Even the most cursory glance at the fastest laps posted during Sunday's Mexican Grand Prix reveal how much the race was compromised by tyre management. Whereas drivers usually post their fastest laps in the latter stages of the race when lighter on fuel, some were posting their best times much earlier, Kimi Raikkonen, for example, as early as lap 19.
The issues for Esteban Ocon and Kevin Magnussen in Austin, however, brought fuel management back into the headlines, with both drivers being disqualified despite having finished 8th (Ocon) and 9th on the road.
The Frenchman was disqualified for exceeding the fuel mass flow on the opening lap of the race, while the Dane was disqualified for consuming more than permitted 105kg of fuel during the race.
Rules are rules, of course, but as the sport seeks to win over new fans, how do you explain the fact that two drivers have been disqualified for breaking a rule which outwardly has no consequences, indeed, how do you explain that a driver is disqualified after the race for an offence that occurred on the first lap?
Magnussen has since compared the fuel management rules as forcing him to drive like a "grandma", his team banking on the Dane being lapped in Austin by race-leader Kimi Raikkonen and therefore only needing to complete 55 of the scheduled 56 laps. However, he wasn't and as a result the Haas driver exceeded the 105kg fuel limit by a mere 170g.
Haas team boss, Guenther Steiner, has a unique solution.
"I'm not trying to find an excuse for what we did," said the Italian. "We fought hard and we deal with the consequences, we are fully OK with that - but I think if we would shorten the race, for example, leave the regulations where they are so we don't have to spend money to design new fuel cells or whatever, just reduce the race three laps, you would have wide open racing the whole race - and I think there you would have more overtaking than by lift-and-coast."
"It is a regulation and it's been with us for quite some time," said Otmar Szafnauer, whose driver was also disqualified. "It's recently changed - or it will change for next year. I think the total fuel that we get will increase again.
"But even if you don't have those fuel limits, we will always be making trade-offs between how much fuel we put in the car, such that we get to the end in the shortest amount of time," he admitted. "Even in the past, where you don't have a fuel limit. You don't quite fuel it... you fuel it to the point where your total race time is lowest and that sometimes means fuel saving.
"And, to the contrary, if we're fuel-saving, at a different time to when somebody else is, it could help overtaking. You know, I think Haas maybe didn't do the fuel saving when they were trying to attack us but if there is a time in the race, and it often happens, somebody's fuel saving when we aren't, that's a good time to attack. So, you see, it can help with overtaking. Just the opposite."
"If anybody listens in to radio at the moment, to the drivers, 80 per cent is about lift-and-coast," said Steiner. "And again, if somebody then decides to put less fuel in, as Otmar says, it could be part of the strategy, he can decide that - but it's on his own behalf. If we would fuel to go the whole race, that you can race as the race car is built to do.
"A race car, in my opinion, is built to race a full race, and not to save fuel," he continued. "That's my opinion about racing. And it could be easily achieved. I think nobody would miss if we make the races three laps shorter, where we make a procession anyway because we have to fuel-save.
"Again, that's my opinion on it. I just want to make it clear to everybody I'm not trying to make an excuse for what happened to us. We made a mistake and we got the points taken away and we live with that one."
"There is a regulation you are in infringement you need to have a penalty," insists Sauber's Fred Vasseur. "If we are allowed to use a bit more and then the next week a bit more and then the next week a bit more, at one stage you need to get penalised.
"It was a common decision to have a race based on efficiency," he added. "Now, if it's another matter, you want to race without any limitation of fuel, why not? But it's another way that we have to take."