Just when you thought that Formula One had become dull, the FIA hit its stride with a new reason to disqualify a driver. The beauty of Ricciardo's disqualification is that nobody watching the race could have guessed it. He did not cause an accident, or speed in the pit lane, in fact he did not put a foot wrong, but still the rule book was thrown at him.
It is unlikely that many people outside the teams even knew there was a fuel flow regulation. We now hear that the FIA Stewards and Red Bull were in an ongoing dialogue backstage, but this does not help the fans. Tens of thousands of the home supporters went home believing that their man had come second, and they were cheated.
We who watched at home were also cheated, but we had not dug deep into our pockets to witness a sham.
We have a rule about fuel flow, which is not something that occupies most of us. Red Bull claims that the sensor was faulty and will appeal. The FIA Stewards seem like they stand on firm ground, but I doubt if they can muster as much technical expertise as Red Bull and an appeal will be argued in an FIA court. We may have the result of the race some weeks from now and Bernie wonders why the TV ratings are falling.
The first race of a new formula and F1 is in its default position of protest and lawyers.
To say that sound was disappointing was to use understatement, it was like watching a Fred Astaire movie in mute mode. When the cars entered the pitlane, they resembled elderly diesel taxis with dodgy big ends. Be thankful for that, there once was a move to have cars powered only by battery in the pitlane.
Bernie is said to be seeking to redress the issue, but it is difficult to see how this could be achieved without a major technical rule change which only the FIA can make having consulted with its various subcommittees. As we know, these are all people who put the good of the sport before any advantage they may have found.
To put engineers in charge of drafting new regulations is like putting studio technicians in charge of a movie. Their job is to deliver what the director requires, they do not write the script.
I have no idea what Bernie thinks he can do. Maybe put a bit of cardboard so it rubs against the wheel spokes. Maybe use some of the battery power to transmit racing noises.
He has made a commitment and I am not sure that it is one he can achieve.
The organisers of the Australian GP are reported to have lawyers combing their contract to see if there has been a breach since sound has always been an implied part of the F1 experience.
You used to be able to buy a 45 rpm vinyl record of a V16 BRM revving up. For the complete experience, you would put it on your turntable and heat a sheet of metal on which you would drip Castrol 'R'.
Noise is important as the FIA will discover once Formula E gets under way, and implodes, leaving a lot of people out of pocket. Formula E will fail because we are tuned to hearing the grunt of an engine and that gives us important clues. We cannot visually discern speed with any accuracy above 27 mph, which is the maximum speed a human can run. This is undisputed science.
We are told of the enormous benefits of electrical cars, but we don't watch races to be educated in some future technology. We watch motor racing because we enjoy it. Even if we only watch on TV, we are choosing to commit time to that and not to any other activity.
The backers of Formula E talk about today's teenagers being prepared to think differently. They could have tried distributing a silent X-box racing game to see what the reaction would be.
Even before the lights turned green in Melbourne, I believe a record was set with three cars starting from the pit lane due to mechanical malfunction. Boffins are hard at work to ensure improvements and I have no doubt that the position will change within a few races. Some things we are stuck with, however and one is confusion.
Towards the end of the race it looked like Magnussen might make a challenge on Ricciardo, accord to the BBC commentary. Apparently, he was building up his battery power, though that was only a guess since we had no hard information. On-screen technical data was absent.