Daniel Ricciardo, Red Bull, Albert Park, 2014

Stewards detail reasons for Ricciardo’s disqualification

2014 Australian Grand PrixPosted on | Author Keith Collantine

Daniel Ricciardo, Red Bull, Albert Park, 2014Following Daniel Ricciardo’s exclusion from second place in the Australian Grand Prix the FIA stewards issued the following explanation for their decision:

1) The Technical Delegate reported to the Stewards that Car 3 exceeded the required fuel mass flow of 100kg/h. (Article 5.1.4 of the Formula One Technical Regulations)

2) This parameter is outside of the control of the driver, Daniel Ricciardo.

3) The fuel flow is measured using the fuel flow sensor (Art. 5.10.3 & 5.10.4 of the Technical Regulations) which is homologated by the FIA and owned and operated by the team.

4) The stewards considered the history of the fitted fuel flow sensor, as described by the team and the Technical Delegate’s representative who administers the program. Their description of the history of the sensor matches.

a. During Practice 1 a difference in reading between the first three and Run 4 was detected. The same readings as Run 4 were observed throughout Practice 2.

b. The team used a different sensor on Saturday but did not get readings that were satisfactory to them or the FIA, so they were instructed to change the sensor within Parc Ferme on Saturday night.

c. They operated the original sensor during the race, which provided the same readings as Run 4 of Practice 1, and Practice 2.

5) The Stewards heard from the technical representative that when the sensor was installed on Saturday night, he instructed the team to apply an offset to their fuel flow such that the fuel flow would have been legal. He presented an email to the stewards that verified his instruction.

6) The technical representative stated to the Stewards that there is variation in the sensors. However, the sensors fall within a known range, and are individually calibrated. They then become the standard which the teams must use for their fuel flow.

7) The team stated that based on the difference observed between the two readings in P1, they considered the fuel flow sensor to be unreliable. Therefore, for the start of the race they chose to use their internal fuel flow model, rather than the values provided by the sensor, with the required offset.

8) Technical Directive 016­14 (1 March 2014) provides the methodology by which the sensor will be used, and, should the sensor fail, the method by which the alternate model could be used.

a. The Technical Directive starts by stating: “The homologated fuel flow sensor will be the primary measurement of the fuel flow and will be used to check compliance with Articles 5.1.4 and 5.1.5 of the F1 Technical Regulations…” This is in conformity with Articles 5.10.3 and 5.10.4 of the Technical Regulations.

b. The Technical Directive goes on to state: “If at any time WE consider that the sensor has an issue which has not been detected by the system WE will communicate this to the team concerned and switch to a backup system” (emphasis added.)

c. The backup system is the calculated fuel flow model with a correction factor decided by the FIA.

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.

10) Under Art. 3.2 of the Sporting Regulations it is the duty of the team to ensure compliance with the Technical Regulations throughout the Event. Thus the Stewards find that:

A) The team chose to run the car using their fuel flow model, without direction from the FIA. This is a violation of the procedure within TD/ 016­14.

B) That although the sensor showed a difference in readings between runs in P1, it 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.

C) The Stewards were satisfied by the explanation of the technical representative that by making an adjustment as instructed, the team could have run within the allowable fuel flow.

D) 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.

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290 comments on “Stewards detail reasons for Ricciardo’s disqualification”

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  1. That although the sensor showed a difference in readings between runs in P1, it 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

    My original reaction was to side with the FIA on this one, perhaps part of me almost wanting Red Bull to be disqualified due to their attitude in previous seasons to the regs. However, I actually think they have a case with this one. How the FIA can declare that this sensor is not faulty when even themselves say it was giving faulty measurements on the Friday (the one they had to put back into the car on Saturday night) seems a bit off.

    In my opinion, the penalty is harsh and the FIA should have supplied a working sensor for the weekend to the team. I wonder how if the ‘difference’ noted in FP1 occured for any of the other teams for example? The fact it isn’t mentioned in this extensive list suggests that it wasn’t a problem.

    1. even if sensor’s faulty, Red Bull should have followed FIA’s instruction. Appeal should be latter. They can’t be exception.

  2. One positive to take out from this episode is that the FIA gave us a very detailed report of the matter. It’s really good, in previous years we only knew half of the story.

    1. Yep @yobo01, that is indeed, and especially in the case of the 1st race, with a podium place at stake, and with this new and essential rule, a very good thing.

      I guess it is also a signal from the FIA to the teams that they will indeed, as announced, show zero tolerance on this.

  3. Especially point 10 D) makes it hard for me to believe that RBR’s appeal will succeed, even if they can prove with some probability that they were within the 100kg/h limit. But it is an interesting technical problem, that the FIA tries to police something – according to rules – so important with a seemingly low quality, difficult to calibrate and use correctly – sensor.

    1. The problem is that the FIA sensor is the only one to have legal power.

      On a side note, with so many problems around the sensors, it would be better if the FIA was more careful, no? It’s better to have a killer in the nature than hold an innocent man in a prison.

  4. Its a bit strange that the FIA have released their reasoning. Normally they dont.

    Is this because he’s the crowd favorite or is this a sign of a new, more transparent, policy for 2014?

    1. @joshua-mesh It could be because they knew an appeal was coming, and wanted their case to be made before Red Bull could make theirs.

    2. They released their reasonings several times last year. I believe this is now standard procedure for stewards’ decisions.

  5. Roberto Vilarinho
    16th March 2014, 16:11

    Too many complex rules, and poor racing. I’m disappointed with this new f1, everyone just nursing their cars to the finish….

    Sad for Riccardo, he deserved that result.

    I’ll pay more attention to Indycars and Australian’s V8 this year, real engines, real power, real racing…

    1. Were you watching the same race as I was? I didn’t see much, if any, nursing (and certainly less than last year). The racing was, IMHO, better than most of last year, except for 1st.

      And, my main point, made several times: F1 rules are complicated. They have always been complicated. They will always be complicated. It is the nature of the beast when you have incredibly complicated machines whose development needs to be controlled.

      This year’s regs only seem complicated because we have all focussed on them, and they are changed so much from last year. The fuel flow limit is not complicated, and more than a rev limit or engine capacity limit is complicated. In reality, the regulations are not much more complicated than last year’s.

      1. *any more than a rev limit or engine capacity limit is complicated

  6. FIA applies homologated fuel-flow sensors from Calibra Technology a newly (2013) established company headed by Mr. Andrew Burston, which was a.o. engaged by Mercedes Benz High Performance Engines as the Sustainability Judge in their 2011 Formula Student event to source young engineers for their Brixworth site.

    Due to late homologation Calibra pressrelease indicates : “A late change to the mounting requirements for the meter has also seen some F1 teams having to make late changes to the 2014 cars fuel system design”.

    Conclusion : The best solution in future is that FIA provides all vehicles themselves, and contract the drivers also themselves. It increases the competition amongst the contenders and is independent of company interests during the races.
    See http://www.racecar-engineering.com/news/2014-f1-fuel-flow-meter-finally-homologated/
    and also http://www.racecar-engineering.com/downloads/FS2011-event-programme.pdf

  7. Horner’s interview states they were “quite surprised” and they “complied fully with the technical regulations”.

    Since the steward’s ruling clearly states they were repeatedly warned during the race they’ve got no basis to be surprised.

    Since the technical regulations clearly state teams are not allowed to use their own equipment to measure fuel flow, and they’re not allowed to change the methods they use to measure the fuel flow, and they’re not allowed to change any of these things without permission from the FIA, what grounds do they think they have to claim they “complied with the technical directives at all times”?

    Total nonsense.

  8. 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

  9. It did seem strange to me that when the McLaren engineers eventually let Magnussen turn his car up for the last couple of laps that he didn’t catch Ricciardo at all.. in fact the gap appeared to grow.

    On a separate note.. imagine the conspiracy theories if it were still Webber in the number 2 car.. I’m sure Red Bull are smart enough to have done this for a good reason, and it was done with a bigger picture strategy.. but I can’t help but think they wouldn’t have thrown away a 2nd place finish for Seb so willingly..

  10. Red Bull has always used the “there is no test that detects our wing flexing so legally it doesn’t flex”. Now their fuel flow by their own measurements) is ok, but the test says otherwise. So now they conveniently switch to saying that the tests are wrong.

  11. Alex McFarlane
    16th March 2014, 17:31

    Rules are rules and the FIA may be technically correct, but it doesn’t sit comfortably with me that in a sport of such fine margins you can be convicted of murder by an unreliable witness, e.g. a fuel flow rate meter that says you are over when you’re not. Being guilty of breaching a rule and being guilty of not following protocol are not one and the same thing, and should be dealt with separately.

    1. Such hyperbole! Riccardo was simply DSQ’ed; and rightly so.

      1. Alex McFarlane
        16th March 2014, 23:41

        Maybe, but the point stands, if the fuel-flow sensor overread then Red Bull were not in breach of the fuel flow regulations. If a car could be shown by other means that the 100kg/hr rate had been exceeded but the FIA approved sensor indicated it had raced legally, would the FIA stand by their equipment?
        I don’t know how the sensors are calibrated but if they are all inaccurate by varying amounts the playing field isn’t level.

        1. What’s not to say the RBR sensor was wrongly calibrated too to read the correct amount but in reality it was running at a higher rate?

          1. Alex McFarlane
            18th March 2014, 9:21

            Sorry, my reply ended up further down the page. Of course, there is nothing to say that Red Bull’s own readings were inaccurate, deliberately or otherwise, but it does highlight that if the flow rate cannot be accurately measured the FIA has a problem that needs addessing, especially if you cannot reliably determine if someone is running legally at 99.5kg/hr and illegally at 100.5kg/hr. We need to see figures from both the FIA and Red Bull.

    2. How would RBR be able to prove that the full fuel level was in Compliance throughout the race? They can’t.

      1. Alex McFarlane
        17th March 2014, 11:15

        I don’t know, but Red Bull seem to think they have a case. I’d be surprised if the engines didn’t have sensors to monitor fuel consumption. On reflection, the FIA were right to punish Red Bull for not using their sensor, the issue for me going forwards is the accuracy of the flow meters, in a sport where the margins are so fine, if Red Bull have sourced a more accurate meter than the FIA, the latter have dropped the ball, in my opinion. I’m sure we’ll have a better idea of how they work in the coming days and weeks

        1. if Red Bull have sourced a more accurate meter than the FIA, the latter have dropped the ball

          It is more likely that they are using other sensor and control data (Injector timings, fuel pressure, mass air flow sensor, lambda sensor) to calculate their fuel flow rate. These are accurate methods, especially when correlated against actual fuel used.

          However, they are only accurate when you are certain of them all. The FIA could not use them to monitor fuel flow rate because if a single variable changes, they cannot work it out.

          And none of this makes up for the fact that RB simply ignored instructions. Right or wrong in their argument, you do what the ref tells you.

          1. Alex McFarlane
            17th March 2014, 16:35

            Fair enough. Will be interesting to hear Red Bull’s side of the story and the evidence they think might let them off the hook.

  12. Look at it this way.

    If speed limit on a highway is 100khp, you are allowed to do following:
    You are allowed to cover 100km in one hour, by driving 100kph constantly.
    However, you are not allowed cover 100km in one hour, by averaging 100kph over a period of one hour, by driving 50kph at times and then driving 150kph at times.

    1. or perhaps look at it this way…

      You go out for a race drive in your car and the both you and your mate the local copper think the speedo produces inconstant results (the FIA technician reported that the P1/P2 sensor provided ‘different’ results in the runs, that wasn’t an assertion from RBR).

      So the copper, who just happens to moonlight selling car parts and sold you the dodgy speedo, gives you a new speedo which you duly fit and take out for a test run and both you and he agree it’s even more dodgy than the original one so he instructs you to violate standard road rules and park in a firm bit of roadway to remove the speedo and refit the one.

      So you’re back with a speedo that both of you think is a bit dodgy but the copper gets a bright idea “look the label on the box says it’s accurate to +/- 10km/h” so if you keep the speedo dial reading at least 10 km/h below the speed limit you should be ok. He’s so impressed by his deductive reasoning at this point he sends you an email instructing you and the other cops on the beat about your new “personal” road rule.

      Having no confidence in the speedo any more and not likin the idea of driving 10km/h below the speed limit “just in case”, particularly given no-one else has to adjust their speedo readings you decide to just rely on your gps to tell you what speed you’re doing and ignore the speedo completely.

      The point-to-point speed camera zone you drove through shows your average speed remained below 100km/h so you’re feeling so cocky that you stupidly post a photo up to facebook showing a speedo dial reading 91km/h in a 100km/zone so your now not-so-friendly copper books you for exceeding the speed limit by 1km/h and disqualifies your license.

    2. whats your point? was redbull using 150% power at certain times, and only 50% at other times? it is such a stupid rule as no advantage can be gained. if any advantage is gained, it is lost in other parts of the race.

      1. my point…
        is that
        – RBR are asserting that their fuel injection system never exceeded 100kg/hr
        – the FIA have acknowledged that their sensor was misreading hence the instruction to add an offset to the flow rate it was reporting to come up with a ‘worst case’ flow rate
        – they appear not to have given that instruction to any other team hence Horners complaint that it disadvantaged his driver.
        – but based on the ‘worst case’ measurement of the devices flow-rate report and the offset the car was using more than 100kg/h so the FIA disqualified them

        Like above.. this is like having a copper book you not because his radar gun showed you as speeding but because your dodgy speedo reading plus an offset added up to a number greater than the speed limit, and this despite the fact that your (extremely expensive and high tech) gps showed you stayed within the speed limit

        1. Actually, this is more like:
          – A cop has recently pulled you over and given you a warning for speeding.
          – You told them your speedo said you were fine, so the cop told you to drive a little under the limit to be safe.
          – You are driving at bang on the speed limit by your speedo when the same cop sees you again.
          – The cop sets off after you, signalling you to pull over.
          – You ignore the cop and continue to the end of the journey. The cop arrests you for both speeding and failing to stop.

          Now, in this case, you could go to court and prove that the cops radar gun was wrong. But you would still be guilty of failing to stop, a much more serious offence.

          The officials word is law on a race track. Failing to obey them is a very serious matter, no matter whether they are shown to be right or wrong later.

  13. Perfectly reasonable explanation by the FIA. Spot on, Red Bull don’t get to choose what flow rate setting they use, this could set a bad precedent for other teams. They were warned too. I doubt they will pull another one like that again this season, so there. It’s not often we get to say that by good job by the FIA.

  14. Listen to yourselves arguing the semantics……………………The cars now sound rubbish, nowhere near as spectacular as the original turbo cars, the racing is no better. You have to have a lawyer and mathematician in pit lane giving you advice.
    F1 pftttt.
    Bring back Lord Hesketh and James Hunt please.

  15. So why bother with a fuel flow sensor in the 1st place. The FIA should have supplied a proprietery fuel system instead – restricting the fuel line diameter and fuel pump flow so that it cannot pump more than the legal amount to the engine?? Would the FIA have had real time access to RBR’s data via telemetry also and correlate that with what the mandated sensor was telling them anyway?

    1. The FIA should have supplied a proprietery fuel system instead – restricting the fuel line diameter and fuel pump flow so that it cannot pump more than the legal amount to the engine

      The teams would find a way to push that. Look at when they used a volume flow measurement system for refuelling. They limited the volume flow, so the teams chilled the fuel, so they got higher mass flow, so got the fuel they needed into the tank faster.

      1. yeh… but who cares?? they have a 100kg limit for the race… that is equal for all. who cares how they use that… it needs to be managed anyway over a race distance and is equal for all.

  16. Good to see the FIA giving proper explanations for their decisions, it’s a hell of a lot better than what we would have got even a few years ago.

    1. They are giving explanations because they are desperate. Explanations are ridiculous, unprofessional, and overly and unnecessarily complicated. How are fans meant to enjoy the sport when such complicated and unnecessary restrictions are in place.

  17. This is so much simpler than a lot of people seem to think…

    The 70mph on a motorway comparison that has been mentioned is the best way of looking at it.

    1. @electrolite, by the motorway analogy I presume you mean that if the police have faulty radar and claim you were over the speed limit, having a readout from a GPS showing that you were not speeding is not a valid defense.

      1. Thats why the only viable defence is prove radar inability. Which was accounted for by FIA and adjustments were recomended on numerous occasions. Red Bull got “tunnel vision” on this one, no one to blame but them self – I beat Vettel would have few warm words about who ever decided to ignore FIA’s instructions if he had his podium taken for same reason.

      2. @hohum

        I was talking about the rule itself, rather than Ricciardo’s penalty. But yes, we can use it for that too!

  18. Its very simple red bull broke the rule so vettle didnt feel bad for loosing. Carnt have a new driver upstage the old one.

  19. Absolutely typical RedBull in their lack of consideration to the second driver. They obviously wanted to make a point about the FIAs fuel sensors and choose to do so on Ricciardo’s car and not on Vettel’s.

    The fact that this risked sabotaging Ricciardo’s chances after a fine qualification was either not of a concern to RB or worse was considered as a good thing to make sure the new guy didn’t get a jump on Vettel after his poor qualification and form.

    If RB were convinced they were doing the right thing, why didn’t they do it on Vettels car. They had little to loose as he was starting from p13 and they could have made their point just as well.

    So unfortunately it looks like RB is going to continue the policy of favoratism that has caused so many problems before!

    1. you are incorrect with your conspiracy theories :)

    2. Yeah, bit of a stretch there, better of to go with the Ferrari International Assistance one where the FIA limit RBR to 96 Kg per hour by giving them duff sensors.

  20. Too bad Daniel is not in Vettel’s position, and who ever took the decision on multiple occasions not to follow FIA’s instructions is off the hook from hearing kind words from driver.

    I wish this happened to Vettel and not Riccardo, but then I dont think anyone would dare to do such experiment on Vettel’s car.

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