FIA aware of sensor problems since January – Boullier

2014 F1 season

Gill Sensors Ultrasonic Fuel Flow Meter, 2014The FIA were alerted to potential problems with its fuel flow sensors at the beginning of the year and issued guidelines on compliance at the Bahrain test, according to Eric Boullier.

Daniel Ricciardo was stripped of his second place in Sunday’s Australian Grand Prix after his car was found to have exceeded the 100kg/hour peak fuel flow rate. The FIA said Red Bull disregarded their instructions on how to offset their fuel consumption in order to ensure they did not breach the limit.

The McLaren racing director said: “It’s clear that already there was maybe some little bit of accuracy issues between the different sensors,” and they have “been working closely with the FIA since early January” to understand the problems.

“It’s true that at the end the FIA took a position in Bahrain at the second test and made it clear that their fuel sensor would be the reference and it had to be used.”

The FIA issued a technical directive on March 1st, the penultimate day of the final test, stating that its homologated sensor will be “the primary measurement of the fuel flow and will be used to check compliance”.

Boullier added McLaren knew they had to “be careful with the fuel flow”.

“But it’s true that at the end we have been fully compliant during the race, and the whole weekend actually, like most other teams,” he added.

Boullier would not be drawn on the FIA’s reasoning for excluding Ricciardo, saying: “We have enough on plate and we need to do our job to be compliant with the regulations. This is just a matter between the FIA and Red Bull and we don’t want to at all comment.”

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100 comments on FIA aware of sensor problems since January – Boullier

  1. David Bretz (@cynical) said on 20th March 2014, 0:04

    The outcome from a legal perspective could be that the rule can not be enforced until an accurate, reliable fuel sensor is available. Any attempt to enforce compliance without such a sensor would be deemed to be unreasonable.

    • Pelican (@pelican) said on 20th March 2014, 4:33

      That seems to be what Red bull was hoping for, but it looks like the FIA went above and beyond to spell out that their sensors must be used no matter what–were they anticipating this very problem and that defense?

    • JoeP said on 20th March 2014, 7:21

      Gah. There’s NO PROVISION for a team to claim immunity from rule-breaking just b/c they believe a FIA-homologated part to be “faulty” (even though that’s not even assured and is more rhetoric from Horner).

      Teams are required to submit WITHOUT RESERVATION to ALL of the rules!! See the FIA int’l sporting code!

      FIA 2014 International Sporting Code (French-English version) applicable to ALL formulae of motorsport says:

      1.3.1 Any person, or group of persons, organising a
      Competition or taking part therein:

      1.3.1.a Shall be deemed to be acquainted with the statutes
      and regulations of the FIA and the national regulations

      1.3.1.b Shall undertake to submit themselves without reserve
      to the above and to the decisions of the sporting authority
      and to the consequences resulting therefrom.

      1.3.2 In case of non‐compliance with these provisions, any
      person or group which organises a Competition or takes part
      therein, may have the Licence which has been issued to them
      withdrawn, and any manufacturer may be excluded from the
      FIA Championships on a temporary or permanent basis. The
      FIA and/or the ASN will state reasons for its decisions

      1.3.3 If an Automobile is found not comply with the
      applicable technical regulations, it shall be no defence to
      claim that no performance advantage was obtained

      • And which particular technical regulation do you think car 03 was in violation of?

        5.1.4? “Fuel flow mass must not exceed 100kg/h”?

        If it did not exceed that (and that’s the matter to be determined) then it was not in violation of the technical regulations. It was in violation of certain of the sporting regulations, for ignoring Whiting. The question then is which rules takes precedence and what the correct course of action is for a team when Whiting is wrong about something. All of which is still up in the air.

  2. kpcart said on 20th March 2014, 15:45

    I don’t like these sensors on bit, according to autosport, the engines are reaching max 100kg/h fuel flow at only 10,500rpm – no wonder the cars are so quiet. these engines are supposed to rev to 15,000rpm.

  3. CeeVee (@ceevee) said on 20th March 2014, 18:45

    One thing I haven’t noticed anywhere is how much fuel the teams used in the race. Were any of the teams close to using 100Kg ? I believe that this was deemed one of the high consumption races, so it would be nice to know how close to the edge the teams were.

  4. MuzzleFlash (@muzzleflash) said on 20th March 2014, 21:04

    @beejis60 Have to admit I hadn’t considered that, but the TRs and SRs both state respectively that the ECU and tyres have been chosen by the FIA, while the use of the sensor is in a TD, which is not binding and so not held to 1.3.3 of the ISC?

    Not nearly as black and white as I’d first considered it though.

  5. Irejag (@irejag) said on 22nd March 2014, 6:55

    There is one question that I have. How many kilos of fuel are tanks on these cars capable of holding? It might seem like a stupid question, but I am not a mechanic or an engineer. If the cars can only hold a maximum of 100kg of fuel, then I don’t understand why they need to regulate the fuel flow. To me, as long as you don’t run out of fuel before you cross the line, then there should not be an issue.

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