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.”

fuel-flow-meter-2

“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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