Formula 1 refuelling return dismissed again after Jean Todt hint

Formula 1 will not pursue the revival of mid-race refuelling further at this time following meetings in Geneva this week, Autosport understands

Formula 1 refuelling return dismissed again after Jean Todt hint

FIA president Jean Todt said the subject was back on the agenda when speaking at the Autosport International show last week.

But after a meeting of the Strategy Group followed by the F1 Commission, it is believed the general feeling was the return of refuelling would clash with plans to control costs.

Refuelling's return was last mooted in May 2015 as part of plans to improve the show in '17. While it had the support of drivers, the idea was quashed by teams and dropped.

When the subject re-emerged this month, Todt dismissed the notion that refuelling would raise costs, suggesting a figure of €50,000 a year per team.

But speaking before the meetings in Geneva, Williams technical director Pat Symonds believed the cost would be significantly higher than that figure.

"One needs to be careful with disinformation," he told Autosport. "Refuelling is an expensive thing to do as well as its effect on racing.

"Jean Todt said it cost €50,000 a year. He's an order of magnitude out. That's worrying.

"Freight costs for shipping equipment is £175,000 and it's probably £200,000-250,000 to buy and service the kit in the first year and ongoing cost of servicing it.

"There is also one dedicated salaried person for looking after it so the costs are very significant."

Symonds believes any return of refuelling would have a negative impact on the racing.

"At the moment, we can determine a strategy before the race and then we take a more tactical view when we get in the race," he said.

"We determine the pitstops based on what tyres are doing, which won't necessarily be what we predicted, and then we have to assess what our competitors are doing.

"If you are refuelling, you put enough fuel to reach lap 24 and you go to lap 24. If you stop earlier, the penalty is too high.

"When you think back to when we got rid of refuelling, we saw better racing. It's a retrograde step."

Williams deputy team principal Claire Williams echoed Symonds's views on the subject.

"I'm quite surprised, because it's been on the agenda before and it hasn't been an agenda item we have agreed on," she said.

"But I understand we have to keep having these conversations if we are to look at what is going to improve our sport.

"It's not something Williams wants to see back in the sport from a cost effect if nothing else.

"My personal opinion is that the manufacturers have just spent 100s of millions on hybrid power units which are more relevant to the road industry.

"So to bring back refuelling and make F1 appear as a gas-guzzling sport just completely steps on that message. I'm very anti it."

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