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Red Bull filed an appeal of their disqualification from the Australian Grand Prix. Daniel Ricciardo had finished second in the race only to have his result excluded after the FIA deemed the team had ignored FIA-recommended fuel-flow settings and exceeded the 100kgs per hour rate limit.

The matter will be heard on the Monday before the Chinese Grand Prix and as AUTOSPORT’s Mr. Noble very accurately points out, that leaves a real conundrum for the team in Malaysia. One assumes Red Bull will work with the FIA that weekend to get a sensor that delivers the performance they are comfortable with but should that not be the case, would they choose to ignore the FIA’s recommended settings for compensation of the fuel-flow sensor readings in favor of their own measurements?

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An F1 fan since 1972, NC has spent over 25 years in the technology industry and as a CTO, he focuses on technology integration in commercial workspace design, AV systems integration, digital media strategies, technology planning, consulting, speaking, presenting, sales, content strategy, marketing and brand building.
  • Rapierman

    I think the bigger question would be: Would RBR decide to pull out of racing altogether since they obviously don’t trust the FIA with anything, let alone fuel flow sensors.

    • Tom Firth

      In my opinion, no chance of that happening. Too many interests, plus Red Bull play the political game very very well.

    • dude

      Racing and extreme sport is RedBull marketing arena, it’s how they advertise their products. That chance of that happening is the same change as RedBull switching to making raw green organic juice.

      • wchrisg

        Woo Hoo! let’s start a kickstarter campaign to buy the team.
        Team F1B

        • Shikhar

          A kick starter campaign to buy a team that is not even remotely interested in selling? You caused the wall street meltdown.. didn’t you?

  • Richard Piers

    I cannot believe how crazy this situation appears to be becoming.
    Flow meters are not that complicated, calibrating them is not that complicated. Is it an installation problem ?
    RBR/Renault would be barking to continue this fight unless all they’re after is publicity. They are bringing themselves, the FIA and the whole of F1 into disrepute.
    The time to question the type of flow meter was months ago !

    • Michael in Seattle

      “The time to question the type of flow meter was months ago !”

      We don’t know that it wasn’t being questioned “months ago” behind closed doors, the way many touchy subjects are discussed by business parties. When a stone wall becomes immovable, however, one party or the other often decides to take it outside to force the issue.

      It’s a good question, NC. Will RBR go ‘all in’ or play the percentages?

  • Tom

    Well, as I said before, I believe that Red Bull went for an illegal fuel flow setting, because they couldn’t produce an engine mapping that worked reliably below the FIA threshold. So they were faced with a decision of either not finishing the race or facing a power struggle with the FIA. They then chose the latter because they had nothing to lose.

    If that was the case, then it all depends on them being able to come up with an engine mapping that works. If they do, they’ll abide by the rules. If they don’t, they’ll play the same game once more.

  • Paul

    Torro Rosso managed to find a suitable map setting so I cannot believe Red Bull will struggle.

    • Tom

      Toro Rosso had much more time to figure this out during testing if you remember. Also, who’s to say that they develop towards the same goal? They may have different philosophies or their packaging may dictate one direction over the other.

  • jeff

    Short of this being the beginning of Red Bull’s exit strategy from F1, I can’t see them contravening FIA again. They’ve, for whatever reason, already brought the issue to light; doing so further makes them look petulant.

  • Freds2

    Maybe RBR is making such a big deal about the fuel flow sensor in hopes that they will force the FIA into a compromise with a fuel injector version. I understand that RBR has a big interest in that type of system because there is more potential to influence fuel flow under the FIA’s radar. Sort of like it’s not illegal to have flexible wings so long as you pass the FIA deflection test. I understand that RBR’s fuel flow overage may have been as much as 5 tenths a lap advantage providing a huge impetus to what we’re seeing now.

    • Michael in Seattle

      You said, “I understand that RBR’s fuel flow overage may have been as much as 5 tenths a lap advantage providing a huge impetus to what we’re seeing now.”

      Would you mind sharing your source for this statement? I hadn’t seen this before your comment.

      Thanks.

      • Dan

        I remember Mercedes saying that if they ran the same flow rate as redbull did they would be 5 tenths faster.

        At the end of the day they were warned 3 times to reduce the flow and they didnt .What did they expect to happen.

        • Tom

          Actually, that’s not how Mercedes phrased it. They said that they reduced their flow rare which cost them 0.5 sec per lap. Red Bull may have gained more, or they may have gained less.

          Though Red Bull themselves said that they would have lost a lot of performance. And as I said before, I think they may also have run into reliability problems.

  • HokiKiwi

    I think it can be summed up in one word “Cheating”. RBR should have been fined along with the disqualification, half points for the next round and no hearing. It was a blatant disregard FIA rules. FIA take control and stop all this Political Bull Shit that’s killing F1. If RBR or any other team do not like the FIA rules for F1 then I would suggest they go find another sand pit to play in. I do not support any Team, all support is good clean racing with a little bit of bump and grind.

  • vontripper

    Red Bull practice has always been to cheat first to get points on the board, then get legal when they had to. Flexi-wings and floors of only a few years ago, more recent engine mapping infringements. They’ve always gotten away with it and scored some fairly hollow championships as a result.
    They didn’t think it possible that Ricciardo would be DQ’d on his RB debut drive to 2nd at his home GP so definitely worth the a shot!

  • jeff

    I assumed that a technical Directive was a clarification of the rules, in this case the technical Regulation, that was adhered to as rule. I think of the Bill of Rights in the US Constitution, which outlines further specific individual rights, weighted as law.

    According to my UK buddy’s email, Sky’s F1 Show explained a technical Directive as the Race director’s recommendation on how a team should follow the rules. That to me means a Directive is an interpretation of the rules by Charlie, but not an amendment of rules nor rule in and of itself.

    Has anyone else heard that? If true, Red Bull POSSIBLY have a stronger case than I thought. I’d hope FIA still disciplines them for ignoring verbal commands, but interesting, nonetheless. Perhaps RBR will continue ignoring the FIA meters to prove their point/appear consistent, but it’d take huge confidence and a pretty stout pair…

    • UAN

      My understanding is that you cannot be excluded for a breach of a technical directive. That’s why the exclusion of RIC references the specific technical and sporting regs (5.1.4 of the technical regulations and 3.2 of the sporting regulation).

      3.2 states that: competitors must ensure that their cars comply with the conditions of eligibility and safety throughout practice and the race

      and

      5.1.4 states: fuel mass flow must not exceed 100kg/h.

      My best guess at this point is that RBR will be able to show through their data that they were not in breach of 5.1.4. If they are not in breach of 5.1.4, then they are not in breach of 3.2.

      The anecdotal experience from Mercedes is useful to look at here – Mercedes’ own data was showing they were in compliance with the flow rate, but the flow sensor was off. So they chose (with a car that had a one second advantage on the field) to follow the directive they were given.

      So we have at least two teams, both with extremely capable engineers (and Merc also and engine manufacturer) that have data and systems showing fuel flow that is more than likely much higher in accuracy than the Gill sensors.

      What’s cool about F1 is that the regulations are not sentimental. It’s pretty black and white. And there’s no “spirit” of the regulations (ask Sauber in AUS 2011 when their two cars were excluded with rear wings out of spec – they gained zero advantage, and fans were gutted for them to lose those points – so Sauber was not in violation of the spirit of the regs.).

      With something like these sensors, this is really a necessary appeal. I know many folks don’t like RB and think they are cheats, etc., but if you’re a Merc fan, for instance, and it was Merc who decided to use their data and were excluded, would you feel the same way? Or if it was Lotus or Ferrari (though others would claim that Ferrari was trying bend the rules to suit them lol).

      It’s kind of like free speech in the US, sometimes protecting the rights of an individual or group we don’t like is necessary to protect the rights of individuals (including yourself) and groups you do.

      • jeff

        I was unaware of the regulatory distinction between a directive and regulation; fascinating stuff. Red Bull’s technical case here is stronger. They still have to answer for ignoring a command from Race Control. They’re still guilty of that to me, so the exclusion should stand.

        However, clarification must be given regarding teams’ fuel flow constrictions.

        • UAN

          What command? Where they actually commanded by Race Control to turn their fuel down, or were they advised that they should do so? If there was an actual command and it was ignored, RIC would have been black flagged. Therefore RBR didn’t ignore a “command” from race control.

          There’s nothing in the regulations as far as I’m aware (either sporting or technical) that says that Red Bull or any team can be punished for ignoring the advice of Race Control. For instance, Massa in Brazil last year ignored the advice from RC that he was going over the pit lane entry line. They subsequently gave him a drive through. Should they have excluded him as well?

          The exclusion of Red Bull was made on very specific grounds related to the regulations. None of those grounds was for ignoring Race Control, therefore they aren’t guilty of that, or that would have been in the exclusion ruling as well.

          • jeff

            You’re right, thanks for the correction. The “command” was what I assumed; you know what they say about assume and what it make me :) The fact is the communication to lower fuel flow rate during the race was a “request” by FIA to Red Bull; my mistake.

            I find it confusing, as I’d read FIA’s statement too, which says FIA’s fuel flow meter “remains the homologated and required sensor against which the team is obliged to measure their fuel flow, unless given permission by the FIA to do otherwise.” And, TD 0614 states how FIA itself dictates the meter’s usage in conformity of TR 5.1.4/5 (flow regs.)

            I’d thought that because of the above statements and directives, the communication from FIA to Red Bull was a command when it was instead a last-chance situation.

            Red Bull in this case can still be excluded for ignoring Race Control’s advice, as the advice relayed was cessation of Red Bull’s TD 0614 breach which itself relates to tech regs. Convoluted stuff.

  • if Reb Bull folow the regulamentation yhe special pilot ( s. vettel) was not the 4 times championi. as well the great guru if he follow yhe regulamentation is not such guru.

    sorry connot continue!

    mario

  • wchrisg

    Sensors schmensors.. they Ignored the FIA officials repeatedly. This is about respecting the officials.
    I would have excluded them for Ignoring the officials period. Especially after repeated warnings and when everyone else was obeying them.
    Right or wrong the officials keep the play fair and safe.
    Ignore Yellow flags = Penalty, Cross the white stripe after 2 other warnings at Brasil = Penalty, Ignore a drive through penalty at Sebring for someone else’s collision = Penalty.

    It does look like RBR was “planning” something regarding this by sending a perfectly good sensor away for replacement and finding the replacement sensor also faulty…wait is that a blue, red and yellow helmeted figure I see on the grassy knoll?

    • bobw

      Everybody likes a good conspiracy. Not everybody loves your babbling. Haters will hate.

  • colin McArthur

    I like Daniel, believe he will be fast and give Vettel good competition at RBR, however if the FIA doesn’t uphold the penalty we will know once again that RBR holds too much power with Bernie and the power to be in F1.

  • jeff

    James Allen’s written that Horner deflected when asked what Red Bull would do this weekend re: their readings vs FIA flow meter. Interesting, as Horner states RBR’s defense contends they conformed TR 5.1.4 (fuel flow) in using RBR’s measurements, and dismisses TD 0614’s regulatory influence. This despite TD 0614 directly referencing 5.1.4 in stating the FIA meters are the primary measurement tool, and that FIA alone will determine whether alternate measurement means are used.

    So, if what happened in Melbourne reoccurs in Sepang, I’d think Red Bull must ignore the FIA meters, or else defeat their own case. Otherwise, they’ll have explaining to do, how the Directive can hold weight in one race but not the other. I sort-of hope RBR finds flow differentials between its/FIA sensors now, to see what they do…

  • Dizzy

    Some interesting and diverse opinions indeed. To me the issues boil down to the following: 1. The FIA approved sensors have been shown by more than one team to be inaccurate and unreliable with several failures even in Sepang. How can you fairly disqualify any driver or team with poor and/or unreliable contentious evidence? 2. The cars are limited to 100kg of fuel for the full race that can last up to 2 hours. If teams exceed 100kg/h fuel flow they will never finish! Do the maths people. With this in mind why have the sensors in the first place? If teams exceed the fuel flow limits over the duration of the race what would they gain with a non finish? This is just the FIA playing power politics and trying to force the teams to make greater use of the energy recovery systems that have been imposed by the rules and that have also been unreliable at times with multiple KERS failures over several years now. Why not justly the cars and drivers race??