It was a memorable podium in Melbourne after the Formula 1 season-opening Australian Grand Prix, with an Aussie – Daniel Ricciardo – celebrating on it for the first time ever, but not long after the joy turned to heartache as FIA stewards disqualified car number three much to the consternation of Team Principal Christian Horner.
Speaking to media in the aftermath of the FIA stewards’ decision to exclude Ricciardo, Horner summed up his feelings, “Extremely disappointed, quite surprised and we will of course appeal… And hopefully through the appeal process, it will be quite clear the car has conformed at all times with the regulations.”
“These fuel flow sensors that have been fitted by the FIA to measure fuel – which have proved problematic throughout the pitlane since their introduction at the start of testing – there’s been discrepancies in them and they’ve been unreliable.”
Ricciardo had been the first Aussie to finish on the podium at his home grand prix, and Horner explained that the sensor on Ricciardo’s RB10 had been changed after Friday practice and then switched back again ahead of the race.
“We had an issue with the sensor that changed its reading through Friday practice. That sensor was then replaced for another sensor on Saturday which then failed during Qualifying.”
“We were then asked to put the sensor from Friday back into the car and apply an offset. That offset, we didn’t feel was correct and as we got into the race, we could see there was a significant discrepancy between what the sensor was reading and where our fuel flow – which is the actual injection of fuel into the engine – was stated as,” explained Horner
“I think some cars may well have run without them in the race itself, or that they’ve failed in the race itself. I think it’s common knowledge that there’s been problems with these sensors all year. I think during the race, there’s other teams that have had sensors fail.”
“It’s immature technology and it’s impossible to rely 100 per cent on that sensor, which has proved to be problematic in almost every session that we’ve run in. As I say, I don’t think any of them have been working 100 per cent reliably throughout the weekend.”
“We wouldn’t be appealing if we didn’t feel confident we could have a dependable case. It’s just extremely disappointing that this has happened.
“It’s certainly no fault of Daniel’s. I don’t believe it’s the fault of the team’s. I believe that we’ve complied with the rules and the investigation documents will be submitted within the appeal.” (GP247)
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