F1 ditches planned re­turn to re­fu­elling for 2017

F1 Racing - - INSIDER -

Changes in­tended to spice up rac­ing, in­crease driver au­ton­omy, and ease re­stric­tions on en­gine de­vel­op­ment are still un­der de­bate

F1 bosses have aban­doned plans to rein­tro­duce re­fu­elling from 2017, as they con­tinue their dis­cus­sions about the fu­ture of the sport.

Re­fu­elling had been cham­pi­oned by Don­ald Macken­zie, boss of com­mer­cial rights holder CVC Cap­i­tal Part­ners, and Fer­rari pres­i­dent Ser­gio Mar­chionne as a way to spice up rac­ing.

But a study by the teams es­tab­lished that re­fu­elling would have a detri­men­tal ef­fect on track ac­tion. One top team boss said: “We had a long con­ver­sa­tion about the fact that we wanted to have faster cars at the start of the race as well. But the strate­gies would be so pre­dictable. Ev­ery­one would pit at the same time. There is more risk to the show than op­por­tu­ni­ties.”

F1 is go­ing ahead with plans to make the cars more dra­matic-look­ing in 2017, by widen­ing the track and the rear tyres. Teams have free time to spend ex­plor­ing these changes, us­ing CFD, un­til 20 July. They will present their nd­ings to the FIA, which, in turn, will present to the next meet­ing of the Strat­egy Group in Septem­ber to show what needs to be done to make the cars faster with­out jeop­ar­dis­ing over­tak­ing.

Be­fore that, F1 will take ac­tion to re­duce the im­pres­sion that driv­ers’ races are be­ing man­aged from the pit­wall. Au­to­ma­tion of starts and in­struc­tions on is­sues such as tyre and brake pres­sures and tem­per­a­ture will be re­duced.

Much of this will be done by the Bel­gian GP at the end of Au­gust, with the rest in­tro­duced for 2016. “The idea from many years ago of mak­ing ra­dio com­mu­ni­ca­tions open to the public, which was seen as some­thing in­ter­est­ing, has led to the false per­cep­tion of us re­mote-con­trol­ling the driv­ers,” ex­plained Mercedes boss Toto Wolff.

“In fu­ture, we will give driv­ers the in­for­ma­tion and they can judge what to do based on it. They are the main cast of the show, so let’s put more re­spon­si­bil­ity back to them. We want less pre­dictabil­ity. To achieve that, there should be a less sci­entic ap­proach to rac­ing, and more of the driver be­ing re­spon­si­ble for his rac­ing.”

The cur­rent sys­tem of penal­ties for us­ing too many en­gine parts, and re­stric­tions on in-sea­son en­gine de­vel­op­ment, are also to be re­viewed.

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