Brought to you by TheJudge13 contributor Fortis
Following the recent meeting of the F1 Strategy Group, one of the main talking points afterwards was the proposed return of refuelling in 2016. It it believed that Bernie Ecclestone/Donald Mackenzie proposed the idea as part of their big plan to spice up the F1 show. However common sense has prevailed and the refuelling idea will now be dropped.
Thursday’s at a GP weekend sees a pre-race gathering of team managers and Adam Cooper is reporting that there was no support shown yesterday for the return of refuelling. They main reason for the Team Principals wanting to abandon the proposal is because it would have an adverse effect on the races, thus ruining the ‘show’.
Interestingly, the cost of the refuelling equipment was not a significant consideration despite the fact this was estimated at £1million per team in the first year, and then £500,000 a year thereafter.
The killer blow was the data presented by the teams’ strategists from 2009 – the last year of refuelling – and from 2010. Following the refuelling ban there were twice as many overtaking moves on track in 2010 as in the previous year. And this was before DRS was introduced.
Christian Horner questioned the surprise refuelling proposal when talking to Sky’s Ted Kravitz in Monaco,
“I tend not to agree with it. We got rid of refuelling for a reason, it didn’t make the races interesting,” he told Sky Sports F1.
“You’ve got a lot of new people in that Strategy Group who haven’t been around all that long. If you cast your mind back to races where there was refuelling, they weren’t that exciting – you just timed the pitstop, you either went shorter or longer [in the stint], and that dictated your strategy.”
The issue of safety was also of concern. To prevent widespread overtaking in the pits, the teams had insisted any return of refuelling should see the fuel delivered in the same amount of time as a current pit stop for tyres. The fuel flow rate required to achieve this would be a massive 33 litres per second as opposed to the 12 lps when refuelling was last part of F1.
Charlie Whiting will now report these findings back to the Strategy Group when they next meet. However with unanimous opposition from the team principals against the return of refuelling, it is now highly unlikely that the FIA will vote with Ecclestone and against the teams on this issue.
This consigns refuelling to the graveyard of F1 bright ideas, along with standing restarts following a safety car period and double points for certain races.