• Australian GP

Ricciardo disqualified from Australian Grand Prix

ESPN Staff
March 16, 2014 « Tyre graining slows Raikkonen | Red Bull slams accuracy of FIA fuel flow sensors »
Christian Horner faces the media after Daniel Ricciardo's disqualification © Getty Images

Daniel Ricciardo has been stripped of his second place finish at the Australian Grand Prix after his car was considered to be in breach of fuel flow regulations.

According to the FIA sensor fitted to the car, the Red Bull exceeded the maximum allowed fuel flow of 100kg per hour, and after over five hours of deliberations the stewards ruled the car was run illegally. They stated the car was not only in breach of the fuel flow regulation (Article 5.1.4 of the technical regulations) but also Article 3.2 of the sporting regulations, which requires team to ensure compliance with the technical regulations throughout the event.

Red Bull ... saints or sinners?

  • The authorities insist the team was made aware several times that it was playing with fire and breaking the rules; Red Bull counter that the device was faulty and that it did nothing wrong. It is a defence built on shaky ground, writes Martin Williamson. Click here for the full feature

Red Bull made clear that it intends to appeal the decision.

The debate over the legality of the car centres on the FIA fuel flow sensor fitted within. After differences between the sensor's readings and the team's readings during Friday practice, Red Bull fitted a new sensor on Saturday, which failed during qualifying. For the race the FIA technical representative instructed the team to revert to the original sensor from Friday and apply an offset to make up for the discrepancies in the readings.

Red Bull considered the original fuel flow sensor to be unreliable and for the start of the race chose to use its "internal fuel flow model ... with the required offset" instead. However, a technical directive issued on March 1 states that only the FIA, and not individual teams, can decide if an alternative fuel flow measure can be used.

"If at any time we [the FIA] consider that the sensor has an issue which has not been detected by the system we will communicate this to the team concerned and switch to a backup system," read an extract from the FIA technical directive (TD/ 016-14).

According to the governing body, the FIA technical representative contacted the team during the race saying the fuel flow was too high and gave them "the opportunity to follow his previous instruction and reduce the fuel flow such that it was within the limit ... and thus gave the team the opportunity to be within compliance". However, the team did not make the correction.

The stewards therefore found that:

"The team chose to run the car using their fuel flow model, without direction from the FIA. This is a violation of the procedure within the procedure within TD/ 016-14.

"That although the sensor showed a difference in readings between runs in P1 [first practice], it remains the homologated and required sensor against which the team is obliged to measure their fuel flow, unless given permission by the FIA to do otherwise.

I'm gutted to be thrown out. We were on a high when we heard the news about the stewards. We will have to look what happened and move on. I can still be pleased with how I drove and the result I got.
Daniel Ricciardo

"The stewards were satisfied by the explanation of the technical representative that by making an adjustment as instructed, the team could have run within the allowable fuel flow.

"That regardless of the team's assertion that the sensor was fault[y], it is not within their discretion to run a different fuel flow measurement method without the permission of the FIA.

"The stewards find that Car 3 [Ricciardo] was out of compliance with the technical regulations and is therefore excluded from the results of the race."

Red Bull will appeal the decision and released the following statement:

"Following the decision of the FIA that Infiniti Red Bull Racing is in breach of Article 3.2 of the FIA Formula One Sporting Regulations and Article 5.1.4 of the FIA Formula One Technical Regulations with Car 3, the Team has notified the FIA of its intention to appeal with immediate effect," a statement from the team read.

"Inconsistencies with the FIA fuel flow meter have been prevalent all weekend up and down the pit lane. The Team and Renault are confident the fuel supplied to the engine is in full compliance with the regulations."

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