Refuelling coming back to F1?

Recently, as part of discussions about 2021 F1 rules, the FIA President Jean Todt brought up the possibility of bringing back refuelling. This is a very controversial part of racing but one that some fans really love.

Back in The Day

A lot of people look back to the old days and say things were more exciting when refuelling was allowed. The cars could race lighter, there were tactics around fuelling stops just like there still are around tyre use and changes. Yes, Schumacher used to use some cunning moves to get the drop on people with pit stops but just because it happened then doesn’t mean it would happen now. There were certainly a lot of moves made and running out of fuel did add another layer of excitement in a sport that many say is seriously lacking it at the moment.

The Dangers

There is simply no getting away from the fact that refuelling adds danger to racing, and not in a good way. Refuelling isn’t the same as faster corner speeds, or less downforce. It’s just a huge fire risk during a process that is not much fun to watch.

The Drivers

It does seem that a number of drivers are interested in bringing back refuelling. Often, the reasons are based around the fact that with less need to manage fuel the drivers can push harder and race more. Ultimately, the drivers are also just hoping to be able to run lighter cars because…well they love to race and they love to go fast.

The Reality

Whilst there is no doubt the cars would be running lighter and drivers could potentially push harder, the modern F1 world is very different in terms of the data available to teams since refuelling was in place. There is a rose tinted ideal that refuelling will lead to the unknown, gambles that don’t pay off, big upsets etc. But the reality is that with the kind of processing power each team is packing these days, they will be able to predict fuel use to the second, while other teams will be watching pit stops to calculate fuel volumes and be planning stops off the back of the data. It may bring back some action but the constant drive to win by the teams will no doubt mean any gaps are soon plugged and the racing goes back to how it was before.

Handling Fuel

While we may not have mid-race refuelling, if you do any kind of racing at all you will find yourself handling fuel. We offer a range of fire suppression systems that are needed to race in MSA and FIA competitions, but are also very important for any kind of motorsport including non-competitive events such as track days. Please get in touch to ask about how we can make your refuelling safer!

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2015 F1 Season and the Old Days

And so we come towards the end of yet another season of Formula 1 racing. For many people it is a passion and something they love to watch, support and get involved in. For the team at FEV it is all that and so much more because we are fans as well as being part of the F1 world too. By providing fire extinguisher systems to a number of cars on the grid we have become and very important cog in a very powerful and expensive machine. However, this has not changed our enjoyment of the racing, it is other factors that may have influenced that slightly.

1998 f1 cars

The Old Days

Let’s face it, most people have seen the movie Rush and most people interested in F1 have seen the countless documentaries about those crazy years before safety regulations. Jackie Stewart must be starting to get sick of telling the tales of how he almost single handedly took on the traditions of F1 and eventually won. Of course he had help but without him many more drivers would have died and no one wants to see a return to those crazy times. However, that being said, there have been a number of changes to F1 that might not have been so positive and it is those changes that can make people wistfully look back to days gone by and ask if it was better then.

The Not So Old Days

The BBC are now showing old F1 races on iPlayer and after watching highlights from 2 races in the late 90s we could not help but look back with a smile. The safety issues had largely been dealt with by that time so deaths and injury were rare however the raw power of the cars was still easily appreciated even through the TV. It was the time of Schumacher and Damon Hill and it was a time when the engines were still loud and over taking was common place. Of course we now have DRS and over taking happens much more but it is very predictable and not quite as exciting.

Nowadays

These days the rules on engine and body design are very tight and this is there to increase competition. This is a good thing, but sometimes we do like to think back to when the turbo charged engines first came in and not all cars on the grid had them. Sometimes they won, other times the cars broke down, either way it was exciting. The engine noise is sadly not what it was but on the plus side the cars are using around 40% less fuel each race so in terms of the environment F1 are doing a great deal to help change things.

2015 has been a good season, clearly Mercedes somewhat ran away with things but Ferrari really started to get things working in the later stages and have pushed hard ever since. Young Verstappen has certainly made himself known in his first season and his over takes at Interlagos were nothing short of inspired. We have seen some great rivalry and some not so great behaviour from Hamilton and Rosberg and as always we have seen Maldonado crash a few times.

All in all it has been an exciting season but we can’t help but think it might have been even more so with a lot more noise and a little more invention between the teams. With one race to go we already know who has won but we never know what might happen on the day between drivers so we will be tuning in as usual.

Even if you don’t own an F1 car do get in touch if you are looking into any kind of fire extinguisher for you track, classic, road or every day car. We have a range of handheld and plumbed in units to suit all levels of MSA motorsport and road cars.

 

 

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Is The Noise Coming Back to F1?

Formula 1 fans have expressed very mixed feelings about the change of engines and the loss of all that lovely noise. In 2014 the rules meant that the screaming V8’s were no longer allowed and much smaller hybrid turbo charged V6 power units came in. The results have been amazing in terms of technological development but the new engines are so much quieter it has left F1 a little too tame for some. The rumour mill is however, running wild at the moment with talk of things be about to change?

Noise

For many people F1 is not just about racing, it is about the sounds. Anyone who has been anywhere near an old F1 engine running at even half throttle will never forget it, the noise is deafening. So when the new engines arrived many fans were very disappointed that they not only produced a lot less noise but also seemed to rev lower. Overnight the screaming engines were gone and the days of odd rumbling notes and various whining turbine noises had arrived. Since this time there have been many discussions about making the engines louder again to please the fans, and after all, without happy fans the sport will suffer.

A Silver Lining

It seems in the midst of Red Bull being seemingly unable to find an engine for 2016 talk of teams being able to use engines from other classes has arisen. This would mean engines that were not full hybrid units,  much louder and generally more “normal” might come back. There is talk of lower teams being able to source cheaper power units from LMP classes and older units to re-use and re-purpose. Even Bernie Ecclestone has been quoted as mentioning a move back to non turbo engines with a smaller hybrid element. It may be that the choice of losing both Red Bull and Toro Rosso due to engine issues is too much to risk and the rules may bend to allow them to try a different type of power unit. This could lay the foundations for a return to the old days where teams could run pretty much whatever engine they liked!

The Future

We may well see the 2016 season peppered with much louder engines from back marker teams like Manor and even bigger teams like the mighty Red Bull folk. To keep things equal the engines can be limited by air flow and throttle so we might not see a team run away from the pack due to having twice the power output but it would certainly make for an interesting watch. There are all kinds of engines being talked about from V12’s, V10’s and V8’s to big 3 litre V6’s. There is even talk of the Nissan Nismo Le Mans car project donating its engine to Red Bull who are heavily sponsored by the brands high end marque Infiniti.

On top of all this talk about engines there is also the plan to bring back refuelling which will carry with it a number of interesting factors. Whatever happens it will be good to add some extra excitement to the sport and as always we will be making sure the fire extinguisher systems in many of the cars are in place and doing their job.

If you would like any information on our racing car fire extinguisher systems please get in touch. We are able to cater for a very wide range of motorsports from hill climbs and classics to touring cars and single seater racing at ever level.

 

 

 

 

 

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Good Luck F1

With the first race of the 2015 F1 calender arriving this Sunday the team at FEV would like to wish all the drivers the best of luck. It is going to be a very exciting year!

Alonso seems determined to to make a last push for a championship but is clearly not off to the best of starts, he will certainly have his work cut out for him if Lewis Hamilton’s calm and steely manner is anything to go by. We are all excited to see how the youngest F1 driver ever does under pressure and in the heat of battle. Will Kimi Raikkonen emerge once more as the cool calculated winner he should be after criticising his own driving in practice already.

Naturally we would love to see the British drivers do well this year but F1 is about so much more than just the drivers, with so much technology in the cars these days everyone is just as keen to see how reliability plays it’s cruel hand. One thing is for sure, for the substantial number of cars on the grid with FEV’s very own plumbed in fire extinguisher systems on board, they wont have to worry about them not working when needed. We are incredibly proud to provide FIA approved fire suppression systems for the cars and play our part in making F1 the amazing sport we all love so much.

 

Good luck to all the teams and drivers this weekend!

 

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