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GP Week : Issue 197
RED BULL APPEAL BEFORE MALAYSIA The fate of Daniel Riccardo’s second place result at Albert Park could be ultimately decided before the cars take to the track in next week’s Malaysian Grand Prix. Five hours after the Red Bull Racing driver took second place in his first race with the team, the FIA’s stewards disqualified him after the fuel flow sensor in the car’s fuel tank was found to be faulty. The stewards’ report removed the Perth-born driver from the results, elevating debutante Kevin Magnussen to second place, ahead of his McLaren teammate Jenson Button. Red Bull Racing has appealed the decision. The team has 96 hours, from the time of the lodging of the appeal, to enunciate its argument, which will be heard by the FIA’s International Cour t of Appeal in Paris. RBR Principal Christian Horner (right) has defended Ricciardo, who had already left the track prior to the stewards’ decision being made public. “It is no fault of Daniel. I don’t believe it is the fault of the team,” Horner told the assembled media. “I believe we have been compliant to the rules. “I am extremely disappointed, quite surprised ... hopefully through the appeal process it will be quite clear that the car has conformed at all times to the regulations. " We would not be appealing unless we were extremely confident that we have a defendable case.” The part of the car that is in question is a new fuel flow sensor, which measures the amount of fuel being burned by the new-for-2014 turbocharged 1.6 -litre V6 engines, which form a part of the Power units under the new rules. The sensor is produced by a single supplier, Gill sensors, in Hampshire in the uK. The utrasonic sensor is calibrated by the team in conjunction with their fuel partners, to allow for the slight variations that may occur in the fuels used by the teams and within the scope of the regulations. In the course of Practice, Qualifying or the race the sensors, which are mounted within the cars’ fuel systems, takes as many as 100 sample readings per second. Twenty of those are processed and five are used to make comparisons between flow rates, and those can be monitored in real time by the FIA’s technical delegates. The stewards’ report indicates that during Practice, the sensor in operation in car #3, Ricciardo’s Red Bull RB10- Renault, did not provide “readings that were satisfactory to them [RBR] or the FIA, so they were instructed to change the sensor within parc ferme on saturday night.” According to the stewards, the original sensor remained in operation and “provided the same readings as run four of practice one, and practice two.” When the FIA technical representative saw that the flow rate was over the acceptable 100kg/hour maximum allowed during the race, RBR was advised to reduce the fuel flow, as per the backup model that is provided by the FIA. The stewards reported that RBR “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.” The last reference is to a Technical Directive that was issued on 1 March. This provides detail to the teams of the FIA’s alternate, backup model. Where RBR may face a potential sticking point is in the last point item in the stewards’ substantial explanation of their decision; “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.” That would appear to indicate that the stewards’ decision to exclude Ricciardo from the results was based not on the operation of the sensor in question, per se, so much as the team’s decision not to follow the backup guidelines detailed in TD/01614. Next page: What the stewards actually said F1 >>> nEWs 6 GPWEEK.com // 6 GPWEEK.com // PARTNERS: