Say what you will about Red Bull’s appeal over their disqualification in Australia but the fact is, the fuel flow sensors have issues. That’s the latest from AUTOSPORT’s Mr. Noble  today in which Red Bull team boss Christian Horner shared more stories of sensor failure on Daniel Ricciardo’s car in Sunday’s Malaysian Grand Prix:

“It failed prior to the race,” he said. “We informed the FIA about it and we asked the FIA if we could revive it on the grid by effectively power cycling the car.

“We did that at the start of the race but it didn’t come back to life. So, the sensor didn’t work the whole race.

“I think it clearly demonstrates that there are issues with these sensors.”

The interesting issue here is that the team used the same procedure to measure their fuel flow as they used in Australia and the FIA were fine with that solution. We pondered the notion of how Red Bull would react if they have another failure and suggested that if the team followed the FIA recommendations, as they were asked to do in Australia, it would only bolster the regulatory bodies case against Red Bull and support the disqualification.

It now seems the tables have been turned and the FIA followed Red Bull’s solution for the issue by approving the data readings at the fuel-rail and one has to wonder if this doesn’t support Red Bull’s case in their appeal which is due to be heard during the Chinese Grand Prix weekend.

What do you think? Does this help, hurt or add nothing to Red Bull’s appeal?

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.
  • Rick.T

    I think it can only help. Though the fa doesn’t have a history of accepting responsiblility.

  • Can’t argue with the science (unless you’re the Vatican…or the Scuderia). If it can be proven, the decision should be overturned.

  • This is the official backup plan that kicks in should a sensor fail. I don’t see the issue tbh. And BTW, during the practice session, the internal measurement method is tuned to the sensor. If the sensor fails, the engine then has to run with an offset that corresponds with what the sensor originally showed. Since Red Bull obviously followed all the required steps, they weren’t disqualified this time around. This neither helps nor hurts their case, this is simply the law which Red Bull chose to obey this time around.

    • tim

      I think you nailed it Tom.

  • StephenB.

    …is this a Red Bull only problem? Publicly it seems only Red Bull have had issues at either GP this year. Maybe I’ve just missed other teams complaints on this expanse known as the internet.

  • Rapierman

    I smell a power struggle: Red Bull vs. the FIA.

  • Heavyboots (Aust)

    Better not be trolling us Aussies Todd, It’s no longer April 1st in OZ.

    • LOL…I wouldn’t do that, I love Aussies!! Just ask Adam. :)

      • There is a saying here in Aust…… (well maybe it is just something I say, but it explains Aussies)
        “If Aussies aren’t making fun of you, then they probably don’t like you.”

  • Do the FIA have anything to do with the appeal (other than defense)? I thought it was independent.

  • To be clear, RBR did NOT follow the same measurement method as Aus.

    -In Melbourne, RBR ignored the reading from the FIA sensor and used its own measurements.

    -In Sepang, RBR used the previously-agreed upon calibration offset of its own sensor i.e.; the fuel flow that the FIA sensor measured before it failed. This is the standard procedure should the FIA sensor malfunction.

    RBR followed the regulations and directives in Malaysia; I’d think that at best it’s a wash, and perhaps hurts its case, as why RBR follow a Technical Directive it deemed merely opinion/suggestion and not rule, which disadvantaged it and which it ignored at the prior race?

  • I remember the Sky Sports team asking what Horner what RBR was doing to measure the fuel rate. At that time Horner said reluctantly that RBR was going to use the FIA prescribed measurements.

  • Yeti

    The issue is not whether or not the sensor failed, but that RBR followed the rules which they did not by using an unapproved backup measurement in Australia. Which is in the technical rwgulations and according to Adam Cooper Christian Horner did not know about.

    This time their backup measurement was approved.

    By complying this time they acknowledged they were at fault in Australia, so I think it will hurt their case although I don’t think it stands a chance anyway.

  • Anybody read this article from AMuS about fuel sensor mods performed by Renault powered teams?

    From what I gather in the horrible translation, RBR/STR/Lotus were placing the sensor in the tank near the pickup; for fitment, they were drilling mounting holes somewhere near “where the sensitive glass body of the measurement sensor is attached.”

    I think the article insinuates reading discrepancies were mostly contained within the Renault cars, and that FIA believes the errors due to the sensor mods. Are any German readers seeing the same?

    The article further asserts Total supplies the fuel to all the Renaults (save Caterham?), and that the fuel might also be investigated. As the sensor doesn’t measure chemical makeup, I assume it’s a viscosity shift via-temperature investigation?

    I don’t see how FIA could allow modification of a homologated part, but I see nothing in the rules explicitly disallowing it, so…

    The article doesn’t prove anything, but the rumor mill surely will hit overdrive, particularly just before the FIA/RBR hearing.