The maximum allowed fuel quantity was increased from 100 kg to 105 kg for the 2017 season. However, early analysis carried out by the teams after the winter testing indicates that some tracks could explode in a desperate fuel-saving race.
In the first three years of the new hybrid engine era, teams were allowed to burn 100 kg (equivalent to 135 liter) fuel during a race. Because of the radical aerodynamic changes for the new campaign, that was increased to 105 kg (or 142 liter).
In most races, the maximum fuel quantity allowed was not even used as engine manufacturers found ways to decrease the necessary fuel with the development of the hybrid technology. However, some races were difficult to complete even with the maximum allowed fuel quantity thanks to the nature of the track.
For 2017, big aerodynamic changes were introduced. Cars are much wider, generate more downforce hence more drag, tyres are wider and drivers can spend more time on full throttle due to the increased mechanical and aerodynamic grip.
The growth of the cars in width by 20cm and the wider tyres (front by 6cm, rears 8cm wider) mean an increase in drag by around ten per cent. Top speeds are expected to decrease by around 15kmh, but drivers spend around 10 per cent more time on full throttle. Cornering speed also went up hugely which means cars burn more fuel also in fast corners.
The word is from the paddock that engineers of all the four engine manufacturers were surprised to experience that the fuel consumption is higher than expected and calculated over the winter. Some engineers expect now that a few races in the first part of the 2017 campaign will be restricted by the fuel limit. Melbourne, Bahrain and Sochi which are traditionally tough in terms of fuel consumption will be extremely difficult to manage and drivers will be forced to lift and coast intensively during the races.