A proposed new F1 rule could outlaw refueling between the end of qualifying and the start of a grand prix. The FIA is trying to add a twist to teams’ race tactics - but is the new rule going too far?
A proposed new F1 rule could disallow refueling between the end of qualifying and the start of a grand prix. The FIA is trying to add a twist to teams’ race tactics - but is the new rule going too far?
According to the new regulation, which was proposed for the 2003 season last week, F1 drivers would start the Australian Grand Prix with the same fuel load in their cars as they finished with on the preceding Saturday’s qualifying session.
It means that drivers might have to choose between running a heavy fuel load in qualifying, which would compromise their starting positions but set up the best race strategy, or a lighter set-up.
In other words, for drivers to qualify as high up the grid as possible on Saturday afternoon, they would have to run on almost empty fuel tanks. However, under the new rule, a driver who opts to run light may need to make an early pit stop in the actual race.
"The warm-up on Sunday should disappear and that is now the subject of a vote of the Formula One commission," FIA President Max Mosley told BBC Online.
"What will happen is that you will get some very interesting strategies. There will be the dilemma of being fast in qualifying and making an early pitstop or not."
The cars are set to be impounded in parc fermé immediately after the new one-lap qualifying shoot-out and the teams won't be allowed to touch the cars until shortly before the race.
“Personally I don't know what to think of that rule,” Minardi driver Jos Verstappen said at the weekend. “Imagine you are qualifying with very little fuel, this means you will have to refuel soon after the start of the race. I don't know...”