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Refueling ban could bring more pit-stops Paddy Lowe disagrees with the idea that a ban on mid-race refueling will create dull races next year. The McLaren Engineering Director holds the opinion that, due to the unknown affects of heavy fuel loads on Bridgestone's current tires, drivers may still make several pit-stops during Grands Prix. For the 2005 season only, Formula One saw tire changes banned during races, meaning drivers were often forced to nurse home cars with some exciting finishes as a result; next season, half a decade on, pit-stops will be the opposite of Fernando Alonso's first title-winning season as refueling is banned during races.
"It's a very big change actually and one that's taken an awful lot of effort from all the team to manage, whether that's from the literal design of the fuel tank in the car through to the crashworthiness of the car, through to the strategy," Lowe explained to the official F1 website.
"The races, I believe, will pan out very differently next year. Some are saying less interestingly. I'm not convinced. I think there are reasons to expect fresh interest. The cars will be very different in weight between the start of a race and the end - at the moment it's just a linear increase of lap time when you add weight; we will move into the domain where you have a car that is a completely different machine when you add 160 kilos of fuel to it.
"The other factor will be the tires. Currently Bridgestone are saying that the tire will be rated for 200 kilometers (125 miles). It's not clear what would happen if you ran it for longer than that. The races are obviously 300 kilometers (185 miles), so there will be some interest in how people choose to deploy different tires; and we shouldn't rule out the point that the regulations, unlike when we had no refueling before (pre-1994), do require one tire change - you've got to run Option (softer compound) and Prime (harder compound).
"It's not impossible that the design of the tires would make it advantageous to change more than that. People are assuming it will only be one change, but it could well be that the tires degrade sufficiently to need more than just one stop, certainly at some races."
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