Dream second place for Ricciardo turns to nightmare as he is disqualified from Australian GP

Australian F1 Grand Prix - Practice

Under pitch black skies in Melbourne, FIA stewards took away Daniel Ricciardo’s popular second place Australian Grand Prix finish, turning his dream start as a Red Bull driver into a nightmare while igniting a technical controversy, as Formula 1’s all new V6 turbo era begins.

Hours after the chequered flag waved and the champagne flowed in Melbourne , Ricciardo’s Red Bull RB10 was ruled to have breached the new regulation governing a maximum rate for the flow of fuel.

The reigning world champions argued that there have been “inconsistencies with the FIA fuel flow meter – all weekend up and down the pitlane”.

The Daily Mail reported that Red Bull therefore decided to use its own sensor, but the FIA insisted that the team cannot do that “without the permission of the FIA”.

Race director Charlie Whiting reportedly warned Red Bull about illegal fuel flow readings throughout the weekend at Albert Park and also during the race.

“The team chose not to make this correction,” read the stewards ruling.

In a statement Red Bull said that it will appeal Ricciardo’s disqualification, “The team and Renault are confident the fuel supplied to the engine is in full compliance with the regulations.”

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Australian Grand Prix FIA Stewards Report:

The Stewards, having received a report from the Technical Delegate, heard from the Team Representatives, have considered the following matter and determine [that] a breach of the regulations has been committed by the competitor named below and impose the penalty referred to.

No/Driver 3, Daniel Ricciardo
Competitor Infiniti Red Bull Racing
Time 20:17

Session: Race

Facts: Car #3 was not in compliance with article 5.1.4 of the FIA Formula 1 technical tegulations.

Offence: Breach of article 3.2 of the FIA Formula 1 sporting regulations and Article 5.1.4 of the FIA Formula 1 Technical Regulations.

Decision: Car #3 is excluded from the race results.

Reason:

1) The Technical Delegate reported to the stewards that car #3 exceeded the required fuel mass flow of 100kg/h. (article 5.1.4 of the Formula 1 technical regulations)

2) This parameter is outside of the control of the driver, Daniel Ricciardo.

3) The fuel flow is measured using the fuel flow sensor (Art. 5.10.3 & 5.10.4 of the technical regulations) which is homologated by the FIA and owned and operated by the team.

4) The stewards considered the history of the fitted fuel flow sensor, as described by the team and the Technical Delegate’s representative who administers the programme. Their description of the history of the sensor matches.

a. During practice one a difference in reading between the first three [runs] and run four was detected. The same readings as Run 4 were observed throughout Practice Two.

b. The team used a different sensor on Saturday but did not get readings that were satisfactory to them or the FIA, so they were instructed to change the sensor within parc ferme on Saturday night.

c. They operated the original sensor during the race, which provided the same readings as run four of Practice One, and Practice Two.

5) The stewards heard from the Technical Representative that when the sensor was installed on Saturday night, he instructed the team to apply an offset to their fuel flow such that the fuel flow would have been legal. He presented an email to the stewards that verified his instruction.

6) The Technical Representative stated to the stewards that there is variation in the sensors. However, the sensors fall within a known range, and are individually calibrated. They then become the standard which the teams must use for their fuel flow.

7) The team stated that based on the difference observed between the two readings in P1, they considered the fuel flow sensor to be unreliable. Therefore, for the start of the race they chose to use their internal fuel flow model, rather than the values provided by the sensor, with the required offset.

8) Technical Directive 01614 (1 March 2014) provides the methodology by which the sensor will be used, and, should the sensor fail, the method by which [an] Alternate Model could be used.

a. The Technical Directive starts by stating: “The homologated fuel flow sensor will be the primary measurement of the fuel flow and will be used to check compliance with articles 5.1.4 and 5.1.5 of the F1 technical regulations…” This is in conformity with articles 5.10.3 and 5.10.4 of the Technical Regulations.

b. The Technical Directive goes on to state: “If at any time WE 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 back-up system.” (emphasis added.)

c. The back-up system is the calculated fuel flow model with a correction factor decided by the FIA.

9) The FIA Technical Representative observed thought the telemetry during the race that the fuel flow was too high and contacted the team, giving them the opportunity to follow his previous instruction, and reduce the fuel flow such that it was within the limit, as measured by the homologated sensor – and thus gave the team the opportunity to be within compliance. The team chose not to make this correction.

10) Under Art. 3.2 of the Sporting Regulations it is the duty of the team to ensure compliance with the Technical Regulations throughout the event.

Daniel Ricciardo, Red Bull, Australian GP 2014, Melbourne

Thus the stewards find that:

A) 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 TD/01614.

B) That although the sensor showed a difference in readings between runs in P1, 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.

C) 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.

D) That regardless of the team’s assertion that the sensor was fault, 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 was out of compliance with the Technical Regulations and is therefore excluded from the results of the race.

(Signed by stewards of the meeting: Gerd Ennser, Tim Mayer, Emanuele Pirro and Steve Chopping)

Gill Ultrasonic Fuel Flow Meter

Gill Ultrasonic Fuel Flow Meter

Prior to the weekend the FIA declared a zero tolerance approach to the strict fuel consumption rules that have come into effect in this new V6 turbo era.

We reported earlier that after Ferrari was warned at the Bahrain test, fellow engine supplier Mercedes then caught the FIA’s attention in Melbourne practice, regarding the new rule limiting the flow of fuel which has now been highlighted.

We then reported on Sunday that while Daniel Ricciardo thrilled the Australian crowd with second place at Albert Park, teammate Sebastian Vettel had been grappling with new software since Qualifying after his fuel flow sensor alerted the FIA that the Red Bull was exceeding the maximum rate.

“Ricciardo’s worked, Vettel’s did not,” said Auto Motor und Sport.

Earlier Red Bull’s Helmut Marko indicated that new software for the Renault engine was only being run on Vettel’s car, with poor results.

But now Ricciardo’s second place is in doubt, with the FIA confirming that his car “exceeded consistently the maximum allowed fuel flow” rate during the race.

“As this is not in compliance with (the) Technical Regulations, I am referring this matter to the stewards for their consideration,” said Technical Delegate Jo Bauer.

The seeds of the controversy date way back to October of last year, when the company awarded the contract to supply the mandatory fuel flow sensors struggled to improve on its error rate.

In January, the company – Gill – said its improved sensor “fulfils the FIA’s accuracy requirements”.

But just before the Melbourne season opener, Ferrari president Luca di Montezemolo warned the FIA to be ready for team “trickery” in the area of “fuel, software” and “consumption” as a result of “grey areas” opened up by the new regulations. (GMM)

Subbed by AJN.

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  • McLarenfan

    If it is an FIA sensor at fault then that is their problem as they are fitted to all 22 cars and are tamper proof from my understanding so it is up to the FIA to sort out their faulty stuff ant to get their sheds in order

  • imad

    what else they will limit and regulate, if they limited the fuel maximum load, it is common sense the fuel finish will towards the end and therefore it has to be sufficient for enough. what’s wrong with the FIA.

  • ?????

    what else they will limit and regulate, if they limited the fuel maximum load, it is common sense the fuel finish will towards the end and therefore it has to be sufficient for enough. what’s wrong with the FIA.

  • karlich

    Just now, Red Bull have officially appealed stating that “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.”

    Meanwhile Ricciardo was seen enjoying dinner with mechanics a few hours ago. Still smiling.

    I seriously doubt Red Bull would have attempted to get away with such a breach. Regardless, FIA have the means to monitor fuel flow real time as far as I know / have read. Why on earth wouldn’t they take immediate action during the race then?

  • Resultant Asteroid

    Agreed. If this is a real problem/instability with those sensors, I think the FIA should freeze this regulation until they solve it … they should get their act together.
    We’re talking about 3 top teams that are supposed to know very well what they are doing. In my opinion it would be strange if all three of them were breaching the rules while the sensors are completely innocent …
    Also, I find it a bit strange that in qualifying (granted it was a wet session), Ricciardo’s car was fast enough to split both the Mercs, without breaching the fuel flow regulation … while today (in a race, where fuel consumption is a main factor) it was much slower than Rosberg’s Merc and it still breached the fuel flow regulation !!

  • Guest

    F1 is really starting to SUCK!!!

  • Glock

    F1 turning into a joke…cars now sound like Ford Pintos and rules are getting very mundane…I was looking forward to attending F1 Austin again this year…not so much now!

  • karlich

    Yup, so now we’re told RB changed the FF meter on Friday because it was unreliable. The new one was found to be unreliable by both RB and FIA so RB put the old unreliable piece back in to the car and decided to rely on their own metrics. Now FIA claim to have warned them during the race but RB ignore their call for action.

    Wait a minute… so why are they being disqualified when all they could choose from was unreliable junk v.1 and unreliable junk v.1.1 with a warning issued based on readings from said unreliable junk???!!?

  • KevinW

    What a mess. Sad to see the results jammed up in the first race. The fuel flow sensors have been an issue from the start, with reliability a serious problem, even in practice sessions. However, if the FIA can point to the rest of the finishers and show they suffered no such issue, it makes the case against Red Bull pretty hard to refute.

  • Francesca

    Can’t you read?? It’s RED BULL’s fault, period. If a team can’t win, they try to cheat, look at Mercedes last year.

  • Barlow

    Good Job FIA, and you’ll only have to DQ another driver to get Ferrari into 3rd!!

  • RBC

    RBR were told to make a small adjustment to calibrate the sensor and they refused. It wasn’t junk, it was a calibration issue which the FIA told them how to fix and RBR refused to do it.

    “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.”

  • Severn

    “regardless of the team’s assertion that the sensor was fault, it is not
    within their discretion to run a different fuel flow measurement method
    without the permission of the FIA.”

    Sounds
    like FIA-speak for “Even if we’re in the wrong you have to do as we
    say”. If the FIA’s fuel flow measurement on Riccardo’s car was wrong
    (and it should be easy enough to determine if it was) then RB will win
    the appeal.

  • Severn

    “if the FIA can point to the rest of the finishers and show they suffered
    no such issue, it makes the case against Red Bull pretty hard to
    refute.”

    That makes no sense. Even if the other cars had no fuel sensor issues (and it sounds like they’re actually pretty dodgy) it does not mean DR’s worked fine.

  • KevinW

    The point being, if no issues were noted in 22 cars over three days, but one car over two sensors, it makes the issue stickier to resolve. Generally when meaurement devices are dodgey, it is rare that failures will be isolated to just one team over two sensors. Not impossible of course, just sticky. That’s all.

  • Severn

    From what I’ve read the fuel sensors are already known to have problems. The smart thing would be to drop the fuel sensors entirely and let everyone race with the same 100kg of fuel and use it as they like. Not that the FIA has even been known for being smart …

  • karlich

    Well yes & no. The Gill Sensors fuel flow meter is junk as witnessed by many teams, not only Red Bull and FIA have also asked Gill to improve it. That is up to FIA to get proper equipment to the teams if they want to play hardball with rules.

    Where I do agree, is that Red Bull were instructed to adjust fuel settings and ignored these as they reckoned their own fuel metering is more precise. That’s cheeky. Rules are still rules and of the enforcement of these rules is flawed or the rules themselves are flawed, feel free to appeal beforehand.

    What they could have done is comply to FIA’s demands and maybe they’d have lost a few positions but finished in the points. They could have appealed during the race and after the race.

    Alas, too late now! Let’s see how they argue their view.

  • karlich

    I hope so, but they’d have a hard time talking themselves out of “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
    TD/01614″.

    They should have complied and immediately appealed. Ignoring is rarely a wise decision.

  • KevinW

    I totally agree. Not exactly sure why they felt the need for the doubling up for fuel economy. If they wanted to limit power, that could be done with boost limits more easily and reliably. I too wonder whether the committees running F1 and the FIA have the collective intelligence to keep the sport from crashing into a wall from strangling regulations.

  • bert

    That’s one way to wipe the smile of his face.lol Feel sorry for the man though.I really do.

  • RBC

    Red Bull said there were issues up and down the pit lane. That does not make it true. I know some teams had an issue with the sensor during testing but it was said to have been fixed.

    I’m not sure why Red Bull believe they can have a system that is more accurate. Fuel usage and measuring fuel flow has been an issue in F1 for years with cars running out of fuel on the last laps. That shows that the Red Bull system might be no more accurate than the FIA sensors.

    The observable fact is no other team had their result questioned or officially complained about their fuel flow meters. So out of all the other cars running, none had a problem with the sensor to the point of ignoring it. That seems inconsistent with Red Bull’s claims that it was an issue up and down the pit lane.

    When given a solution by the FIA within the rules they ignored it. No other team did this. An issue up and down the pit lane would have seen many teams doing what Red Bull did. All other teams were willing to comply. Only Red Bull didn’t.

    I think it is also important to note that Red Bull have often pushed the rules to the limit or beyond, to then argue against the rules with their lawyers when caught. They have a history of trying to get around the wording of the rules.

    Newey said that the first thing they do each year is get a few hundred people to read through the rules to find ways to interpret those rules in advantageous ways outside of how the rules were intended. I guess this time it back fired.

  • karlich

    I agree that RBR took the wrong course of action here. I also agree that they cannot abandon rules based on an assumption that their fuel model is more accurate. So we aren’t really disagreeing here I think.

    Some teams have already stated to have been running as low as 96kg/h just to be on the safe side. To me, that suggests they didn’t trust the flow meter but anyway complied to FIA demands. In Mercedes powered teams I can see how this is an issue, but not big enough to go on a bout of disobedience. Probably just a bitter pill to swallow.

    For RBR it’s probably enough reason to go against the grain and then argue.

    Either way, while I think they’re wrong to have ignored FIA’s orders and thereby breaching regulations, regardless whether the flow meter was erring or not. That alone, sadly, is reason enough to disqualify Ricciardo which is really unfortunate for him. However, they are right to contest FIA’s authority in this matter because it’s evident that those fuel flow meters are unreliable or at least their precision isn’t exactly inspiring confidence. They are also right to contest FIA’s indisputable right of calling fowl play based on erratic measurements. Those are issues the FIA must address and assure it has the means to police fuel flow beyond doubt. I hope that if nothing else, this whole flowgate scandal sorts out these issues for the benefit of all.

  • bobmendon

    Ok, so the journalist has presented us with a number of facts. The haters will tell us what really happened. Of course racing teams are going to cheat. 1. The have no honor or integrity and they really don’t want to win either championship. 2. They no regard for their public perception because they don’t need sponsors anyway, who by the way would flee in droves if cheating charges were substantiated. 3. It is ok to slander anybody team because facts are not required when spewing hate. Way to go haters. When you aren’t doing other things between races, I suppose you are out burning some crosses and beating up gay people.

  • Tamburello1994

    Meme fail.

    According to “the conspiracy” the FIA is suppose to be turning a blind eye to this skirting of the rules like “all the other times” before, Remember?

  • RBC

    The FIA never turned a blind eye to RBR breaking the rules, they just never punished RBR for it commensurate to the level of cheating. A secret hand operated ride height adjuster had to be changed before the next race, but the 2 years RBR qualified with a car closer to the ground than anyone else was not punished, nor their concealing of the device. This is because RBR had their excuse ready to claim innocence.

    Just like this time. They have an excuse for side stepping the rules and they hope to get away with it.

    If you read the facts the FIA told RBR to recalibrate the sensor on the Saturday night and RBR refused. They should have been banned from the race at that time and were not. The FIA then gave RBR the option to do that calibration in the race and RBR refused. RBR should have been black flagged and they were not. So there is a lot of leniency evident. Plus they get to appeal.

  • RBC

    If everyone has an issue with the meter and runs the fuel at 96kg/h then everyone is in the same situation. RBR chose to be different, to effectively get an advantage, and try to argue their case for why they are right. Like their flexi front wings, engine maps, KERS induced traction control (or whatever it was Vettel had since Singapore which was audibly detected).

    Given that the engines are using battery power for a lot of their acceleration, short shifting and throttle control to avoid wheel spin a 4% decrease in the maximum fuel flow usable is going to have a small overall effect on the lap times. Certainly the other teams felt that complying with the rules was worth more than the lap time disadvantage.

    The time for RBR to contest the issue was Friday and Saturday when they spoke to the FIA about it, and were given a clear order of what to do. They ignored that on Saturday night by not readjusting the flow meter and also on Sunday during the race when they were told to do the same thing.

    They therefore had 2 chances where the FIA could have black flagged them from the race for ignoring their instructions. They are lucky that didn’t happen.

  • karlich

    Now we’re back to BLA territory… okay, cya 😉

  • Tamburello1994

    ( Space intentionally left blank )

  • Tamburello1994

    I’m with you.

  • Amos James

    Oh Bob, you bitter, prejudiced, sad little man. I enjoyed your hypocritical rant.

    Spoken to any Australians, lately?

  • RBC

    Yeah you can write a huge comment about Red Bull, with details about what is happening to them, but when I do the same, and discuss factual details you don’t like, then it is BLA.

    And it was in response to Tamburello making an accusation against me misquoting what I’ve said all along. So he says an incorrect insult, I defend with facts and I’m BLA.

    Which is why you are both the same. You say whatever you want and when someone presents facts to the contrary they are wrong. But your best logical response is BLA.

    Why not try a logical intelligent response with facts not sounds.

  • McLarenfan

    OK after reading this I can see that Red Bull made a mistake as they ignored the FIA instructions. The fact is that Mercedes were also told to adjust their fuel flow.
    Niki Lauda stated that if they had not altered their fuel flow they would have been 5 seconds ahead.

  • Tamburello1994

    It’s “BLA” because people have heard your diatribes ad nauseam.

    Pretty much predictable what you’re gonna say so why carry it any further? Still convincing absolutely no one. That also hasn’t changed.

  • RBC

    Many people agree with me and post similar comments so you are wrong. You call it BLA because you don’t like it. You have NO IDEA what everyone else thinks. You are an ego maniac.

  • Tamburello1994

    Don’t be mad ‘coz U know I’m right.

    You’re like the plague here dood, get a clue

  • RBC

    See Planetf1 Dot Com article called “Ricciardo excluded from Aus GP results”. So many people talking about Red Bull Cheating. Actually go there and see the comments, then come back here and admit what you saw. Go and actually do that.

  • RBC

    Perhaps you want to see the Planetf1 Dot Com article called “Ricciardo excluded from Aus GP results”. So many people talking about Red Bull Cheating. Actually go there and see the comments, how many other people see it the way that I do, then come back here and admit what you saw. Go and actually do that if you have the courage.

  • Tamburello1994

    You giving orders after calling me an ego maniac? Takes nerve, but that’s so typical of you cheats.

    And what does another website and conversations there have anything to do with us here at Gp247? I never said or implied you were the only fool out there, did I? What I said was you haven’t convinced anyone here. If you’re trying to take the credit for what people are saying elsewhere I’ll take your word for it but its still irrelevant here.

    And FYI I contribute to that site and read that piece already.

  • RBC

    OK got it. Since only you and karlich disagree with me here and others here have agreed then I have convinced a LOT of people here. So yeah, like I said, you are wrong.

  • Tamburello1994

    You’ve been on this site long enough to know full well I’m never wrong about anything. :)

    Now hows that for ego-mania?

  • RBC

    That’s actually pretty funny. I will give you that one.

  • Tamburello1994

    Thanks RBC.

    As much as we fight back and forth I will give you credit of being a worthy adversary, and one has to respect your resolve to stick to what you believe no matter the fallout.

    U aight in my book cheats. We may never agree on anything, but U aight.

  • RBC

    Thanks. I just read what I read about Red Bull, plus my brother works in F1 for a mid level team in a senior role, so I get some information from him also.

    There are a lot of people in F1 that are not happy with Red Bull but they don’t say it as dong so puts the sport into disrepute as it questions the ability of the FIA.

    For example one team had an engine issue in Melbourne and it was due to the FIA screwing up part of the software that they control. The car ran without the electric boost for 1/2 the race until they worked it out and got the FIA to fix the issue from the pit wall. That team are NOT allowed to talk about it as it would make the FIA seem stupid. So no one finds out about that.

    The FIA caught Red Bull cheating with an illegal ride height adjuster but because they hadn’t found it for 2 years they didn’t make a big deal about it, as the FIA would look stupid. The FIA are a political body, not a sporting body and Red Bull play on that. That is why I don’t like them.