Super Formula has 'no real desire' to bring back refuelling

Super Formula has indicated it has no real desire to bring back refuelling even after the justification of the COVID-19 pandemic passes.

Japan’s premier single-seater championship took the decision to shorten races and do away with refuelling last year following the onset of the global health crisis, aiming to reduce the number of team races personnel and make the schedule more compact in the process.

While the experiment of holding qualifying on the morning of the race was abandoned for 2021, the shorter race distances and no refuelling were maintained.

The question of whether refuelling could be brought back once the pandemic passes remains open, but in an exclusive interview with Motorsport.com, JRP director Yoshihisa Ueno said there was “no particular desire” to do so for 2022 and beyond.

“We’ll keep this format for the rest of the season, but after that nothing is decided yet,” said Ueno. “It’s possible to go back to refuelling after the pandemic, but we believe the current package is good for demonstrating the performance of the SF19.

“It’s not simply a matter of just going back to how things were before. It’s possible that we can keep things the way they are in 2022 [regardless of the pandemic].”

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Ueno explained that the current race distances – approximately 190km, depending on the venue, down from the previous 250km – were chosen bearing in mind the fuel mileage of the current engines without refuelling and the desire to avoid fuel-saving.

He also said that further changes to the pit window (currently lap 10 to the start of the final lap) could be made in a bid to promote strategy, with a single dry tyre compound set to remain in use for the foreseeable future.

Furthermore, Ueno said that a move to two-race weekends could be on the cards as part of a wider embrace of the ‘sprint race’ philosophy, calling it “one of the possibilities” for the series as it considers its future direction.

Two-race weekends would be nothing new to the series, with last year’s Suzuka round following that format, but it has never been adopted on a permanent basis.

Ueno added that Super Formula is preparing to adopt the Full Course Yellow that is now being used by SUPER GT, but its introduction won’t come until next season at the earliest.

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