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Ricciardo excluded from result of Australian GP (Updated)


The fairy-tale debut for Daniel Ricciardo was clearly too good to be true after the home favourite was excluded from today's race for consistently exceeding the maximum allowed fuel flow of 100kg per hour.

Ricciardo had already won over local fans with second place in qualifying before a strong and measured drive today brought them to their feet to see him claim his first Formula One podium. Little did they - or Ricciardo - know what was to follow.

"It's still surreal," he grinned before learning of his fate. "Every minutes that passes… its sinking in a bit more, a bit more.

"To be on the podium at home, to start the season like this, just see the chequered flag, I know for the team it's a massive reward.

"It was a bit awkward when I got up there because it's been about three years since I stepped on a podium," he added. "That picture, walking out there, will stay in my memory bank forever."

It will be a bitter sweet memory however as Ricciardo's joy was short lived. During post-race scrutineering his car was found to have exceeded the allowed fuel flow rate of 100kg per hour and was referred to the stewards. With such a black and white case there was only ever going to be one outcome and eventually the Australian was excluded from the race.

The final decision was handed down more than five hours after the chequered flag had fallen, a delay caused by an in-depth debate between the FIA and Red Bull over a faulty fuel flow sensor.

"There have been issues with these sensors from day one," team boss Christian Horner argued. "I don't think any of them have been working 100% reliably throughout the weekend. Even through the race I think there's quite a few that acted incorrectly."

It's a statement which seems to contradict comments made earlier in the weekend by Charlie Whiting. "It's fairly apparent whether or not that sensor is going to work," the FIA Race Director explained on Thursday. "It's either very, very good or such a long way out that we can identify whether or not that meter should be used.

"It will always be correlated with data that we have from the injectors to make sure that there's not a wide divergence but from what we've seen so far that won't be the case," he added.

"We monitor them all the way through the race and if we see a fault then we have a fall back solution."

That solution is to understand the fuel flow up to the point where the sensor failed and use it as a basis for calculations from that point on. However, in Red Bull's case it doesn't appear that this was the process followed. Instead a sensor with a known issue was fitted to Ricciardo's car with an offset figure (based on practice data) included in calculations in order to make them accurate.

"We had an issue with a sensor that changed its reading through Friday practice," claimed Horner. "That sensor was then replaced for another sensor on Saturday which then failed during qualifying.

"We were then asked to put the sensor from Friday back in to the car and apply an offset. That offset we didn't feel was correct and as we got in to the race we could see there was a significant discrepancy between what the sensor was reading and where our fuel flow, which is the actual injection of fuel into the engine, was stated as."

In their statement the stewards addressed Horner's point by stating that they had "considered the history of the fitted fuel flow sensor", and agreed that "a difference in reading between the first three and run four was detected" during opening practice, but it had then remained consistent during second practice.

"The team used a different senor on Saturday," the statement continued, "but did not get readings that were satisfactory to them or the FIA, so they were instructed to change the sensor within Parc Ferme on Saturday night."


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1. Posted by Spindoctor, 18/03/2014 13:10

"I'm a bit conflicted over this for several reasons:

1. Daniel drove an excellent race, using the car he was given and thoroughly deserved his place on the podium.

2. FIA have done it again, and produced ridiculously complex regulations which can easily ruin the sport (see above!)

3. Despite 1 & 2 above, the rules is the rules. It has become clear that other teams were also warned by FIA about fuel-flow. Unlike RBR they chose not to ignore the warnings in order to gain advantage, hence they weren't disqualified.

This whole sorry business exemplifies what a bad state Formula 1 is now in. Given that Bernie now claims to have little influence on the Technical Regs, FIA has a golden opportunity to tear-up most of them and get back to sanity.
Of course this can't happen overnight, as teams have collectively invested billions in developing this generation of cars, but there's no reason why the "fuel flow" regulation (for example) can't be scrapped immediately, and that's a start....."

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2. Posted by Cobra Driver, 18/03/2014 12:19

"Choices, choices. At 2.30am local time in Toronto trying to decide what exciting event to watch. Just redecorated my living room late Saturday and it was a toss up between watching the paint dry and the F1 race. The latex won. "

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3. Posted by Rappy, 18/03/2014 7:06

"I think the idea of the fuel flow rate limit is to prevent teams from spending too much of the race in fuel saving mode and thus not racing, since they took on a debt burning too much in one or two overtakes. This prevents that situation, sort of. Instead now there are no overtakes..."

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4. Posted by TokyoAussie, 18/03/2014 3:27

"Teams have a limit on the fuel to carry in the race. What possible difference can it make if the flow rate of that fuel varies when being injected. Get rid of these sensors, period. Let the teams manage their consumption rate.

I realise it is too late to change engine regs, but I have never liked the rev limiter. If a team wants to rev an engine to 20,000 rpm, let them. They bear the risk of damaging the engine, and we get to hear an engine screaming, as they should."

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5. Posted by The stogie, 18/03/2014 1:37

The entire scrutineering crew should be given their walking papers. They have managed to emulate the incompetent bunch at IndyCar. Their decision to disqualify Ricciardo after THEIR sensors had already screwed up once was a joke. There is a limit on the amount of fuel for the race and my understanding is all their fuel was NOT consumed. So how can they possibly say the engine was getting too much fuel. My challenge to F1 - try and find a fan who was happy with the race!! Wow!"

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6. Posted by MES, 17/03/2014 23:52

"This is utter b---s---!!!! F1's obtained the lowest of low points in history. The bureaucrats have reached their goal and have gutted racing with asinine rules-making, to suit only themselves. I can only be thankful for having lived in the time of Bandini, Stewart, Clark, Gurney, Hill, Hill, Hailwood, Siffert, Rodriguez, etc. etc. etc.
Now, but for a few exceptions, we've got boys and dilettantes in the place of great men of real talent and courage.
What a pity. Bye bye F1."

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7. Posted by F1 Yank, 17/03/2014 22:41

"I guess the "power units" are being regulated by a sensor that monitors fuel flow? If the F1 stewards are so critical of this why don't they instate some type of pump and injector system that can only pump a maximum amount of given fuel? Similar to the restrictor plate. This would solve that problem."

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8. Posted by Carugatese, 17/03/2014 16:45

"Nobody specified definitely and unequivocally the tolerance of this measurement and that's the result."

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9. Posted by Cobra Driver, 17/03/2014 11:41

"Guess Red Bull thought that if they could get away with manipulating the KERS on Vettels car last year and beyond, they could get away with exceeding fuel flow limits this year. Wonder if the sensors on Vettel's car would show the same result. Wonder what new "tricks" are next?"

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10. Posted by GoodPublicity, 17/03/2014 2:56

"1. In most forms of racing with forced-induction engines, power has been controlled - previously by a pop-off valve, and now by a fuel-flow limit - to prevent boost being turned up temporarily (eg. for qualifying and overtaking).

2. The FIA's directives about the variability of the F1 fuel flow device suggest that it* isn't up to the standard required for club racing, let alone Formula 1.

3. If a reliable fuel flow monitor is available, then a dynamic energy consumption limit should be the only engine technical regulation. Let car companies and specialist engine builders find the most efficient configuration, instead of being forced to conform to one-size-fits-all rules that discourage innovation and don't appeal to the overwhelming majority of car makers.

* this refers to the fuel flow device, although it could also refer to the FIA!"

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11. Posted by Paul C, 17/03/2014 2:35

"I'd rather run a full season of the F1 2012 game in an HRT or Marussia than watch this FIA Mickey Mouse poop go on. Is this supposed to make us interested in watching Bernie's electric go kart series (Formula E) with Nissan Leafs running in the support race?"

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12. Posted by Paul C, 17/03/2014 2:28

"Jaques Villeneuve won the Indy 500 in 1995 by turning up the turbo boost and using more fuel. Should USAC have disqualified him for charging from two laps behind by doing so? Under F1's new fuel nerd rules, he would have been disqualified from his Indy win. This is a pile of Barbra Streisand to me. Isn't a limited amount of fuel enough of a limitation to pushing the pace, yellow flags or not? "

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13. Posted by seriousfan, 16/03/2014 22:55

"I don't think the people who control F1 have a clue why the fans liked it in the first place...It certainly isn't to witness the farce they have created. The cars are now designed by the rules which are so complex and convoluted that one must question what is happening on cannot believe anything your eyes are telling you. There is nothing worse than watching an event only to be told the next day that what you saw was in fact wrong...if the first f1 race I ever saw was between lawnmowers powered by battery chargers I would never have watched another one...."

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14. Posted by johnoneill2006, 16/03/2014 22:30

"I don't understand why everything in this sport has to be made more complicated than necessary.

They are limited to 100kg of fuel for the race. That should be enough of a restriction. If a team decides they are going to try to use all 100kg in one lap then so be it.

There's no need for these sensors - especially if the manufacturer can't build them consistently enough with a small enough error margin. They shouldn't be on the cars until they have sorted it out. It reminds me of the saga with the dodgy electronics being put on the cars at the start of last year."

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15. Posted by Kkiirmki, 16/03/2014 21:19

"Sure, blame the rules, the ones every team has to abide by. If the Red Bull has gained a performance advantage (i.e. they've cheated) then they deserve everything they have coming to them. Why should the rules be ignored just because a few (thousand) people don't like the outcome. Unfortunately the one that suffers the most is Ricciardo, after a fantastic start to the season. Vettel must have secretly been please as now at least they both (all) have 0 points"

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