One of the interesting things in 2010 will be to see how the engine manufacturers balance fuel consumption vs power. Having an efficient engine has several benefits which could prove vrey decisive at some tracks.
The car can be significantly lighter at the start of the race which straight away gives a lap time gain.
The second benefit is that tyre degradation is reduced which depending on the characteristics of the new tyres for 2010, could mean that they need fewer and/or much later fuel stops than their rivals.
The third benefit will be less wear on the brakes, which are unchanged in size for 2010. There’s alot more potential for someone to run out of brakes and have to ease off (or spin off like Mark Webber in Singapore last year).
A lower fuel means a smaller tank size and more scope for optimising the aerodynamics.
Finally there’s also the marketing potential for engine manufacturers to shout about how efficient their engines are, although somehow I doubt any of them will.
As can been seen from the chart for 2009 fuel consumption figures, Renault are out in front by quite a way. McLaren have quite a lead on Force India and Brawn with the Mercedes engine, presumably because of KERS (remind me again why it’s banned next year?)
It’s another wilcard factor in the paper-scissors-stone era that the refuelling ban is introducing and for me much more interesting than everyone stopping on lap 15 and giving up racing after the last stop! Hopefully no-one will get everything right and it’ll be a ding dong battle all year between many teams.