Button: The refuelling ban may produce more overtaking

One of the biggest changes to the rules for the 2010 season has been the removal of refuelling during a Grand Prix. Fuel strategy has been one of the key aspects of Formula One racing in previous years however 2010 will see cars having to start with enough petrol on-board to finish the race.

Fernando Alonso and Jenson Button appear to have differing views when it comes to the refuelling ban. Alonso has previously stated that he believes that without refuelling strategy, races will be a foregone conclusion with drivers who fail to qualify in the top three spots left with little opportunity to win the race.

However Jenson Button disagrees. Instead, he believes the higher tyre wear at the start of the race will be crucial and will allow there to be a significant enough speed differential to produce overtaking.

“I don’t agree with Alonso,” Button commented at McLaren’s launch. “I think there will still be passing, don’t forget we still have the tyre stops and new tyres could be worth two seconds a lap.”

Tim Goss, chief engineer at McLaren, agrees with Button.

“It could make the show significantly better, yes,” Goss said. “Previously, you knew when everyone was going to stop and refuel, so each team based their strategy decisions on overtaking cars during the pit stops.

“What’s changed for this year is that we won’t know when people are going to stop. The only thing affecting drivers’ mandatory stops now is that they have to run both the option and prime tyre, so the strategy choices will be less predictable and will become a little more complicated.

“Races could be one or two stints with both early and late stops for tyres. It will definitely make the racing more challenging and interesting – and, hopefully, it will promote more on-track overtaking and less overtaking during the pit stops.”

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