July 3, 2015 / 1:50 PM / 4 years ago

F1 ditches plan to bring back refueling

SILVERSTONE, England (Reuters) - Formula One has abandoned controversial plans to reintroduce refueling from 2017 after teams decided it would not be a good move, Force India deputy principal Bob Fernley said on Friday.

Crew members of the Ferrari Formula One team practise refuelling and pit stops prior to the start of the third practice session of the Singapore F1 Grand Prix at the Marina Bay street circuit September 26, 2009. REUTERS/Tim Chong

“The view collectively was that it’s not going to improve the show and the decision was not to go forward with that,” he told Reuters at the British Grand Prix.

The proposal to bring back refueling was raised at a meeting of the sport’s Strategy Group in May as part of measures to make cars faster and Formula One more exciting for both drivers and fans.

However, the initial enthusiasm waned when some questioned why something that was banned in 2010 for reasons of cost and safety should be revived at a time when teams were trying to save money.

Concerns about refueling narrowing the strategy options were also raised.

A Strategy Group meeting on Wednesday formally shelved the idea, and there was no mention of refueling — which would require heavy rigs and extra pit crew to operate them — in a statement issued on Thursday.

Instead, it mentioned a proposal to increase the race fuel allowance.

Fernley said the refueling proposal had stemmed from a desire to increase engine horsepower, which would require more fuel and either bigger tanks or the chance to put more in during the race.

The Force India boss said the latest Strategy Group meeting had been constructive, particularly in overhauling power unit penalties and increasing restrictions on driver aids.

“There were some very important decisions made, quickly and efficiently to deal with issues in Formula One from Austria in terms of penalties. I thought we did a good job with all of that,” he said.

“There are three or four initiatives, if you like, that now need to go through the process.

“Initially, those have to go through the engine manufacturers, the FIA, the commercial rights holder or a combination of them to see if they have got merit and can go to the next stage, which is for the teams to evaluate.”

They include possible changes to the qualifying and race weekend formats for 2016.

Fernley said many of the suggestions were “purely a conceptual idea” at present.

Editing by Ed Osmond

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