Formula 1’s fuel limit has been increased by 5kg (11 pounds) to 105kg (231.485) in the latest draft of the 2017 sporting regulations, but opinion is divided on if the change is a good one.
The limit has increased because next year’s cars will be faster and heavier, and with the bigger wings and tires, will use more fuel.
In an attempt to reduce the need of fuel saving, which teams have to do at certain points this season, an increase has been agreed upon.
It was voted through the F1 Commission, but Mercedes boss Toto Wolff has revealed that Mercedes-powered teams – the works outfit, Williams, Force India and Manor – all voted against.
“[Williams deputy team principal] Claire [Williams] brought it to the point in the meeting itself that the whole world is looking to reduce emissions,” said Wolff. “This is what is happening out there. Can we possibly out of the sheer principle vote in favor of an increased fuel allowance from 100kg (220.462) to 105kg?
“If the sport needs it, it’s fair enough to do it but as a principle we have decided we won’t go there, we will say no. We knew before that it would be the only four votes against [the Mercedes teams] it and that is a lost case.”
When the 1.6-liter V6 turbo hybrids were introduced, the aim was to improve road relevance, increase efficiency and reduce emissions.
Force India chief operating officer Otmar Szafnauer believes there needs to be a push to reduce the amount of fuel used in races.
“These hybrid power trains were introduced with goal of, or an intent, of reducing the amount of fuel that we use over time,” he said. “Yes, although the cars will be a bit draggier, if the fuel limit stays the same, then effectively it is like reducing it over time. But I still think we should look at doing just that and over time reducing the amount of fuel we use just to complement the philosophy that we had when all this was introduced.”
Toro Rosso technical director James Key agreed with Szafnauer and added it is crucial changes to the regulations are compatible with the current technology.
“In the longer term it’s always a good thing to target ever more efficiency,” he said. “These power units are incredibly efficient now anyway, they are really extraordinary things. These engines were designed around a given chassis and a given aerodynamic set-up; in fact for that matter, a given tire design and we’ve now changed that and you’ve got to make sure that your power unit and the way you use it is compatible with your chassis design.
“So if we do need to squeeze a little bit more just to ensure that races don’t become fuel-saving events, then that’s probably the right thing for the sport, but certainly in a longer term we need to look for continued efficiencies as we go down the line.”
Should any driver exceed the fuel limit, other than in cases of force majeure, over the course of the race, the regulations say they will be excluded from the results.