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F1 bosses 'fooled' by teams to increase fuel limit - Szafnauer

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Force India COO Otmar Szafnauer says Mercedes' rivals lobbied Formula 1's bosses to increase race fuel limit in 2019 only to play catch-up with the German manufacturer.

The FIA had allowed an increase of fuel capacity from 100kg to 2015kg for 2017 to account for the new-spec cars' extra downforce and drag levels. But teams convinced the governing body to add an extra 5kg for next year, contending that the practice of fuel saving was a negative for the sport.

However, Szafnauer puts the new rule down to poor gamesmanship from Mercedes' frustrated rivals who simply haven't done a good enough job on the engine efficiency front according to the Force India manager.

"We were given a target for good reasons of 100kg, and those reasons were to force cars to become more efficient," explains Szafnauer.

"We were given a fuel flow restriction as well, and that was such that the powertrain would become more efficient.

"Those reasons are still here today, and all those efficiencies that those restrictions drive are relevant in the world, and we shouldn't have changed it.

"We only changed it because some of the engine manufacturers and teams who didn't do such a good job with efficiency lobbied the FIA, and they got their way. I think that's wrong.

"If you don't do a good job, should you work harder within the rules that everyone agreed to, or should you change the rules?

"That's what I don't like. 'I didn't do a good job, let me change the rules'.

"They fooled the FIA and Liberty, and what they were really trying to do was regain that competitive advantage," added the American.

"I can half understand going from 100 to 105, because the cars changed so significantly, the dimensions changed, the downforce levels, the drag, the wings got bigger.

"I can understand all that, that's logical. But to just go from 105 to 110, because...? It's illogical."

McLaren's Fernando Alonso doubts any increase in fuel capacity or the ability to run full throttle from start to finish will lead to more exciting races.

"I don’t think it’s going to change much, to be honest," Alonso told Motorsport.com.

"It’s good, it’s in the right direction, it’s a little bit strange to save fuel in some races.

"Maybe there are a few occasions, Bahrain was one – we had to save fuel in the last couple of laps and maybe it stopped me and [Nico] Hulkenberg having a fight. But this happens once a year, once every two years.

"In terms of adding 5kg of fuel and suddenly seeing fantastic racing, [it] is not going to happen. It was a very rare occasion that we have to save fuel that much that it prevents some fights."

 

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