Mid-Race Fuel Saving Could Disappear in 2017

The biggest issue with the hybrid engine era (apart from the lack of noise) has been the vexatious fuel saving mid-race. 

Having to turn an engine down in a Formula One race has been damaging to the sport. The equivalent to this in Football would be if in the 80th minute the ball is replaced with a lump of coal. But there is good news for 2017, as Sebastian Vettel and Ferrari’s fuel supplier Shell believe that fuel saving is about to be removed from the sport.


The German was speaking at a Shell event in Leicestershire recently, and said,

“The faster the car, the better it is. I don’t think there is anything wrong with the current cars, [apart] from the fact that in the race we used to be quicker, quite a bit on laptimes, and that is where we’re missing something so obviously if we go quicker next year that is a great thing.

“From a driving point of view, next year we’ll have more grip, more downforce, but that also means more drag along the straights, and the top speed going down a bit.

“The fuel consumption might go up because you have more drag, [but] equally, you go faster through the corners so it will be interesting to see on that front how it then translates to what we need to do in the car, whether we still keep saving fuel or if we can be flat out for the whole race.”

– Sebastian Vettel

The token system for power unit development will be scrapped for more lenient testing regulations too. This translates to an even higher chance of fuel-saving becoming a thing of the past, as it will give suppliers a broader spectrum of opportunities to improve. This year alone, Ferrari’s shell and Mercedes’ Petronas have delivered fuel that has slashed lap-times by around 0.5s.

Shell’s innovation manager Guy Lovett added,

“[The new rules in 2017] gives us more of an opportunity as the token system is abolished and the engine development side of things is more open [and] it’s the same on the fuel side.

“So we can be more open and the important thing is to exploit our close relationship with Ferrari and ultimately develop the best package. From a fuel perspective, that doesn’t necessarily change how it works, it just gives us more opportunity.”

– Guy Lovett

Hopefully this is the beginning of the end for the soul destroying fuel-saving mode. It’s not much to ask for some regulations that allow driver’s to push to the limit for the longevity of the race!


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