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Ricciardo disqualified from Australian GP for fuel irregularity

Mar 16, 2014, 9:09 AM EDT

Australian F1 Grand Prix - Race Getty Images

Home favorite Daniel Ricciardo has been robbed of a dream start to his Red Bull career after being disqualified from today’s Australian Grand Prix. He had finished the race in second place behind race winner Nico Rosberg.

The result had marked the Australian driver’s first podium finish in Formula 1, but he was called to the FIA stewards’ office after the race because of a fuel irregularity.

Under the FIA regulations, drivers are not allowed to use more than 100kg of fuel every hour. According to an FIA statement though: “During the race, car number 3 (Ricciardo) has exceeded consistently the maximum allowed fuel flow of 100kg/h.”

After meeting with the stewards, it was decided that Ricciardo was to be stripped of his second place finish and excluded from the final classification.

It did transpire that the team had changed the fuel flow meter on Ricciardo’s car on Saturday night, but the fact that the team repeatedly broke the 100kg/h limit was critical in the FIA’s decision.

However, the stewards took over five hours to make their decision, by which time Red Bull had packed up and Ricciardo had left the circuit.

The result means that all drivers bar race winner Nico Rosberg are promoted by one position. Kevin Magnussen scores the best result for a rookie on debut since 1996 with second place, whilst teammate Jenson Button completes the podium in third place. Fernando Alonso finishes fourth with Bottas fifth, and the final point goes to Force India’s Sergio Perez, who had originally finished in 11th place on track.

This will come as a bitter blow to Ricciardo, who was very emotional on the podium after the race. Nevertheless, it comes as a stark reminder that the rules for 2014 are tighter than ever, and must be adhered to at all times.

The team released a statement soon after the decision confirming that it would appeal against the ruling.

“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 3, the Team has notified the FIA of its intention to appeal with immediate effect,” a statement read.

“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.”

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  1. testover6370 - Mar 16, 2014 at 11:58 AM

    Wow gutting. This is what we all feared with the new rules.

  2. chad4208 - Mar 16, 2014 at 12:10 PM

    can someone explain what they are talking about….in English? American English?
    Because I do not understand a word of this.

    Is it saying the ICE used too much fuel aka too much horsepower? The equivalent to having an illegal motor size in NASCAR?

    • worknman24hours - Mar 16, 2014 at 12:14 PM

      The flow of fuel to the engines per second is regulated and cannot be anymore then a set amount.

      The idea is that you can control the amount of horsepower the turbo can make if you can control the amount of gas it gets.

      Actually a brilliantly simple way to control the 1000 horsepower nonsense.

    • redrock81 - Mar 17, 2014 at 9:22 PM

      The main purpose of the fuel flow and fuel limit is to make the cars more fuel efficient. When Red Bull exceeded the fuel flow limit it meant that they were getting an advantage over the other teams by getting more fuel in while the rest of the field were on more conservative fuel strategies.

      Plus, the team chose to run a different fuel flow sensor that was not sanctioned by the FIA. The FIA already told Red Bull about inconsistencies regarding their fuel flow BEFORE the race even started.

      Here’s an excerpt from the stewards memo:
      “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.”

      But in the race its noted in the Stewards notes:

      “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.”

      This has been set by he FIA. No one should be exempt from the rule, not even the current world champions.

  3. worknman24hours - Mar 16, 2014 at 12:11 PM

    This is under appeal and the team cites the fact that the fuel meter is hinky i.e. is not consistently accurate.

    Not the way I wanted the season to start either as I was pinned to my seat just praying that Riccardo’s Red Bull would not pull to the side of the track with two laps to go, software crashed like the Titanic.

    If they are guilty then it’s good call by the FIA to get this out front first race-“We are watching all of you VERY CLOSELY and cheating will not be tolerated.”

    Still, what a terrible blow for Daniel-great race ,mate, anyway.

    I guess an Aussie just isn’t meant to stand on the podium in their home race.

  4. chad4208 - Mar 16, 2014 at 12:21 PM

    It looks like they tried to off set the meter to make it more accurate knowing it was inaccurate. At least that’s how I interpret. I’m not a techy kind of guy so I don’t understand this stuff well. But apparently it was still off but being it was FIA equipment, Red Bull is saying its not their fault.

  5. crunge4461 - Mar 16, 2014 at 8:17 PM

    Personally, I do not like the fuel consumption rule. I wish they would let them use whatever amount of fuel that they like and make the most horsepower possible. That is just my opinion, and as someone who genuinely dislikes Red Bull Racing, I still do not like a penalty that amounts to a sensor saying that the team was using a little too much fuel, even though they obviously had enough fuel in the tank to finish the race. I am sorry, I just don’t understand, everyone gets the same amount of fuel, shouldn’t the determination of whether someone used too much be based on if they run out of gas or not? Instead, they rely on a the measure of a sensor. If I missed something and sound like an idiot, I apologize, but to take a great finish away because of a sensor measurement, complete nonsense in my opinion, of course this is the series that had to pass a rule not to fine drivers for celebration donuts.

  6. bigdcart - Mar 16, 2014 at 10:03 PM

    There seemed to be a significant difference in the performance of Vettel’s and Ricciardo’s cars. Maybe this is the reason.

    • pwbeninate - Mar 17, 2014 at 8:17 AM

      No, Vettel’s car had an ERS issue.

  7. lawrinson20 - Mar 17, 2014 at 4:12 AM

    Nice, that the FIA had the stones to enact this penalty, toward the reigning champion team.

    But, so sad, that F1 has come to this. This overly technical thing that i cannot continue to call “sport.” When equipment performance is restricted, and the restriction comes in the form of a sensor that has debatable accuracy, and inconsistency, and sample variation, then a few things are bound to occur:

    1 / teams will try to cheat the technology, because, “if you’re not pushing the rules ‘envelope,’ you’re not trying hard enough;
    2 / drivers who take the champagne may not truly be ‘worthy’ on any given Sunday. It may just be that they weren’t caught (yet);
    3 / fans will eventually become disillusioned (further), and even though there seems to be a greater degree of competitive balance, it isn’t competition that WE can see. It’s a matter of TRUST, and it becomes difficult to invest in/care about a driver or a team when they aren’t dealing with internal engineering triumphs and innovation, but rather a management of ambiguous and nonsensical rules.

    We’ve already seen Jenson Button declared a champion, in a year when Rubens Barrichello was a significantly close challenger, in a Brawn car that had an ‘unfair’ design advantage. There’s a fine line between what fans will accept in terms of design and engineering, versus a thwarting of rules and loopholes. Frankly, i’m getting sorta sick of it all. Last year, the ridiculous tire issues. Testing limits and penalties due to ambiguous rules. This year, the techno cars…. And, weren’t we supposed to be saving money in the form of testing limits, only to now have the most expensive engine designs?

    We all appreciate tech. But, we don’t have the proper balance between tech and driver and sport. And, it’s a dangerous imbalance, as we just saw a driver spear into another on the opening straight, because the tech did not allow his brakes to function. I’m soooo totally hoping this isn’t the year in which a death is the motivating factor toward a regression in technology. After all, who is the nearest competitor? In the States, there’s only the neanderthal NASCAR series. Does F1 really have to be so ‘next gen?’ All they had to do was fix the illogic of the previous year. Turbos was the answer? KERS? Just pick the best competitive F1 year of the past 30 years, and go back to that spec, plus modern safety.

    • crunge4461 - Mar 17, 2014 at 1:42 PM

      For the most part I agree with what you are saying. As far as what is the nearest competitor, it should be IndyCar, which is fast, close racing (much more so than F1), on the edge with a huge variation in circuits and drivers. Last year, IndyCar was bar-none the most exciting thing to watch in sports. Ok, there is my IndyCar bit, however, I have beef with you Jenson Button comparison. Jenson was the legitimate 2009 champ and there is no comparison between this fuel sensor nonsense and his championship. Brawn GP exploited the rules for aerodynamics in their favor and got an advantage, that is what F1 teams try to do constantly, winning the world championship is down to driver but also car, drivers do not win without the most cutting car that provides them with an advantage…the amount of times that a world champion has won due largely because their team built the best design car within the rules (Button’s car was deemed within the rules) is literally an almost constant….Vettel had a car advantage, clearly, Mario had a car advantage, that is what F1 is all about.

  8. pwbeninate - Mar 17, 2014 at 8:18 AM

    I think it’s silly to limit both maximum fuel and fuel flow. Isn’t that a bit redundant? Eliminating the fuel flow restriction would open up the strategies a bit.

  9. kitnamania13 - Mar 17, 2014 at 9:51 AM

    I wonder what the reaction would have been if Ricciardo had retired from the race and Vettel had been disqualified from second.

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