FIA backs fuel flow sensor maker in aftermath of Red Bull disqualification

Formula One World Championship

Formula 1’s governing body is satisfied with the ultrasonic fuel flow meter, the accuracy of which was questioned by champions Red Bull after Daniel Ricciardo was disqualified from the season-opening Australian Grand Prix, the makers said.

Gill Sensors released the following statement: Following the Australian Grand Prix last weekend, the FIA have provided Gill Sensors with positive feedback on the performance of the Fuel Flow Meter, confirming their confidence in the development and stating [that] the meters meet the FIA’s accuracy specification.”

“The meter development included an extensive testing programme, which involved liaising with many of the F1 teams for their valuable feedback on meter design and functionality. Meter calibration is handled by the FIA’s third party calibration company.”


“The meters utilise ultrasonic technology which was selected for its resilience in extreme operating conditions. The FIA chose Gill Sensors for this complex development because of Gill’s 29 years of proven experience in Ultrasonics.”

Meanwhile Red Bull have appealed against their Australian driver’s disqualification, arguing that the flow meter was inaccurate and unreliable, with the matter now set to be resolved by lawyers in an FIA court.

The first big technical controversy of the year is unlikely to be the only one as the sport grapples with complex regulations governing the new V6 turbo engines and energy recovery systems.

Ricciardo finished second at Albert Park but was disqualified more than five hours later after stewards ruled that his team had broken new regulations that limit the flow of fuel to the new V6 turbocharged engines.

Formula One World Championship, Rd1, Australian Grand Prix, Race, Albert Park, Melbourne, Australia, Sunday 16 March 2014

The Melbourne Herald Sun headline on Monday branded it a “Grand Farce”.

The FIA said Ricciardo’s car “exceeded constantly” the rules limiting fuel flow to 100 kg per hour.

Allowing the fuel to flow faster than allowed in the regulations would give a team that did so a power advantage over others.

The FIA said on Sunday that Red Bull had been told during the race that telemetry readings showed the fuel flow on Ricciardo’s car was too high but the team had failed to correct the situation.

Red Bull Team Principal Christian Horner argued that inconsistencies with the meters had “been prevalent all weekend up and down the pitlane”.

The stewards ruled 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.”

Gill Sensors said that their meter, which uses an ultrasonic sensor, had been tested extensively by many of the teams, who had provided feedback on design and functionality. (Reuters)

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  • RBC

    What if they run two of the sensors in parallel and see if there is discrepancy?

  • McLarenfan

    So the FIA give Gill positive feedback even though Red Bull had to change 1 sensor due to a fault then the replacement was worse so they were told to change back but doctor it as that is the original faulty unit. Mercedes also had to doctor (Put an offset) on their meters but the FIA say that is Good. What a bunch of Muppet’s. I understand why Red Bull got on the wrong side of the FIA and that is by the sound of it their own fault they should have put the offset on the same as Mercedes then put in a massive complaint.

  • Jerry Holloway

    That’s a good question. Maybe it would reduce performance?

    Also, why are they running these things in-season when they were shown to be faulty during testing?

  • Jerry Holloway

    Typical FIA. After all, this is the same organization which mandated tires so bad the teams had to switch them side-to-side to make them work.

  • RBC

    I think there were a few minor issues rather than a blanket problem with all of them.

    Like Pirelli tires last year. They weren’t perfect but they were the same for everyone.

    They need a way to stop the teams super stressing the engine and turbo by putting a huge amount of fuel through it at one time. This was done to ensure the engines were not super high technology. Another was limiting the RPM’s. So they have to have some measurement.

    The teams SAY their own measurements are better. But teams have struggled to get the fuel measurement right for years, sometimes running out of fuel in qualifying or the race. Only now do they claim super accuracy on fuel measurement as it suits them.

  • Jerry Holloway

    Good points. Still, it was enough of them to be a concern among the teams. This offset thing is nothing but a band-aid.

  • McLarenfan

    That is a yes and no, the reason they were turning the directional tyre around was because of the camber they were running on some of the cars it reduced the contact patch on the track so by then switching the tyre around they basically got the tyre to react like a new set again.
    But as we know the tyres were made for ll the teams with built in tyre wear so tyre management became the key to winning the race destroyed the spirit of racing made it a farce at the beginning of the season like most things the FIA tamper with

  • RBC

    Everything in F1 is a band-aid. Stupid tires. Aerodynamic rules that can be manipulated. Flexi front wings. etc etc. This is just one more imperfect rule.