Kimi Raikkonen, Ferrari, Sepang, 2009

Ferrari eager for refuelling despite opposition

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Kimi Raikkonen, Ferrari, Sepang, 2009In the round-up: Ferrari president Sergio Marchionne is pushing for the reintroduction of refuelling despite strong opposition from teams.


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Ferrari chief says refuelling return not dead yet (Motorsport)

"We keep on hearing noises about what kitchen-concocted studies have yielded. I understand them. The question is you have to find out the impact of the combination of refuelling, tyre changes and variety of other changes are going to have on the sport."

Reaction to refuelling proposal was '100% negative' - Wolff (ESPN)

"The feedback was 100% negative - too expensive, not safe enough, detrimental to the races and the strategies."

Refuelling confusion shows weakness of F1 Strategy Group (AutoWeek)

"Thursday's discussion focussed on the fact that refuelling is not good for racing. Various team strategists had analysed data from before and after the end of refuelling in 2009, and thus the team managers had the statistics to hand. For example, it was shown that in 2010 the number of overtakes on track actually doubled."

Vettel: Alonso didn't give an inch (Autosport)

"With hindsight I should've been a bit smarter. Obviously Fernando was not giving one inch."

Raikkonen blames spin on engine maps (F1i)

"It’s obviously to do with the pit stop maps and it’s nothing to do with the tyres or anything else."

Toto Wolff Q&A - Montreal proved we're no idiots (F1)

"My assumption without really knowing it is that we haven't seen the best of Ferrari today. Sebastian (Vettel) had a very difficult Saturday, starting the race at the back, having an incident with (Nico) Hulkenberg and running into backmarker traffic. And Kimi spun – and that doesn't make a two-stop strategy work. My prediction is that they will bounce back in Austria."


Comment of the day

Yesterday we had a case in favour of refuelling, here’s a case against it:

Going into the [1993 Portuguese Grand Prix] Benetton had planned for Michael Schumacher to do two stops. But in the race they found tyre wear was better than expected and Schumacher decided he didn’t want to do the planned second stop and that helped him win the race.

Add refuelling to that race and he’d have had to make the second stop for fuel.

I would also add that fuel strategy was decided by the strategists. They did their calculations on Saturday based on where they expected to qualify and the driver had very little input and there was also very little room to change strategy in the race.

With no refuelling it’s more in the hand of the drivers. The strategists can still play a role by looking at gaps and where they will feed into traffic after a stop but as you say a driver has more say on if he feels he can extend a stint based on tyre life without been forced to cut a stint short because he only has x laps of fuel and therefore has no choice but too stop on lap x.

I think the only problem currently is the tyre rules which force teams to run both compounds with Pirelli picking what compounds they run. I’d rather we go back to what we had before refuelling was introduced in 1994 with teams having complete freedom on what tyres they ran & how many times they stopped (Or didn’t as it wasn’t uncommon to see a driver run non-stop back then).

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  • 34 comments on “Ferrari eager for refuelling despite opposition”

    1. “It’s deja vu, all over again”!

    2. If the number of overtakes doubled in 2010, and that without the DRS gimmick, then that’s it. No more arguments needed.

      It’s simple. Want to improve F1? ban DRS, see the results. F1 needs no more.

      Red Bull and Toro Rosso would be doing a lot better than they do if DRS was not available. They qualy high which probably means the car is not all that bad, but they cannot mantain the position because the back straight at Montreal is a 4 lane motorway thanks to DRS. Alonso would’ve hold Vettel for longer too, ensuring a nice on track battle and more excitement.

      1. Alonso would’ve hold Vettel for longer too

        Indeed. Drivers with better equipment coming back through the field is a much more entertaining challenge when the midfield drivers really have a chance at holding their positions and making life difficult for the guys trying to pass.

        With DRS this challenge is almost inexistent, as DRS in better cars immediatly means that those drivers are guaranteed to go by.

      2. If Merc doesn’t want it it’s because refuelling must hinder one of the advantages related to having the better powertrain. I think Marchionne is right when saying that the studies are half-assed. Arguing that the loss of refuelling is behind the increase in on track overtakes in 2010 just proves it. The front tyres got narrower for the 2010 season, are we just going to write off the idea of increasing tyre width? The qualifying rules also changed forcing the top 10 to start the race on older tyres. That said the tyres were so durable there were often only 1 pit-stop, therefore it’s obvious that if anyone if going to go by anyone it has to be on track and not by chance on a pit stop even less so strategically. If you want to push overtaking stats forward since Pirelli re-entered F1, the overtaking number sky rocketed, and invariably so pit-stops. If you are going to have a pit stop anyway why not refuel. Currently the only feasible problem with refuelling and racing is the one mentioned in COTD.
        Also in 2010 there was f-duct and no KERS as in 2009 via mutual agreement. Anyhow personally I found 2009 on track racing much better than 2010, 2010 was all about a tight intense and dramatic championship fight. Whether refuelling is positive or not for wheel to wheel action remains to be seen. Regardless it’s one of these things that F1 should always have as it is not endurance racing.

        1. The “studies are half assed” when its in fact comparing historical data that is completely clear in its result: refuelling kills on track overtaking @peartree.
          Both before AND after refuelling there were more attempts. Af for 2009. The racing was hardly there. The only interesting thing was that it was an unexpected winner in Brawn/Button. And in the second half of the year we saw Vettel/RBR come into stride.

          If Ferrari wants refuelling back, its much for the same reason as the last time it was introduced: because they hope to gain an advantage. But its not going to make racing any better. And it is more expensive, and far more unsafe, especially because of the pressure of fast fuel stops (remember taking out filters etc leading to pitlane fires?)

          1. Mr win or lose
            8th June 2015, 8:16

            There were probably three factors that increased the number of overtakes in 2010: 1) more cars, 2) the first-lap pitstops and 3) a lot of safety cars. I doubt the refueling ban really made any difference, especially as drivers had to make at least one stop because of the two-compound rule.


              Look at the graph between 94-10, then tell me refulling doesn’t reduce on track action.
              Refuelling is an expensive, dangerous and excitement killing aspect of F1 that most people were glad to see banned.

            2. The overtaking started to fall in 1987, after the rate of increase had slowed since 1982, and decreased at a faster rate each year until 1996. This was followed by a number of attempts to reduce aero, with varied effects:

              – 1997 didn’t really have any such changes, but did have a lot of young dynamic drivers and some newly-stabilised teams (Jordan finally had money, Ferrari finally had cohesion and Stewart finally existed). Thus there was more overtaking than in the relatively weak previous season.

              – 1998 had new aero rules, whose initial interpretation was spectacularly fiddly (reducing overtaking) and the next refinement rather better (resetting back to 1997 levels).

              – 2001 had new aero rules that showed the same initially-conservative, then improved refinement pattern.

              – 2005 saw the same thing happen again with aero, but more extreme because initially only one tyre manufacturer went risky out of the two in the tyre war of the era. Normal service on the tyre war and aero fronts led to a pronounced rebound in 2006 overtaking.

              – 2009 also saw an aero change. Conservative interpretations – but this time only by the front part of the field – meant overtaking went down in 2009 and then went up in 2010. This one was much more extreme than the other aero changes, with massive parts of the car no longer able to carry aero (note the much cleaner lines of any car produced after 2008, compared with the 2008 title-winning McLaren).

              Of course, this was also complicated by F-ducts that were only partially implemented, an unreliable-in-qualifying team that had much better race pace (largely through mastering the aero and having a driver perfectly able to maximise this) that led to more overtaking than would be usual, and a large number of teams changing ownership or just plain new and thus having to make big adjustments to a new landscape.

              Refuelling didn’t cause a reduction in overtaking. It is unclear whether 2009’s collective disaster for the big teams and the massive aero change delayed the effect of banning lots of aero in 2009 until 2010, or whether refuelling bans had an effect. Note that since 2011, the overtaking quantities have decreased each year at an even faster rate than in

              If this is so, then it indicates the overtaking effects seen have more to do with the amount of aero allowed and the time since the last major aero change than the presence or absence of refuelling.

          2. Oh good Lord, a war of statistical analysis- waged by team people who have -very- strong agendas to maximize their own teams financial gain. None of the models I’ve seen described begin to describe the effects of the various changes on the outcomes– therefore they are inaccurate. Reminds me that stopped watches are right twice a day! And then most of us just act like the fanboi’s that we are.

        2. That said the tyres were so durable there were often only 1 pit-stop, therefore it’s obvious that if anyone if going to go by anyone it has to be on track and not by chance on a pit stop even less so strategically.

          @peartree Thats kind of the point.

          When we had refueling the reason there was generally less close racing & less overtaking was because there was a higher incentive to pass via fuel strategy which is what everyone tended to aim to do back then.

          Both before refueling & after the incentive was to overtake on track because doing it in the pits isn’t as guaranteed.
          This was especially the case Pre-94 when tyre strategy was more open, There was no mandatory stops & you didn’t know if the car you were racing was even going to make a stop.

      3. I slightly agree with your view. But maybe, in yesterday’s race, if we didn’t had DRS we wouldn’t see some great battles in T13/14 or T1. Yeah, the ones that were made during the long straight were dull, but the rest I enjoyed. I think the sport firstly needs to solve other problems (cars need to be faster, tires too, less influence of dirty air) before taking away DRS.

      4. Without DRS, Kamui Kobayashi would probably still be in F1, or would have had a more successful career. Before DRS, he was AMAZINGLY good at shooting past opponents and throwing out the anchor at the last possible moment. DRS took away his ace-in-the-hole and made him distinctly average with a few good days.

    3. Welcome to Nico Rosberg’s day. He knows this view well.

      This implies that Nico is actually good enough to stay in touch with the leader. Something Martin never quite was. ;-)

      1. This implies that Nico is actually good enough to stay in touch with the leader. Something Martin never quite was. ;-)

        Brundle was actually the teammate who was closest in race-pace to Schumacher during Schumis first part of the career (when Schumi was actually working hard and not an aged semi-motivated pensioner having a bit of fun). They ended 38-53 in points that season, and out of those 7 races where both cars finished Brundle was ahead 3 times. He just didn´t get to enjoy the luck of a front-running car, but I heavily doubt he was worse than Rosberg.

        1. @crammond, @kingshark. Always worth mentioning with Brundle that his crash in Dallas 1984 was huge for his career. He entered F1 with a bang and was second the race before his accident in Detroit. Missing the rest of the season cemented his place with lowly Tyrell and I think his ankle break definitely slowed him considerably, not dissimilar to Herbert’s rise to F1. Other emerging talent of the day was Senna, Bellof and Berger. From there on it was tough to find top drives. Think of the list of great drivers in the late 1980s and its not far from the talent we have today where great drivers like Grosjean, Bottas, Hulkenburg and Perez don’t get a look in. The rest of his career he drove mid-grid cars and was always reliable.

          With Brundle its easy to look at his career and skew the numbers to make him look thoroughly ordinary or potentially phenomenal. I think, for instance, Senna was further up the road in F3 than points suggested and that Michael Schumacher would have obliterated him at his prime. But, without his accident, I think that the careers of Mansell and Brundle could have been interchangeable on raw talent.

        2. @crammond I remember Flavio once saying that he regretted dropping Brundle at the end of 1992 because he felt the Schumacher/Brundle partnership would have been stronger & that he felt if they had Brundle in 1994 they could have won the constructors championship as well as the drivers.

          I think kinda like Nico Hulkenberg nowadays, Brundle was one of the drivers who everyone thought very highly of but who was ultimately always overlooked.

          1. Who knows what went on in Briatore’s mind. Brundle was waiting around for the McLaren drive all winter in 93/94, so he was available then. Seem to remember it was Michele Alboreto who had a pre-season test with Benetton.

            I hope Hulkenberg doesn’t go and have his greatest achievements away from F1 like Brundle did. Neither quite seized the sniff of a victory they had (Brazil 2012, Canada or Spa in 1992); they had impressive races but never in top cars; and both have a remarkable command of the English language (I’m always amazed how quickly Hulkenberg speaks; his English is better than Hamilton’s!)

    4. I used to think Bernie was 100% responsible for all that is wrong with F1, now I realise that Ferrari are a big part of the problem as well, the other day we saw that last year Ferrari took twice as much money from the pool as did Williams even though Williams outscored Ferrari, seems Ferrari get a free ride and want to write the rules to suit themselves. Time to even up the playing field, reward all who contribute to the show then have a progressive bonus based on results to reward the teams that try hardest to succeed, not the teams that keep Bernie in power.

      1. pxcmerc (@)
        8th June 2015, 2:48

        what you are advocating for is more of the same. Money comes from influence/advantage. If you cannot achieve some sort of advantage because you are pigeonholed by regulation, than you are relegated to being shot at like a fish in a barrel. There are some very sweet heart deals in F1 that should be looked at, but don’t be mistaken in thinking that rewarding people for performing poorly will contribute towards real competition, because it never does.

        1. @pxcmerc, I’m not for rewarding people for performing poorly, if I was I would happy with Bernie/FOM taking so much money out of the sport, but I do think a team, no teams that spend $100million or more and manage to mostly achieve the traditional 107% qualifying time should not get some share of the revenue generated, on the other hand a team with the history of Williams should not, in a year it convincingly outperformed Ferrari, only get paid 1/2 what Ferrari got paid and considerably less than newcomers RBR. SF and RBR performed poorly but still got rewarded handsomely purely because they sold out the other teams and took Bernies 13GigaShekels.

      2. @hohum Unfortunately it came to be that Ferrari and also the other teams pledged to be in F1 until 2020 and so have taken some liberties from it. Bernie created that deal. It is symptomatic that Bernie needed to keep the high rollers satisfied in order to keep F1 interesting. It’s undeniable that people watch F1 for the big names. On the other side you can’t blame a team for making the best deal. One can only estimate the impact of this money grab. One can only hope these liberties don’t extend to the independent bodies such as the FIA, affecting rule making. In F1 as in society the rules, rule the world and the rich dodge the rules.

        1. @peartree, Bernie didn’t give SF and RBR to keep F1 interesting, it was purely and simply a ploy to keep CVC from having to lose a larger chunk of the outrageous 50% of net profit they had been taking.

    5. pxcmerc (@)
      8th June 2015, 2:42

      refueling makes it more difficult for the more efficient vehicles, allowing refueling gives Ferrari the opportunity to move the cost of the power unit, over to a dude and a refueling rig.

      if they ditched the fuel limit (100kg) and brought back refueling Renault might actually have a better shot at giving their customers reliable power. It might push Merc out of their comfort space/optimization window.

      Diversity is good for F1. Constraints do nothing but make things more predictable. The money is there, but the mono crop is whithering away.

      1. @pcxmerc I don’t get that argument.

        Renault’s problem is that there 60+bhp down on Mercedes/Ferrari (Honda more so apparently), Refueling wouldn’t solve that… In fact it could actually make the deficit worse.

        I’d also point out that even with refueling they said they would keep the 100kg limit.

        And the final point would be that the refueling era of 1994>2009 shows that we had less close racing, less racing in general & a lot less overtaking in general & that throughout that era fans were constantly complaining about the effects of refueling on the racing by moving passing into the pits.

        From a purely racing point of view refueling add’s nothing, It just makes it worse.

        1. written from a viewpoint of ‘F1 = the driver’. But it doesn’t. There are teams. There are strategies. There is money. There are rules. It’s all played out in realtime. Think fast in the car, on the pit wall, in the factory reading the latest bizarro-changes in the regs– and you’ll do well. Miss out on any of these and you won’t. Personally I like the combination of a bunch of thorny problems all thrown at you in ‘their’ realtime.

    6. Would I be wrong in saying that an Alonso v Vettel duel in this turbo era is much more entertaining than any the Merc boys have given us?

      1. I dont think so. Yes, yesterday’s duel was very good and entertaining to watch but I think Bahrain 2014, Spain 2014 were also good wheel to wheel racing between Merc boys. The current aero regulations doesn’t allow equally matched cars to follow closely, hence the lack of action up front. But it is not that Merc boys never had a good wheel to wheel action.

        1. @mjf1fan You also have to look back to last year where Vettel/Alonso had a couple really good duels that were more exciting to watch than what we got from the 2 Mercedes.

    7. I have a crazy and probably genius idea that ensures formula 1 wins all round.

      It is based on the time trial event in tour de france where the slowest guy goes first and then the rest are released with time gaps. It would work slightly different in f1.

      Firstly how to decide who has the fastest car? Law of averages.
      Give one appointed driver of each team (say Hamilton, Vettel, etc.) to post their best QUALI lap in every CAR (williams, lotus, etc.). Then through calculating average from all laps (9 laps per car)
      we can compare the relative time deficit between cars over a lap and thereby race distance on the circuit.
      For example: Over the race distance mercedes is fastest at 160 seconds while ferrari & williams are 20 & 60 seconds behind them respectively.
      *A neutral or rookie driver could be appointed to ensure that drivers do not drive their own car slowly to give the team an advantage later.*
      *Appointed team driver to be rotated each quali.*

      Secondly how to decide the time gap for the race? Margin of error.
      Give the slower driver starting ahead a unanimously agreed time gap advantage of say 90% of the car deficit.
      The time gap being just enough that the driver behind should be able to overtake and get ahead.
      Following above example: williams starts 36 seconds ahead of the ferrari which in turn starts 18 seconds ahead of the mercedes.
      *The non-appointed team driver for the quali starts just ahead in the race and thus rotated to ensure fair play.*

      Tyres? The manufactures can design 3-4 different types of tyres depending on the range of circuit’s demands, that give or take last the whole race.
      For example: soft for monaco, canada, etc. & medium for hungary, hockenheim, etc. & hard for spa, monza, etc.
      *A team can be given two satisfactory sets of tyres in case 1 emergency stop is needed in the race.*

      The positives for this would be:
      Open regulations for car designers which will result in diverse and more unique cars.
      Drivers racing to the limit in the race and as a bonus also enjoying all cars for one lap around all circuits.
      A praiseworthy challenge for tyre manufacturer to keep working on.
      Fans getting a competitive race every time whether on television or watching trackside.

      It is frankly a win win win win….. for everyone involved.

      1. I don’t really know what to say! On the one hand, I truly admire the ability to think so far outside the box, but jayteeniftb, I think you may have lost sight of the box altogether.

        Just to pick up on one consequence of your grand vision: the qualifying session will likely take something over six hours to complete (9 cars x 9 drivers means 81 qualy laps, plus 81 out-laps and 81 in-laps, that’s a total of 243 laps at say 1:30 per lap = 365 minutes minimum) during which time there’s only one car on track at a time. How are you going to sell that to the TV companies? Where’s the spectacle?

        Props for the vision, but I really think you need to work on the details a bit…

    8. Ferrari pushed for refuelling back in 1993 because it’s engine was too thirsty. What is the reason behind it now?
      People complaint about lack of fight on track, with refuelling we would see almost none of it.

      1. Doubt they really want it just want to show others they have power to chalenge what all the others say and delay decisions etc. They are being political.

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