Red Bull ran close to the deadline for submitting an appeal, but the FIA has confirmed that the team has formally decided to appeal the disqualification of Daniel Ricciardo from second place in the Australian Grand Prix last Sunday.
The International Court of Appeal will hear the case, this is an independent court, which will draw four or five judges from the panel of judges which is on the panel approved by both the FIA and the F1 teams. It is a different body from the International Tribunal, which heard the Mercedes test case last year, which deals with disciplinary matters.
It is likely that the hearing will be in the next two to three weeks, probably just before or just after the Bahrain GP.
Ricciardo was disqualified after four hours of deliberations by the Stewards in Melbourne, because the fuel flow on the Australian’s car had exceeded the 100kg/hour limit consistently during the Grand Prix. The allegation is that this was performance enhancing.
It emerged that the sensors on several cars during the weekend gave some problematic readings and several teams had to work with the FIA at some point to find a solution, involving changing sensors, working with the back up system or getting an offset programmed in which made the fuel flow compliant.
During the race Red Bull was warned by the FIA’s technical staff monitoring the flow rate and the FIA says that they gave the team the chance to reduce the flow rate. However Red Bull’s representative told the Stewards that the team considered the sensors to be unreliable based on readings from practice and chose to use their own internal flow model, rather than the values provided by the sensor, which is accurate to +/- 0.25%.
It is an important moment because it will set the tone for the season with this new technology and we may well see more of this kind of thing in Malaysia. By going into it in great depth and establishing both the accuracy of the measurement and the FIA’s process for enforcing compliance, hopefully this will prove a test case which establishes the baseline understanding and best practice for the season.
Ideally F1 can then avoid getting bogged down in technical arguments which the vast majority of the audience finds a turn-off.
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