Ricciardo stripped of second place – Red Bull to appeal

2014 Australian Grand Prix

Daniel Ricciardo, Red Bull, Albert Park, 2014Daniel Ricciardo has been stripped of his second place in the Australian Grand Prix after his car failed a technical inspection.

Ricciardo’s Red Bull was found to have “exceeded consistently” the limit on peak fuel consumption of 100kg per hour, a new rule introduced for the 2014 season.

His exclusion from the race results after more than five hours of deliberation by the FIA stewards. Ricciardo’s car was found to be in violation of Article 3.2 of the sporting regulations and article 5.1.4 of the technical regulations.

The stewards issued a ten-point explanation for their decision, claiming Red Bull had failed to use a fuel flow model the FIA recommended for the racing, following problems with their fuel flow sensor during practice. The sensor had been changed on Ricciardo’s car prior to the race.

They also claimed Red Bull were told during the race their fuel flow rate was too high and were advised to make adjustments to reduce it, which they did not do.

According to the stewards, Red Bull chose not to use the recommended model because the sensor was faulty. However they noted that “regardless of the team’s assertion that the sensor was fault, it is not within their discretion to run a different fuel flow measurement method without the permission of the FIA”.

Red Bull immediately announced their attention to appeal and released the following 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 three, 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.”

During the race weekend the teams were advised by race director Charlie Whiting of a change to the fuel flow filter frequency. The teams were given the following notification:

“Following a review of the fuel flow data from the practice sessions the following change will be applied for qualifying and the race.

“The maximum fuel flow limit mFFMIllegal will be checked using a fuel flow filter frequency (parameter fdmFFMFuelFilter) of 5Hz instead of the 10Hz currently configured in the FIA data version.

“Due to time constraints before the qualifying session the FIA data versions will not be changed. The revised monitoring will be processed by the FIA off­-car.”

Ricciardo’s exclusion means Kevin Magnussen is promoted to second place and the other McLaren of Jenson Button takes third. Sergio Perez’s Force India moves up to tenth place for the final championship point.

See the revised race results and updated drivers and constructors’ championship points standings.

This article will be updated.

2014 Australian Grand Prix

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Image © Red Bull/Getty

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220 comments on Ricciardo stripped of second place – Red Bull to appeal

  1. Sir OBE said on 16th March 2014, 18:01

    Why do I feel Red Bull did this on purpose and now are trying to find their way out of it. I think they were trying some loop-hole, they didn’t manage to try out during testing, and it didn’t work as they expected. I think what they did was illegal on purpose and they should be punished. But I also think that it’s a loophole that they feel will be legal once they manage to bridge the illegal part. Sort of like “don’t ask me how I made my first million”.

  2. Irejag (@irejag) said on 16th March 2014, 18:15

    I don’t see how Red Bull gained any advantage in this case. Rosberg still finished over 24 seconds ahead of Daniel, and Daniel finished with Mags right on his heels!
    All Red Bull did is bring to our attention even more obscene stupidity on the part of the FIA. Even if Red Bull did “cheat” in some way, that does not make the rule any less retarded. Regardless of Red Bull’s actions, we should be thanking them for bringing to our attention yet another FIA blunder.
    Yes, the rules are the rules, and Red Bull broke them, so yes, punish THEM, but not Daniel. All that Daniel did was race the car he was given.
    If the FIA had their way, the only cars to finish the race would have been Merc powered cars.

    • G Breese (@breesegp) said on 16th March 2014, 18:41

      The fact that magnussen was right on his heels but couldn’t pass him can be attributed to ricciardo going beyond the 100kg/hr flow rate and hence gaining a performance advantage, so yes red bull definitely gained an advantage! In a sense though I agree with you that it is the teams fault and not ricciardos, however they win and lose and a team so if they deem that Daniel gained and unfair advantage he should be punished along with the rest of the team

      • Ajay said on 17th March 2014, 6:34

        Can you please explain how, using worked examples, RIC and Red Bull gained a material advantage from fuel flow volumes?

        • himmatsj (@himmatsj) said on 17th March 2014, 9:13

          Well, the greater the fuel consumption rate, the faster the car. Simple.

          Given that Riccardo was told from after the safety car to push without needing to worry about fuel saving, he probably also burnt off fuel faster than he otherwise would, thereby resulting in the car getting lighter more quickly.

          So it was a two-pronged advantage. Car got lighter quicker, and the car was faster due to higher fuel rate intake.

    • PMccarthy_is_a_legend (@pmccarthy_is_a_legend) said on 16th March 2014, 19:48

      My God man, you clearly are not understanding the issue here, go read the regulation. The rule is not stupid. Even if it was it is the same for everyone. All teams managed to comply but Red Bull. Go read the and make sure you understand it so you can add to the discussion instead of making uninformed comments. Jeez… @irejag

      • Irejag (@irejag) said on 16th March 2014, 20:19

        My point is, why do they need to have a rule governing the fuel flow, when they have a limit on the amount of fuel that is to used? As long as they cross the line, isn’t that enough? This rule obviously did not improve the racing in any way. The FIA did their part by saying that the teams can only use 100kg of fuel, and they should have left it at that. How the fuel is used should be governed by the team and only the team. And you can’t tell me that all the other teams didn’t cheat this weekend in some way or another. Red Bull just happened to get caught. Next race it will be another team, and the race after that it will be another and another.
        Each time a debate like this comes up, it ruins that entertainment value of the race. Which is why we all watch. And this weekend the Australian’s were happy at the end and everyone else was happy for them. It was a good race and a good weekend for most people, and it should ended like that.
        All the FIA had to do was privately reprimand Red Bull and keep a closer eye on them from now on. This didn’t have to become a huge thing in the media and fan forums. It could have been a great weekend. Both the Red Bull and FIA units were faulty, Oh no, big deal. Fix it for the next race and be done with it. There is no reason to go and destroy what was a perfectly good race.
        Overall, the rule is, plain and simple, illogical in the world of racing.

        • mateuss (@mateuss) said on 16th March 2014, 21:49

          If there would be no flow rate rule on top of the race fuel rule, the teams would spend many tens of millions more money, developing engines for 1500bhp uber engine modes only to be used for a lap in qualifying and for push to pass mode in the races, yeah that would improve close racing……… And wouldn’t be at all stupid or wasteful and unnecessary…..

          Spend some time finding out why the rule is in the regs.

          • Irejag (@irejag) said on 17th March 2014, 2:25

            “the teams would spend many tens of millions more money, developing engines for 1500bhp uber engine modes. yeah that would improve close racing……… And wouldn’t be at all stupid or wasteful and unnecessary…..”
            Calvin Johnson just signed a contract for $132,000,000 over the course of 8 years. (Wide receiver for the Detroit Lions).
            Sports teams are always spending millions to improve their teams. So if spending ridiculous amounts of money means closer and more exciting racing, then I am all for it.
            Formula One has lost its way. They no longer allow the teams any ingenuity.

  3. Alex McFarlane said on 16th March 2014, 18:23

    Just a thought, but what would happen if, after a race, a car could objectively be found to have been over the fuel flow rate, but the FIA approved sensor under-read and indicated that the rate used was legal?

    • Irejag (@irejag) said on 16th March 2014, 18:51

      Then we would probably never hear about it.

    • evered7 (@evered7) said on 16th March 2014, 19:20

      If a car is found to be over the fuel rate (which will be found during the race itself) they are instructed to drop to the required limits. Doesn’t matter if the meter if faulty, you are expected to follow its reading like the rest of the grid.

    • Morty Vicar (@mortyvicar) said on 16th March 2014, 19:31

      This is the issue. The FIA mandated fuel flow rate meters are not sufficiently accurate or sensitive. They measure in terms of volume per unit time when the regulation stipulates a maximum flow rate in terms of unit weight per unit time. I believe Red Bull are more than likely correct in their measurement of fuel flow rate. The problem is that the FIA has mandated this sub-optimal solution and they believe they’ve been fair in saddling every team with the same fuel flow meter (even disregarding the fact that there has been substantial variability in their measured output). In the final analysis, the figure that the FIA are getting in real time is in terms of volume when their own regulation states a peak fuel flow limit in terms of weight. In this case, the law is absolutely an ass.

      • Tony (@ootony) said on 18th March 2014, 12:38

        The questions is, are the rules to be followed according to the letter or to the measurement?
        I belive certain parts should be withing a certain size but the measurements are a little higher so some teams bullt the parts to the larger size and its ok. So you should always build your car to pass whatever the measurement is and this case RB didn’t

  4. Chris (@ukphillie) said on 16th March 2014, 18:38

    Good Stuff. Finally the FIA develop a backbone.

    We’ve gone through 3 years of Red Bull being caught cheating and then simply being told not to do it again by the FIA. Punishment is due.

  5. Albert said on 16th March 2014, 19:38

    It all comes down to if it’s true there have been problems with sensors, or it’s just RBR making up excuses.

    If it’s true the sensors are unreliable (and it seems they are, based on the several links posted in the first comment page), letting the FIA’s incompence handicap a whole race is absurd. Race performance stops being a competition between teams and drivers, but becomes a lottery about who gets a working sensor.

    If the FIA can’t guarantee its equipment is working as intended, then RBR is doing the right thing.

    If, the important word. But that’s what the appeal is for.

    • Optimaximal (@optimaximal) said on 16th March 2014, 23:38

      All sensors have a measure of variance that has to be considered. The FIA have said that the sensor was working within ‘acceptable limits’, meaning it might have been all over the place, but it was within a specific boundary for the part.

      The articles out there say that the FIA changed the acceptable variance values following Mercedes (and possibly other teams) seeing issues on Friday. Red Bull still didn’t accept the performance of the part, so the FIA said ‘try another sensor’. They didn’t like that either (it was worse), so they switched back. the FIA issued them with an advisory flow rate to aim for, which would mean they would be sure to run under the limit for the entire race.

      Red Bull chose not to do this.

  6. Sir OBE said on 16th March 2014, 19:50

    9) The FIA technical representative observed thought the telemetry during the race that the fuel flow was too high and contacted the team, giving them the opportunity to follow his previous instruction, and reduce the fuel flow such that it was within the limit, as measured by the homologated sensor – and thus gave the team the opportunity to be within compliance. The team chose not to make this correction.

    Red Bull’s arrogance knows no limits. Also, if anyone let Dan down, it’s Red Bull themselves.

  7. Ed Marques (@edmarques) said on 16th March 2014, 20:39

    They were warned. They continued. They were punished.
    Very clear.

  8. Eggry (@eggry) said on 16th March 2014, 21:09

    I feel sorry for him but this is completely Red Bull’s fault.

  9. Tasama said on 16th March 2014, 21:42

    Does anyone know what the readings were. Any why didn’t red-bull slow the fuel rate when they were warned during the race. They did the wrong thing by Daniel

  10. MazdaChris (@mazdachris) said on 16th March 2014, 22:22

    If RBR have clear telemetry which shows accurately that they did not exceed the mandated maximum fuel flow limit, and can prove that the problem was simply the homologated FIA sensor being at fault, then it seems pretty unfair that they would be punished for it. The crux of the matter really should be – did Ricciardo’s car exceed the fuel flow limit. If not. then firstly his place should be reinstated, and secondly the FIA have a big problem on their hands with this unreliable, inaccurate part being used to measure one of the most important aspects of car performance.

    I can’t imagine that RBR would ignore what the stewards were saying if they didn’t feel they could prove afterwards that it was actually the FIA part which was at fault, and that they were actually compliant with the rules. If that IS the case then I would say they did exactly what they should have done.

    • Theoddkiwi (@theoddkiwi) said on 16th March 2014, 23:03

      That ignores the fact that redbull fitted a non homulgated part to the car. That is a fundamental error in any racing class.

      Every part of the car must be homulgated and legal, you can’t just add your own part when an official sanctioned part is available.

      • Optimaximal (@optimaximal) said on 16th March 2014, 23:34

        No part was added/replaced. They chose the read the fuel-flow from the engine metrics/ECU rather than the FIA sensor, because they didn’t believe the reading the latter was giving.

    • Optimaximal (@optimaximal) said on 16th March 2014, 23:33

      It’s not just about ‘proving a problem with the sensor’. It’s that the FIA mandated a process for resolving the issue and the team chose to pursue their own tactics in direct violation of some of the written rules of the sport.

      • MazdaChris (@mazdachris) said on 17th March 2014, 8:55

        When those processes seem to result in a team having no choice but to be compromised in performance then the process would appear not to be fit for purpose. And let’s face it, it wouldn’t be the first time the FIA were economical with the truth – we can’t be sure that a conversation hadn’t already taken place between RBR and the FIA.

        The main point really is that if the car was compliant with the rules then it shouldn’t be DSQ for breaking those rules. If you can prove, for instance, that you were driving within the speed limit, then you shouldn’t get a fine just because the radar was miscalibrated, should you?

      • Albert said on 17th March 2014, 9:25

        @optimaximal

        The problem is that the “process for resolving the issue” that the FIA mandated allegedly put the the team in a disadvantage. That’s the problem.

        If the FIA had mandated that to all teams in the exact same way, I would agree that RBR deserved to be punished. But this was made on a team-by-team basis. Were all sensors faulty? Were all equally faulty? Were the exact same solution mandated to all teams?

        If (important word) RBR can prove their sensors were faulty and that the FIA’s solution would have given them a disadvantage, they were right to act the way they did.

        That’s why we should reserve judgement until the appeal is done and we have all the facts.

    • Eggry (@eggry) said on 17th March 2014, 0:38

      @mazdachris Nothing can be more important than the fact that everyone should be in the same condition. Whether accurate fuel flow is 101kg/h or 96kg/h is secondary. even if Red Bull’s sensor and calculation are more accurate than FIA, still they ran with unfair advantage. That’s it.

      If Red Bull want to clear reliability of the sensor, they should appeal it in different way rather than doing something dogmatic.

      • MazdaChris (@mazdachris) said on 17th March 2014, 7:22

        That only works if all of the sensors on all of the cars were misreading consistently in the same way, which nobody has suggested is the case. The flow meter was replaced by the FIA because it was not reading correctly, but the replacement was even worse. So the FIA put back the broken part even though they knew that RBR would be disadvantaged by it.

        The rule is about how much fuel is used, that’s the main point. No team should be punished for the fact that the FIA can’t accurately measure this metric.

  11. Theoddkiwi (@theoddkiwi) said on 16th March 2014, 23:27

    Over the weekend it was mentioned many times that due to the flat torque range of the new engines many corners could be taken in any of about three gears to achieve either fuel saving or speed.
    Often you could hear them shift two gears in quick succession.
    The fuel flow is relative to the power the engine is producing and one of the ways to keep you fuel flow down and not ask so much of the engine is to use a different gear. That and changing engine settings.

    If Riccardo was using lower gears for longer to keep in front of Magnussen and thus using higher fuel flow, then he was gaining an advantage. If the Renault engine is not capable of producing the power with the lower fuel flow, then Riccardo was gaining an unfair advantage and thus they were cheating.

    Many are confusing total fuel used with fuel flow. None of the cars use max fuel flow at all times, it’s relevant during acceleration and when at top speeds. They can reduce fuel flow by not accelerating as hard and not trying to run at higher speed. Which is why short shifting is a simple means of keeping the fuel flow in check. Remember the new engines and gear ratios allow for a much wider range of operation.

    The fact that they were warned multiple times during the race meant they had a choice, accept a lower finishing position or risk disqualification. They chose the latter. Had they chosen to comply with what the FIA was warning them about and accepted 4th place or so then they would have been in the high moral ground to complain that the fuel flow sensor was faulty.

    The got an advantage because they drove their engine harder and gained an advantage over others who complied with the rules. Faulty sensor or not, they were warned they were breaking the rules and chose to ignore the risk.

  12. Optimaximal (@optimaximal) said on 16th March 2014, 23:31

    The most amusing aspect of this whole kerfuffle – Red Bull, along with Ferrari, torpedoed FOTA. If the association still existed, they might have been able to collectively take on issues with the fuel sensor.

    As it stands, i’m sure any change to the system that requires approval from either the strategy group or the teams will get shot down, because it will be seen as a ‘Pro-Renault/Pro-Red Bull’ decision.

  13. ivz (@ivz) said on 16th March 2014, 23:57

    Rules are rules, but look at this thread? Look at the actual issue!? Do we want to be talking about such rubbish, or actually talking about the divers, and the quality of racing?
    The ridiculous FIA say they brought in double points for what reason? Yeah, lets bring in one rule, but then lets have another that does the total opposite! I once hated V8 Supercars, had no interest, but I am actually enjoying watching it more and more, it’s real racing plain and simple.

  14. Simon Cresswell said on 17th March 2014, 18:18

    Well it’s a shame for Ricardo the innocent party but hasn’t Bernie said consistently including in his book! Everyone in formula cheats!!!” it’s about not getting caught” we and the media call it cheating but the teams call it bending the rules! I suspect red bull are chancing there luck again. If they were in conflict all weekend why were they allowed to run anyway? I mean if a sportsman was found on steroids he would not be allowed to run right????

  15. smudgersmith1 (@smudgersmith1) said on 17th March 2014, 20:26

    Horner stats…Hopefully through the appeal process, it will be clear the car has conformed at all times with the regulations and we have complied with technical regulations.

    Notice, no mention of doing as he was told during the race !

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