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FOTA to consider refuelling ban

A ban on refuelling, shorter races, wide-scale testing restrictions, and a competitive element to Fridays are some of the ideas that will be discussed by Formula One teams in China this week

The Formula One Teams' Association (FOTA) is holding a series of meetings in Shanghai this week to decide on ways to make the sport better.

Sources suggest that FOTA's Sporting Working Group is to focus on revisions to the format of a race weekend - with the 'blue sky' discussions to include such wide sweeping changes as a refuelling ban.

It is understood that teams are keen to make the most of the opportunity provided to them by the FOTA talks. The idea of a refuelling ban surfaced following the host of pit stop problems this year - and plans to talk about it have been given a new urgency in the wake of Felipe Massa's bungled stop in Singapore.

And although a refuelling ban would mean an overhaul of car design because of the size of current fuel tanks, one way to minimize the impact could be to have shorter races.

McLaren F1 CEO Martin Whitmarsh, who chairs the SWG discussions, confirmed that discussions in China would be about the race weekend format and a possible widespread testing ban.

"Yes, we're looking at the race format and testing," he said. "I think there are quite a few good ideas on the agenda which would change the format of racing and change the format of the weekend.

"Hopefully, together we'll come up with some agreement on how we can change the weekend in a positive way. But we've got to be careful in making changes that we retain some of the purity that is important in Formula One.

"We've got to look at our agenda on Friday and decide whether that's a worthwhile agenda where we can make more spectacle and have a bit of competition on that day, and we're going to review what we do on Saturday and Sunday to see if we can make it a little bit less predictable.

"But you'd have to say, based on today's showing and in recent races, it's fairly unpredictable at the moment."

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