- Red Bull disqualification
Red Bull decision expected on Tuesday
Red Bull looks set to learn whether its appeal has been successful on Tuesday after the conclusion of its FIA hearing in Paris.
The case revolves around the decision to strip Daniel Ricciardo of his second-place finish in Australia for exceeding the maximum fuel-flow rate according to the FIA's sensor, which Red Bull argues was providing inaccurate readings. Widespread changes this year include a cap on fuel and a fuel-flow limit of 100 kilos per hour, designed to encourage a steady use of fuel.
During the Monday hearing Red Bull argued the technical directive (16:14) which relates to fuel-flow sensors is not regulatory and stated its belief it therefore cannot be punished for ignoring the requests from the FIA's Fabrice Lom to reduce fuel flow during qualifying and the race. Adrian Newey, Red Bull's chief technical officer, said the team would have lost 0.4 seconds a lap, and at the very least second place, had it followed the FIA sensor it believes to be faulty.
"When Mr [Fabrice] Lom approached us and said that he felt we were using too much fuel, we disagreed with that" Newey is quoted as saying by Autosport. "No team wants to court controversy and then defend itself, so if you can comply with those wishes even if you don't agree with them, then that's what you do and that's exactly what we did. The fact is, it then became evident that if we continued to comply, we would lose positions."
Red Bull's chief engineer of car engineering Paul Monaghan was also called as a witness, and said the sensor had been faulty all weekend.
"Without an explanation and without any characteristic changes to the engine, be they measured or inferred by performance or measured by laptime, the FFM [sensor] changed its reading for FP1 run four," Monaghan said. "So we are left with two values for the sensor and no explanation was offered at the time as to why the sensor would change its value."
Lom, called as a witness from the FIA, then rejected Newey's assessment there were two further unexplainable jumps in sensor readings during the race. The FIA's representative in court, John Taylor, said Red Bull should not be allowed to ignore a regulation aimed at giving a level playing field.
"Why is it important?" Taylor said. "Sport has to be on a level playing field. It needs an authoritative way of measuring .... A team can't pick and choose methods of measurement and when they do or don't use them".
Mercedes, Lotus, McLaren, Williams and Force India were all present at the hearings. Mercedes, represented by Paul Harris QC, described Red Bull's policy as a "flagrant breach" of FIA policy and called for a further sanction due to fears the team will repeat the alleged offence in future.
Last week Christian Horner said the team believes it has a "very strong case", adding that "issues have become evident" in the races since Melbourne. There have been widespread concerns about the FIA's sensors but Red Bull is the only team to have fallen foul of the regulation.
A decision is expected to be made by the FIA on Tuesday.