F1 makes refuelling U-turn

2015-06-07 18:27
Bernie Ecclestone (File)

Montreal - Formula One is set to ditch a proposal to bring back in-race refuelling in 2017 after the technical feedback was unanimously against the move, according to Mercedes motorsport head Toto Wolff.

The proposal, part of measures to improve the show and make cars faster, was put forward by a Strategy Group meeting last month but has yet to be approved formally by the sport's governing body.

Wolff said the feeling now among all the teams was that the idea should be dropped.

"When we discussed it in the strategy group it didn't have a lot of support but we agreed to explore it, to discuss it in the technical regulations meeting and in the SRM (sporting regulations meeting) and analyse it properly," he told reporters at the Canadian Grand Prix.

"The feedback was 100 percent negative: too expensive, not safe enough, detrimental to the races and the strategies," added the Austrian.

"So it's going to go back in the strategy group and my opinion is it shouldn't happen. I'm not keen on getting refuelling back into Formula One."

Sauber team principal Monisha Kaltenborn was also opposed.

"I don't see the rationale behind bringing refuelling back," she told reporters.

"You just have far more costs, which is in contradiction to what has been agreed to reduce costs, and I don't think it really plays into the safety aspect."

The refuelling proposal was the standout news after the May Strategy Group meeting suggested ways of making the cars faster, louder and more aggressive-looking from 2017 to address concerns about shrinking audiences.

It was suggested that refuelling, which was banned in 2010 on cost and safety grounds, would return with a maximum fuel allowance in keeping with moves to improve economy and present the sport in a greener light.

Transporting heavy equipment around the world, with extra personnel needed to handle the rigs and hose, is expensive, however. Pumping fuel into cars in a crowded pit lane in a matter of seconds also brings the risk of flare-ups.

Refuelling also contributed to races becoming processional in the past with teams using pitstops to get ahead of rivals rather than overtaking on the track.

Some drivers had welcomed the prospect of refuelling coming back, however.

"Obviously as a driver, if you go faster, which you do when you refuel the car, it's better. So I appreciate the decision," Ferrari's Sebastian Vettel said last month.

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