In Formula One, why did they stop with refuelling?

Many years ago I watched some Formula One, and recently I’ve gotten back to it. In the nineties, one of the big tactical play was how much fuel you had in your tank; less fuel made the car lighter and faster but demanded pit stop for refuelling and hence you could gamble with this, as they are “gambling” with tire changes today. – I wonder, what’s the reasoning behind not allowing refuelling during races in Formula One today?

It’s not tactical: it’s officially banned since 2010, and it’s a cost-saving measure. Refuelling rigs cost a fortune and each team has to carry a lot of them:

jjimm, I was a bit unclear, I knew it was banned and my question was why. English is not my first language. In either case, you answered my question – thank you.

I’m pretty sure they just look for things to change each season. Fueling was first allowed in 93 or so, and they’re just back to the old rule.

Besides the safety and cost issues, many people feel that winning or losing a race primarily because of fuel strategy is uncool or not consistent with “real” racing.

The more cynical among us would say it’s because the front runners can do the whole race on a single tank. If Ferrari developed an engine that could blow everybody away but couldn’t make it the whole race Bernie would fall over himself reinstating refueling stops, probably by mandating smaller tanks.

I shouldn’t be that way, but I have no confidence in the honesty and integrity of F1’s leadership.

Put me in the cynical camp. The constant tinkering in the name of ‘reducing costs’ and ‘increasing competition’ are one of the reasons why I just don’t care about F1 anymore.

With you on that.

jjimm gave two reasons in his initial reply:

  1. It is a cost-saving measure (F1 is trying to level the playing field a bit in terms of what teams can spend money on, the theory being that teams with smaller budgest should then be able to close the gap between them and the bigger teams. So far, this has not worked, and IMO it is unlikely that it ever will).

  2. Safety - refuelling is by far the most likely cause of setting a car and people on fire, which is bad. Re-fuelling has been banned before, after a horrific-looking fire (which I think caused no serious injuries) involving Jos Verstappen in 1994 (facts from memory so may not be accurate!).

In addition fuel strategy over-dominated as overtaking was so difficult. Following cars with a much lighter fuel load could not necessarily benefit.