Some weeks ago, I wrote a rather positive post about the banning of refuelling
– and it is something that I am still rather positive about; however even I am also happy to concede that alterations could have been made to the regulation to aid good racing.
At this stage it has already been determined that the controversial double-diffuser, that was introduced in 2009 by Brawn, Williams and the now defunct Toyota squad, is to be banned in an effort to reduce the downforce the cars produce to supposed 2009 levels, but whether can be feasibly achieved is an unknown at this stage. Since the Overtaking Working Group’s suggestions for new aerodynamic regulation during 2008, the engineers and designers have worked tirelessly to grab much of that back – there were rumours during the Bahrain Grand Prix weekend that downforce levels were already closing in on the numbers produced two seasons ago. The removal of the double-diffuser will hopefully take those aerodynamic figures down somewhat, but it raises another question – has the refuelling ban come a year too early?
In hindsight, the refuelling ban twinned with the ejection of double-diffusers would have made much more sense; however the series is now left with one year of cars that are unable to pass on track while unable to extract the most from strategy. Races could potentially be decided by how teams treat their tyres, yet for their final season in the sport, Bridgestone have produced what appear to be their most reliable rubber yet, thereby making variations in tyre strategy rather limited as well.
The refuelling ban was not going to be the only answer to the question of dull races though. As stated many times by many people, as long as the dirty air from the front wing and undertray is prevalent, then passing is always going to be incredibly difficult (here’s my contribution). We are not looking for easy passing manoeuvres – it’s simply not fun to watch when there’s no challenge – but the car’s at least need to be able to attempt a pass and getting designers to easily give up on aerodynamic downforce will be no easy task.