Refuelling set to return as F1 seeks to ‘improve the show’

The spectacle of refuelling during pit stops is set to return to Formula One in 2017 as part of sweeping measures designed to “improve the show” put on by the motor racing series.

The International Automobile Federation (FIA), the global governing body of motorsport, announced the changes today (Friday) following a meeting of the F1 Strategy Group. The Strategy Group comprises FIA president Jean Todt, Formula One chief executive Bernie Ecclestone and six teams – McLaren, Mercedes, Ferrari, Force India, Red Bull and Williams.

Refuelling was banned ahead of the 2010 Formula One season, having been part of the sport for the previous 16 years. Its return is the headline measure amongst the reforms, which also intend to make cars five to six seconds a lap faster by reducing weight, using wider tyres and evolving the current aerodynamic regulations.

There has been mounting criticism of the spectacle of F1 in recent years, while drivers have complained that the modern-day cars are too slow. The FIA said that higher revving engines and “increased noise” will also be introduced in 2017, along with “more aggressive looks”. The introduction of turbo hybrid engines has lessened the noise traditionally associated with attending a F1 weekend, another criticism of the show being offered by Formula One.

The FIA added that certain other measures have also been discussed but require further investigation before they can be implemented. These include a “global reflection” on race weekend format.

Furthermore, in light of various scenarios presented by an independent consulting company mandated by the F1 Strategy Group, at the initiative of the FIA, the federation said a “comprehensive proposal” to ensure the sustainability of the sport has emerged. The Strategy Group member teams have committed to refine it in the next few weeks, in consultation with the other teams involved in the championship.

On the engine side, it has been decided that stability of the rules should prevail in consideration of the investments of the manufacturers involved in the sport and to give “visibility” to potential new entrants. The allowance for a fifth engine to be used during the 2015 season has therefore been rejected.

The FIA added: “This constructive meeting between the FIA, FOM (Formula One Management) and the teams has allowed for paving the way for the future of the championship. All parties agreed to work together with an intention to firm up these proposals and submit them to the approval of the F1 Commission and the World Motor Sport Council of the FIA as soon as possible for implementation.”