Red Bull’s fuel flow problems resurface during Sepang free practice

Formula One World Championship, Rd2, Malaysian Grand Prix, Practice, Sepang, Malaysia, Friday 28 March 2014.

The Fuelgate saga is continuing in Malaysia a report emerging that, after Daniel Ricciardo’s disqualification in Melbourne, Red Bull spent over $130,000 on five brand new FIA-mandated Gill sensors for the Sepang race.

“We are not taking any chances and we have gone out independently and bought sensors so we know that we will have at least one that works properly,” a team source told The Times.

Red Bull has appealed Ricciardo’s exclusion, and last week at Milton Keynes FIA figures had been invited to inspect the sensors the reigning world champions claim were faulty in Australia.

But the trouble hasn’t stopped there, as Auto Motor und Sport reports that, during the first practice session at Sepang, Ricciardo’s RB10 once again struck fuel flow sensor problems.

Formula One World Championship, Rd2, Malaysian Grand Prix, Preparations, Sepang, Malaysia, Thursday 27 March 2014.

And correspondent Michael Schmidt said the similarly Renault-powered sister team Toro Rosso also had problems getting a signal from the sensors.

A new sensor – costing $26,000 at full calibration – was fitted to Ricciardo’s car for second practice.

“So much for saving money,” Red Bull’s Helmut Marko bluntly observed.

More serious, however, is the risk of further disqualifications. What will Red Bull do now if, as in Melbourne, the FIA asks the team to reduce the Renault engine’s fuel flow?

“I don’t know,” team boss Christian Horner answered. “Maybe two sensors should be installed in different places, and the average value should be read in order to reduce the risk of incorrect measurements.” (GMM)