• Saturday, July 13, 2024
businessday logo

BusinessDay

Formula 1 re-fuelling return dismissed over cost

F1-refuelling

F1-refuelling

Formula 1 will not pursue the revival of mid-race re-fuelling further at this time following meetings in Geneva, Autosport understands.  FIA president Jean Todt said the subject was back on the agenda when speaking at the Autosport International show recently.

But after a meeting of the Strategy Group followed by the F1 Commission, it is believed the general feeling was the return of re-fuelling would clash with plans to control costs.

Re-fuelling’s return was last mooted in May 2015 as part of plans to improve the show. While it had the support of drivers, the idea was quashed by teams and dropped.

When the subject re-emerged this month, Todt dismissed the notion that re-fuelling would raise costs, suggesting a figure of €50,000 a year per team.

But speaking before the meetings in Geneva, Williams technical director Pat Symonds believed the cost would be significantly higher than that figure.

“One needs to be careful with disinformation,” he told Autosport. “Re-fuelling is an expensive thing to do as well as its effect on racing.

“Jean Todt said it cost €50,000 a year. He’s an order of magnitude out. That’s worrying.

“Freight costs for shipping equipment are £175,000 and it’s probably £200,000-250,000 to buy and service the kit in the first year and ongoing cost of servicing it.

“There is also one dedicated salaried person for looking after it so the costs are very significant.”

Symonds believes any return of re-fuelling would have a negative impact on the racing.

“At the moment, we can determine a strategy before the race and then we take a more tactical view when we get in the race,” he said.

“We determine the pitstops based on what tyres are doing, which won’t necessarily be what we predicted, and then we have to assess what our competitors are doing.

“When you think back to when we got rid of re-fuelling, we saw better racing. It’s a retrograde step.”