Formula 1 Needs To Be ‘Clever’ On How It Re-Introduces Refueling – Steiner

by Aaron Gillard
Red Bull - Refueling - 2009

Haas F1 Team Principal Guenther Steiner says he finds the concept of re-introducing refueling into Formula 1 interesting, but states that the sport needs to be clever on how they handle it if they do plan to bring it back.

The American team saw a disastrous British Grand Prix when both Romain Grosjean and Kevin Magnussen failed to finish the race as both drivers made contact with each other on the opening lap. Both drivers touched one another on the opening lap in the run down towards the Wellington straight, which caused both cars to have punctures.

Steiner after the race was furious with their drivers as they once again, fought too closely to one another and cost the team valuable points. Haas have had enough headaches lately with their lack of pace, plus the confusing drama going on off-track with their title sponsor Rich Energy.

Haas attempted to gather more data over the Silverstone weekend in a bid to improve their race pace, but they were hindered due to both cars retiring. Now, Haas will run their drivers in two separate specs – with Grosjean to continue running the Melbourne specification whilst Magnussen will run the current Silverstone spec.

“We decided on this exercise to get data and understand better what the difference between the two cars is, good or bad, then we can see where we can make improvements,” said Steiner.

“We weren’t sure if the update we introduced in Barcelona was better or not. We’re running this again in Hockenheim, which is a different type of track with different temperatures – they’ll be a lot higher – and, as we all know, we couldn’t get a lot of data from the race at Silverstone from either of the cars.” 

Whilst the two cars will run different set ups and configurations of specifications, Steiner doesn’t expect the work load for the engineers to drastically pick up in a bid to make the car better.

“From a setup perspective, this is not a big issue. Each driver has their own engineers working on that. Mainly where it adds work is for the engineers back home who then have to compare data and make the car better.

“Setup work, it’s not a big difference. For sure, it doesn’t make things easier, but with the little bit more work that needs to be done, we can handle that.” 

During the week between the British and German Grand Prix, FIA President Jean Todt has spoken his desire for refueling to return in a bid to resolve F1’s problems. Refueling was a concept used in the late 1990s and 2000s before it was banned in 2010 to save costs and reduce the dangers within the pit lane.

The talk of refueling returning has been suggested for years but has been downplayed by fans as they don’t see the appeal of it returning due to its lack of racing it creates and overtakes often take place in the pit lane.

Steiner however, finds the concept of refueling interesting but says the sport needs to be clever on how they apply this concept in and not increase the already high costs of F1.

“I find refueling very interesting,” admits Steiner. “It could help the spectacle, but we need to be clever about it, not to just introduce more people to do the pit stops.

“Maybe we need to lose a few people on pit stops in general. So if you’re clever, we design some very simplistic equipment to refuel and don’t employ another five people to refuel.

“We just need to handle it properly to have more show, but not more cost.”

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