F1 may bring back refuelling in 2021 overhaul

International Automobile Federation boss Jean Todt. Picture: Hasan Jamali
International Automobile Federation boss Jean Todt. Picture: Hasan Jamali

With the list of proposals for the impending 2021 regulations change still under discussion, the International Automobile Federation has asked the owners of Formula One (F1) to consider whether or not to reintroduce refuelling to the sport.

Speaking ahead of the British grand prix this weekend, federation president Jean Todt said that allowing refuelling would lead to lighter and more nimble cars.

“Personally, I would like to see refuelling,” Todt said. “But I am happy to see a study on the positives and negatives.

“I am pushing for analysing what it would mean if we reintroduced refuelling because if you reintroduce it then you will have lighter cars at the start of the race and you can have smaller cars.”

Refuelling was allowed in F1 from 1994 until 2009, and was banned from 2010 onwards on grounds of safety concerns.

The most famous incident in relation to refuelling was in 1994, when Jos Verstappen’s Benetton burst into flames during a pit stop, setting him, his car and his pit crew alight and leaving some of them with serious burns.

The regulation changes are still being negotiated between the federation, F1’s owners Liberty Media, the teams and, for the first time, the drivers.

The aim of the shake-up is to bring an end to the era of one-team domination and make races more unpredictable again. The likes of Ferrari in the early 2000s, Red Bull at the turn of the decade and the current record-breaking run of Mercedes have culminated in the series being widely criticised for its lack of variety.

The basic outline of the rules were set to be announced last month, but a unanimous decision was made to delay their publication until October to allow more time for final discussions to take place.

Whether or not refuelling will form part of the revamped rulebook will be decided over the coming months.

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