Coulthard calls for refuelling ban, Gascoyne for testing ban

David Coulthard

David Coulthard

Two old F1 hands came up with their ideas to improve the F1 spectacle. Following the series of flash fires during the Hungarian GP David Coulthard believes refuelling ban is the way to go for F1. Not only the risk of fire during the pit stops would be largely eliminated but the refuelling ban in his opinion should also improve the racing (in his ITV column):

“From my point of view a bigger drawback of refuelling is that it detracts from the racing by turning the grand prix into a series of low-fuel sprints between pit stops. In the days (pre-1994) when you carried your entire race fuel load on board the car, there was a much bigger role for the driver in managing the tyres and brakes. These days, in dry conditions, you very rarely see anyone win from further back than the second row of the grid, because race pace largely mirrors qualifying pace – which is not surprising when the conditions are so similar.”


The opinions on refuelling are split among fans. According to some it spices up the races, view of some others is not too different from Coulthard’s. So would the ban make racing more exciting or more dull ?

It would remove one variable – the fuel level. The pit stops strategies would then revolve around the tyres only. The tyre changes (bar some mishaps) would take all the teams about the same time so gaining an advantage in the pitlane would be more difficult. Drivers would have to try to gain positions on the track, not in pitlane. But then, would the drivers want to be too adventureous knowing that being hard on the breaks and tyres in those heavy cars may haunt them later on in the race ?

What would however return to F1 with the refuelling ban almost for sure would be the chances of some drivers running out of fuel :-) and with “race fuel qualifying” no longer making any sense we would again see the fastest (not the lightest) guys claiming pole positions.

I have been rather neutral on the refuelling issue, but I slowly start to lean towards the ban …

Mike Gascoyne

Mike Gascoyne

I can’t however say that I agree with Mike Gascoyne’s ideas to ban the testing during the season and to extend the required life of the engines to more than 2 race weekends (to Autosport):

“I think we need regulations like reducing testing, we shouldn’t be testing during the season, plus longer-life engines. That will reduce costs, and I don’t think anyone can argue that shouldn’t be the way we go.”

OK, while the engine “freeze” is still on it probably would not make that much difference if the engines have to last for 3 or 4 races. But once the development is open again, the teams that find themselves down on power would either stay behind for 3 or 4 races, before a new engine can be fitted or suffer a penalty for premature change. And I do not like the engine freeze and 2 race engine regulations anyway … The engines are too reliable now, I miss the blow ups. I also hate when drivers turn down the revs and settle for the position to preserve the engine for the next race …

The testing ban would have the same effect but potentially lasting for the entire season. If a team starts the season on wrong foot, with no testing their chances to catch up or rectify their errors would be rather limited. I am not a fan of those 3 day test events but I am not sure if eliminating the testing during the season is the way to go.

Photos: Red Bull/GEPA, Force India F1

7 Comments Post a Comment
  1. KotenokNo Gravatar says:

    Huh?¿?¿? Bring them back to the psychiatric hospital!!! Well, that’s conformism because these cars remain slow even with full tank or with a continuous development day by day, just they’re not driven by the right guys… Mr. Coulthard, a full tank could be allowed for running a whole race like a turtle, but I guess Mr. Paletti, Mr. Williamson or someone lucky as Mr. Lauda would like to say that running with a full tank is really unsafe, that’s all I have to mention to it. Smaller tanks were introduced to limit the fuel capacity for safety means, reducing the time considerately which the car could burn to dust and also the thermal energy stored there.

    Response to Mr. Gascoyne (loser!). You were sitting in the best teams developing the cars with an enormous budget (did you forget the ages which you spent in Jordan, Renault or Toyoya), and now asking to reduce that efforts??? No way! The nonsense has come!!! Particularly, building long-lasting engines will demand long investigation periods, investing lots of money also on that for something really stupid, an F1 car races on a weekend about 300 Km, what for is needed a long-lasting engine??? Are you planning to get into Le Mans?
    What your team needs is a powerful engine, and not something just long-lasting… I imagine that everybody struggles with this actual engine ban, but promoting a new one would be really stupid. Years of lost development would be recovered within a short period of time to create the new engine specs, and that would even waste much more money than little evolutions race by race.

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  2. doctorveeNo Gravatar says:

    I wonder if Mike Gascoyne is calling for a testing ban simply because Force India is the team that can least afford to test…

    doctorvees last blog post..The 6 O’Clock News: “War? Not bothered”

  3. F1WolfNo Gravatar says:

    it all boils down to good old budget cap, that FIA loves talking about, but no one will ever be able to police it :-)

  4. [...] Coulthard calls for refuelling ban, Gascoyne for testing ban – F1 Wolf"I have been rather neutral on the refuelling issue, but I slowly start to lean towards the ban … [...]

  5. BenNo Gravatar says:

    I don’t agree with neither Couldhardt or Gascoyne. I don’t think a refueling ban would improve racing, as it would take away a lot of the interesting strategic shuffles, and can risk driving becoming more conservative and the cars slower at least in the early part of the race.
    Yes there may be more safety, but lets be honest isn’t some of the danger, failure of parts, and strategies part of what makes F1 attractive and exiting?
    With no refuel loading you would elliminate the interesting guess work too of how much fuel the cars have onboard.
    I think that refueling bans would see the slower cars have much tougher time getting points, as they loose posible strategic advantage, and even if they conserve tires would likely be so far behind by the time a pittstop is needed that it wouldn’t make much difference.
    It’s an interesting idea, and I’m glad people think about ways to improve the sport though, I just don’t agree with this change.

  6. StewNo Gravatar says:

    Passing is where it’s at in F1 and ways to improve passing is where it’s at, but when I think of the re-fueling ban, I don’t see an advantage for the fans. Pit strategy and the excitement revolving around fuel loads is exciting to me. As far as causing better racing on track, I don’t see that either. The problem of passing is one: the circuits aren’t designed for a lot of passing, and two, cars can’t get close enough to pass because of lower downforce when their aero characteristics are gone. No re-fueling can’t change physics.

    Actually, I think having cars equal on fuel loads would impede the ability to pass even more. What we need is passing in F1 whether it is done in the pits or on track. A it stands now, cars with lighter fuel loads than others have a better chance of passing than heavier cars and I don’t want to take the one advantage to pass away from this sport. It’s one variable I like.

  7. Black ZeddNo Gravatar says:

    I don’t think Coulthard is really concerned about the pitstop fire accidents when he suggested the ban. It rarely happens to warrant any big change in racing policy.

    We have to admit F1 races without the intense pit-stops strategies (tyre + refueling) will lead to less overtaking. And the race will be 90% decided during the qualification. Unless everyone drives like Massa and Hamilton.

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