Pat Symonds Reveals Plans To Rid Fuel Burning

Pat Symonds Reveals Plans To Rid Fuel Burning

Flavio Briatore - 2007 Bahrain Grand PrixIn the superb Renault podcast, director of engineering Pat Symonds has revealed that the eleven Formula One teams currently racing will hold a meeting at Monza tomorrow to discuss the possibilities of ridding from qualifying of the fuel-burning laps each driver makes should they get through to the third round. Considering the sport is progressing (slowly) into a new era of energy recycling and even greener fuels, it seems somewhat hypocritical that the ten drivers who succeed in qualifying spend fifteen minutes just cruising around trying to burn off fuel.

Although I do think it is a little late to start thinking about ways to sort out the fuel-burning problem, hopefully the teams can figure it out for next year and prevent the pointless exercise.

I think we have to find a way fuel burning laps, which is a completely strange thing to do given we’re all becoming eco-friendly. The so-called fuel burning is no good and interestingly we’re talking about that tomorrow with a view to getting rid of it for 2008. Pat Symonds.

The fuel-burning came about when the qualifying format was changed (for the umpteenth time) to the current knockout method. The teams are allowed to run low fuel in phases one and two and fill up as they see fit for the race. But the top ten drivers have to start the third round with the fuel they intend to start the race with the following day. Before the cars leave for the final session, they get weighed, and providing all their fuel-burning laps are within 110% of their fastest, they get it credited back before the race start. Thus, to set a very quick lap it will help the driver to lose some of the extra weight he’s carrying. As there is little point in trying for a pole lap when the car is heavy, they just cruise around burning it off.

It isn’t entertaining, it isn’t technical. It doesn’t add to the spectacle and it must be boring for those who pay to watch the race from the grandstands. In all honesty, a solution should have been found at the start of the year, but of course F1 being the funny sport it is, it has taking until now for the teams to get together and even discuss it. Let’s hope they can hammer out an answer.

If you guys and gals can’t work it out tomorrow, can I just suggest you let the drivers run with little fuel in Q3. Also, while I’m making suggestions, might I add another: Make the session 60 minutes in length, allow each driver a maximum of 12 laps (this includes outs and ins) and whoever has the fastest single lap at the end of the hour gets to start from pole. Seriously, it isn’t rocket science.

Formula One, F1, Qualifying, Rules


  • If they are all for making the final 10 have a set fuel load before embarking on Q3, then can the teams not simply inform the FIA what load they will carry at the start of the race but then go out and qualify with low fuel, rather than having to burn off that extra fuel?

    It would save them lapping umpteen times for no reason, wasting fuel!

    Or, each driver gets one flying lap in qualifying – and he has to nominate whether he will go out in Q1, Q2 or Q3.

    The fastest in Q1 starts 17th, fastest in Q2 starts 11th and the fastest in Q3 starts on pole – but if someone waits and goes out in Q3 and ends up slower than the fastest person in Q2 then they start from the back. That should put people off simply all nominating to go in Q3 when the track should be fastest, and would mean someone doing a good lap in Q1 or Q2 could actually end up starting much higher up than where they otherwise would.

    It’s all too complicated though! Have an hour, give them 4 sets of tyres and let them drive by the seats of their pants – the old ways are often the best ways!

  • “Make the session 60 minutes in length, allow each driver a maximum of 12 laps (this includes outs and ins) and whoever has the fastest single lap at the end of the hour gets to start from pole”

    I recall this happening from 1996 – 2002.Worked a treat although I would have liked to see more cars on the track in the early part of the hour.Having said that the current format isn’t too bad.However I think allowing the teams to choose seperate fuel loads in the race rather than them having to use the qualifying fuel would take something away from the racing come Sunday afternoon especially now the cars don’t pass each other easily on the track.

  • Hi Francois,

    Hehe, the teams did use that format for quite a long time before the FIA stuck their nose in and messed it about so much. I hear you about the lack of action in the first 30-45 minutes though. Maybe the drivers could be forced to set timed laps every 15 minutes (or 20 if they choose 3 runs of 4 laps).

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