F1 ditches planned return to refuelling for 2017
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 scientic 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.