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Fuel flow row rumbles on

NEWS STORY
28/03/2014

Though Red Bull's appeal has yet to be heard, there are fears that the Austrian team could be penalised again before then.

While the FIA admits that there are issues with the sensors, a move which 'forced' the Austrian team to come up with its own solution, rival teams, possibly still smarting from losing four consecutive titles to an energy drink manufacturer, continue to tow the party line, even though some admit to having considered following Red Bull's example.

Whilst still insisting that the wording of the regulation is ambiguous, team boss Christian Horner believes it is an unnecessary row and if not addressed could lead to further issues in the coming races. Indeed, having suffered further problems today, he said that he is hoping to persuade the FIA's Technical Delegate, Charlie Whiting, to have the sensors removed.

"If we don't get synchronised readings we will find ourselves in an awkward situation, but one we will try to work with the FIA on, but we will find ourselves in the same dilemma as Melbourne," he told reporters. "We need a better way of measuring and monitoring the fuel flow, or say you get rid of it and you have 100kg for the race and that's it.

"Personally, I think it would be easier to get rid of it," he added.

However, the FIA's Head of Powertrain, Fabrice Lom, argues that there is a safety aspect to be considered.

"If you have no fuel flow limit, the fastest thing is to use a huge boost at the beginning of the straight and then lift off," he said. "There will be huge and very dangerous differences of speed between cars on the same lap, with a driving style that is not really F1."

Referring to the fact that his team could face further penalties this weekend and in Bahrain, Horner argued that the issue is damaging the sport.

"I think it's not great for the fans," he said. "An Australian driver finishes on the podium for his home race, he collects the trophy, the fans all leave the circuit beleieving that the home boy has done well, and then five and a half hours later the result changes... that's confusing.

"There's then a perception that Red Bull have been arrogant with the FIA because they haven't complied with the directives, which have no regulatory value, he added, "so of course, it's damaging in many respects. It's going to take four of five races before we get a clear picture, and hopefully not four or five appeals."

Earlier in the week, in a move which had many thinking the words 'toy' and 'pram', team owner Dietrich Mateschitz suggested that he could consider leaving the sport if he feels it is heading in the wrong direction... though, presumably, right up until Daniel Ricciardo's disqualification in Melbourne, he felt it was heading in the right direction.

Red Bull's appeal will be heard in Paris on April 14.

Chris Balfe

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READERS COMMENTS

 

1. Posted by only1chief, 29/03/2014 5:19

"Are we going to have F1 racing or economy runs?"

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2. Posted by edllorca, 29/03/2014 3:57

"To mandate the use of a sensor proven to be faulty is ridculous. To tell racers and their teams to 'slow down' in the middle of a race is worse. It does not take 2 months to look at a graph of injector firing times, fuel pressure and the flow sensor readings to see if the sensor was drifting. F1 is heading in the wrong direction with no sign of slowing down..."

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3. Posted by Rappy, 29/03/2014 1:03

"@NorthernMike. On the contrary, it is without the fuel flow limit that we would see loads of coasting. Short blasts of high flow fuel just for overtakes, then coasting all the rest of the way. This prevents that issue.

I'm not sure what your second paragraph is getting at. The average speeds during a Formula One race are much closer to their maximum speeds compared with the average speeds of your grannies shopping trips."

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4. Posted by Kkiirmki, 28/03/2014 21:36

"The whole issue is going to come to a head after the result of the appeal is known. If the court finds in favour of Red Bull then I can see the rest of the teams following suit and dropping the sensors too. I personally don't think they have a leg to stand on and should lose. Increased fuel flow means enchanted performance (at least according to my very limited knowledge of the inner workings of a car - can someone clarify?) which really means Red Bull cheated. What a surprise Horner wants the sensors dropped.

If Dietrich Mateschitz wants to leave because he's not getting his way then he can "Go and race something else if you're not happy," (I can't believe I'm quoting Jenson Button).

Why this case needs to be heard after this and next race (3rd race into the championship) is staggering. After the following races we may have to wait another month or two before the actual results are known and we have any idea who's leading either championship. This can't be good for anyone especially the fans. I'd propose similar rules that apply in Cricket with the review system (DRS too coincidentally) teams have available during an innings and that they only get a certain amount of appeals available during the season. This way the teams will have to think about what rules etc they want to question."

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5. Posted by NorthernMike, 28/03/2014 20:45

"I've been following this story closely, hasn't everybody, and while I've read that the FIA has a secondary means of verifying fuel flow should the sensor fail, I haven't heard anyone discuss what exactly that secondary means is. If indeed the FIA will determine that data from the teams information is accurate as a backup plan there is no reason not to accept it as valid should there be a discrepancy. I would think that the engine manufacturers and the teams need to know exactly how much fuel us flowing at any given time.

Personally I find the flow rate limit will lead to a lot of coasting, The limit is essentially 2 times what the average flow will be. I know that while driving my own car that if I try not to exceed by a factor of 2 what my average fuel usage is performance borders on grannyish. Heavy acceleration or even climbing a hill can burn many multiples of what indeed the car will average. Imagine how bad your car would perform if maximum fuel flow was limited to 2 times average. I do agree with a set limit on the amount of fuel burned during a race"

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