Looks like the ban on topping off on fuel may continue in Formula 1 after all — at least for now. Despite mid-race refueling being listed as one of the proposals on deck to spice things up for the racing series, team managers have unanimously voted against it.
Last month, the F1 Strategy Group, made up of high-ranking F1 officials and team principals, met to discuss reforms to the sport in an effort to bring back some of the excitement it seems to have been lacking for a while.
Among the proposed changes was the return of refueling during pit stops, a practice removed from the sport in 2009 as a measure to reduce costs. This, along with tire management, played a great part in the participating teams’ strategies, due to how the fluctuating fuel load influenced the car’s weight.
According to Autosport, team managers met with FIA race director Charlie Whiting and voiced their opposition to any reintroduction of the practice at this past weekend’s Canadian Gran Prix, which took place at the Gilles Villeneuve circuit. They claim that, after comprehensive study, they found no benefit to lifting the refueling ban.
The team managers claimed that, for one, studies show that overtaking other cars improved in 2010 as a result of the restriction. Team managers were also quick to point out that the initial reason to stop mid-race refueling still stands: cost.
Team managers, ultimately, are responsible to their team first and foremost, and some could argue that they are happy to keep an additional game-changing factor out of their race strategy. Fans may benefit from the drama of a more complicated pit-stop strategy, but teams surely don’t want to welcome the added headache.
The mire of Formula 1 governance is as tricky as any racing strategy could be, so nothing is ever particularly certain when it comes to the regulations. With all the teams agreeing they want this one to remain unchanged, however, refueling may have sputtered to a halt.