MARCH 27, 1995

More worries over refueling

A lot of F1 teams expressed fears about refueling once again, following news that McLaren had a major spillage when testing the system at its factory in England. The glitch caused 10 kgs of fuel to be spilled and was traced to a faulty valve. The FIA and Intertechnique, the company which builds the refueling machines, modified the parts and made sure than all teams knew about the problem.

The latest refueling worries have added to the quiet campaign going on to get rid of refueling by having two part races or even two short GPs each weekend.

For the last couple of years Bernie Ecclestone has been quietly saying that he intends to revolutionize the sport within the next couple of years, but whenever stories about radical changes in the F1 format appear, Bernie is quick to deny that he has such plans.

However there is some support in F1 circles for the idea of having two races on every GP weekend, entirely independent of each other. If the FIA wanted to introduce such an idea it could be done very easily because it could be hustled through on the grounds of safety because it would mean that teams would not have to refuel.

As usual Flavio Briatore is one of the leading supporters for improving the show business aspect of F1. The Benetton team boss says that "99% of the teams wanted to stop the refueling and I hope for 1996 there is no more refueling. That is what everyone hopes."

But Harvey Postlethwaite does not agree: "We legislate in haste and repent at leisure," he says. "If we suddenly now went back to no refueling you might find that there are all sorts of problems with that. Whether we like it or not we have refueling. I don't think inherently anyone likes pumping large quantities of fuel around but we do it - and we do it to the best of our ability.

"It does add another dimension to F1 and whilst no-one is particularly happy with the safety, there is quite a lot more interest."