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Refuelling returns to F1 in 2017

NEWS STORY
15/05/2015

F1's Strategy Group has agreed that refuelling, which was dropped in 2009, is to return to the sport in 2017, in an effort to "improve the show".

The return of the controversial practice is one of several decision to come out of yesterday's meeting of the F1 Strategy Group and is aimed at spicing up the sport at a time fans, be they at races or watching on TV, are turning away from F1 along with sponsors.

Besides the statuary members of the Group, FIA president Jean Todt, Bernie Ecclestone and the six leading teams from 2014, representatives of the engine manufacturers were also invited.

The Strategy Group members, having debated a number of moves aimed at "improving the show", subsequently agreed on the following:

For 2016:

Free choice of the two dry tyre compounds (out of four) that each team can use during the race weekend

For 2017:

Faster cars: 5 to 6 seconds drop in lap times through aerodynamic rules evolution, wider tyres and reduction of car weight

Reintroduction of refuelling (maintaining a maximum race fuel allowance)

Higher revving engines and increased noise

More aggressive looks

A number of other measures were discussed but require further investigation before they can be implemented. They include:

A global reflection on race weekend format

Measures to make starts only activated by the driver without any outside assistance

Furthermore, in light of the various scenarios presented by the independent consulting company mandated by the F1 Strategy Group, at the initiative of the FIA, to work on the reduction of costs and following a constructive exchange, a comprehensive proposal to ensure the sustainability of the sport has emerged. The Strategy Group member teams have committed to refine it in the next few weeks, in consultation with the other teams involved in the championship.

On the engine side, it has been decided that stability of the rules should prevail in consideration of the investments of the manufacturers involved in the sport and to give visibility to potential new entrants. The allowance for a 5th engine to be used during the 2015 season has been rejected.

According to the FIA, "This constructive meeting between the FIA, FOM and the Teams has allowed paving the way for the future of the championship. All parties agreed to work together with an intention to firm up these proposals and submit them to the approval of the F1 Commission and the World Motor Sport Council of the FIA as soon as possible for implementation."

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1. Posted by Spindoctor, 18/05/2015 12:22

"It just get worse!

If I didn't know these proposals\new rules(?) came from a body including some of the greatest teams, I'd assume they were picked at random from somebody's waste bin!
Of particular stupidity is the desire for the cars to go "5 -6 sec a lap faster" (where?) through "aerodynamic evolution", wider tyres..." this is coupled with the desire for "more aggressive looks" (the cars, or inter\intra team driver rivalries?).
At least two of these proposals are likely to be mutually exclusive: wider tyres=more drag= more aero tweaking = looks created in the wind tunnel and unlikely to be aesthetically "aggressive", most likely to be bloody ugly!

The cars don't need to go any "faster" 200mph is plenty fast enough in a straight line, and as the Strategy group proposals state the only way to squeeze out lap-time is to go round corners faster: using aerodynamics.
OK, so the cars are made faster, but none of their proposals has anything whatsoever to do with RACING. The most likely outcome will be more crashes and some very boring processional events, as the cars' handling becomes ever more hyper-sensitive during transitional manoeuvres when aero grip varies\diminishes unpredictably - like following and overtaking other cars, and in slower-speed corners......

There's no point in rehearsing all the arguments about what constitutes and\or creates good racing, but the briefest glance at a MotoGP race will pretty quickly demonstrate many of them. Most significantly aerodynamics plays almost no part in the performance of the bikes. F1 cars are of course different, but surely it's not beyond the wit of man (nor even the "Strategy" group) to devise rules which substantially reduce the influence, and cost of cars' aerodynamic packaging?

There's more to it than that, of course, but while F1 is dying from both a Sporting & Commercial perspective, MotoGP gets stronger & stronger in both respects. It's not only the technology though, its also in the ethos of the Sport, which is still very "sporting", in a rather engaging "Boys Own" sort of spirit. Compare & contrast....."

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2. Posted by Will Fly, 18/05/2015 6:31

"So no in addition to driver being able to run over their pit crew they'll be able to barbecue them as they drive off with the fuel hose attached, great idea BERNIE. WRT tyres I don't understand why F1 tyres are so bad compared to LMP1 tyres, they can RACE for 2 hours at F1 speeds without resorting to 'managing the tyres' so why can't they do the same in F1. We've been there with no tyres stops that didn't work, we've had Pirelli picking the compounds that didn't work, so now let the teams pick, that won't work.

Not sure how they can gain 5-6 secs through Aero evolution, teams spend a fortune trying to get 1/10th. Unless they're going to simplify aero or (re-)introduce ground effect, and give them mega wide tyres they wont reduce lap times by 6 seconds, giving them 1000hp will only help on the straights, not round the corners. A car doing 230mph down the straight is no more impressive than one doing 200mph. Driving round the outside of someone on a corner IS impressive."

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3. Posted by Martin B, 17/05/2015 20:33

"Well you can guess which of those proposals were put forward by the white-haired dwarf can't you????"

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4. Posted by Martin B, 17/05/2015 20:29

"Good comments ape, I agree with all of them. Pirelli may have to change their view on tyres though or leave.
"

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5. Posted by ape, 16/05/2015 9:22

"Races less predictable ?

Then stop all wireless communications with car and driver.
Only again through the old pit boards

Let the driver decide what to do ,he must be the captain of his own car.

about tires about engine settings .fuell saving, brake balance and all the other buttons , no help from the team ,
big problem or don't trust the car ? stop at the pits for a look.

Like Mansel did during that fight with Senna in Monaco

Cheap change and more unpredictable races.
"

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6. Posted by Insane Reindeer, 16/05/2015 8:08

"But. None of this is even close to being in the rule book for next year yet as far as I can see. Has anyone asked the teams that were not present, especially the new American team, what they think about all of this? Forget the new ideas for 2017 for a minute, what I am more interested in is what will happen with Pirelli and the new team. Firstly Pirelli are already on record as saying that they are against that idea. Secondly how will the new team be able to make the best judgement on what tyres to use as they will not have the decades of old data to go back over? Thirdly are we going to see a year of races run on the longest lasting tyre and a single pit stop right at the beginning of the race? Fourth. Has this now opened with way for Michelin to come back and does that mean Pirelli are on their way out or do they fancy sticking around for a fight?

And to anyone who yearns for the old days of big tyres, bugger all aero and ancient engine technology, well....."

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7. Posted by Hondawho?, 16/05/2015 7:45

"I have said on here before I am a fan of the WORLD SUPERBIKE system. Two races per day and flat out racing for 25 laps each. First one across the line wins and I have been there when the winning distance is less than a metre, great great racing and championships won with only a point in it!

That's what we want to see !"

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8. Posted by Hondawho?, 16/05/2015 7:41

""Re fuelling to make the sport more exciting"!!! Really!!!!

Have you any idea the extra costs this puts into the sport? All refuelling does it make a Fast sprint type race into even more of an endurance race. If I wanted to watch an endurance race I'll watch LM series.

What is needed is fast car to car action with overtaking ant drivers keeping an eye on or now being told how to drive to save their tyres, engines or now " come in for fuel!

Heaven forbid what is going on at the top????"

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9. Posted by Vinicius, 16/05/2015 6:38

"I like the proposal in every topic."

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10. Posted by scf1fan, 16/05/2015 1:16

"@Mugmug, actually quite easy to answer, though not a short answer . . . And please don't take my (sometimes) humorous writing style as personal criticisms . . . Roughly in the order you raised them; then I'll comment.

I will probably never spend that amount of money on a ticket for any sport, even F1 which is by far my favorite! (I might make an exception if I ever wind up touring a country and something special just happens to be going on at that time; maybe.) In the past, I've walked the course at Monaco, and when I lived in/near Indy I went to Carb day and practice a few times, but the race only once; Swede Savage died that year, among others. Frankly I find the coverage on TV so stupendously more interesting that I find it hard to justify going to any race. But . . . to address the one aspect of your comment, I ain't watching/going/listening for the sound!! Period! (More on that later.)

For DRS and the like, I'll lump those into one group as "extra-curricular-technological" gadgets and such . . . Actually, I'll tend to agree with you here - other than to say that, there is a rule book and the objective of the team is to get as much out of the rule book as they possibly can!! (Or dare!! Just ask Smokey Yunick (RIP) with his 4/5 scale "stock" car!) Do I like some rules better than others? Meh, as long as everyone plays by the same rules and the rules seem to fulfill the greater goal . . . (in this case, F1 as the pinnacle of single seat open wheel "road" racing) . . . which is always arguable to some extent. You have to remember though that part of the DRS situation (for example) was caused by all the cries of "passing was too difficult" and the races have become too much like a "parade." So we got DRS and we do have more passing, though to me, the passes are somewhat less meaningful than they had been. Now, if you've read some of my other posts you will have seen that I've made some pretty specific (and rationale) suggestions on how to improve that aspect of the race without needing to resort to what most people call the "gimmicks." Minimize the aero (wings) and harden up the tires! (Policed by, if you lose to much of your tires during the race, you're out!) This will widen the usable track throughout the race as well as improve the racing through several other "knock-on" effects. So in general I prefer "simple" rules . . . but that doesn't necessarily mean that they will result in simple cars.

Now, here's why the "anti" current power unit folks make me scratch my head . . . It's a RACE! First one across the line wins. Period! (Personally I'd like to see a set of rules like "Here's 100kg of gas, don't exceed these volumes/sizes, only variations of current road technology allowed +/-, make it safe; On your marks . . . ! Well, my fantasy rules anyway . . . ) Many of the issues you've listed are not issues with the PU, other than maybe the sound! The type of PU doesn't dictate how many will be allowed in a season, or how much gas it can use per hour, those are flat-out made up rules. And, again from prior posts, I don't agree with a lot of those . . . but they aren't PU technology issues. Secondarily, high-tech companies want to show their stuff with high tech products. Would F1 be better off without MB and Honda? Do you think Audi/VW/Porsche will show up if they can only make "run of the mill" engines? I would say no. That will make the sport less interesting to me.

Didn't you see John Watson sputter on lack of fuel with his Cosworth which allowed Mario win the race in Holland? (Hope I have my facts right on that, the TV coverage here was pretty poor at that time . . . and my memory maybe isn't so hot either . . . ) Fuel issues are not new, but at that time they were controlled by the teams! ("Errr, maybe if we put a bit less gas in the car we'll beat so-and-so to the first corner . . .") Yes, I would prefer that! Technically though, how many V-8s or V-10s would you need to get through a season at 20,000 rpm? If the rules said that only 4 of those engines would be allowed, the teams would be babying them too. So, as I've stated in other posts, I think the whole business of limiting engine numbers (to try to control costs) and fuel flow (to try to control power) is not good for the sport. A blown engine, or running out of gas (and the weight of the additional gas for that matter) during a race are their own penalties.

Though that will bring me back to one of my other <ahem> favorite topics, in that the front runners would then just put a new engine in for every race and the back markers would fall further behind. So there is a happy medium here, and I think the current rules are perhaps a bit too tight on the number of engines and the limits on fuel flow. For the most part, MONEY = SPEED! That is the age old adage in racing; and left unchecked, that will result in a "boring" procession.

So, without me burning up the rest of the page, I'll reiterate my major points; it's a race to a finish line, and everyone is (should be) playing by the same rules. I don't care how it sounds, and as long as it's done as (arguably) safely as reasonably possible, the faster the better without regard to a specific technology . . . (Aren't the Audi diesels an interesting and FAST technology at Le Mans? Do they "wail" at 18k? No, they will barely do 6 or 7k. (Or there about.)) And guess what . . . For a given amount of fuel, (that is, equal in use between the two units) a hybrid PU will smoke a straight internal combustion engine EVERY time. Yes they do cost somewhat more (and I've made suggestions in other posts that could help with that) but this is supposed to be the pinnacle of racing technology!! (And not a fuel economy run either; I'll agree.) There are other events for noise, or for passing, or for crashes, etc., etc.. (And I do believe some of the missing "noise" would be addressed if the RULES allowed the PUs to get enough gas to reach 18-20k rpms. Which they can do! And at that point, they would probably have around 1000 HP . . . but then again, they would probably only last a couple of races . . . So there is the tradeoff that needs to be evaluated.)

(As a side note, personally I don't like SPEC racing! If I could, I'd like to see each team with it's own chassis, engine/PU, gear box and tires! (Or at least some choices in those matters.) That would probably be unsustainable cost wise though, so I'm "ok" with the current setup, but do feel that some of the "rules" could be improved. :-(

So, in all honesty, the sport's "problems" are not a PU (technology) issue. Get 20+ competitive cars on the track and let the viewers decide if they want to watch it. Not everyone will; can't help that, but I will. (Unless it goes to some wildly priced pay-per-view. ;-)

Please pardon any grammar, rambling or syntax errors . . . My fingers are starting to smoke a little . . . :-)"

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11. Posted by RS from Calgary, 16/05/2015 0:20

"I'm, getting tired of these so-called 'experts' trying to improve the sport (which as history has proven, has not improved racing), but I'm dead set against refueling given past issues in the pits.
I have, in my career, worked for a major fuel sponsor and have been involved on the sponsorship side, but from an HSE perspective, there are too many risks associated with pit lane refueling.
Stop the madness! And get back to racing. Hybrids will work, for the true F1 teams. "

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12. Posted by Mugmug, 15/05/2015 22:26

""@scf1fan
I'm not trying to be sarcastic or derogatory, but you seem to be just fine with the current rules/PUs so let me ask you a question. For the current cost of a decent F1 ticket $350-500 , which would you rather go to, a race where the cars are screaming at 18000 RPM, with wide tires, no DRS, with some ballsy overtaking moves that if you saw them, you'd never forget. Or, the current PUs, that are lucky to achieve 12000 RPM, are begging for more fuel, and have to last 4-5 races, which means they are de-tuned and sound like a leaf blower.
Maybe I'm old school, but no way would I shell out that kind of money to listen to and watch something that puts me to sleep.
And yes I've been to races with both types of PUs."

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13. Posted by scf1fan, 15/05/2015 18:51

"Keep the "barbees" out of the pit lane! How many pulled hoses and fires has there got to be before history stops repeating itself??

I am still befuddled by the hatred of the new engines/PU specifications. The only problem I see with it is that the powers that be didn't do their math correctly. The fuel flow limit causes the PUs to run out of gas before they run out of revs. Fix that and you might get 1000 hp out of them. For those that need more noise than that, I have a deck of cards and some clothes pins I can lend them . . . ;-) Are the new PUs expensive? Somewhat; but then Honda and MB won't be here if not for the hybrids; pick your poison. Give the back markets more of the purse, then they can afford the engines, that problem goes away. Everyone talks about leveling the playing field by capping the top which would limit innovation, where as helping to raise up the bottom would help to provide more competition at the higher level.

Improving the "show" could be as simple as decreasing the aero (wings) and using hard rubber to allow more of the track to be used for the duration of the race. (It's hard to make a late charge when most of the track is covered in marbles and you have to stay out of other's turbulence.)"

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14. Posted by nonickname, 15/05/2015 16:38

"Great savings.. now they have to cart bowers and teams to refuel??
I don't think most of these guys could organize a fete and they try to run a F1 team.Easy solution. FORCE them to run on the budget available to Marussia, and drop all the rules."

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15. Posted by olddudders, 15/05/2015 16:24

"Titanic, deckchairs. Steam on, Captain Ecclebum!"

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