Faster Cars, Mid-race Refueling Returning To Formula One
Critics have lamented a drop in performance, competition and spectacle in the modern age of Formula One. So to get the championship back up to the pinnacle of motor racing where it belongs, the parties involved have agreed on a number of measures earmarked revitalize the sport.
The first measure which the all-important Formula One Strategy Group has agreed upon is an expansion in the choice of tires that teams will be able to use in a grand prix weekend. That’ll take effect already next year, but the bigger news is what F1 has in store for 2017.
Representatives of the teams, engine suppliers, the FIA and Formula One Management agreed that for the season after next, the sport will adapt its regulations to allow for faster cars. With more aggressive aerodynamics, wider tires and lighter weights, the 2017 entries are destined to drop a good five to six seconds off their lap times. That likely means the ’17 challengers will be fighting for lap records on many tracks. The engines will also be allowed to rev higher and produce a better exhaust note than has been allowed by the current 1.6-liter turbocharged V6 hybrid power units and the cars will be designed to look “more aggressive.”
One of the biggest changes earmarked for implementation in 2017, however, will be the reintroduction of mid-race refueling. The practice has been banned since 2010 in order to increase safety and encourage a shift in strategy. That’s meant quicker pit stops where only the tires (and any damaged bodywork) are swapped, but critics point fingers at fuel-saving tactics that have impeded racing action in the years since.
Although no specific measures were agreed upon, the group also plans to reexamine the format of the race weekend, starting the engine from inside the cockpit without external intervention, and keeping costs in check. A proposal to increase the number of engines allotted to each driver this season, however, was rejected.
While the above measures were agreed upon by the F1 Strategy Group, they still need to be approved by the F1 Commission and by the FIA’s World Motor Sport Council before they can be put into practice.