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GP Week : Issue 33
> F1china> Re-Fuelling speculation shi POSSIBLY the most disappointing thing to come out of the Chinese Grand Prix was the news that FOTA had apparently rejected the notion that the banning of refuelling in Formula 1 might be a good way to spice up the show. From a seemingly intelligent group of people, this does seem somewhat baffling. The original intention to discuss such a proposal saw light of day in the week that punctuated the Japanese and Chinese races, and was met with almost universal support from the many branches of the media. And with good reason. Refuelling in Formula 1 is, to many, the single greatest factor bastardising the sport. Its departure from the regulations would not be met with the slightest tear from fans, media, nor, one suspects, Felipe Massa’s fuel man. OK, he might be out of a job, but it probably beats being dragged down a flood-lit pit-lane for a living. Since re-fuelling’s reintroduction to F1 in 1994 the sport has become more concerned with strategy than it has with on-track racing. Add to that the concept of qualifying on race fuel, fuel adjusted qualifying results and the hash the governing bodies have made of qualifying in order to spice up the show, and what you have is an almighty mess. So let’s imagine a world, where Formula 1 gets rid of fuel stops … Qualifying becomes an out and out battle for the fastest lap-time, as it always used to be and always should have been. Keep the three-session shootout if you like. Personally, I think it’s fun, but this whole third session on race fuel would become obsolete. You’d still get the excitement of a knockout, only you wouldn’t have to try and figure out who was really quickest after a fuel re-adjusted grid. Then to the race. And here’s where Plus, safety would be maintained. WILL BUxtON GPWeek Editor it gets good. Everyone starts on – wait for it – the same fuel level. That means everyone is the same weight. That means the guy who got pole didn’t get there because he’s light and is going to streak away. It means a driver has to learn to conserve his tyres. It means closer battles as everyone’s running the same fuel levels. Of course as time wears on the use of fuel will become more efficient as teams strive to get further on less. Its eco credentials are tip-top. Pos # Driver The current Safety Car regulations, which are intended to increase safety, could be kept. Why? Because nobody would get penalised for having to stop for fuel when the pit-lane was closed. Because there wouldn’t be refuelling. So what’s the downside? The use of bigger fuel tanks is about all anybody could come up with. Guys, seriously, if you want to improve the show for a minimal cost, improve your green credentials and please the fans by giving them something pure and decent, there’s a very simple and safe way of doing it. You’ve already figured it out, just as the majority of sane people who love this sport did a decade ago. Ban refuelling. FORMULA 1 Round 17 CHINA Team 1 22 Lewis Hamilton 2 2 3 1 4 5 Felipe Massa Kimi Räikkönen Fernando Alonso 5 3 Nick Heidfeld 6 4 7 12 Timo Glock 8 6 Robert Kubica Nelson Piquet 9 15 Sebastian Vettel 10 9 David Coulthard Laps McLaren-Mercedes 56 Ferrari Ferrari Renault BMW Sauber BMW Sauber Toyota Renault STR-Ferrari Red Bull-Renault 11 17 Rubens Barrichello Honda 12 8 Kazuki Nakajima Williams-Toyota 13 14 Sebastien Bourdais STR-Ferrari 14 10 Mark Webber 15 7 Nico Rosberg 16 16 Jenson Button Red Bull-Renault Williams-Toyota Honda 56 56 56 56 56 56 56 56 56 56 56 56 56 55 55 17 21 Giancarlo Fisichella Force India-Ferrari 55 Ret 23 Heikki Kovalainen McLaren-Mercedes 49 Ret 20 Adrian Sutil Ret 11 Jarno Trulli Force India-Ferrari 13 Toyota 2 Time 1:31:57.403 +14.9s +16.4s +18.3s +28.9s +33.2s +41.7s +56.6s +64.3s +74.8s +85.0s +90.8s +91.4s +92.4s +1 Lap +1 Lap +1 Lap Pneumatic Gearbox Accident Grid 1 3 2 4 9 11 12 10 6 15 13 17 8 16 14 18 20 5 19 7 Points – Drivers: Hamilton 94, Massa 87, Kubica 75, Raikkonen 69, Heidfeld 60, Alonso 53, Kovalainen 51, Vettel 30, Trulli 30, Glock 22. Manufacturers: Ferrari 156, McLaren-Mercedes 145, BMW 135, Renault 72, Toyota 52, Toro Rosso 34, Red Bull 29, Williams-Toyota 26, Honda 14. 31 opinion