FIA rules out ditching fuel flow ruleLaurence Edmondson March 28, 2014 « Red Bull warns of Australia repeat amid fuel flow issues | Vettel: We can win if it rains »
The FIA is not willing to drop the controversial fuel flow regulation that overshadowed the Australian Grand Prix, arguing it would lead to "very dangerous" closing speeds between cars.
Daniel Ricciardo was stripped of his second place finish two weeks ago after his Red Bull exceeded a fuel flow of 100kg/h according to the FIA homologated sensor fitted to his car. Red Bull intends to appeal the decision on the grounds that the fuel sensor was faulty and has warned that a similar situation could occur this weekend in Malaysia .
One solution proposed by Red Bull boss Christian Horner is to do-away with the regulated fuel flow rate and leave the teams with 100kg of fuel to manage over the race distance.
"We need to look at a more robust system," he said. "The biggest thing out of this, irrelevant of the hearing, is that we need a better way of measuring and monitoring the fuel, or get rid of it totally and say you've got 100kg and that's your lot. I think that would be the easiest for the FIA and probably for the teams because the fuel flow restriction is only really for qualifying, because you couldn't go to stupid revs in the race if you've got that limitation on fuel. I think personally it would be easier to get rid of it and just say you've got 100kg and use it how you like. That would be very easy for them to measure in and out at the end of the race.
"100kg is a big enough challenge in a race and then it's down to the teams to choose how they use that 100kg. That for me would be the most logical way of going about it. Otherwise we risk arguing over minutiae of percentages and that argument going on throughout the race with race control."
But with turbo boost pressure unregulated on the new engines, that would result in no regulatory limitation on power. Theoretically the 1.6 turbos could run in excess of 1,500bhp for brief periods of time - as the qualifying engines from the 1980s used to do - and Fabrice Lom, the FIA's head of powertrain, said that would create dangerous situations on track.
"Engineers are engineers, so if you have 100kg for the race, you try to be the fastest for the race. Let's keep it simple and say you have a 50 lap race, that's 2kg [of fuel] per lap to start with. With this 2kg you want to do the best lap time, you don't want to be slow, you don't want to please the FIA, you want to be fastest. If you have no fuel flow limit, the fastest thing is to use a huge boost at the beginning of the straight and then lift off.
"We know with the 1.5-litre turbo charged engine 25 years ago they were able to do 1,500bhp, so they will be easily there. Then you can also do 3kg on one lap and 1kg on another lap and so at one point one car will be accelerating very quickly and another will not. There will be huge and, we think, very dangerous difference of speed on the same lap, with a driving style that is not really F1. It was even for us not Le Mans-style, which is why we also put a limit on it for Le Mans because we were really afraid of this type of driving, which can be very, very dangerous."
Laurence Edmondson is deputy editor of ESPNF1