Plans for the reintroduction of refuelling to F1 in 2017 look to be dead in the water following a meeting at which representatives of the teams expressed unanimous opposition to it.
It’s understood that the FIA’s Charlie Whiting will now report the findings of the meeting back to the F1 Strategy Group, whose members came up with the idea in their May 14th gathering.
Tonight’s regular Thursday F1 team managers’ meeting morphed into a meeting of the Sporting Working Committee, whose role is to refine regulations. Refuelling was one of two main items on the agenda, along with 2016 tyre rules.
Surprisingly perhaps the main opposition to refuelling was on the basis that it would be detrimental to the show, rather than cost or safety.
Data analysed by various team strategists and presented at the meeting provided solid proof that refuelling would not improve the racing – for example in 2010, the year after it was stopped, there were twice as many overtaking moves as in the previous year.
It was also agreed that if refuelling came back it would again have to be on the basis of drivers qualifying on race fuel, a concept that the teams felt was not successful, as it did not present a true picture of who had the fastest car.
Although cost was not the main driver of today’s decision it’s estimated that a return to refuelling would cost £1m in the first year, and then £500,000 a year thereafter. Some teams have expressed doubts over safety, as the desire to have fast pit stops that depend on the tyre changing time would require much faster flow rates than previously, for example a 33 litres per second flow as opposed to 12.