Australian Grand Prix race stewards have decided to exclude Red Bull’s Daniel Ricciardo from his home grand prix after receiving information from the FIA that his Red Bull Racing RB10 car had consistently exceeded the fuel-flow rate of 100kgs per hour during the race. After lengthy deliberations, the race stewards offered their verdict.

Click this link to read Full stewards decision: Formula One Australian Grand Prix 2014 Document – 56

The decision has changed the finish order of the Australian Grand Prix with rookie Kevin Magnussen and his teammate Jenson Button claiming 2nd and 3rd for McLaren.

Red Bull have issued a statement and will appeal the decision. Here is Red Bull’s official statement:

“Following the decision of the FIA that Infiniti Red Bull Racing is in breach of Article 3.2 of the FIA Formula One Sporting Regulations and Article 5.1.4 of the FIA Formula One Technical Regulations with Car 3, the Team has notified the FIA of its intention to appeal with immediate effect.

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.”

Red Bull’s boss, Christian Horner, was nonplussed but the decision and told the press (AUTOSPORT’s Mr. Noble reports):

“They informed us [to turn the flow down], and we informed them that we had serious concerns over their sensors,” he said.

“We believed on our reading, otherwise there was a situation where you are reducing significant amounts of power in the engine at a time when we believe we fully comply within the regulations.

“We end up in a situation where, depending on the calibration of your sensor, of plus or minus, it will dictate who is going to be competitive and who isn’t.”

It’s an unfortunate decision as Daniel was making history as the only Australian to stand on the podium at the Australian Grand Prix. The new race order is:

Pos  Driver             Team/Car                  Time/Gap
 1.  Nico Rosberg       Mercedes              1h32m58.710s
 2.  Kevin Magnussen    McLaren-Mercedes          +26.777s 
 3.  Jenson Button      McLaren-Mercedes          +30.027s 
 4.  Fernando Alonso    Ferrari                   +35.284s 
 5.  Valtteri Bottas    Williams-Mercedes         +47.639s 
 6.  Nico Hulkenberg    Force India-Mercedes      +50.718s 
 7.  Kimi Raikkonen     Ferrari                   +57.675s 
 8.  Jean-Eric Vergne   Toro Rosso-Renault      +1m00.441s 
 9.  Daniil Kvyat       Toro Rosso-Renault      +1m03.585s 
10.  Sergio Perez       Force India-Mercedes    +1m25.916s 
11.  Adrian Sutil       Sauber-Ferrari              +1 lap 
12.  Esteban Gutierrez  Sauber-Ferrari              +1 lap 
13.  Max Chilton        Marussia-Ferrari           +2 laps 
14.  Jules Bianchi      Marussia-Ferrari           +8 laps*  

* Not classified


     Daniel Ricciardo   Red Bull-Renault               DSQ
     Romain Grosjean    Lotus-Renault              43 laps
     Pastor Maldonado   Lotus-Renault              29 laps
     Marcus Ericsson    Caterham-Renault           27 laps
     Sebastian Vettel   Red Bull-Renault            3 laps
     Lewis Hamilton     Mercedes                    2 laps
     Kamui Kobayashi    Caterham-Renault            0 laps
     Felipe Massa       Williams-Mercedes           0 laps

Drivers' championship:

 1.  Nico Rosberg      25
 2.  Kevin Magnussen   18
 3.  Jenson Button     15
 4.  Fernando Alonso   12
 5.  Valtteri Bottas   10
 6.  Nico Hulkenberg   8
 7.  Kimi Raikkonen    6
 8.  Jean-Eric Vergne  4
 9.  Daniil Kvyat      2
10.  Sergio Perez      1

Constructors' championship:

 1.  McLaren/Mercedes      33
 2.  Mercedes              25
 3.  Ferrari               18
 4.  Williams/Mercedes     10
 5.  Force India/Mercedes  9 
 6.  Toro Rosso/Renault    6
An F1 fan since 1972, NC has spent over 25 years in the technology industry focusing on technology integration, AV systems integration, digital media strategies, technology planning, consulting, speaking, presenting, sales, content strategy, marketing and brand building.
  • Tom Firth

    It’s a shame that something out of his control , ultimately in the teams control has ruined his result of what was a fantastic drive. Hopefully this isn’t a recurring trend of fuel flow infringements throughout the season.

  • Tom Firth

    At the end of the day though, Ricciardo has certainly put his name on the map and proved a point as a threat for victories to the status quo at the top of F1 on the way he handled the car this weekend. Surprising in part I would say to alot of people including myself.

  • Rapierman

    I suspected that Ricciardo had potential. I just didn’t know he had THAT much potential. A real shocker.

  • Kaltenbach

    What I want to know is why should Red Bull or any other team should sabotage themselves when the FIA cannot be bothered to provide decent enough equipment to adjudicate with?

    I believe Red Bull should challenge! If not for points then to at least light a fire underneath the FIA so they’ll stop getting their fuel flow sensors from the bargain bin.

    The worst part of this is that the most innocent party in this fiasco, Daniel Ricciardo, gets his best result ever stripped away from him. I can’t help but feel gutted for the guy.

    • Tom

      It’s not up to Red Bull to make the decision. Only the FIA can declare a sensor to be faulty and they didn’t, on the contrary, the repeatedly told Red Bull to stay within the limits as provided by the FIA sanctioned sensor.

      If the teams could all just come up with their own measurement system, it would turn the fuel flow rule into a mockery. It has to be the same method with the same parts for everyone and it has to be monitored by the FIA.

      • Kaltenbach

        You’re absolutely right. I just somewhat sympathize with RBR in this situation. “We did what you told us. We put the old wonky sensor back in the car and we have applied the offset. And now that we’re part way through the race we have to apply another offset? What kind of math were you guys doing the first time round?” I just want Red Bull to make a big stink so the FIA will get right on to making the sensors less prone to calibration failures. Because during one of the races that sensor is going to fail with some team and it will report to the FIA that the car is doing 300kg/h. Unfortunately the only thing they’ll be able to say is: “Oops, oh well bring the car down to 100kg/h or you’re disqualified.”

        Out of all of the rule changes they have done this year the fuel flow rate is probably the most finicky out of the bunch. They couldn’t just give the teams 100kg of fuel and say “Go”. Apparently that was too simple for them. But hey that’s the FIA, we must accept it, just like we must accept double points.

        • Tom

          Yes, this rule is definitely finicky. And that’s why Montezemolo already warned about “trickery” regarding the fuel flow in his public remarks before the season.

          Also, if a sensor does fail, the FIA will allow the team to use their own measurement method. But only the FIA can do so. Teams cannot decide to do so on their own, especially not if the FIA explicitly tells them not to do so as in this case. Red Bull was warned twice, that’s more than they could hope for.

          Lastly, regarding the sequence of events, I think you got things wrong. While I may be mistaken, I think I have a good grasp of the facts after reading the various press releases:
          1) There were issues with the fuel flow sensor during free practice. A lot of cars were reported to exceed the limit. The solution was to extend the interval in which fuel flow is measured in order to mitigate spikes in fuel flow and give the teams more leeway. I don’t have the numbers handy, but I seem to remember that after the change, they measured it for intervals of 0.2 seconds.

          2) Red Bull still exceeded the fuel flow limit and was told by the FIA’s technical advisor to adjust their fuel rate accordingly, which Red Bull didn’t do.

          3) During the race, the FIA saw that Red Bull was still exceeding the fuel flow limit and told Red Bull once again to adjust the fuel flow, which Red Bull again ignored.

          The only justification Red Bull provided was that they didn’t trust the FIA sanctioned sensor after what happened in free practice. Apart from being dubious, even if correct that wasn’t their call to make, only the FIA can do that. Other teams had exactly the same issues and complied with FIA rules, losing power in the process.

  • Tom

    Not to bash Ricciardo or anything, but I think we need to wait and see before we make any rash judgements. Particularly since he profited from Red Bull’s tampering with the fuel flow rate. I seriously doubt that he would have made the podium otherwise. Would you then still have reacted as enthusiastically? Though having said that, he obviously drove very consistently and didn’t put a foot wrong, so good on him. Hopefully he will keep Seb honest once both drive a reliable car.

    Also, how Red Bull could possibly think they would get away with this is beyond me. Very unfortunate for Ricciardo.

    Adam Cooper wrote on Twitter that he heard from an insider of another team that they had the same issues and ran at 96kg/h in order to stay within the limits. Presumably the other teams did the same as it is the same sensor for everyone and the FIA are likely to have provided the same information to every team that they provided to Red Bull. All the other teams chose to comply and suffered a power loss as a result, only Red Bull thought they were above the law and could simply ignore the rules.

    • UAN

      “Particularly since he profited from Red Bull’s tampering with the fuel flow rate.”

      I think it’s incorrect to say Red Bull tampered with the flow rate. That is basically saying they ran high but used their measurement to purposely show they were in spec. Cheating in other words. I’d say they were totally within the 100kg/h max rate. They just didn’t accept the FIA representative’s offset to account for the inaccurate sensor they had. It’s not disputed by anyone that the sensors were faulty.

      At the same time, you quote Adam Cooper as saying that many teams were running at 96kg/h to stay within the limits. That’s the issue. The sensors don’t work. I think in some ways Red Bull had no real expectations of points in this race, and chose to ignore the FIA technical representative to force the FIA to look at the sensor issue.

      No team can afford not to be able to run at 100% of what the regulations allow. This applies even more so to a team like Red Bull and a manufacturer like Renault. They are already on the back foot.

      If what Adam Cooper wrote is true, then that is an unacceptable situation for the entire grid.

      For Red Bull, it’s better to forfeit 18 points now and possible save 100s of points over the course of the season, which will be the case if they need to run at 4-5% down on their max fuel consumption.

      As for feeling gutted for RIC, I don’t. I think regardless of this (and one result won’t alter his season or career, etc.) that RIC has shown people up and done the paddock that he’s the real deal, from his composure and speed in Qualy and again in the race.

      Well done to him.

      • Tom

        The regulations allow them to run at 100kg/h ACCORDING TO THE FIA SENSOR. The teams might have their own sensors in different places using different parts, but that’s exactly why a common part was introduced: in order to provide a common metric that is the same for everyone. That’s the ONLY yardstick the teams should focus on. If their own sensors say something else, then too bad, the FIA sensor measures the same rate for everyone. Since Red Bull ignored that, they did in fact cheat, as they got a significant advantage over every other team by deliberately not following the FIA’s orders.

        Toto Wolff said that Nico lost 0.5s per lap due to them reducing the fuel flow. If that’s anything to go by (which admittedly we don’t know but which certainly sounds reasonable), then Ricciardo wouldn’t have finished anywhere near the podium had Red Bull played fair.

        Also, I don’t buy for a second that Red Bull is the white knight, fighting for a better system and sacrificing points to do so. They could have well conformed to the rules and protested then. They thought they could be sneaky. They were wrong.

        • UAN

          “but that’s exactly why a common part was introduced: in order to provide a common metric that is the same for everyone.”

          but the sensor is not providing a common metric. It’s faulty. It needs to have an “offset” (which is apparently a guestimate by reading more about the issue), and that “offset” either is up or down.

          So it’s not providing a common metric, nor an accurate one, or else Mercedes wouldn’t be turning down their fuel rate. And the only reason Merc doesn’t mind doing that is that they are already more than .5 sec/lap faster than everyone.

          I’m not saying RBR is a white knight (none of the teams are), they are doing this to serve their own best interest (and would will help other teams as well – and, if we go by what Toto Wolff says, it would give their main competitor Mercedes .5 sec of an advantage over them).

          But they weren’t “cheating” which is different than saying they disregarded the FIA’s representative’s decision. Cheating would be if they were running “purposefully” and knowingly running higher than 100kg/h, and trying to use their own sensor to cover that up. Which no one seems to think is that case. (Cheating is a very specific charge and has a very specific meaning).

          Ironically, because of the issues with the sensors, the sensor itself can’t be relied to give the “exact” fuel rate. Which underscores the problem with that. And it is an issue to have some sensor that will randomly give some teams more and some teams less fuel flow from race to race to race. That’s just plain ridiculous.

          • Tom

            The sensors are providing a common metric, they do work. All sensors from last Sundays race have been tested before and after the race and they were all within the tolerance range. The sensors do NOT need any kinds of “offset” that has been mixed up by some people. The offset is applied to get the actual fuel injection (i.e. the sensors the teams use in order to determine how much fuel is injected) in order to get that in line with the FIA’s sensor data.

            All that Red Bull is claiming is that their own measurements are more accurate than those of the FIA. But even if true (which I doubt they can prove) would be entirely beside the point, because every other team has to work with the same constraints and indeed had no problems with it.

            Furthermore, Christian Horner already said that had they complied with FIA demands, they would have lost a significant amount of power. So they indeed ran above 100kg/h purposefully in order to get an advantage which makes them cheaters in my book. Their defense, that it really wasn’t above 100kg/h is not just a mere assertion with the facts of the standard instrument standing against it, it’s also beside the point because the FIA sensor is the only relevant one. Otherwise every team could start claiming all kinds of things and we’d have chaos.

            Red Bull knew they were running on more than 100kg/h according to that sensor that is common to all, that much is obvious from the FIA’s warning before and during the race. They chose to ignore the FIA’s demand in order to retain a power advantage, they even said so themselves. Hence there’s no doubt that Red Bull was cheating by any meaningful definition of the word. They knew the rules and chose not to oblige because they wouldn’t have gotten a result if they did.

  • AntioBob

    The responses/comments on some websites make this story seem like the end of humanity as we know it. But it seems like a relatively simple issue… when the landlord tells you to turn down your music, don’t say no thanks and later claim they were being over sensitive. The significant issue to me is that the 2014 regs are apparently tough for the FIA as well if they can’t get their sensors to work reliably. Did we not just hear a few days ago that the FIA would give no mercy to teams that go over the flow limit and that they were quite confident in the sensors?

    I do feel bad for Riccardo, however. He looked like the happiest kid in the world, about to blow out the candles on his official Seb Vettel RedBull cake, grinning like a maniac (seriously that was a SMILE on that podium!)… then out of the blue his drunken uncle Randy stumbles over a bag of gifts and sits on the cake. Tears.

  • Always been disqualifications and always will be disqualifications. It’s a drag. It seems unfair. But F1 is about tight conformity to the rules… well, most of the time. Ricciardo has abundant talent and you can bet a dollar to a donut that right now, his engineers are feeling pretty crappy about letting him down.

    Great start to the new season though! And to cap it all, Manchester United 0 – Liverpool 3! :)

    • LOL…I asked a guy at Talksport who should win…he said Liverpool all the way. :)

  • mini696

    *Tin foil hat on*
    I guess RBR always find a way to get their Aussie driver back behind Vettel.

    *Tin foil hat off*
    Oh well onto the next race.

  • pear-shaped pete

    I never even knew this rule.

    F1 has totally lost it. Restrictor plate racing!

    Here was I thinking at least the 100kg per race fuel limit was a way to encourage creative solutions to fuel management/economy and balance performance vs usage. A constuct admittedly. But now I hear of the 100kg/hr flow rate/sensor construct through a disqualification. A completely ridiculous farce.

    So frustrating. It is impossible to measure how much damage this mess will do to f1 in this part of the world (OZ). Heck, I haven’t even worked out how I’m going to explain it to Mrs pear-shaped.

    A bemused former f1 fanatic. We want authentic racing .NOT THIS CRAP.

    pear-shaped pete
    decorum and civility tested

    • Tom

      I dunno, the rule was communicated to the degree that I have heard it countless times. Maybe the individual TV stations should have done a better job at relaying this information, but the interested F1 fan must have heard of it.

      Secondly, this is not some crazy thing conducted by the FIA, but the teams and engine manufacturers worked on it together. Not only did they all know the rules, they made them collectively.

      Thirdly, given the restricted formula, there are good reasons for this rule as this directly regulates power output. If there wasn’t this kind of restriction, we would see bursts of power outputs way north of 1000hp which they wanted to prevent for various reasons like safety and reliability/costs.

      Lastly, this in return means that Red Bull got a significant advantage by ignoring FIA rules. Mercedes principal Toto Wulff said that they also adjusted their fuel flow which cost them 0.5s per lap. Whatever you think of the rules, they are the rules and there’s no excuse for not following them. The FIA even cut Red Bull a lot of slack by giving them the opportunity to adjust the fuel flow during the race instead of simply black-flagging Ricciardo after they already told Red Bull to do so after qualifying, which Red Bull ignored.

      • Tom

        Though having said all that, I agree with your general point that F1 is over regulated. But the rules are the same for everyone.

        • jeff

          Probably commenting too much on the site, but I so completely agree w/ Tom here. In principal, either a max fuel or fuel flow limit SHOULD be enough, why both plus the engine format limitations? That being said, the regulations are in place.

          1. FIA passes the flow regulators to the teams. All are the same.
          2. The teams were notified of flow-measuring discrepancies and delivered compensation calculations.
          3. Red Bull was told to limit their fuel flow; they refused.

          IMO, Red Bull has nothing to argue about. Regarding true racing, again, what is that? Not to question anyone’s view; rather if stated, I want to hear what one’s definition of “real,” “true,” or “flat out” racing is. Were 2011-’13 true racing? Was Senna in ’89, when he’d set pole, then cruise to deltas except when he and Prost were fighting?

          Say that it’s full power w/ no regard for fuel economy, equipment life, or tire degradation and IMO one’s looking through rose tinted glasses; those factors have ALWAYS been in F1. Say it’s drivers on the limit of their equipment’s abilities and I’ll agree.

        • pear-shaped pete

          Our coverage started at 10am for a 5pm race start. It is possible I was “glazed over” if and when 100 kg hr was mentioned! However 100kg for race was well made explicit. As an aside, if I was a tv director would I want to get to fuel flow rate rules or do some celebrity chef cross promotion?

          My point is that public rule book reading doesnt make for good tv.

          Without wanting a detailed and long tech argument ( never a strong point for me) its abundantly clear there is doubt over accuracy of the sensors at Melbourne. Although “all manufacturers knew and worked on them” the reality was that fia methodology and actual equipment had changed from Friday to Saturday and Sunday again. Hardly confidence inspiring.
          Although the obvious dangers of taking teams data as “bible”, I would be disappointed in a team that didn’t have an accurate fuel flow measure, at least as good as the fia equipment.

          The fact that Mercedes were able to donate a small concession on their fuel flow rate is irrelevant in my eyes……Is a dollar the same to a millionaire as it is to the homeless guy?

          pearshaped pete

          • Tom

            Be that as it may, 10 teams complied while only Red Bull violated the rules.

      • Rodwel07

        I totally agree with you, fair enough reduce the amount of fuel drivers can use per race (150lt -100lt) But using a flow restrictor to measure the amount used per hour throughout the race is ludicrous This is just an added technicality that shouldn’t be included. Sure disqualify a driver for NOT having enough fuel to make it back to the pits, but not for using too much fuel for each hour they are racing, that’s going too far.

        How does this help to improve the environment? The drivers are still restricted to using one third less fuel than in previous years, which in itself is a remarkable achievement and I implore the FIA for that but the100kg/h is just splitting hairs.

        • Tom

          It’s not about the environment, but about limiting the power output. With these turbo engines, you can achieve massive amounts of hp if you open the floodgates. For safety and reliability/cost reasons, teams, engine manufacturers and FIA agreed to introduce this limit.

          • F1derbar

            You can completely sense this in the cars low growl while at race trim; I found myself wondering what would happen if they really opened them up…

  • pear-shaped pete

    And whilst the rules are the same for eveyone, I remember an instance where the supplied ECUs (FIA-McLaren) were the same for everyone….. except Mark Webber whose faulty unit cost him dear.

    pear-shaped pete

  • Rik

    So, are the teams allotted 100 kg of fuel for the race or 100kg of fuel per hour for the race? Strangely two different things.

    If the FIA gives out the equipment to measure this and it has an error factor, which most electronic’s do, then the teams need an allotment of sensors to test in order to get the error factor in their favor. One really cannot argue with what the sensor reads as it is what it is the FIA has deemed.

    • And they did try two different sensors if I am reading the report correctly. They went back to the sensor they used on Friday and told them to make a certain level of adjustments to get the flow rate correct. Red Bull chose not to. Now, having said that, if I were Red Bull, I was always going to tell the FIA to stick because of the varying tolerance levels of their sensor (if it was truly varying to some degree) and maintain that they get their gear sorted before telling us how much to limit our fuel flow. force them to get the measurement spot on…if possible. Seems they called the FIA’s bluff on this one. :)

      • Tom

        I found a nice summary of the Ricciardo/Red Bull drama on this site:

        I will translate the relevant parts:
        1) For 2014 there is a fuel flow limit of 100kg/h at revs higher than 10500rpm
        2) The 2014 turbo engines have direct injection, so the teams can accurately measure/regulate the fuel flow at the point of injection.
        3) But they may use different components, so in order to guarantee fairness, FIA has mandated a common fuel flow meter (FFM), an additional sensor that monitors fuel flow before it is injected into the engine.
        4) Unlike the team’s sensors, the FFM can only monitor fuel flow, not regulate it.
        5) During FP1, Red Bull noticed a change in Ricciardo’s FFM readings. At first they were different then later on.
        6) During FP2, the FFM provided the same readings as during the second half of FP1.
        7) For Saturday, Red Bull exchanged the FFM.
        8) That new FFM however turned out to be faulty.
        9) In the meantime, the FIA checked the old FFM and found that while it indeed showed variations, they were all well within the tolerance range.
        10) The FIA then ordered Red Bull to replace the new FFM with the old FFM again for Sunday.
        11) A technical delegate of the FIA informed Red Bull that they would have to apply a correction factor to their own sensors in the injection system in order to comply with the rules, as the FFM monitors a slightly higher fuel flow than the Renault sensors. Since the Renault sensors are responsible for the ultimate amount of fuel that is injected, they needed to be adjusted. This correlation factor was derived from the measurements in FP1 and FP2.
        12) Red Bull chose not to do so as they believed that their own readings were more accurate.
        13) During the race, the FIA again asked Red Bull to adjust their fuel flow settings as they noticed it still being above the allowed max.
        14) Red Bull again chose not to do so.
        15) Throughout the race, the FFM provided the same kind of data as in FP2 and the second half of FP1, i.e. it worked reliably without fluctuations.

        I have never heard that the tolerance level for the fuel flow meters are varying. In fact, it would be highly irregular if they were. I’m pretty sure they’re the same for everyone. All other teams complied and adjusted their fuel flow according to the FIA sensor, only Red Bull didn’t. So I really can’t see how Red Bull called the FIA’s bluff. It’s rather the exact reverse. Red Bull’s defense, that their own sensors are more accurate is completely beside the point, as all teams have to use the FIA sensor. Only if the fuel flow monitor was faulty would they have a point, but that is not the case. And even then, according to sporting regulations only the FIA can make the call to ignore the fuel flow meter, it is not up to any individual team. In this case, not only did the FIA NOT make that call, they even told Red Bull to go back to using the FFM reading. I cannot possibly see them winning this case.

        • I just posted a piece about Charlie Whiting saying there is zero tolerance on the issue. AUTOSPORT’s Mr. Noble ran it on the 13th and it does suggest the tolerance issue a tad.

          • Tom

            While there apparently are individual sensors that are not functioning well enough, they fall outside the tolerance range and are not being used. The FIA checked all sensors before and after the race and they were all well within the tolerance range.

            If they were using sensors with wildly diverging accuracies, that would indeed be a problem, but from everything that is published by technical experts, the opposite is the case. These sensors are extremely accurate.

    • Tom

      To answer your question: It is both.

      The teams may only use 100kg of fuel per race and at no point may they pump fuel at a rate no higher than 100kg/h into their engine. Red Bull apparently complied with the first, but not the second rule.

      • Rik

        Yes, we are told 100kg per race, now if the race is less than 1 hr, none are, then the momentary fuel flow of 100kg (36.6gal/hr) would not have an effect on the distance to cover, however, with the races typically being 1.5-2hrs in length it could cause problems. In so much as non of the news/media have ever elaborated on this fuel flow limit, rather a total volume limit we are all taken by this discrepancy.

        Everyone was touting fuel management prior to the beginning of the race start. I was therefore lead to believe that if you wanted to turn it up at the start and burn a portion of your 100kg at a higher rate and then later in the race turn it down and conserve then all’s good as the distance and the 100kg were fixed quantities.

        Now we are learning that there are three variables. Fuel Flow, Fuel Limit by volume and race distance. Would make more sense to have a distance and a fuel amount and then tell the teams to manage those two variables however you wish.

        • Magnussen did something similar in that McLaren had him conserve for about six of the last nine laps, then change the mapping to use more power (and fuel) to try to run down Ricciardo.

        • Tom

          Re your last paragraph:
          At first glance it would certainly appear as if that would make sense, but there’s more to it.
          Think about qualification for example. How do you limit the power output there without fuel flow restriction? If you open the floodgates, we’d easily see 1300hp from the turbo engine alone (as we saw in the 1980s), plus the two electric motors.

          Fuel flow is simply the means everybody agreed upon in order to limit power output. It really hasn’t much to do with the overall fuel limit, rather with the immediate power output at any moment.

          • pear-shaped pete

            What is the drama with high horsepower quali engine?

            If I remember correctly in the 80’s they did have high horsepower, but also failed frequently.

            The teams still only have the 5 engines for the year….

            do they want to risk them on quali boost? Their choice I say.

            pear-shaped pete

          • Tom

            That’s a valid argument I guess, though it still ignores the safety issue.

            At the same time, the teams and engine constructors decided that they didn’t want that. I guess they feared that this would start a race for ever more horse power which would drive up costs either way. Either they’d blow up more often, or constructing an engine that doesn’t blow up would become more expensive.

            Personally, I think I’m with you. I dunno how I’d feel if someone died due to the massive hp, but till then, I’m usually all for erring on the side of less restrictions, costs be damned. But unfortunately, that’s not how things work and once everybody agreed to fuel flow restrictions, that was the end of it. No point complaining now…at least for the teams. The fans have every right to make themselves heard.

  • Rapierman

    Playing “Devil’s Advocate”, here’s a question: Is it really any of the FIA’s business how fast these F1 teams consume fuel?

    • Tom

      That’s a philosophical question I guess. Fact ist that these rules were worked out by the FIA in conjunction with the teams and the engine manufacturers. And according to these rules, it is the FIA’s business, because fuel flow directly translates into more hp and the only entity able to control it is the FIA.

      Personally, I’m always in favor of less regulation in F1. I have repeatedly said if I was the absolutist regent of F1, I’d start completely anew with a very limited set of rules and fuel flow certainly wouldn’t be one of them.
      We would need some rules to regulate max. power and max. aero, as well as basic things like max. width, 4 wheels, etc. Regulating fuel flow could be one way to regulate max. power, but I’m sure there are a lot of better ways to do so.

    • I guess a rebuttal would be “do they have any business regulating the amount of fuel they teams use?” The answer is the same: Because they decided to make it a rule.

      Fuel consumption rate regulation is just another way to regulate power, resources, and add a dynamic that plays directly into engine management.

      • Jack Flash (Aust)

        Each as a rule on their own is not weird, but having them both together is. This what Paul (Rapierman) is getting at. Here me out here….

        For example it is like the FIA giving each competitor $100 to spend at the Mall between 2:00pm and 4:00pm, but then saying you can’t spend anything more than a ‘dollar-a-minute’. The second rule is completely unnecessary. If someone blows all $100 on a purchase, their Mall day is over. Same goes for each car and the 100kg of fuel it has to use for the race. The rate restriction is a bizarre overkill, that we all come to expect from the FIA (Federation of Inconsistent Adjudications).

        It becomes even sillier when the FIA is incapable of providing ‘control’ fuel flow sensors with accuracies better then up to +/- %5. That is just so amateur. Not only that, the sensors they hand out are all over the place wrt accuracies. Some teams luck out with particular FIA supplied ‘control’ fuel flow sensors with a +/- 2% error, so they can safely runt to 98% of 100 kg/hr rate, whereas Redbull get sucky +/- 5% error FIA sensors and they get told that the solution is to limit their instantaneous flow rate maximum to 95% tops. Where is the fairness or professionalism in that debacle from the FIA? JF

        • MIE

          The fuel flow sensors are supposedly accurate to a fraction of a percentage according to an article on AUTOSPORT written by Craig Scarborough. He also points out that this is a more accurate measurement than the fall back of using the fuel pressure and injector timings (which is what Red Bull were using).

        • Tom

          You conflate the purpose of these rules. The 100kg per race rule is there to make the cars fuel efficient, the 100kg/h rule has nothing to do with making the car efficient, but mainly to put a lid on max. power.

          Also, I don’t know where these numbers are coming from. It’s just like the story with the offset factor that needs to be applied to the FIA sensor. Both is completely wrong. I think I’ve read somewhere that the threshold is at a variability of 0.25% which as MIE pointed out is still much better than the team’s own sensors.

          Alternatively, think about the impact the tires have on the performance and now think about the variability there, it probably exceeds 0.25% by an order of magnitude and yet nobody is whining.

  • MIE

    For those complaining that they didn’t know about the fuel flow limit, it has been mentioned on this site before, here for example:

    It has been in the 2014 regulations for some time, it is not as if it has been added in at the last minute just to try and catch out Red Bull. While I can understand that casual fans may not know every last rule and regulation, there is no excuse for the team.

    • I have to stop thinking that people actually read my posts. :)

  • pear-shaped pete

    I’m disappointed to find that after 40 years of watching formula 1, a 10,000 mile trip to watch a grand prix in Italy, I’m now a “casual fan” LOL

    It is a good article for sure but I wouldn’t want to see a worldwide argument about a 19.9995 kg battery failing to meet minimum weight for battery, and thinking well everybody knew the minimum was 20kg.

    By the way, perhaps in my own little casual universe, I can satisfy myself with knowing where the “Brilliant Straight” is .

    pear-shaped pete

    • MIE

      I apologize if I have caused offence by my poor choice of words.

      I wanted to differentiate between the fan that reads the regulations looking for what has changed each year and the fan that gets their information from the TV or radio broadcasts. There are many more of the latter, who only find out about the regulations when a team or driver is penalised for breaking it. Teams and drivers should however know the regulations by heart.

      • pear-shaped pete

        no worries

        pear-shaped pete

  • jeff

    Uh Oh, Red Bull have formally appealed the exclusion. Either way, I think both Red Bull and FIA lose here. Some are reporting the case centers around whether or not Red Bull can prove the FIA sensor faulty, or less accurate than its own. My understanding, correct me if I’m wrong, is FIA excluded them for not only exceeding the fuel flow rate according to the FIA sensor, but also failing to heed commands to reduce rate in Quali and the Race.

    Personally, I don’t feel Red Bull has a case, so shame on them for appealing and dragging the issue out. And, shame on FIA for yet again being indecisive in enforcing regulations. If they’d black-flagged or otherwise-Ricciardo/Red Bull during the race instead 5+ hours after the results, much of the backlash could have been avoided.