguese GP did.

And if there is a dull race with refuelling, the cars being on lighter fuel loads would be faster and more exciting to watch. Silver linings and all that.

Natural format tweaks

Sprint qualifying is being trialled this season in an attempt to mix things up ahead of the race and create more excitement.

How about bringing back refuelling and the rule that you qualify with the fuel you start the race with?

You could fill the car up to extend your first stint but lose positions on the grid, or you could fill light and give yourself a chance of a surprise pole. Think of Jarno Trulli at Toyota, for example.

There is your easy way of mixing up the grid without gimmicky formats. Whilst we are at it, a different specification of tyres could be brought in to keep the drivers happy and make sure the refuelling is the key point of strategy.

All we want is consistent intrigue throughout an F1 race. Refuelling could be the answer.

But refuelling won't happen...will it?

Well, of course, it won't return, certainly not at present. In a budget cap era, there are additional costs to consider, added to which is the safety factor. Who could forget the inferno at Hockenheim in 1994 involving Jos Verstappen?

The last time refuelling was part of F1 was in 2009 and since then F1 has become more aware of its responsibility towards the environment. This means that efficiency has become a critical part of the sport and as such, fuel tanks have changed in size.

But there is a chance this could be bypassed with the introduction of carbon-neutral fuels in the near future, meaning the by-products of any fuel would be less damaging for the sport's sustainable image.

We need to wait and see whether next year's new regulations truly spice up the show as intended, otherwise in F1, it's a case of never say never.

What do you think?
Tce1981

Refuelling meant running cars light to get a jump in the next pit window and was integral to the excitement as well as something else that could go wrong. Underfuelling was more common while fires incredibly rare. I say make fuel tanks capable of just 40% race distance to allow for more varied strategies and action. Also, less tyre change problems. Anyone else recognise that more tyres have fallen off cars as a result of rushing the tyre changes since 2010 than when stops were slower to add fuel too? Loose tyres have killed more people in 25 years than fuel fires, in the world of formula one.

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Tce1981
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May 2021
First Poster
Tce1981

Refuelling meant running cars light to get a jump in the next pit window and was integral to the excitement as well as something else that could go wrong. Underfuelling was more common while fires incredibly rare. I say make fuel tanks capable of just 40% race distance to allow for more varied strategies and action. Also, less tyre change problems. Anyone else recognise that more tyres have fallen off cars as a result of rushing the tyre changes since 2010 than when stops were slower to add fuel too? Loose tyres have killed more people in 25 years than fuel fires, in the world of formula one.

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Victa727
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May 2021
Victa727

If the next engine regulation have the cars ruling on Ethanol instead of Petrol, then I would be for it. In Indycar, they splash some water on the refueling rig at every pitstop, so it seems safer. Don't want another Grosjean fire. Introducing another variable would be good an making the fuel tank only long enough to cover 1/2 race distance would spice up the races.

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