Webber sent to the back of the grid over fuel error

2013 Chinese Grand PrixPosted on | Author Keith Collantine

Mark Webber, Red Bull, Shanghai, 2013Mark Webber will start the Chinese Grand Prix from the back of the grid after being excluded from qualifying.

The stewards excluded Webber from the results of qualifying after he ran out of fuel and stopped his car during Q2.

“Car two was not driven back to the pits under its own power and was unable provide the fuel sample as required,” said the stewards in a statement.

“The team admitted it had not put sufficient fuel in the car. As specified in the technical delegate?s report (Document 21), only 150ml of fuel was on board which was insufficient to provide the one litre fuel sample and drive the car back to the pits under its own power.”

FIA technical delegate Jo Bauer said in his report: “During the second qualifying practice session today car number two, driver Mark Webber, stopped on the circuit at turn 14.

“It was checked whether car number two had enough fuel on board in order to be driven back to the pits under its own power and in addition to this that a one litre fuel sample could be taken.

“The car had 150ml fuel on board which is not enough for the required one litre fuel sample and to drive the car back to the pits under its own power.”

Christian Horner said the team had failed to put enough fuel in the car: “Unfortunately in Q2 the amount of fuel that was required to be put into the car from the fuel rig was not fully delivered. This was due to an error with the fuel bowser that meant it under delivered 3kg of fuel.

“Therefore on Mark?s in-lap we saw large drop outs in the fuel tank collector and the car unfortunately ran dry of fuel, which is obviously frustrating. The fuel bowser has been immediately quarantined for further investigation.

“It?s a shame as he would obviously have made Q3 today and the tactic with both drivers was to adopt the same strategy.”

It is the second time in six races Red Bull have had a car sent to the back of the grid for this reason. Sebastian Vettel was excluded from qualifying in last year’s Abu Dhabi Grand Prix after his car ran out of fuel.

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166 comments on “Webber sent to the back of the grid over fuel error”

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  1. Massive blow for Webber, however it will be interesting to see how he does from back there.

      1. I don’t get how they can do this with the type of technology they have!??? I mean my car tells me how many kilometres it has left in the tank! As soon as they sent him out, surely they knew he was low on fuel? Should have told him to get back to the pits and not do a timed run!

        1. Your fuel tank is very different. The methods that yours uses to estimate the range are not applicable to an f1 tank.

          1. Are you serious ?
            So genius, how would you, an expert judge a level of an F1 Tank ?

          2. I think the way they measure fuel consumption / miles left in F1 is by measuring the difference in fuel flow before and after the injectors, and subtracting that from whatever was in there in the first place. So if the computer is fed with the wrong information about how much fuel was put in to start with it would’nt know that it was running out of fuel. I don’t know if they have another system, that measures the actual content inside the tank, but my guess is that they don’t.

            In you road car the fuel gauge is not precise, normally it is just a piece of floating plastic connected to a potentiometer, and is affected by things like wear and sloshing of the fuel.

          3. @soerenkaae

            I hope you get COTD for that. Fascinating stuff!

          4. @mike
            Thanks. I was trying to remember where I read this, and I now remember that it was in article about how to setup and use telemetry systems.
            Must have been in “Racecar Engineering” either Jan or Feb issue.

        2. Why they don’t have have a fail safe ie measure the wight of the car and of the fuel browser using separate systems to measure both weights. if they don’t match you know there is a problem. You could also measure the flow going in have a flow meter in the line just in case both separate balances failed at the same time.

          For Quali you could just used measured Jugs where you could visually see the amount of fuel delivered simple and low tech is sometimes the way to go.

          Thinks must finish that Job application for RBR any one know Adrien or Christians mail addy

        3. I mean my car tells me how many kilometres it has left in the tank!

          But it doesn’t tell it very well. Try it. I bet you can drive another 30-50 km longer than your car predicts, because it doesn’t measure precisely, and you need a safety margin. The same system in a F1 car would mean you would always carry too much fuel, which means losing time every lap.

    1. @dufus – F1 tanks have many baffles and separate chambers: they are hugely more complex than road car tanks simply because they are subject to much higher g-forces. If they weren’t segmented, the fuel would slosh significantly and cause destabilisation mid-corner.

      So although good for performance, it makes it much more difficult to monitor fuel levels. The easiest way therefore to ensure they don’t run out of fuel is to properly calculate how much they need for that amount of laps, which I’m assuming is where the error was made.

      It shouldn’t have happened really as obviously they must’ve known what was required but I’m guessing it was probably an error with the fuel bowser delivery, so the intended amount wasn’t put in the car.

      1. Wow, ok.
        Baffles and stuff.
        Cmon i,m trying not hard to laugh.
        Delivery = Pressure = flow .

        1. @dufus – that is nothing to do with monitoring fuel levels. My point is that you can’t simply measure the amount of fuel in an F1 tank in the same way as a road car tank as @matt90 correctly pointed out. You’d need several fuel level sensors!

          Just read this article and then decide for yourself how simple it is.

        2. the f1 fuel tank is not a tank,its just like a bag of polythene stuck behind the drivers seat.(ok not a bag of polythene obviously a much tougher material, but it looks like a massive bag of polythene.. u get the point) so you cannot put some mechanical measuring mechanism inside. its all about the how much flows where etc..i presume the car by itself cannot decide how much fuel is in the tank. hence the problems with webber.

    2. Conspiracy theory! It’s one way of keeping the drivers apart, effectively rewarding Vettel No 1 status as a result of last race! Discuss.

      1. I don’t think that the team would make this kind of offers, in order to keep the drivers apart. But I can’t say that I didn’t have this kind of thoughts popping into my mind…

    3. Guys, so gutted that RBR will pull such low moves on MW. This must be Helmut Marko pulling the plug on the bowser. Come to think about it, can’t they start the pit sequence immediately at the green lights and just drive 100% of the race in primes?


      1. Errmmm. No?

        The tyres wouldn’t last the race for starters….

        1. even with 3 sets of prime? (i assume they do have 3 sets)

          1. They would incur a penalty for not using both compounds.

          2. i mean, they jack up the car on options when the lights go green (out of parc-ferme conditions) and then just use 3 sets of prime for the rest of the race?

          3. You mean change the tyres from options before its even left the pit lane?

          4. Drop Valencia!
            14th April 2013, 0:25

            no, a set of tyres is only considered used after it exits pitlane, so you can’t even do it on the last lap a-la-shuie penalty style.

          5. Yeah, Schumacher, if nothing else, has helped them iron out the rule book.

    4. It will add one more interesting layer amongst layers to this race. With so many different strategies employed, who is to say Webber doesn’t have a chance for points or maybe even podium. Anything can happen.

      As far as all the conspiracy theories, I don’t buy it. Two reasons – Red Bull cares too much about the Constructor’s title to do this on purpose & this has already happened to Vettel as well. Was that a conspiracy when it happened to Vette? Can’t have it both ways.

  2. I see someone banging the door tonight!

  3. He has done well in China from the back of the grid, but as he said after he went out this afternoon, the tyre situation was a lot different and the car was also a lot more dominant than it is now.

  4. Will he choose to start from the pits?

    1. @jjjj – almost inevitably: the Red Bull’s straight line speed is very poor as usual – he was 10 km/h slower than Rosberg’s Mercedes in the speed traps.

      1. @vettel1 Straight line speed is never a forte of RedBull, we should ideally see how much speed it carries coming out of the corners.. I bet RedBull will be on the top…

        AbuDhabi was different because it did not have such big tyre degradation issues, that is what Webber has to plan for…

        1. @jjjj – now I have had more time to think of it there are several problems, such as the tyre degredation, the fact it will likely be an unknown set-up and indeed (one which I overlooked) the curfews. They may not wish to use one of their overtimes!

  5. Drop Valencia!
    13th April 2013, 10:31

    Atleast they can put a tall diff in and start from pitlane….

    1. If they don’t give him a set up like they did with Vettel in Abu Dhabi to help maximise the DRS, the team is retarded.

    2. this year they only have 2 overtimes – and since they gambled already with starting in the midfield (focus on race setup) I doubt that they are going to do this.

  6. kimiforwc2013 (@)
    13th April 2013, 10:39

    Reminds me of Ecclestone saying to avoid trouble between drivers: We simply didn’t give him enough fuel.

  7. @vettel1

    “The team admitted it had not put sufficient fuel in the car.”

    Case close mate.

    1. @cyclops_pl – so still, I fail to see how there was anything sinister about it which you were implying by saying Red Bull “screwed him”. Nobody said the same of Abu Dhabi…

      1. If it happens to Vettel its a screw up, if it happens to Webber it’s conspiracy. Pretty simple stuff really, it baffle me how people cannot understand this simple concept. <—- SARCASM ALERT

        1. When it happened to Vettel in Abu Dhabi it was never stated that it was a case of underfueling the car. The main explanation for Abu Dhabi was that they had fuelled the car correctly but the Renault engine had consumed too much fuel and that was why the Renault people had to contact the Red Bull people to tell them to stop the car. This time it was 100% Red Bull’s fault.

      2. Nobody said the same of Abu Dhabi…

        Because it is simply not the same case, in Abu Dhabi the team admitted that there was enough fuel in the car and the call to stop didn’t come from the Red Bull team, it was made by the Renault engineers

        1. They definitely screwed Webber. I’m amazed though that the sabotage campaign began right away. I thought they’d give him at least one GP to race “fair” before the dirty tricks campaign began. Webber himself declined to outright condemn the conspiracy theorists! He knows, he knows…

        2. @tifoso1989 – they didn’t actually immediately, until the results had been determined: the same as in this case.

          Oh please @joepa, why would Red Bull hamper their own constructor’s championship efforts? I do hope you are joking…

          1. If you read the article, you would have found this:

            “The team admitted it had not put sufficient fuel in the car.”

            “Unfortunately in Q2 the amount of fuel that was required to be put into the car from the fuel rig was not fully delivered. This was due to an error with the fuel bowser that meant it under delivered 3kg of fuel.”

          2. @vettel1

            Oh please @joepa, why would Red Bull hamper their own constructor’s championship efforts? I do hope you are joking…

            RBR would intentionally sabotage Mark Webber’s competitiveness in qualifying to neutralize the threat that he poses to teammate Finger-Boy Vettel under fair and equitable conditions in the actual race. I agree with you that the team does not want to undermine Webber to compromise their chances of winning another WCC. Rather, they’re simply out to ensure that Webber does not beat Vettel like he would under normal, open, honest, genuine and fair racing conditions (the kind that Webber has only rarely enjoyed in competition with Vettel). RBR knows how talented and resourceful a driver Mark Webber is, and they no doubt fully expect MW to claw himself up from the back of the grid to fourth or fifth overall (if not third) by the finish of the GP and to contribute to the team’s points-haul (and Webber can expect a talking to if he doesn’t). But as you very well know, they cannot take the chance of having their No. 2 driver beat their anointed star, and without the possibility of tricking Webber into complacency again by issuing team orders that would ostensibly favor him, they are taking a slightly more aggressive tack and playing the low-fuel/no-fuel game.

          3. @joepa – exactly as Keith said. It’s nothing more than a stupid conspiracy theory.

          4. Trust me, RBR is not trying to compromise Webber. RBR wants both drivers on the podium at the end of every race, and they don’t care which driver finishes higher than the other. And if they do care it is for reasons that involve sponsorships.

  8. Marko was right, there will be no team orders anymore. He forgot to mention the rest of the sentence…To avoid having to give them, we will screw webber’s race since saturday. Go seb go.

  9. “It is the second time in six races Red Bull have had a car sent to the back of the grid for this reason.”

    Setting aside ridiculous conspiracy theories (please), how can the best funded team in F1 repeat a mistake like this ?

    1. I’d give you an answer, but I’ve already set aside my ridiculous conspiracy theory.

      1. Rofl nice one!

    2. Same way Mclaren had multiple pit stop blunders last year. Mistakes/problems can happen.

      1. @mike – Likewise, mistakes and problems can be MADE to happen. Case in point…

  10. I remember a couple of years ago he started from the back and ended up fighting for the podium. Lets see if he can do something similar this year.

    1. Red Bull isn’t as good as in 2011, so I don’t expect a podium, 5th or 6th at best with a good tyre strategy and not getting stuck behind any cars for several laps.

      Prophet Brundle after the Australian GP. “Once again if Mark Webber didn’t have bad luck he would have no luck at all.”

      Sigh. . .=\

    2. Points are definitely possible but I will give him driver of the year is he gets a podium barring exceptional circumstances.

      1. Vettel has already done it last year in Abu Dhabi. If RB give him a proper setup like they did to Vettel ( I dont see why they wouldn’t) he might pull it off. Ofcourse tyres are much different right now and neither him or RB look as good as Vettel and RB did at end of last year but there is a chance.

        1. There was also multiple safety cars in that race Vettel benefited from.

          1. not really. Only one position was due to safety car; the overtake of BUT.

        2. also a question of ability , 3 x WC against few time winner ??

  11. A pit lane start seems like a good decision in such a situation instead of getting knocked in the first corner and so they can give him a better set up for the race.

  12. As specified in the technical delegate’s report (Document 21)

    There’s Mark’s Favourite number again…

    1. lol, what part of document 21, don’t you understan mark.

      1. kovi^ Comment of the year :’)

    2. Haha! “Document 21 Web *slams drinks bottle*, document 21”!

  13. did anyone see Helmut Marko sneak out of Webber’s box with a jerry can?

    1. i did. He was dropping fuel all over the place. I don’t understand why the fia don’t take some kind of action. Oh yes i’ve forgotten, max mosley is not longer around, he must be getting a good spanking, somewhere in london.

    2. That avatar sums up your statrement completely

      1. excellent! *tenting his fingers*

  14. “there won’t be team orders… *cough* cuzwebbersgonnastartfrompitlane *cough* “

    1. go to the top of the class A+.

  15. Marko: No one should mess up with my finger boy !!

    1. Why is everyone saying this? it’s got nothing to do with Vettel. Yeah sure, I think Webber got shafted too. but we had three weeks to get over it.

  16. The most striking thing about the whole matter was his interview on the BBC afterwards. He simply didn’t seem to care anymore, it was the very first time I saw Webber looking tired of everything thrown his way and just accepting he wasn’t going to win a title anyway. He came across in a very “yeah well of course it happened to me but no one else cares so why should I”-kinda way. That’s my interpretation though, maybe it was just me…

    1. No, he was just uncomfortable – he knew ha ran out of fuel but did not want to admit it in case RBR came up with some other miraculous legalistic reasoning that would have saved his 14th place.

      1. precisely

    2. and that would be why Seb is a triple champion and Mark is not ! At this level you have to want it more and have drive and determination above your skill , otherwise you become just another F1 driver who won a few races , which is still better than 99% drivers around , but not better than 99.8% drivers who won a World Championship , and definitely not better than the 99.99% who won 3 or more , and hes got at least 10-12 years left , ,,, realy Mark has spent more years than Seb in a championship capable winning car but really he is just another massa , barichellio , coulthard , irvine , patrese , berger , fretzen,etc , very very good drivers but at this level its just not enough

      1. Michael (@freelittlebirds)
        13th April 2013, 21:25

        I’m not sold that Vettel is much better than Webber – there’s too much interference from Red Bull for anyone to make that claim.

        1. @freelittlebirds – Had to point out how hilarious that post of yours is. Good one.

  17. All the crazy conspiracies theories aside, Red Bull’s sense of timing is excellent.

    1. In a sport where a team can deliberately order its driver to crash no theory is crazy.

      1. I doubt any team could. That needed the input from Flab-io and young Piquet who was stupid enough to comply.

        1. thatscienceguy
          13th April 2013, 13:04

          Piquet was the one who suggested the idea in the first place.

          Not exonerating Flavio, he should have said no, but Piquet brought it up, not just complied.

  18. That is actually an incredibly small amount

    only 150ml of fuel was on board

    given that Webber had parked the car, it shows what the teams learn by doing these run dry tests during pre season testing.

    Sure enough for Webber I guess its more or less equally bad to start in 22nd or in 14th, he will have his job cut out anyway if he wants to finish in the solid points paying positions. I hope we see him do a very nice charge into the top 5!

  19. Hmmm was it really a mistake! Just the other day I told my friends look what will happen to webber at the next race. Ops not enough fuel

    1. thatscienceguy
      13th April 2013, 13:11

      So according to you, Red Bull will spend millions this year running Webber’s car, and they’ll be completely happy spending that money but making it very difficult for him to pick up valuable WCC points?

      Be realistic. If they didn’t want Webber they’d just pay him out of his contract and put a new driver in. It would be cheaper and better for the team in the constructors championship.

      And last time this happened, it happened to Vettel. Was that some conspiracy too? Or was that just a mistake, but when the same mistake happens to Webber it’s a conspiracy?

      1. I hope someone comes and answers this, because I’d truly love to hear what they come up with.

        1. Can it be as outrageous as risking not only points but the safty of your driver/fans and marshallls by getting your driver to plant his car into a wall? ; ]

          1. thatscienceguy
            14th April 2013, 1:07

            Completely irrelevant. Completely different team, run by a completely different type of person, in a completely different situation trying to get a result for a completely different purpose. That was also forcing a siutation to directly lift one driver into a winning position in an uncompetititve car, whereas this has no tangible benefit at all for a car which is competitive. You cannot compare the two situations.

            What is the benefit to Red Bull? And make it good, because so far you haven’t come up with a good reason for disadvantaging their own team.

      2. You try to apply ordinary mens logic, but when you are a multi-billionaire who can literally burn hundreds of millions of dollars without much thought, your decision-making power is very different. Can you attempt to explain why RBR needs Helmut Marko? Horner and Newey are VERY capable people, don’t you think? The only reason for Marko to be there is to ensure that Dietrich Mateschitz wishes are fulfilled.

        1. thatscienceguy
          14th April 2013, 1:02

          Oh, Dietrich Mateschitz, who has a very good relationship with Webber and who deals directly with Webber every year come contract negotiation time? Yeah, I’m sure he is giving direct orders to undermine someone who he has a lot of respect and personal time for.

          1. Thank you!

  20. Webber is one of F1’s best overtakers, so I’d expect him to be deep in the points by the end of his first stint on prime tyres.

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