Why F1 has fuel flow sensors in 2014
Posted By: James Allen  |  17 Mar 2014   |  10:14 pm GMT  |  410 comments

We have had a lot of readers asking why F1 has introduced a fuel flow rate monitoring regulation this season as part of the new rules for the hybrid turbo power units.

This is in the light of Daniel Ricciardo’s disqualification for excessive flow rate in Sunday’s Australian GP.

JA on F1 technical expert Mark Gillan has written this advisory note on the matter:

It was decided pretty early on in the FiA Technical Working Group meetings (which I was a member of) to agree not only on a maximum fuel quantity (i.e. 100kg) but also to a maximum fuel flow rate in order to ensure that a significant emphasis was placed on both improved whole vehicle efficiency and on reduced fuel consumption. These limits, coupled with the move to the downsized 1.6L v6 engine, would ensure that suitable R+D resource was put into the new ERS which, with the addition of the MGU-H, are at the forefront of a potential technology revolution for new highly efficient down-sized road car and commercial vehicle power units.

The technical regulation for the power unit fuel mass flow is clearly stated in articles 5.1.5 and 5.1.5 which set a max fuel mass flow rate of 100kg/h at, and above, 10500rpm with this maximum reducing as the rpm decreases in line with the formula outlined in 5.1.5. These are maximum values and there is no margin for error if one exceeds these values.

The flow rate is monitored by the new ultrasonic sensor, supplied by Gill Sensors, and as discussed previously the accuracy and reliability of this sensor is key, as the ultimate performance of the car depends on it.

From the FIA Tech Regs for 2014:

- I would add only that in Melbourne I spoke to two teams running Mercedes and Ferrari engines who said that they had had various conversations with the FIA during the weekend on this matter of sensor accuracy and had reached a satisfactory conclusion.

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  1. CC says:

    I would imagine the fuel flow limit is in place for safety reasons, as a high pressure fuel injection system in a turbocharged unit could literally detonate/explode/combust and catch fire – that used to common during the previous 80s turbo era.
    Also, an unregulated fuel flow could allow teams to exploit the turbo boost/bar during qualifying to increase horsepower/torque significantly, and even possibly in race trim too – also like the 80s. I would imagine the FIA wants the power/torque output from the engines to remain consistent at qualifying and race conditions.

    1. ErikT says:

      I’d rather see some engines combusting and exploding than calls from teh pitwall telling the drivers to retire and save the engine. Where are the [David Hobbs] Kablamos [/David Hobbs]?

    2. Rob says:

      Thanks for your comment, this makes sense to me – without fuel flow rate restrictions, you could run some other totally crazy PU scheme in qualifying, where you could greatly increase your input boost pressure by battery-boosting the MGU-H, increasing amount of air, needing more fuel for the right air/fuel mixture, battery-boosting MGU-K output where the tires could handle it, and drain that large battery bank in your “all-out” quali lap. While I would personally find that more interesting, it probably goes against two of the hypothetical FIA PR tenets of “greater efficiency” and “cost reduction” (you now would need to run different quali and race engine software and tuning parameters).

      1. CC says:


        Thanks Rob. Yes, without a restriction on fuel flow, there would be an 80s style F1 “arms race” where special qualifying engines can be engineered giving massive incremental increases in power and torque. In the mid 80s, drivers would race with around 900 BHP and yet qualify with a special engine with 1400 BHP. That sound of unbalanced qualifying to race power ratio is out of sorts with this new efficiency formula, and would open a technical can of worms – and where it would end is anyone’s guess.

      2. Misty A says:

        The 5 engine per year limit prevents this already.

        I am not sure a flow limit should be there at all. The teams would be mindful not to damage the engine, as this would have a greater negative effect on results.

      3. Timmay says:

        Well there are only 3 engine providers who supply V6 turbos to the whole field (which is mandated) and a max of 5 units per season so….. I’m pretty sure you are wrong and I can tell you exactly where it would end….. Stop making stuff up

      4. Gaz Boy says:

        RE Timmay: You sound like a very angry young man – are you disgruntled at this new Formula?

      5. AndyFov says:

        You may well be right, but I assumed the rate restriction was to deter a team from deliberately running a car with the aim of running out before the end of the race.

        Let’s imagine we’ve last year’s field. Ferrari would have no qualms about sending Massa out to banzai the first half of the race, getting himself ahead of everyone who has to save fuel, with the sole aim of ruining the strategies of Seb and Lewis.

        A fuel flow rate’d stop that kind of nonsense, and for that reason I think it’s important that it’s implemented.

      6. Laurence H says:

        This is what I’ve been thinking as the main drawback of not controlling the flow rate. Not seen it mentioned before though. Thanks.

      7. Timmay says:

        Wut? That makes no sense? How exactly does driving faster than them & then running out of fuel ruin any other drivers race?

      8. cka_stu says:

        Timmay in practice i suspect he wouldn’t run out of fuel, but instead get in everyone’s way during the second half whilst in extreme fuel save mode. Not to mention making, otherwise, faster drivers defend and use more fuel on his way up the order in the first half of the race. That really is wacky races…

      9. Mark Nicholson says:

        I cant quite get my head round the fuel laws this year….teams can use no more than 100kg of fuel per hour yet the max amount of fuel is 100kg for the race distance – as races take longer than 1 hour how does that equate?

    3. janis1207 says:

      I suspect, this is primarily a cost issue, not safety.
      These days reliability is at premium, so no one will want an engine which blows up every other race.
      But catering for performance peaks because of the increased fuel flow rate cannot be cheap. Different K and H settings, engine maps, tyre wear, etc.
      Then there is also this perceived complexity of F1 racing. Notice how people are very vocal about silly things like the sound of modern F1? Instead of the really important issues like MGU-K and H and brake-by-wire? Variable fuel flow would introduce another level of complexity, most fans don’t even want to understand.
      That being said, without this fuel flow limit racing could be more interesting. With the 100 kg race limit in place, I wouldn’t mind it at all!

    4. KaRn- says:

      Also worth a mention on the Fuel Flow is that it reduces the likelihood of cars flying at the start and then crawling at the end (at least going . ie the difference in speeds isn’t as great at the start and end as they aren’t saving fuel as much.

    5. Lionel Hurst says:

      If Ricciado’s excess fuel flow was so important, how come he gained a podium finish, and at the same time, and more importantly, finished with plenty of fuel left? I can see no value in the sensors if a FI engine can be made efficient enough to finish the race on the newly restricted maximum fuel load. Surely it can be left to the driver’s and team’s skill to decide whether or not to risk running out of fuel. As for stacking the deck in qualifying, the fuel flow sensors are still unnecessary so long as the scrutineers can do an engine output check after qualifying and prior to race start. If there is an obvious drop in output the car is disqualified – how easy is that? Personally I think the race was pretty boring with very little spectacular passing, and exhaust sounds like washing machines on spin cycle slow-down. More and more driver skill is coming second to technical restrictions.If the red tapes continue, they might as well have driver-less cars operated remotely by computer programs.

    6. Rod Wellings says:

      This all comes down to calibration of the flow sensor. How do you calibrate an ultrasonic flow sensor to measure kilograms of fuel over time. It might be reasonable accurate in a laboratory at a known temperature, specific gravity of fuel and pressure. You may even be able to place an uncertainty value on the measurement. I read the uncertainty of the Gill flow sensor in +/- 0.25%. However take this same sensor into an environment where the temperature and pressure(G forces) changes you introduce an unknown into the calculation. I would think for the F1 to claim the +/- 0.25% applies during the race in Melbourne the sensor would have been calibrated in each car over 58 laps on the same race track at the same day temparature. I very much doubt a National Standards Laboratory would be able to issue a certificate of calibration for this flow sensor for the race in Melbourne. Following the science of Metrology this argument of an accurate flow sensor is rubbish. The F1 should be laughed out of court. A simple read of my friend Mr Wikipedia http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Standard_%28metrology%29 will give you some clue of the difficulty of proving a measurement is true.

    7. Byron Lamarque says:

      Here is a rather good explanation for the reasons behind fuel flow limits


    8. LC says:

      With regards to why the 100kg/hr fuel rate rule was create was stated in the above article.

      “These limits, coupled with the move to the downsized 1.6L v6 engine, would ensure that suitable R+D resource was put into the new ERS which, with the addition of the MGU-H”

      Not sure why you think it’s safety.

  2. Bruce Grady says:

    So know F1 designing engines for shopping trollies and trucks.Enzo would be rolling in his grave.what a joke.

    1. Gergely says:

      Enzo put tractor gearbox into his car.

  3. Tickety-boo says:

    Well, that’s five minutes of my life I won’t get back – what was the point if this article? It really said nothing about the significance of the limit on flow, or what advantage RB would have had for consistently being in excess – what are the positives and negatives (I can guess but it would have been helpful to have some qualified input) “as the ultimate performance of the car depends on it…”?

    1. SpaceJunk says:

      The article CLEARLY answers it’s own query: that os why F1 has / uses Fuel Flow Sensors.

      The article was short, but I think succinct enough to comprehend. I’ve already had one non-F1 supporter ask me why the sensors are there in the first place. Aside from having to explain what ERS and MHG-U means, they fully understood.

      They can also see the logic behind this rule; it ensures that power train manufacturers spend their R&D time and dollars on developing Fuel efficient systems. Getting them to focus in this area should result in reducing fuel consumption even further.

      And seriously, you’ve wasted 5 minutes of your life reading this article? I would love to spend 24 hours with you; your time efficiency must be brilliant. What type of Sensors do you use to record your efficiencies?

      1. Ticketyboo says:

        My time efficiency is brilliant (so I’m told by my clients), it’s how I earn a living, and I don’t use sensors – I use a range beautiful Swiss made time pieces that are calibrated for precision and bias to ensure that they are fit for purpose and I can afford those because of my efficiency in managing my time effectively – it’s a beautiful thing ;)

      2. Sebee says:

        Wrong question. How accurate are the sensors? That is the question!

      3. Tickety-boo says:


      4. FNaw says:

        Actually not Accuracy – rather precision:
        meaning Reproducibility of the resultant readings. Reproducibility refers to the degree of agreement between measurements or observations conducted on replicate specimens in different locations by different people, as part of the precision of a method. “Proper” engineers will always trust their calibration as the most true.

        I read in another publication (darned source lost) that FIA found multitudes of variant readings and assigned various correction factors to various engines to bring the averaged final flow results into spec, and after that Ricciardo’s rate was still 125% over the average.
        And please consider RB replaced the sensors several times whith new ones from FIA.

        Read about fuel flow problems on 919 LMP1 this year

    2. Sebee says:

      It clarifies purpose. But doesn’t address accuracy of sensors, which clearly are an issue.

      1. Cliff says:

        I don’t think the accuracy of the sensors is the issue now! RBR’s decision to ignore the the stewards is becoming the main focus of attention. The FIA will argue that the sensors worked for the other teams. Reading on another website that Mercedes and Ferrari are backing the FIA…no surprise there!!

      2. shortsighted says:

        The issue is whether the fuel flow sensor in RB 2nd car was accurate. All we need is for FIA to carry out a test of the accuracy of the sensor.

        Even if the sensors in Ferrari and Mercedes are accurate, it does not necessarily mean that the one in the RB is.

        I really hate all those artificial restrictions imposed on the engines and the addition of all the electrical power storage devices which have not been proven to be shock proof in a race car and are supposed to be intended for use in ordinary road cars. I, for one, would not like to have a dangerous car that can electrocute me.

      3. Voodoopunk says:

        Of course if Mercedes and Ferrari are backing them then the FIA must be right?

      4. Dave P says:

        When you see the complete picture you see the sensors are not an issue to anyone other than Red Bull.

        Each team no doubt has spent millions on very expensive specialised fuel flow technology… but the FIA does not need that level of accuracy to police their basic requirement. As long as their sensor can be made cosnsitent across all teams (either by direct calibration or via an offet) it doesnot matter if ALL the cars deliver 98, 99 or 100kg/hr. The point is that all teams seethe FIA is applying the same process fairly and evenly.

        The very fact that others had issues BUT that after discussions with the FIA and offsets applied and all were happy shows that the same process is fairly applied to all.

        When you ask a referee to be fair, you have a duty to take part in that. Red Bull will not be able to show they were unfairly treated. If they had done as others had, there was no issue.

        So in the end the sensors just need to be stable… and as long as the calibrationcanbe offset, then there is no issue.

        Red bull will loose this battle

      5. Sebee says:

        I disagree strongly. In a sport where we measure down to 0.001s, 98, 99 or 100kg/h makes a HUGE difference.

        Is this F1 or a dog and pony show?

      6. cka_stu says:

        I strongly disagree with that too, time is the basis of f1, whether once round a lap or 50+ times. If the fuel is a couple of kilos/h down FOR EVERYONE then it only encourages engine manufacturers to increase efficiency further, but also you did ignore the word “offset” from Dave’s comment? I’m pretty sure the team engineers and fia who developed these new rules knew what they were doing. Why waste money on it?

      7. Onadime says:

        Even if the FIA are seen to be fairly applying the same ruling processes on teams, how do we know if any error margins are compounding the accuracy of race results? Makes the idea of watching such a series feel pretty hollow.

        So to what level of tolerance do we give this fuel flow business? I think this is the so-what test that needs to be applied and justified by the FIA. Could it be that RB as belligerent as they’re suggested to be by one poster here are simply saying that it’s worth pushing for 1 result to find the boundaries.? If not at least maintaining the truest of competitive spirits in what IS a sport.The trade off is it goes to constructor winnings. I assume they’ve now nothing more to lose.

        Maybe I don’t understand it but I thought racing is a human skill not technologically based one. The lines shouldn’t be blurred here.

        Moreover I really don’t know if there are other ways to inspire efficiency advancement outside of fuel sensors but i’d have looked for ways to allow the racing to continue unimpeded by innovation that isn’t fit for purpose.

        As someone who’s a swing-F1 fan and who’s technically minded enough to appreciate much of what’s written here but not a technophile by definition I find this half-baked-tech-tinkering quite interfering in my enjoyment of the sport. Hence my swing. I’m all for innovation when it’s ready to float. But not before.

        RB may be unjust in appealing- time will tell though.

      8. Tickety-boo says:

        That certainly appears to have been the catalyst Sebee for the subsequent series of events which then, as Cliff and others note, resulted in a situation of ignoring the FIA which is not going to end well. RB we’re not the only team to encounter ‘difficulty’ but they were the only team to exhibit the belligerence that resulted in disqualification.

      9. Sebee says:

        In deed, the ignoring is an issue. But were the instructions flawed?

        It will be interesting to see how this plays out. I don’t think margin of error should be permissible in these sensors in this application. It’s a timed sport down to 0.001s for a reason.

    3. Racyboy says:

      This article told me that F1 engineers have to be forced or “shoe-horned” into advancing ERS and MGU-H technology. It obviously doesn’t come naturally.

      It makes perfect sense if you’re a car manufacturer. Not if you’re a racer.

      Once upon a time F1 technology trickled down to the Automotive industry, now it seems F1 is the new R&D Dept for road cars.

      1. grat says:

        Honda, BMW and Toyota left the sport, and Renault was seriously considering it, because the engine spec was so completely irrelevant to what they build and sell.

        Now Honda’s coming back, and VW has repeatedly expressed interest in the new formula.

        Personally, I think the engine formula is still too rigidly designed, but it’s nice to see some technical innovation for a change. The 2007 spec V8 wasn’t a very impressive engine from a technical standpoint– high revs, and reliability yes, but very little in the way of “road application”.

      2. Doobs says:

        Well cut a 2007 spec V8 in half and you’d have had a 1.2L four…just like your family hatchback, so the technology was still road-relevant. The new Turbos were only dreamed up by the greenies so F1 can be seen to be Eco-friendly.

      3. grat says:

        @doobs: No, not really. Ignoring the fact that half a V does not an I make, that 1.2L inline four has things like direct injection, variable valve timing, a small low pressure turbo, and a host of other features “banned” by the FIA.

      4. John S says:

        Doobs, I really like your thinking but the way the 2.4L engine made power would not be feasible at all for a road car. You’d need to be screaming on the better part of 10,000 RPM just to get you going, and on top of that the engine would need to withstand those revs over thousands and thousands of miles of road use.

        BMW’s S85 V10 which was offered in the E60, E61, and E63 variants as an M engine, was a distant cousin to their F1 spec V10. It had to be heavily modified for road use and even then it wasn’t exactly the best engine to have on the road. You had to reach so high in the rev band for torque it became tiring (and expensive, my cousin averaged 9 mpg).

        As much as I want to pretend a high revving engine like the ones used in previous F1 engine eras would be road car relevant, they just aren’t.

        These 1.6L turbos are just what’s needed to push road car technology forward and offer a real incentive to manufacturers. If they can make a good engine and learn and apply it to their road cars, they will be more competitive in their respective markets in the future.

    4. Richard says:

      Agreed – it wasn’t a rounded article, more like a post.

    5. KaRn- says:

      When accelerating the fuel flow would go over 100KG/h. More fuel in the cylinder means a quicker increase in RPM so therefore more acceleration/power.
      Basically the Red Bulls would of had more top speed at the end of straights and quicker acceleration out of corners assuming they could manage the torque.

      The fuel flow limit although I think in parts is to stop engines running a lot faster in qualifying where there is no fuel limit and also try stop teams pushing margins and running out of fuel.

      1. Stephen says:

        When you look at trap speeds, Ricciardo was 13th fastest. ie One of the slowest cars in the race. Hardly an advantage. Shows how good the handling is.

      2. KaRn- says:

        Yeah, Magnussen had 30KM/H advantage at the end testament to Ricciardo’s driving too. Realistically the Red Bulls might of been even slower through the speed traps otherwise :s Shows the advantages of the Mercedes engine at the moment.

    6. aezy_doc says:

      The positives are they could go faster as and when they desire, thus gaining an unfair advantage over those who stick to the rules. The negatives are that they would use more fuel and have to fuel save at other points. You could do this lap by lap, corner by corner, straight by straight to strategically stay ahead of the car behind.

      1. Voodoopunk says:

        “The negatives are that they would use more fuel and have to fuel save at other points.”

        Hence the 100Kg total limit.

        There’s no need for both restrictions.

      2. aezy_doc says:

        My point is that Red Bull were playing by a different set of rules to McLaren giving them an unfair advantage. If Red Bull had done as the FIA said (as a number of other teams had) Magnussen may well have finished ahead of Ricciardo on track rather than in the stewards office.

    7. Bob says:


      It almost seems like most of the article is missing!

    8. RobertS says:

      James, how long could a team run at over the fuel flow limit and what kind of lap time advantage would you expect to see?? If red bull didn’t go over the limit do you think they could of still finished 2nd?

      1. James Allen says:

        Good question and one that we would all like an answer to – but at the end of the day they reached the flag and competitively

      2. khm says:

        Mercedes have stated that they could have gone half a second a lap quicker, if they did not followed fia’s instructions to turn down the fuelflow…

      3. BreezyRacer says:

        It would be very interesting to see the total fuel numbers seen by ALL the teams on the grid, since they are now enforcing fuel flow.

        Also since we’re talking flow and since they are measuring every tenth or hundredth of a second a very small difference in acceptable flow rates (read variances in calibration when dealing with such small increments), it seems that they are shooting themselves in foot with so many readings.

        I would argue that the sensors would be far more accurate and easy to correctly calibrate if the increment was changed to very half second or so.

        Since the FIA care so much about fuel rates this year, they should publish the data for fuel use by car.

    9. sergio says:

      Pressure, pressure that’s the main problem at RBR. They don’t have a whole car this year, so with pressure coming from Austria and from inside. They run one car with a regular setup, and push in the envelope in the other car “the newbie”. The teams will always try to pull a novelty on race no matter which categories, if make me faster than the others, why not.

    10. stoic says:

      To quote: “These limits, coupled with the move to the downsized 1.6L v6 engine, would ensure that suitable R+D resource was put into the new ERS”.

      This means if there is no flow limit they could concentrate their R+D on the ICE to get more power instead of the ERS. Having 1000+ hp engines would make the ERS efficiency a little bit less significant than it is now.

    11. David says:

      Read the article. It was explained quite clearly.

      1. Tickety-boo says:

        No it isn’t at all, and hence the numerous questions and remarks posted by others too. Nowhere is there an explanation of what direct or indirect benefit would be achieved (assuming the ‘consistent’ increased flow was getting burned, or used as an additional cooling system perhaps) by RedBull, and where in the ‘system’ exactly the sensor was monitoring – flow, for example, does not necessarily equate to ‘consumption’. This article fell way short of providing anything very useful.

    12. Seems that the reason for more fuel is more horsepower and/or perhaps even some engine cooling (as with aircraft engines). Believe that means the cars go faster and it makes the “playing field” more uneven when stated parameters are exceeded.

      For example, in drag racing they do this to the maximum by pumping enough nitro into the blown cylinders that there is the opportunity to hydraulic them and they (with some regularity) litterly blow the heads off of the engines.

      1. Ticketyboo says:

        Thanks Garrett, I had figured as much but wanted to see the article get more in to those sorts of specifics and permutations. I’m sure others will find your input informative – cheers!

  4. Kramgp says:

    I understand why it was introduced but wouldn’t it be in teams best interests to keep fuel consumption down to a minimum for weight saving. If they needed a higher flow rate for extra power to overtake for example then they could use it or not if fuel was tight and they may run dry before the flag.
    I heard commentary a few times on Sunday saying drivers may hold back to charge the electric systems so they can overtake. I would rather see then gunning it to pass after a driver has come out of pit lane

  5. Bullish says:

    If the cars are only allowed to have a limited amount of fuel, why bother with measuring flow rates. If a car uses excessive fuel wont they simply run out of fuel?

    Wouldn’t it also make the race more exciting as cars mix strategy as to when to use a high furl flow and when to conserve fuel? This would lead to potentially more passing.

    1. Matthew Cheshire says:

      In the “real” turbo era smaller engines were making 1350+hp. 30 years ago. What would an unrestricted F1 engine do now over a short burst? Overtaking a car doing economy speed would be like taking candy from a corpse- even babies can fight a bit. F1 becomes strategic leapfrog. Track position, pole, pitstops become meaningless.

    2. Satish says:

      THIS is the question that really needs an answer and unfortunately, NOBODY is taking a shot at it on any site/forum/blog.

      1. Ed says:

        If there was no fuel flow limit you would have the scenario of cars with very different power, at various points of the race. Some people argue that the DRS is not right as it makes passing too easy, so you can imagine a race where the cars are constantly passing each other with complete ease. This would not be an entertaining race and you may as well put a chauffeur in the driving seat. As it is, the introduction of kers and now ers gives a significant power boost so we are dangerously close to overtaking being too easy, lets see what the racing is like, I must say it was great seeing Botass’ charge in the Williams but if I thought he was simply pushing an overtake button to pass it wouldn’t be the same.

      2. Voodoopunk says:

        “I must say it was great seeing Botass’ charge in the Williams but if I thought he was simply pushing an overtake button to pass it wouldn’t be the same.”


        How is it any different than Senna turning up the boost pressure in his McLaren to overtake somebody.

      3. Ed says:

        It’s a fair point, perhaps it’s the same, my understanding is that the performance advantage with unrestricted flow would be significant making the overtake too easy. I’d be interested to see a few races unrestricted to see what would happen in reality…

      4. Jim says:

        I’ve seen plenty of discussion on several sites, and the gist of it seems to be that with unrestricted fuel flow teams would be able to work on higher instantaneous power instead of working towards improving efficiency. Like in the previous turbo era, when drivers could turn up the boost pressure for a short term power gain. In the modern era this could negate DRS: the defending driver could “turn up the boost” to stay ahead of the attacker, then turn it back down for the rest of the lap and not run out of fuel.

      5. Voodoopunk says:

        “and the gist of it seems to be that with unrestricted fuel flow teams would be able to work on higher instantaneous power instead of working towards improving efficiency.”

        But… with the fuel flow rate restriction they don’t have to worry about efficiency.

      6. aezy_doc says:

        But they do have to worry about efficiency Voodoopunk. If they ran their engines at max HP for the entire GP (say 1hr 40mins) then they would burn through their 100kg of fuel before the race has finished. If they were gunning it over a lap the average they might burn is 66kg/h (I might be being conservative here). This means they would run out of fuel by 1h30mins, leaving them ten minutes short of the end of the race. So they do need to save fuel during the race at the moment. If they could improve the efficiency of their engine, they could get further and faster burning less fuel. That’s what they are trying to achieve, that’s what Merc have been able to do better than the others.

      7. Jim says:

        @Voodoopunk: I’m not sure what you mean about the teams not having to worry about efficiency. Is it in the sense that they all have the same constraints to work to?

        What I meant was that without a flow limit they could win by focussing on outright power, even if they couldn’t run the whole race at maximum power. A flow limit imposes a power limit, so instead the teams will have to focus on efficiency: if they are more efficient they will need less fuel, less fuel is less weight, which means faster lap times.

        Efficiency could also mean getting more power from the same amount of fuel, but they’re only allowed to make changes for reliability or fuel economy (until next winter?).

        And as a side effect the improvements in efficiency can trickle down to the engine manufacturers’ road cars, which is what they’re in it for.

      8. Voodoopunk says:


        “But they do have to worry about efficiency Voodoopunk. If they ran their engines at max HP for the entire GP (say 1hr 40mins) then they would burn through their 100kg”

        Then they would be pretty stupid to do that, and only have themselves to blame, why not give them the opportunity to do so?

      9. zagadka says:

        Remember that in the 1986 the BMW 1.5 was thought to be producing 1400 horsepower at 5.5 bar boost.

        The fuel limit is ultimately a way to limit the maximum power the engine can make. Otherwise, it would be possible to increase engine power by throwing more boost and fuel at the engines. This could be used in qualifying as other have noted but also during the race, especially during the first few laps.

        At the maximum permitted boost of 3.5 bar a 1.6l engine has an effective capacity of 7.2 litres (ignoring losses) so over 1000hp would probably be achievable (with the hybrid system on top).

      10. Voodoopunk says:

        Then all they have to do is limit fuel even more for races.

        …and we’d have some cracking qualifying to look forward to.

      11. aveli says:

        quality assurance is the answer. checking the flow rate will ensure that the amount of fuel used is not exceeded. if this reduces the number of teams exceeding the fuel limits, it better for the sport because there will be more of a chance that the results will not be changed after the podium celebrations.

      12. ManOnWheels says:

        I suppose it is just that you seem to refuse to see the answers. One of them is surely to avoid high speed differences. Imagine you’re being followed by another driver, you could never guess when and if he was going to push the boost button any time and unleash an insane amount of horsepower. And the moment you tried to defend your position, thinking he’d be about as fast as you, you could be in for a huge calamity involving flying parts of carbon fiber, tires and all other sorts of stuff, from what something might end up killing spectators. And imagine a race start with all cars on maximum boost pressure… and the one on row 2 stalling. Do we really need more accidents like Riccardo Paletti’s und Gilles Villeneuve’s? I’m not saying that their deaths were caused by Turbo-Madness, but they were all a result of high speed differences, such as the accidents of Marc Webber in Formula 1 and Allan McNish in Le Mans.
        Look at this, nearly killed a bunch of people:

      13. Voodoopunk says:

        “I suppose it is just that you seem to refuse to see the answers.”

        Not at all, it’s that the answers that are appearing aren’t particularly sensible.

      14. ManOnWheels says:

        So what’s not sensible about it?

    3. There are no fuel limits in qualifying and this could lead to an arms race to develop engine maps suited for qualifying and hence diversion of “R&D” resource from overall vehicle/fuel efficiency designs.

      1. kenneth chapman says:

        so what?

      2. Voodoopunk says:

        Couldn’t agree more…

      3. cka_stu says:

        Sooooooooo the business structure of F1 is now setup for manufacturers to effectively offset their R&D road car costs. That means efficiency efficiency efficiency, not chasing power- i’m sure this has been covered already. Some people seem to completely turn a blind eye to f1′s financial structure (and the fact we live in a capitalist society??) and expect someone to stump up a load of cash just for the ‘purest’ possible form of f1 regardless of return investment prospects. It seems to me that that can’t happen in a world with money or even in a world without, just in some peoples minds as they hark back to some era or other……..

      4. Gergely says:

        They have the same 100kg/hour limit in qualy.

      5. I meant the overall fuel limit and not the fuel flow limit.

      6. Ahmad says:

        Fair point about the arms race for quali advantage, but in that case, wouldn’t it better to limit/regulate the fuel flow rate in quali only, and not in the race, or have a higher limit in the race e.g. double the limit between quali and race?

        Then you can have teams using different strategies during the race. This also increases the risk of some teams running out of fuel, and therefore, this would add more unpredictability, which would be good.

      7. It would be interesting to hear Mark Gillian’s views on this.
        I think the FIA in the interest of fuel efficient technologies has decided at the rule making stage that 50% higher than the average fuel rate (67kg hr – 100kgs over an avg. 1.5 hr race) is more than sufficient.
        I do not agree with this as a development avenue, because a 200kg/hr fuel rate (or even more) handling engine would be road relevant as it would bring push-to-pass technology to small cars that get stuck behind heavy vehicles on two lane roads, but it is not something that the FIA seemed worthy for R&D spend.

      8. Anthony says:

        Then why keep that flow rate for the race?

      9. I know says:

        But it would be more sensible, in that case, to simply limit fuel consumption in qualifying. For example, it would be very easy to measure fuel flow over one lap, and limit that to the equivalent of 1 kg / km, or something similar for qualifying.

        Total fuel flow over 1 minute or more = trivially easy to measure
        Fuel flow in 1/10th of a second intervals or less = very hard to measure consistently

    4. aezy_doc says:

      But they already do this;’yellow G6′ is all about fuel mix in the engine. At different points they already ‘fuel save’and having unrestricted flow would just mean longer more visible periods where cars are going slower than their competitors. We already think drs overtakes are easy. In this scenario cars would be zipping past each other way more easily than that. Overtaking as an art is already marginal, but unrestricted fuel flow would completely abolish any semblance of driver skill.

      1. RodgerT says:

        You’re making an assumption that “yellow G6″ was only about fuel mix. When if fact it also had to do with ERS mix i.e. how much energy to store and how much to use.

        It could very well be that aside from turning down the wick on the ICE they were also topping up the energy store to use full ERS use for the last few laps to make the pass.

      2. aezy_doc says:

        I don’t deny that could be the case, but my point is that they already have to manage fuel, (and the various buttons/dials on the steering wheel help them do this. Throwing in unrestricted fuel flow would lead to greater speed discrepancies at different points in the races making already questionable overtakes even easier.

    5. Gergely says:

      How would you make sure every team using the same amount of fuel? Can you remember the saga of hidden fuel tanks? Would you give the same tank for every team? Thats a kind of GP2, A1GP or other less pinnacle series. Would you fuelling the teams? Another moral+ethical questions. Just not right.

      Fuel flow measurement is the best way, imho. The FIA TWG has a good number and quality of brains.

      1. Voodoopunk says:

        “Thats a kind of GP2, A1GP or other less pinnacle series.”

        …and fuel flow measuring is the best way, crikey…

        That’s the death of F1.

      2. Gergely says:

        Why? It is a Formula, as its name suggests, and it’s the same for every team. Sure it is the death of V8 era, not less, not more.

    6. Mark Houston says:

      I find it helpful to think of it this way. 100kg of fuel, 100kg/h max fuel rate, race time 1hr 30mins. So if on a constant full throttle setting you would run out of fuel at 2/3 race distance. But they are not on full throttle 100% of the lap.
      Melbourne for instance is 60-65% of the lap on full throttle, more interesting though is that it is also 14% of the lap under breaking where it will be using no (or virtually no) fuel at all under engine breaking.
      So lots of scope for running at the max fuel flow (or over it) and still make the race distance.

    7. iceman says:

      The simple answers are that it is a power cap, and that it forces the teams to ration their fuel use at least somewhat evenly through the race.

      Without the fuel flow limit, the cars could be making 1000 horsepower or more in qualifying, and potentially at the press of a button during the race too. This might be spectacular, but I can think of a lot of reasons why the FIA would consider it undesirable:
      - Speed differentials during the race between a guy who’s pressed the big red button and another guy who’s running in fuel conservation mode would be enormous. Not only would that be a safety issue, but passing would become extremely easy (even compared to DRS!).
      - Drivers would be running the majority of a race in pretty extreme and obvious fuel conservation modes which could make for long periods of dull racing.
      - Tyres would be a problem too: they would need a huge operating window to both cope with massive power and also stay “switched on” during low power fuel conservation periods.
      - And finally there’s the point that Mark Gillan referred to, that the FIA wants R&D budgets to be focused on efficiency and the ERS systems, not on cranking up the boost and extracting more and more power from the internal combustion engine.

      1. Voodoopunk says:

        “Drivers would be running the majority of a race in pretty extreme and obvious fuel conservation modes which could make for long periods of dull racing.”

        Haven’t seen any of that on any Sunday before?

        “Tyres would be a problem too: they would need a huge operating window to both cope with massive power and also stay “switched on” during low power fuel conservation periods.”

        Surely a good way to limit power usage, use too much you shred your tyres.

      2. iceman says:

        If the FIA took one lesson from last season, it will surely be that when teams are constantly pushing against the limitations of the tyres it’s both dangerous and unpopular with fans.

    8. Marcin says:

      You use fuel when you accelerate. The harder you accelerate, the more fuel you use while you are accelerating (fuel rate).

      However, you are not accelerating the whole lap, eg during braking and going around corners/corner sequences.

      If a race runs for 1.5 hours with a maximum consumption of fuel of 100kg, then the 100kg/hr fuel rate limit effectively gives teams the ability to run fuel to the engine at a peak rate up to 50% above the average utilisation.

    9. Red Rider says:

      Bullish wrote, “If the cars are only allowed to have a limited amount of fuel, why bother with measuring flow rates. If a car uses excessive fuel wont they simply run out of fuel?”

      Someone just explained it to me on the previous article. If I’ve got it right, it goes like this. You have a limited amount of fuel but without the regulator you could increase the flow at certain moments for overtaking, then reduce it where overtaking is difficult and slow down everyone now that they’re behind you.

      Also, the regulator encourages the development of technologies that can be used in vehicles for you and me making F1 somewhat relevant to the real world of driving. This is important for car manufacturers.

      In passing, RB were warned before and during the race about exceeding the flow, and chose to ignore a reality the other racers were adhering to. They cheated. That’s it. Maybe they thought that the FIA, Charlie Whiting, would not have the guts to call them on it. Even if there is a problem with the sensors, it’s a problem for everyone. Ignoring it, while others aren’t, isn’t a constructive way of going about it.

      1. kenneth chapman says:

        @ red rider…..’they cheated’? how can you say this with any conviction? red bull claim that they didn’t, at any time, exceed the fuel flow limit. if they are correct then how can they be ultimately penalised? if you read the FIA charges this is precisely what red bull are being penalised for. the other teams have not protested red bull.

        the fact that other teams did alter their limits has absolutely nothing to do with the red bull/FIA imbroglio.IMO of course.

    10. Ian Sellman says:

      The regulations have been designed so that the power units have roughly the same maximum output as last years V8 engines. The flow rate limit is part of ensuring this happens.

      A useful side affect is that it helps reduce fuel saving, if your maximum fuel use is 100L/hr then your average is going to be around 100L for a race distance without the need for too much fuel saving during the race.

  6. justin says:

    Apologies if this should be self-evident to us based on the information coming out about this so far james/mark – but – is it possible for the FIA fuel sensor and RB’s measurements to show different readings for the “same” actual fuel flow because they are measuting in different places?
    RB are saying less then 100kg/hr flowing at injectors but FIA seem to be saying you cant decide your own measuring criteria for fuel flow, the suggestion seems to be that they arent measuringhte fuel flow as the rules intended?
    On my (very) old fuel injected golf (when you could still see some of the workings) and which sadly didnt have a 1.6 ltr hybrid V6, there was clearly a fuel feed from tank to engine and a return feed for fuel that wasnt injected – are the FIA measuring rate of fuel leaving tank, not how much is being used per hour at the point of injection – as Christian Horner says RB are – and is there any performance benefit to RB/Renault(however marginal, given that F1 works in hundreds and thousandths on metrics for measurements and gains) in pumping more fuel to the engine than they are “using” so that there is, in effect, always more fuel waiting if its needed?

    1. deancassady says:

      It is the control of the fuel flow rate, for the objectives of overall efficiency.
      Even it there is a return for unburned fuel, (inefficient), the flow rate prior to the re-circulation is the critical factor for the new formula.

      These issues have been correctly anticipated for a long time. Who didn’t think, with the extreme technological change, that there wouldn’t be this kind of action taken?
      Totally predictable ,and it happened to Red Bull, and the driver Ricciardo.
      Oh well, that’s the way it goes.
      Red Bull – Renault are going to solve their problems and probably go to the last race (of double points) before championships are decided.

    2. Jonathan says:

      they have high speed pumps delivering fuel to the engine and have a massive return. At low revs the engine doesn’t need anything like that much fuel but the revs pick up and need the fuel faster than a pump could increase the supply from the lower level.

      When JB first went to BAR/Honda – before it was Brawn they were banned for a couple of races for assuming they could use the fuel in this loop as part of the car’s minimum weight. It seemed very unfair at the time as they appeared to be singled out for something that was common practice.

      The interesting point that many will have missed is that they are applying a lower flow limit for lower revs.

      Also I wrote elsewhere that the measurement disparities could well be down to the way different teams deliver the fuel to and from the sensor. A pipe bend could be creating a change in flow turbulence sufficient to confuse a sensor that has been calibrated in a length of straight pipe. Maybe they need to calibrate a sensor in situ to get this right.

    3. I know says:

      Unless they measure fuel flow rate right at the point of injection, it would be easy to have a reservoir (only a few grams capacity required), that has constant fuel flow in, but varying fuel flow out. The fuel flow into the reservoir would never exceed 100 kg / hour, but the fuel injected into the engine might very well do so.

      This leaves a huge grey area to tamper with. Abolishing the peak flow rate requirement (and introducing a fuel consumption limit in qualifying) is the only solution.

      1. GWD says:

        I was thinking something along this line also. Clearly the FIA need to benchtest each PU @ 100kg/h for the maximum power output and then monitor max output during a race to determine if anyone is somehow gaming the system and achieving extra power via circumvention.

    4. aveli says:

      the fia provided the sensors to ensure that the teams do not cheat. they also measure the flow rate in kg/hr to ensure the teams do not cheat. red bull decided to use their own measuring criteria and got punished. the volume of fuel changes with temperature change or pressure change that is why the fia measure the flow rate in kg/hr. the mass is not affected by pressure or temperature change so teams cannot cheat via mass.
      i am keen to find out how red bull appeals this.

      1. Voodoopunk says:

        “red bull decided to use their own measuring criteria and got punished.”

        …and the rest of the facts that you omitted?

      2. aveli says:

        like the fact that the fia advised red bull about the use of the detectors from first practice until the race and they still refused to conform and got punished?

      3. Voodoopunk says:

        like the fact that the sensor that they initially provided didn’t work properly.

        Does that give you faith in the FIA?

    5. aveli says:

      i remember williams being penalised for cooling their fuel in order to have a greater mass on board for the specified volume limits measured by the fia at the time.
      i find it irritating when the commentators and drivers use the word power each time they talk about the energy at the wheels or crankshaft.
      we all understand pound stirling in our bank account and make no reference to pounds spent per second.

      1. GWD says:

        A similar thing is probably happening here, as 100kg (220.462 lb) of fuel could be a different volume from team to team depending on which fuel supplier they use

      2. aveli says:

        that’s why they use special sensors which detect mass rather than volume.

    6. KARTRACE says:

      Unfortunately it is unclear how increased fuel flow would affect pressure in the injectors. If it creates increased fuel pressures ( in the injectors) as a consequence of the increased fuel flow (above the limit of 100kg/h) then it would be beneficial in the view of better fuel atomization at the shorter periods of time yielding greater HP outputs. We mustn’t also forget that fuel burning is a fixed period of time no matter what while better fuel atomization would definitely yield more power and better fuel economy at the same time, no matter how paradox it could sound.

      1. ManOnWheels says:

        Fuel mixture is the keyword that you’re missing. You can press a lot of gas into a cylinder, but with a fuel flow limit it is no use to increase the boost pressure even more, because the gas gets leaner (not enough fuel on too much air) and so the power would die off, if revs or pressure rise too high.
        For sure one could also cap performance using pop off valves and I ask myself why they didn’t do it this way, but since they have agreed on a maximum fuel flow, the FIA needs a way to control that.

      2. KARTRACE says:

        I am missing nothing, not at all. It is long time known fact that your air/fuel ratio is 14:1 and those boys are well above crash course when it comes to the engines technology. Therefore using meanings such as “power would die off’ is completely inappropriate. We are dealing with top notch designers and technicians so having those doubts is unexcitable. What is the question is if RBR wasn’t maybe using excessively electric motor on the turbo charger under the load therefore needing at that point excessive fuel flow in order to maintain air/fuel ration at most favorable level which is electronically controlled with spray duration. But like I already said increased fuel flow through the same orifices would yield higher pressure producing finer fuel particles giving better combustible gas opposing to a lesser fuel flows. There is no question in order how to achieve this as they would have to run a suitable ECU mapping which is no challenge for this level of engineering.

      3. ManOnWheels says:

        According to Renault with 100kg/h you will get an typical maximum boost pressure of 3.5 Bar, more pressure just makes no sense, because it would mean that the mix got too lean. If you don’t believe me, ask Renault:
        I suppose this pressure of 3.5 BAR is related to the maximum rev limit of 15.000/min, I’m not in the mood to try to calculate that now, based on displacement, revs and air/fuel ratio, etc., there have been more able people that already did that, but the take home message is: When someone talks about “power dying off” it means that with higher revs or higher boost pressure you would get a leaner mix as for the fuel floe limit and so at some point having “more” is not beneficial anymore.
        An engine simply can’t consume more than what goes through the pipe.
        It has been said in the press (can’t recall where it was, probably a german publication) that the Mercs have the top of their power curve at about 12 k revs. Which makes sense as there simply may not be enough fuel flow to support an increase in power above 12k, for the boost pressure that they are generating. Probably with a lower boost pressure you would get more revs, but then again the engineers have to ask themselves what the best tradeoff is, they also have to account for efficiency and you can’t give away too much efficiency for a little more power – at least not on a race distance.
        Of course it’s not all that easy and straight forward, because you can still get more power, if the mixture is getting leaner, but at some point it becomes too lean to be beneficial. You can find a little more detail here:

        Yes, we’re having top notch designers, but they can’t defy physics, sorry.

      4. KARTRACE says:

        Clearly you are overwhelmed with marginal issues. The ratio is suppose to be maintained 14:1 at all times or as close as possible to that figure. Under engine loads it goes towards richer and when “coasting” towards leaner, so there is no issue there. If your atomization is more perfect that gives more combustible fluid to play with thus yielding more power, even with lesser turbo boost. BTW they are also spinning that turbine electrically when needed so not only exhaust gases are involved in boost generation. Even school kids know that colder engine requires richer ratio opposing to a warm engine. Everything comes down to the rule interpretation which is very wide open as it is put down on the paper, it’s FIA fault. If it wasn’t suiting RBR they wouldn’t be exceeding fuel flow, so there is no doubt there on the “physics” issues that you are worried about. Only favorable designs and solutions are employed and I doubt that RBR need us to lecture them what is good for their engine performance.

  7. MISTER says:

    Fantastic article. Short and right on the subject which provides excellent clarification to such a difficult to understand issue.
    Thank you James and Mark. Love this site and your articles.

    This brings me to the second point of my comment.
    If at least 2 other teams reached a satisfactory conclusion with the FIa in regards to these sensors, it is clear to me that RBR tried to take advantage of this fuel flow.

    If James will allow this, I would like to end my comment with a quote from another highly respected F1 journalist which never missed a race in 25 years and which sums up very well how I feel about RBR too.

    “The bottom line is that there are some who do not value the sport beyond the value it can give them and so will do anything to try to gain an advantage. Ricciardo deserved better.”

    1. gpfan says:

      You. Are. A. God.

      I was about to snap, and post a
      response to all.

      Seriously, I thought: ‘see what
      this git has to say’. You were
      ‘the git’! LOL Happily I read
      one’s post, afore going postal.

      Those in this story, and those
      in another related story, are
      sadly lost to reality.

      They also do not understand anything
      about engines.

      RBR cheated. It was a “cheat” that
      was of great significance. They were
      nicked. They refused to stop. They
      were humped.

      End of story.

    2. Voodoopunk says:

      So, you won’t be complaining when Mercedes start dominating and it becomes boring?

      “The bottom line is that there are some who do not value the sport beyond the value it can give them and so will do anything to try to gain an advantage.”

      Sounds like Ferrari.

      1. MISTER says:

        Let me give you a hint.. “Ricciardo deserved better”.

        Have a nice day!

      2. Voodoopunk says:

        It must be terrible, the driver you like signing for a team that you don’t like?

    3. C63 says:

      I couldn’t agree more. Red Bull were very cavalier in the way they were prepared to ‘bet’ Ricciardo’s points, I feel sorry for him. However, I believe the FIA should take a very firm line with Red Bull. They were warned, they knew the procedure and simply chose to ignore it. Both Mercedes and Ferrari took heed of the FIA instruction and in turn sacrificed performance. What is so special about Red Bull that they believe themselves above the laws? I guess, because they have been getting away with it for years, they assumed they could blag their way out of this one!

  8. Smeghead says:

    So is this a single sensor, or is there a backup?

    If it wasn’t already obvious, this is a critical measurement that’s taken from the car, both in terms of performance (the teams will want to run as close as possible to 100kg/hr at some points for short periods of time) and in terms of disqualification.

    Red Bull have obviously run into trouble with this new sensor, and all I’ve read so far suggests that it’s very much singular. That’s surprising, given the importance of a working flow measurement.

    I’d expect something this critical to be triply redundant so that an outright sensor failure still leaves two in service, and a flaky sensor would still leave two streams of data that obviously contradict it, indicating it should be ignored.

    The reason I say triple redundancy is because with a pair of sensors, when one doesn’t outright fail but instead gives erroneous results, it may be hard to determine which is the correct reading. Two backups that report similar information makes rejecting the dud signal that much easier.

    1. gpfan says:

      Throughout the race meeting, and, throughout
      previous test weeks, RBR has used multiple
      fuel-flow sensors and argued with the regulatory
      committee of the FIA that the fuel-flow sensors
      were inaccurate.

      All of the other teams learned to live with the
      readings of the flow-metres. RBR got stroppy.
      RBR got beaky. RBR got humped.

    2. mark says:

      Smeghead, you could also add that the brake pedal is a required device and thus also needs a back up, the turbo, the accelerator, the steering wheel…..

      I am not sure you get the fact that this is a racing car not a luxo barge euro cruiser….F1 and other race cars eliminate the merest gram of weight where possible. the whole point of the top end of engineering is to make things as small, light and reliable as possible and NOT need a backup device…

      For example, how many cars have stopped in the middle of a race after a basic spin and stall…BUT they removed the battery and starter motors back in the 70′s…purely for weight reasons..no way they are going for double or TRIPLE redundancy of ANY system or component, hell they won’t even compromise on driver weight because they are all so eager to not be outdone!!!! (plainly ridiculous and self serving to the cost of the sport and potential drivers).

      Not to mention, so far the sensors are working (mostly) for other teams. ANY sensor or gauge has a calibration, these sensors are no different. The ONLY difference is that Red Bull are arrogant enough to think that they can use there own flow rate and ignore the official, sanctioned and approved unit and calibration they were provided.

      And they wonder why the vast majority of us struggle with liking Vettel or the team as a whole….

      1. Smeghead says:

        Don’t get me wrong here: I’m not condoning Red Bull’s behaviour for a second. If they were handed an official warning, then (like I said below in reply to someone else) they should have heeded that warning regardless of whether they agreed with the decision. The ref’s the ref, and he does have the power to send you off if you don’t comply.

        That said, I can understand why they might feel hard done by; if Renault’s fuel consumption data doesn’t jive with the FIA sensor, then something’s definitely amiss. However, the ref’s word during the even is law, and you have to abide by his word during the proceedings. It appears that Red Bull’s major failing was they didn’t do that, and Ricciardo has paid the price through no fault of his own.

        I take your point on reliability and weight savings. However, the biggest bees in my bonnet are:

        1. This isn’t actually a device that contributes the the function of the powerplant *in any way at all*.
        2. There has been ambiguity with these things all through winter testing that has not been resolved through the first race weekend.

        I’m coming at this from a dumb engineer’s point of view. The fuel flow sensor is not directly required for the car to run. This is purely a regulatory device, and in that sense, it better bloody work as the FIA can black flag a car if they so choose based on this sensor’s data.

        That’s little different from a reliability problem that kills the car, and its root cause is yet another FIA regulation.

        I’m arguing that given there has been a history of ambiguity with these things, wouldn’t it be better to make this damn thing at least has a backup so that we’re not all robbed again at the next race?

        In the interest of resolving any ambiguity, I’m arguing that each car should carry three flow sensors in the short term to gather the data that’s obviously needed for the sensors to be trusted. Running three not only provides the redundancy I talked about above, but also triples the testing time that these sensors have in this environment. Once there’s some confidence that these are trustworthy, by all means back off on the number carried.

        These fluid flow sensors are small, comparatively light pieces of equipment. Looking at Gill Sensors’ datasheet for the one that’s been approved by the FIA, they weigh 240g apiece.

        At first glance it’s disingenuous to compare it to the batteries and starters that were shed by the teams decades ago, and yet I reckon it’s a better comparison than you might realise. It’s not needed in any way to make the car run, and If the teams had their way this wouldn’t be on any car in the grid.

        The only reason it’s there is enforcement; there’s a new regulation, and this is there to ensure compliance. Every team’s car currently has to carry a quarter of a kilo around that’s dead weight to the teams.

        If the FIA are going to be as bold as to outright disqualify a car based on the data from a single sensor (and a sensor that’s only been introduced for the first time this season), they’d damn well better have a leg to stand on.

        The FIA obviously wants to do this in real time so they can at issue a warning before taking further action. Since there have been teething troubles with these, the only way to do that with less possibility that the data could be wrong is to mandate that there be two or more of these per car. Hell, they’ve already mandated that a quarter of a kilo be added for the first sensor; mandating two or more wouldn’t place any particular team at a disadvantage, as that weight would be carried by every car on the grid.

        That doesn’t help the current Red Bull situation. In my mind there’s a single way to put this particular debate to bed: pull the sensor from the car, lash it up to a pump and run fuel through it at rates from zero to something over 100kg/hr.

        The data sheet says that 92% of all flow sensors manufactured are good to within 0.25% of the actual flow rate. If the sensor significantly deviates from that spec then the FIA’s ruling can’t possibly stand. If the sensor is functioning, then Red Bull are out 18 points in the driver’s and constructor’s championships. Tough crap to them.

        Either way, in this case it would put and end to the debate. To my knowledge, that test hasn’t been done.

        Personally, I hate it when results are revised after the fact. It devalues the race significantly, and damages the formula as a whole.

      2. ManOnWheels says:

        “if Renault’s fuel consumption data doesn’t jive with the FIA sensor, then something’s definitely amiss. ”

        Sure and you will have to ask yourselves if Renault are presenting the right data and here we dive into a long list of manipulations, attempted and suspected rule breaches from adding lead balls to the fuel to increase weight on the last pit stop to hidden extra tanks (BAR) and so on, Traction Control software “remains” that were claimed to be inactive. Bottom line is: Never trust the manufaturers as a governing body.
        And since the tolerance of the fuel flow meters are known, they have to be respected. Come time any “bad luck” with bad sensors will be evenly distributed, so it’s a fair game, not mentioning that the FIA even has measures how to deal with bad sensors, that Red Bull refused too. I don’t think that Red Bull will achieve anything with their complaint.

    3. Ed says:

      Great point and would be good if someone knows about this, it seems crazy for us to be having a discussion about sensor reliability, surely this is easy to get right?

    4. Aaron says:

      There is a single sensor. You can see the actual specifications here, including the quoted accuracy figures.


      I very much doubt the cars have more than one fitted. If you were running a power station then you might, but this is F1, weight is important than running a secondary system.

      1. Smeghead says:

        Granted, you’re not running a power station, but as we’ve seen in Melbourne, if a team doesn’t trust a sensor it can bite them big time.

        Regardless of the status of the sensor, in this case Red Bull were given an official warning and apparently chose not to heed that warning, so I have little sympathy for them. It’s the same as in any other sport: even if you don’t agree with the referee, you certainly don’t ignore them.

        That said, exceeding the flow rate can result in disqualification, and points lost to disqualification could be worth millions at the end of the year if it drops a team by one or more positions in the constructor’s championship.

        Again, it’s not “critical” in the sense of a major piece of infrastructure (this is only a sport, after all) but within the boundaries of the sport, this does seem like a critical piece of data to the FIA. In that case, I’d have assumed that there would be redundancy involved.

        Again, just a dumb (non-F1) engineer’s point of view. Tkae it for what you will.

    5. radohc says:

      well 2 points here.

      sure I agree with you these sensor should be bulletproof, so there would be no controversy,

      it’s possible however Redbull don’t have any different issues with it than the other teams, but they just try to exploit the uncertainty to their advantage… without it they just might be uncompetitive at all and they have proven track record of pushing the to limit of rules if not downright bending the rules…

  9. Gerry Satrapa says:

    Thanks James – excellent article; clarifies a lot… Could you comment on how FIA knew the 100l/hr was exceeded by RBR if their sensor was not on(as stated in the FIA statement on Sunday night, local/race time)? Or is the issue simply that the FFM was not connected? Is it reasonable to assume that RBR have a good handle on how to calculate fuel flow more accurately than that faulty sensor?

    1. aezy_doc says:

      Dunno about the sensors, but just to be picky, it’s 100kg/h. The fuel is less dense than water and changes with temperature, so they measure weight rather than volume, I’m lead to believe.

      1. Rudy says:

        Yep, as they do in aeronautics, ships, etc…

    2. Brent says:

      The sensor was on the car and working. Red Bull ignored the FIA directions to adjust the sensor to proper operating tolerance. Red Bull were given specific instructions by the governing body and just ignored them and did their own thing. If Red Bull had followed the directive and still run over the flow allowance they might have a leg to stand on. Even if they can prove they didn’t exceed the flow rate (which I doubt) they still didn’t follow the procedures set out in the rules.

      I think after a long talk with their lawyers Red Bull will drop not file the appeal.

    3. aveli says:

      they measure it in kg/hr to avoid cheating.

  10. Alex Scott says:

    Is there any specific explanation for why both the 100kg outright limit AND the flow rate limit are applied? I cannot see a reason why having both in effect simultaneously are really necessary.

    1. Nick says:

      Although Mark doesn’t explain it here, I suspect the reason is to place more emphasis on the role of the ERS system in delivering performance. i.e. if the fuel flow is limited, the only way you can increase power under full throttle is to increase the ERS contribution. With a fuel kg limit alone, you could go down the route of a super fuel efficient internal combustion engine, rather than focusing on ERS. The fuel flow limit drives development of the ERS element.

      1. Marcin says:

        I don’t think a ‘super fuel efficient internal combustion engine’ would be against the spirit of the regulations per se, and indeed probably wouldn’t need a high flow rate.

        One theory is to stop a really superior engine from dominating.

        The other theory is in line with what I think you are saying, that max power should be as much determined by efficiency of the petrol-powered component as the electric-powered component.

      2. Brent says:

        And it forces the engine team to work toward 100% energy extraction from the fuel.

      3. Voodoopunk says:

        And a total limit doesn’t?

    2. Doug says:

      The higher the fuel flow the greater the power.
      As you are probably aware the cars run different maps for different situations…fuel saving, max power, safety car etc. They also have a push to pass button which gives them ‘everything up to 11′.
      Now, imagine that K-Mag was hitting his PTP button to get past DR. His FIA sensor limited fuel flow would only allow the internal combustion engine in his McLaren to produce the FIA policed 100% power (even though, without their limitations it may be able to produce more power).
      Meanwhile, DR in the Red Bull defends against the pass using his PTP button which is mapped to disregard the FIA max sensor allowance and is thus producing more power (than the FIA policed 100%) from its internal combustion engine.
      This is the reason that they were DQ’d..they were even warned during the race to comply (as the other teams had) but chose to ignore this instruction..so that was the second nail in the coffin.
      I really can’t see Red Bull having a chance in the court of appeal. Yes, the sensors under-read..the other teams realised this as well but chose to comply with the FIA’s instructions.

    3. aveli says:

      checking the flow rate checks exactly how much fuel is burnt by each car over the race distance. this prevents fuel regulation infringements at all levels.

    4. All revved-up says:

      Agree. The article doesn’t throw light on this question.

      Hope to be educated.

  11. Dan says:

    If I understand this correctly, RB replaced the original ‘faulty’ sensor with another. They then had problems with that one too.
    James/Mark, why would a team re-install a sensor already known to be faulty, especially if they are using a different method to measure flow? Is it possible to achieve a performance gain?
    The difference between deliberately cheating, and breaking the rules on a technicality, hinges on this.

    1. gpfan says:

      It. Wasn’t. Faulty.
      RBR were being wan*ers.

    2. W-K says:

      I think you are being confused with faulty, as in not working, with giving incorrect reading. As the original from FP1/2 was put back in, then it was a sensor that was giving an incorrect reading. But this incorrect reading is able to be compensated for in the software. And that is where RBR and the FIA disagreed, on the correction factor.
      So RBR without the approval of the FIA decided to ignore the sensor reading and use the data from the injectors.
      During the race it is reported that the stewards told RBR to turn down the flow rate several times, this they failed to do. Hence the DSQ.
      To be honest I wonder why they RBR were not threatened with a black flag. In football they would have got a red card.

    3. Mhilgyx says:

      The FIA told them to reinstall the original sensor and to apply an offset. Whatever the offset means. Apparantly even using the offset the readings were not accurate. This is dicey stuff and probably going to keep comming up as this bleeding edge technology is blooded so to speak over the season.

      I think this car has been rather poorly conceived as an F1 product. If it was some other form of racing I would understand but so far it is slow looking and sounding. It might not be the case by the end of the year but I really think spoiling down the motor was a big mistake on such a micro sized engine that is so small.

      1. Huw says:

        An offset is a quite simple correction factor, for example if the fuel rate is 100kg/h but the sensor is reading 102kg/h then if you apply an offset of -2 to the sensor reading you can get an accurate reading of when 100 kg/h is reached. ie 102 + offset of -2 = 100.

        The issue appears to be RB did not agree with the FIA on the offset, but the FIA are the referee here, the point of the sensor is to make sure all teams are measuring the same way. It is quite extraordinary for RB to ignore the referee and think they could get away with it, my only question is why they weren’t black flagged during the race for ignoring the Stewards.

      2. ManOnWheels says:

        Because you would like to have the chance to check the sensor again after the race and if the result was that the correction offset was totally wrong, you could still accept the race outcome.

      3. Mhilgtx says:

        Sorry I wasn’t clear SIRI gives faulty readings at times on voice to text. I meant we don’t know what the value of the offset was or at least I haven’t seen it. Therefore we don’t know if it was the correct value. It seems that RBR had issues with the value or values of the offset and since it seems to me this might be quiet variable depending on various factors it seems like RBR might have a point. In the end the FIA have big egg on their face. I must admit they at least didn’t put the rear wheel pods on the cars like Indycars have.

      4. Brent says:

        Offset is an adjustment of tolerance. If the sensor was reading 105kg/hr but the actual flow rate was 100kg/hr, you can adjust the reading. I’m assuming that this is done mechanically or by mathematical calculation.

      5. Curly says:

        clearly, each sensor needs to be calibrated on the car, which is why the FIA caclulate the calibration factor (or Calibration offset) from the car running in FP1 and 2.

        The original sensor was suspected as being faulty (or more likely was giving a calibration factor that was close to being out of the normal range of values), so it was checked by using a different one.

        The different one showed that the original one was fine and as they had more data on the original one to calculate the calibration factor, they were told to re-install it for the race and use the factor that had been calculated.

      6. Mhilgyx says:

        Spooling not spoiling. spell check myself. Also not clear by my statement but I think the big mistake made by the FIA is bringing the max RPM down to 15k
        Hopefully they will increase it back closer to 20k.

      7. Paul Kirk says:

        They’re not even reving to 15k, Mhilgyx, with such a broard power/torque band and 8 speed gearbox, in the interest of fuel economy and engine life I understand most teams are changing up below the max.

      8. GWD says:

        I seem to recall LH stating he was shortshifting to help with controlling the torque. I would assume he means in the corners and curves. I guess it means that only in straights are they going to get near the max rpm of the engine.

      9. Mhilgtx says:

        Thanks Kirk you are right of course so it is an issue that is not going to be easily fixed.

    4. Brent says:

      Red Bull are using the word faulty not the FIA. Red Bull’s readings did not agree with the sensor so the FIA told them to apply the offset so the mandatory sensor which would have kept Red Bull within the rules. Other teams had to apply offsets to their mandatory sensor and their supply numbers were fine. Red Bull cheated.

      1. Voodoopunk says:

        “Red Bull are using the word faulty not the FIA.”

        Then why did the FIA tell them to change the first sensor?

      2. Brent says:

        They didn’t. They told them to use the first sensor and apply an offset. They put in the original sensor and intentionally didn’t apply the offset, which would have kept them within the rules.

        Show me anywhere the FIA have implied there was a problem with the sensor if used properly.

        Voodoopunk, even if Red Bull were within the fuel flow requirements (which they obviously weren’t), they did not follow the protocol laid out in the rules. Intentionally not following the rules is cheating where I come from. Whether Red Bull agrees with the rules and protocol or not is irrelevant; the rules are the rules.

  12. Neil Gardner says:

    Over what time period is the 100kg/h measured? 1 second, 1/100 of a second? Or is it an instantaneous measure of fuel pressure that is translated into a weight/time representation?

    1. W-K says:

      The frequency of measurement was 5Hz, this was a change from the original rate of 10Hz.

      Therefore it is assumed the flow rate is measured 5 ties a second.

    2. bostjang says:

      5 times/second

      1. agm says:

        The Gill Sensor only reads at 1 Hz (ie once per second)

      2. Neil Gardner says:

        Interesting, but it still doesn’t say if it’s measuring at discrete points (like a fuel pressure reading), or if it’s measuring fuel flow between the data points.

      3. bostjang says:

        it’s 1kHz ;) but as said in comment bellow me they changed that to 5Hz

      4. ManOnWheels says:

        “Measurement Rate: 1kHz”

        1 Kilohertz is 1000 times a second to me.

    3. Alex Ward says:

      Initially 10 times a second but they changed it to 5 on raceday to fix the problems. It didnt work.

  13. Shane Pereira says:

    Having restrictions dictating how the 100kg of fuel is consumed just seems counter-intuitive, especially when F1 is ‘supposed’ to be about producing novel engineering and technical performance solutions that ‘trickle down’ into normal production road cars.

    F1′s got all these new ‘whizz-bang’ hybrid engines…yet they’re being technically throttled by this daft fuel-flow rule.

    1. Ben says:

      Actually I would say the opposite is true because the fuel flow is being restricted they are having to look to the ‘whizz bang’ of the hybrid engine to get a performance increase. Increasing fuel flow to the engine is not new novel technology, it is very old but the reliance on the new electric engine is a relatively novel method of increasing the performance of the car. Getting the most out of a limited amount is an engineering challenge. Increasing the fuel flow for a limited time then backing isn’t much of a challenge… This is much more relevant to road car’s, and will create a great deal more trickle down technology, hence the reason the manufacturers wanted these new engines and Honda are coming back next year!

      1. Shane Pereira says:

        I understand your points…but the gist of my point was really that the FIA should set the 100kg fuel weight limit and let the engine manufacturers decide upon how best to have their hybrid engines…surely this would allow for even more technical innovation and reward engineers who come up with better technical solutions to both the combustion engine (1.6L V6) and also the electrical motors (TERS & KERS)?

        From my understanding, the only area that’s free to exploit with the current tech regs is the TERS (as Ted Kravitz from Sky calls it) – the ‘Turbo Energy Recovery System’…seems a shame that the combustion engine and the KERS aren’t areas where the engineers can have full freedom from a creative perspective.

      2. Voodoopunk says:

        Or restrict total fuel even more, force them to use 90Kg for the whole of race day, that would make them efficient.

    2. Steve says:

      You dismiss the fuel-rate rule because it doesn’t allow technical innovations but yet there is rumoured to be up to 150HP difference across engine manufacturers. Seems like plenty of innovation is taking place. Take your blinkers off and stop trying push your crappy agenda.

      1. Shane Pereira says:

        I don’t have a “crappy agenda” as you so eloquently stated….I just have an opinion which you happen to disagree with.

        I also never stated that the fuel flow restrictions “don’t allow technical innovations” as you’ve also stated in your wonderful reply.

        …it begs the question, what part of my message did you actually read?

  14. SteveS says:

    “ensure that a significant emphasis was placed on both improved whole vehicle efficiency and on reduced fuel consumption.”

    Reducing the maximum fuel allowed to 100kg for the entire race already placed a “significant emphasis” on “improved whole vehicle efficiency and on reduced fuel consumption”. So I don’t find this explanation entirely satisfying.

    “I spoke to two teams running Mercedes and Ferrari engines who said that they had had various conversations with the FIA during the weekend on this matter and had reached a satisfactory conclusion.”

    All I can take away from that is that Charlie Whiting told Rerrari and Mercedes what they wanted to hear. The key question remains – did Riccardio’s car in fact exceed the fuel flow limit? Given the FIA’s record of bungling incompetence (remember that Charlie Whiting told Mercedes they could conduct an illegal test last year?) I strongly suspect that Charlie once again doesn’t know what he’s talking about.

    1. deancassady says:

      Not this time, Steve.
      The FIA and everybody else anticipated that this would happen. The teams agreed to this approach, and then one team said they had a ‘better’ way. That ‘better’ way was a bend too far on the rules, something Red Bull have got away with for several years, collecting four championships.
      When they presented the evidence, it seems like there was a clear well understood, and agreed to approach for these situations, including what documentary evidence would be sufficient, and agreed to by all of the teams (including RB)!

    2. Voodoopunk says:

      “Reducing the maximum fuel allowed to 100kg for the entire race already placed a “significant emphasis” on “improved whole vehicle efficiency and on reduced fuel consumption”. So I don’t find this explanation entirely satisfying.”

      Apparently now it’s more to do with qualifying and crazy engine maps.

    3. mark says:

      BUT, other articles have said that the FIA came to the team DURING the race to advise them they were going over the flow rate, that they needed to address it. RB still decided to stick to their guns and run off their own measurement….

      That to me is the deciding and incriminating factor and just proves my (our?) feelings all along that they run to a very different notion of what constitutes Formula 1.

      Whether we like it or not ANY race series is made up of rules. You don’t like the rules you go and play somewhere else. You want to play the game, by the nature of a or in the case “THE” game, you have to play by the rules.

    4. C63 says:

      ‘So I don’t find this explanation entirely satisfying’….

      It matters not a jot whether you find the explanation satisfying. The rules are the rules and the teams are expected to comply. If they don’t they will have to face the consequences.

      ‘remember that Charlie Whiting told Mercedes they could conduct an illegal test last year’…

      That is an interesting volte-face you have performed there. Did you strain anything, turning 180 degrees so suddenly?
      I seem to recall you were vey clear that it was Mercedes, and Mercedes alone, that had transgressed the rule book and the punishment should be severe! Now you are blaming the FIA. Hmmm, what could be the reason for that?
      Still one thing you can console yourself with this season (so far at least), you aren’t having to tell everyone off who says Vettel is only quick because he has a dominant car ;-)

  15. stger says:

    the question remains, why the fuel is regulated at any given time, when from my naive understanding an overall fuel limit of 100kg/race would totally suffice to force the teams to increase PU efficiency massively to reach the finish line.

    Why introduce complicated sensors to measure the flow rate?

    Let them burst as much fuel as they want for a boost. It won’t help in the end when the tank is empty on the second to last corner.

    1. MISTER says:

      One reason might be safety, as suggested by CC in the first comment of this article.

      Second reason that I could think of is because different tracks have different fuel consumption. For example Monza has a very high fuel consumption while Monte Carlo pretty low.

      It would be interesting to find out what was the thinking in implementing this max fuel flow rate, but in this particular case, it doesn’t really matter. We are discussing if the RBR was rightfully disqualified and since there is a rule written down about a max fuel flow rate, then to me it looks like RBR tried to take advantage of the situation.

    2. Gergely says:

      Well, the fuel consumption rate is much less at 2000 rpm than at 10500. Since there is much more less explosion (in numbers), which need much less fuel. Since there is an optimal fuel/air ratio, the less explosion the less fuel needed.
      They do not spend the whole lap on full throttle.

    3. aveli says:

      if they don’t monitor the flow rate, there is no way of confirming the amount of fuel burnt during the race. the teams can find ways of adding fuel to the cars in between inspections. williams was punished for fuel temperature irregularities.

  16. OzWatcher says:

    Having followed F1 for over 40 years, I know what I like and I know why I like it. I like the sportsmanship, the challenge, the technology and amazing skills of most of the drivers. I like the glitz, the glamour and the excitement. I like the destinations, the history and the global nature of F1. I liked the sound of the V12s, V10s and the V8s, and even though the new turbo’s sound a bit strange, I will probably come around to that.
    I don’t like having my F1 races stolen from me by some stupid stupid little sensor that was known to give inconsistent readings in the first place. Get Real FIA!

    1. MISTER says:

      “I like the sportsmanship” – funny you mention that but completely ignore the fact that RBR went against the rules. All teams use same sensor. If RBR are not happy with it, raise the issue for this to get fixed for the future. You cannot have 11 teams using different methods or devices of measuring the fuel flow and still try to make sure nobody is cheating.

      You also ignore the fact that FIA gave RBR the opportunity to address the issue during the race, and which they decided against it.

      1. OzWatcher says:

        My point is that as we all know (And Ecclestone had admitted to either doing it or knowing about it regularly)all F1 teams push the limits till they get pulled up. That, in my mind is sportsmanship in F1. Has been for years. Only the naive would think otherwise. Disqualifying a driver because of his team’s supposed miss management of fuel flow? Why not give them 100Kg of fuel on the start line and say ‘use it wisely’. If the driver runs out on the penultimate lap? Boohoo. All this did was devalue F1.

      2. MISTER says:

        Because the rules for fuel flow are there to push the engineers to achieve maximum performance within certain amounts of fuel.

        I believe this rule is pretty simple and straight forward compared to others. The only issue which everybody seems to have is with these sensors, but as with any new components, they will not be flawless at the start.

        Also, RBR did not miss managed the fuel flow. They knew exactly what they were doing.

        To me, “sportsmanship” refers to fairness, generosity, observance of the rules, and good humour when losing (not being a sore loser).
        We definitely have different understandings of sportsmanship.

      3. Voodoopunk says:

        “Because the rules for fuel flow are there to push the engineers to achieve maximum performance within certain amounts of fuel.”

        …and a total limit wouldn’t do that?

        Be efficient or run out, seems simple to me.

    2. Kyle says:

      It was redbull robbed you mate. A stupid sensor? Like a stupid set of scales? Etc etc. the fuel rate dictates the power the engine can make, like the physical capacity. Redbull cheated because they saw that the sensors were having problems and saw an oppertuinaty, they reckoned they could turn up the wick, like when they were nearly getting overtaken, and then argue black was white. They thought the fia wouldn’t dare give them a kick because the home boy done well and was the most popular result. Also new season etc etc. they reckoned the fia wouldn’t dare change the result because of the fuss it would cause. Shame on them, a soft drinks company selling soft drinks. Nothing more.

    3. Sujith says:

      After 40 years of following Formula1 you don’t know “All’s fair in Love, War and Formula 1″ :P

      The point is simple. Rules are Rules. They have broken them. I am sad for Riciardo too. But don’t you think it is RBR’s fault more than the FIA? The FIA warned the team to reduce the flow. RBR just ignored their warnings. So, the FIA did give the team a chance to prevent their driver getting penalized. Blame Redbull for having no value to their driver’s achievements. Not the FIA. I have never seen such a team who worship their number 1 driver and car designer and revolves their whole organization only around them. What a shame!!

    4. All revved-up says:


      Completely agree.

      After the $$$$ spent on complex hybrid turbo power units, it’s down right silly to have “F1 the pinnacle of technology” performance determined by a faulty sensor.

      The response that everyone had to comply with a faulty sensor so its “fair” – just begs the question “how faulty was your sensor compared to mine”.

      It’s like Federe vs Nadal at a Grandslam finals and both told – hey just play with a broken racquet. It’s fair because you both have broken racquets to play with.


  17. Dave C says:

    James, as always a very timely note.
    My brother and I had just finished a conversation on this topic and this answers those questions. No wonder you are always our first source for F1.


  18. Justin says:

    Will RBR have a case when they appeal the Riccardo disqualification?

    I assume their own internal sensors will show that fuel flow maximums were not exceeded and that the externally supplied sensor was at fault.

    With the FIA accept that? (like they accept kobayashi’s accident at turn 1 was a technical failure and not driver error – thus escaping penalty.

    1. James Allen says:

      Horner said to us Sunday night that they have a very strong case.

      He would say that. But we will see

      1. Lew says:

        Has the FIA in recent times ever reversed a disqualification?

      2. gpfan says:

        Good response, James.
        My heid is biling, readin’
        tha posts o’ the eejits.

        Per chance get a qualified
        engine-ologist to pen an opus
        to the ‘regs’ and their use
        in our formule?

        I’d happily ink this for naught,
        but ones regulars would sadly
        be lost in the Scots …

      3. kenneth chapman says:

        james, do you really think that red bull/horner/renault et al would play this game if they were on shaky ground vis-a-vis dodgy fuel flow sensors?

        even though it only the first race all points are meaningful and it seems a major gamble to take this route.

      4. stoic says:

        My opinion is that RB deliberately ignored the directive to create a controversy that might make the FIA temporarily throw away the flow sensor. While renault are still resolving problems with the ERS, they could rely on more power of the ICE. Or they could just be testing a trick to somehow fool the sensor – 1/5 of a second is a lot of time.

      5. TGS says:

        If they can prove they did not go over the limit will the appeal be successful or was ignoring instructions by the stewards part of the infringement?

      6. Richard says:

        Well of course the sensor in question can be checked for accuracy, and if it is showing a higher value than reality then I expect Red Bull will have a strong case. The bottom line is that these sensors need to be highly accurate to police the sport properly, otherwise the regulation will have to be dropped surely.

      7. Grant H says:

        Point is that other teams had similar issue and followed FIA guidelines, if redbull declined it means they had an advantage above others regardless of what the actual fuel rate was, i hope the penalty stands although i do feel sorry for DR

      8. Marcin says:

        The FIA would open up a can of worms if they allowed teams to challenge the legitimacy of FIA-sanctioned testing tools after the fact. As much as I would like Dan’s achievement to stand, if I were the governing body I would rule in favour of the letter of the law here, which is that the FIA alone can dictate whether an alternate method of measurement can be used.

        When you consider that the FIA gave offsets to other teams and they followed the rules, it would be particularly harsh to allow a non-conformist to get a podium.

        Having said all that, it is a total disgrace that the FIA awarded a contract and then implemented the systems of a supplier who couldn’t deliver to the specification required.

      9. james encore says:

        I read the stewards decision (PDF on the FIA wen site) and I think his chances are slim to zero.

        The regs say that the FIA sensor approved will be used to judge legality unless the team is told it can use another method. They weren’t told they could. So they must go by the FIA sensor readings; there were given a chance to come into line with those and stuck to their own sums (which I guess must come from ECU numbers). If they were told the official sensor is showing the peak flow is too high, without being told the can stop using it, they’re stuffed.

        It may be that the amount of Peak fuel rate into the engine never exceed 100KG/Hour; it might even be that Red Bull can prove that. But it doesn’t matter the regulations are explicit about what they must do, and they didn’t do it.
        In Football or Rugby terms its being sent off for not doing what the ref told you to do; not for an arguable foul.

      10. SteveS says:

        “It may be that the amount of Peak fuel rate into the engine never exceed 100KG/Hour; it might even be that Red Bull can prove that. But it doesn’t matter”

        That’s a sad statement about the state of F1. It doesn’t matter whether a car is in compliance with the regulations or not.

      11. ptrfjd says:

        I think Horner is right, if we look at the technical side of the matter. But legally?

        Red Bull broke the rules and FIA is bureaucratic body which will insist on rules. They even wouldn’t bother to know if the fuel flow really exceed the limit or not. I don’t like Red Bull, but never mind, I hope the laws of physics will have priority over bureaucratic laws.

        If FIA instructed RB to implement backup system, there would not be any problem, but they didn’t, and RB didn’t follow the instructions. Because of that, FIA would like to show who’s the boss.

        Maybe when some other teams get a pair of faulty sensors too, the things will change.

      12. Voodoopunk says:

        “Maybe when some other teams get a pair of faulty sensors too, the things will change.”

        So, when other teams have faulty sensors they’ll do something about it, that’s comforting.

      13. Elie says:

        Thats not true- the FIA have in the regulations stated that if the fuel sensor is faulty the FIA will provide a tolerance level which the team will follow- Red Bull were given those tolerances several times and choose to ignore them – this is at the heart of the disqualification. & rightly so!

      14. ptrfjd says:

        Elie, I would like you to read this explanation from FIA.

        FIA in its decision stated: “…Technical directive 01614 (1 March 2014) provides the methodology by which the sensor will be used, and, should the sensor fail, the method by which the alternate model could be used.

        a. The technical directive starts by stating: “The homologated fuel flow sensor will be the primary measurement of the fuel flow and will be used to check compliance with articles 5.1.4 and 5.1.5 of the F1 technical regulations…” This is in conformity with articles 5.10.3 and 5.10.4 of the technical regulations.

        b. The technical directive goes on to state: “If at any time WE consider that the sensor has an issue which has not been detected by the system WE will communicate this to the team concerned and switch to a back-up system.”…”

        When (if) they decide, backup system will be sufficient to measure fuel flow. Otherwise, it won’t.

        Is alternative system good or not?

        A far as I see, it depends only on who have to decide, not on its precision. So, tell me: what is not true?

    2. Yak says:

      The problem for Red Bull is that aside from simply exceeding the fuel flow limit (according to the FIA’s equipment), they also breached various other regulations and defied direct instructions in the process.

      So even if they can prove they were right about the fuel flow, they’re still in the wrong. I don’t see them getting out of it without some kind of suffering.

    3. Mhilgyx says:

      There was some ex team owner who tho it it was pretty easy case.

      The Melbourne promotors are looking at legal action as well for breach. FIA sure knows how to win friends and influence people.

    4. neilmurg says:

      Yes RBR are very ‘confident’, part of the PR game I think. But the rules they have broken include not following an FIA instruction, both before and during the race. So even if they can show their flow rate was within legal limits, their car was illegal.
      Surely if RBR were to win the case, all teams could ignore the fuel flow sensor when it suited them. A 2 race ban like BAR/Honda 2005 (underweight/unusable fuel), coming I think.

      1. C63 says:

        A 2 race ban like BAR/Honda 2005 (underweight/unusable fuel), coming I think…

        That sounds like a delicious prospect!
        I do hope you are right :-)

    5. Jim says:

      As I understand it the FIA’s case is not directly that Red Bull broke the maximum flow rate, but that they ignored instructions from the FIA during the race to reduce their fuel flow. Red Bull’s case seems to be that they didn’t break the 100kg/h flow rate. While Red Bull may be technically correct, they seem to be addressing a different point.

  19. Brendan says:

    Thanks for the information.

    Do we know how long the appeal process will take? Are we talking weeks or months?

      1. Random 79 says:

        Four hours for the FIA to decide they were right and then four weeks to realise they might have been wrong…sounds about right ;)

      2. Gaz Boy says:

        Hang on Random……if this issue involved Ferrari then the Court of Appeal would be set for this coming weekend!
        Remember FIA…….Ferrari’s International Agency/Ferrari’s Internal Advisor
        Cynical, moi?

      3. Random 79 says:

        Being cynical doesn’t make you wrong ;)

      4. Dave Emberton says:

        Which means after Malaysia, and possibly Bahrain too. So what happens then? Will Red Bull continue to refuse to comply, face more disqualifications and hope the appeal goes their way? Or will they do what the FIA want and potentially run slower than they could?

      5. Chromatic says:

        James, have they actually lodged the appeal with the FIA? There’s talk that they are still dithering

      6. James Allen says:

        Horner told me Sunday night at the airport that they were appealing for sure

  20. Timmay says:

    Hands up all fans who wanted the FIA to control & influence the fuel flow of cars during a race in real time.

    No matter which driver you support, this idea is nonsense in a sporting perspective.

    As if limiting total allowable fuel, gear ratios, tyre allocation, number of gearboxes, & number of engines p.a. wasn’t enough already.

    Do whatever it takes to keep the playing field level until the Double Point Grand Finale in arabia at the end of the season….

    Afraid I am very pessimistic about my fav sport, which I have watched fanatically since 1995. It is on a downward spiral.


    1. Timmay says:

      Zzzzzz – the sound of a 2014 spec turbo F1 car, and a 2014 fan falling asleep during a grand prix in his own timezone…

      The powersliding is the only positive of the new formula so far – and believe me the engineers are trying their damndest to reduce that towards zero for more efficiency. And we know for a fact that the cars are nowhere near the limit outside of qualifying laps. It is sad

      1. Gergely says:

        Bottas show was what then? HE did qualy laps for much of the race.

      2. Timmay says:

        If you were excited about an out of position car (quite possibly the outright 2nd fastest car on the day) overtaking for 14th place then that’s pretty sad really.

      3. Gergely says:

        “If you were excited about an out of position car (quite possibly the outright 2nd fastest car on the day) overtaking for 14th place then that’s pretty sad really.”

        You missed my point. And missed the results to check. Bottas finished 5th. He went through the field two times. A shorter series could be better for you to watch, so you may not fall asleep during the race.

    2. Voodoopunk says:

      “Afraid I am very pessimistic about my fav sport, which I have watched fanatically since 1995. It is on a downward spiral.”

      I’m with you on this, couldn’t even bring myself to watch all the highlights.

      They’ve pretty much lost a life long fan of F1.

  21. luqa says:

    It would seem the Gill Sensors STILL don’t work satisfactorily. The technology is anything but simple and applying random fudge factors open to interpretation brings into question the credibility of the FIA and also opens the whole process to abuse and manipulation with the FIA being the accuser, judge and jury. (What a farce!)
    As I suggested on another thread, it would be so much easier to take the more accurate tracings from the engine manufacturers after every session and compare the traces to the required standard. Very simple.
    Using acoustic based systems and sensors for measuring Volume to the required precision makes about as much sense as using a mechanical stop watch to measure down to milliseconds, a Robertson screwdriver for a Phillips screw. The FIA are simply using the wrong tool for the job and opening themselves up to unnecessary ridicule and criticism.
    As for Red Bull being told during the race to change settings by the FIA because the reading from their obviously faulty equipment was incorrect, is interfering with the outcome of the race, and surely against one of the various statues of competition of the FIA’s own rules. So Red Bull was damed if did and damed if they didn’t!
    I have nothing against fuel flow meters per se, but they damn well be reliable, and beyond approach to the degree required in the specifications, otherwise they will be perceived as manipulative tools at the discretion of the FIA. Being off by 1.5% with a reactively applied fudge factor is simply not good enough!

    1. Allan B says:

      A Robertson Screwdriver has a Square blade, for those who were just about to ask…….

    2. David Howard says:

      I completely agree with your point about the sensors. Wouldn’t it have been possible to have some sort of mini impeller within the fuel flow system that measured flow by rpm of the impeller and fed that information back on telemetry. It’s not high tech but it would accurately measure flow and would be very reliable. There might be a problem with flow restriction because of the flow over the impeller but I’m sure the teams would have found a way around that over the course of 18 months.

    3. deancassady says:

      Yet the rules were agreed to by all of the teams.

    4. kenneth chapman says:

      very well said. my sentiments exactly.

      1. Voodoopunk says:

        Me too.

    5. AuraF1 says:

      I think its important to note that the FIA didn’t unilaterally impose this rule. If it was discussed and agreed at a technical working group it was with the insight and blessing of the teams and PU manufacturers. So they’ve all agreed to it. The FIA have said other teams accepted the offset to sensors when they disagreed with teams internal numbers – so the question is why did Red Bull think they could continue to ignore the advice to follow the rule as well? Essentially Horner saying he was ‘surprised’ is nonsense – the team would have known they would be penalised and were planning an appeal by lap 5.

      It’s like the double points debacle – everyone is screaming at the FIA as incompetent idiots but is happy to forget that the teams got to vote on it and nobody was against it until the fan reaction turned on them. The fuel flow sensors were not imposed from above without input and agreement from the teams. The other teams have agreed to play by the rules they agreed to even if they think the sensors are failing/poorly calibrated. Red bull aren’t. Though of course they have the right to appeal and maybe they will get the whole rule overturned or clarified.

    6. Neil Mc says:

      Totally agree. In essence, each GP and the 2014 WDC could realistically be decided by a fudge factor made on the spot by an FIA advisor. What a way to encourage teams to invest millions on precision equipment and resources in F1 when the return on their investment is based on a fudge factor.

    7. Gergely says:

      “As I suggested on another thread, it would be so much easier to take the more accurate tracings from the engine manufacturers after every session and compare the traces to the required standard. Very simple.” – And a clear way for the well-prepared documents hide the regulation breaches on the fly.

      The mechanical watch is the best to measure down to millisecs. No delay at all. The human senses limitation what makes it questionable. I think it would be a bit complicated to measure fuel flow safely with electric charge or atomic fusion. OR other way which does not block the flow rate. Yeah ultrasonic sensor is a pretty good way.

      When you take part in a competition you accept the rules by standing on the starting grid.

      1. luqa says:

        I agree the human reaction time is the limiting factor. However a clock using the natural resonance frequency of a quartz will be far more accurate by magnitudes than the best mechanical clocks.

        “When you enter a competition you accept the rules..” Yeah, like at a track and field day where the discus, javelin or shot are not of a consistent weight giving advantage to some athletes over others.

        Time for the FIA to become part of the Disney Empire, since it is really already operating like a MICKEY MOUSE operation.

        Imagine you go out and were forced to purchase a cell phone and it doesn’t consistently perform as advertised and as you were told it would by the manufacturer and your boss. You would rightfully be upset and tell the manufacturer and your boss what you thought of their collusion. That is exactly the same problem the GILL Sensors are having. They are inconsistent and unable to perform up to spec.

        If the sensors would perform as advertised, there wouldn’t be a problem and RB and the others wouldn’t have an issue and we would have the present comical tragedy that cost DR a well deserved second place.

        People complain about the arrogance of RB, it’s the FIA who are being arrogant with their god-like attitude when even in the face of repeatable evidence they claim they are correct.

    8. Marcin says:

      Not taking away from the requirement for the FIA sensors to be accurate, your suggestion that they simply take readings from the engine supplier are naive. It wouldn’t take a lot of effort to smooth out a curve (of fuel flow) to make it fit within a maximum rate given a long enough sample. Then you’d have to get FIA to audit software as well, and good luck with that outcome.

    9. aveli says:

      the fia are doing the right thing by measuring the flow rate as well as the quantity of fuel in the cars at the start and end of races. this will discourage cheating. they don’t measure volume anymore, they measure mass instead because mass is the fundamental standard which is not influenced by temperature, pressure nor gravity.

    10. Jonathan says:

      Those that know about sensors are happy with the concept of offsets. It is standard practice to calibrate a sensor against a known entity. In this case they will set the flow sensors on a very accurate machine that is known to deliver 100kg/hour. The signal output is then recorded at that level and considered correct every time it delivers the same signal.

      I believe in this case that the problem comes due to Red Bull using a different fuel supply pipe layout to the others. If we assume the calibration rig uses straight pipes either side of the sensor and Red Bull have shaped pipes (or a different pump) near the sensor then it could create turbulence that creates a false reading – especially as the sensor relies on sonics.

  22. Craig D says:

    Thanks for this. I was going to suggest an article such as this, as there has been a lot of confusion. Craig Scarborough has also done a good little piece on Autosport.

  23. Bavman says:

    Why not just have a calibrated fuel flow limiter on the cars instead of a sensor?
    simple and easy solution similar to air box restrictors in lower formula’s
    PS my two cents worth was at melbourne and happy to not have to wear earplugs, you can hear more mechanical noises under braking and squealing locked tyres, Big thumbs up from me

  24. Matthew Cheshire says:

    This is a bigger leap for F1 than the FIA have collectively imagined. F1 has effectively become an economy run. This is not merely another restriction in a raft of regs, but a shift in the format. Drive for efficiency rather than speed.

    Who wants pole position when second can tuck in behind and save fuel? Is third on the grid now the best because you’re already on the back of the leader? Why race for the first 50 laps when you can hang back and conserve fuel- to use more effectively with a light car at the end?

    Will we have a minimum speed restriction on the pit lane to stop the leader staying in and pushing someone else into first?

    Its like the tour de France- no one wants to lead until the end, unless they are being sacraficed for team strategy.

    No one will watch anything but the last few laps.

    1. Timmay says:

      “no one will watch anything but the last few laps”

      Errrr, i was asleep by then

  25. John says:

    Hmmm…. Throttling the fuel flow is probably important for qualifying so the engines are not given a boost in performance. I think it’s an extra variable they need to give drivers and the teams more options. Due to Sundays delayed start and safety cars the teams had excess fuel they they could probably not utilise during the race. Hence anybody that saved their fuel gets no advantage. What a pity. That could really liven a race as we have an extra variable to add to the strategy.

    Also James care to do a piece on the fans opinion on the engine noise, despite the team bosses and media stating “we will get used to it” sadly I fear we will not. We are losing something that is at the very core of why people love this formula. People are hard wired to love loud sounds like at night clubs or listening to deafening guitars at a rock or metal concert. It’s like asking a heavy metal fan to go listen to an acoustic concert “nay unplugged”. Food for thought…

  26. craig w says:

    Why contol flow let the teams do it, if they start out with the same amount of fuel.
    There is not going to be any advantage.
    If teams go full rich to early thet run out simple.

  27. Rishi says:

    James,will Red Bull be penalised if they lose the appeal? Or has that rule been scrapped/doesn’t apply to technical issues?

  28. Paul H says:

    So in a nutshell, the story basically comes down to this – the FIA use flow meter to control power output in the same way that they used to limit the amount of boost pressure produced in turbochargers. Same result just a different method. RedBull may have had a dodgy fuel meter but the simple fact is they then didn’t follow procedures because, hey, they are RedBull. They think they are the new Ferrari and everyone must do as they say. It doesn’t matter what their data says – if the FIA could rely on teams data not being ‘corrected’ then they wouldn’t need their own meters in the first place. Why were RedBull so intent on not using the FIA’s secondary measuring method?

    1. ptrfjd says:

      If Red Bull proves their engine didn’t use more than 100kg/hour, I don’t see how FIA can dispute 2nd place. FIA could only punish RB for not following instructions, but it would be unfair to deduct points. Perhaps fine would be appropriate.

      1. Paul H says:

        The problem is that how do they prove it? With their own figures? If the FIA could rely on the teams own figures there would not be a need for the fuel flow meter in the first place. It has gone past the point of the fuel flow meter anyway, the team broke other rules in not following procedures while the other teams did. If there had been a number of teams do the same they could have a point, but everyone else followed the rules regardless of their views on the meters. This is a rare occasion in F1 for me where the case is black and white.

      2. ptrfjd says:

        No, it IS NOT black and white.

        You heard of something called mechanics of fluids (the part of physics), don’t you? And for the law part – if you wish to punish RB for excessive fuel flow, you have to prove that it occurred. If it didn’t happen, you cannot punish them for that matter, only for something other than that, maybe don’t following instructions. And it isn’t the same.

  29. tim says:

    The fuel flow is restricted to prevent teams from running a ridiculous turbo with massive power, outpacing the field at 5 seconds per lap and then cruising to conserve their still same 100 kg fuel while others catch up. It’s actually essential for the formula to work. Thanks to the 100 kg/hr we now have innovation with ERS-K and ERS-H providing significant power for not so much fuel burned.

    Pity they can’t figure out how to give the cars at least as good a musical track as Indy cars, which have a similar powertrain (minus the ultra high-tech): http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7k-mp5SdHPk&noredirect=1

    1. Voodoopunk says:

      “The fuel flow is restricted to prevent teams from running a ridiculous turbo with massive power, outpacing the field at 5 seconds per lap and then cruising to conserve their still same 100 kg fuel while others catch up.”

      They’d be caught and overtaken at the end of the race.

  30. Shane says:

    If I understand Red Bulls issue, they say that the sensors were not accurately measuring the flow rate. If the sensor is not accurate, then they can’t prove the RBR breached the rules. It seems like exclusion was a bit harsh given the potential for a faulty sensor. I may be mistaken, but aren’t these some of the only individual sensors that FIA is monitoring? Meaning, each car has a different sensor, so it is plausible that the RBR sensor was faulty.

    Pit land speed is gauged the same for all cars, weight is measured the same for all cars, height, width, etc…

  31. Distant Knight says:

    James, any comment or insight into the news that the organisers of the Aussie GP are looking at whether the FIA breached their contract by changing regulations without consultation?

  32. mbraz says:

    James I read in another report that the company supplying the sensors said that 52% of there sensors were with in .010% of accuracy and 92% that were with in 0.25%,who knows what the other 8% were doing, and it does not say which side of the flow rate they were on high or low, but I would assume some would be below and some above. So I can see where this is going to end bad race week after race week. In a sport that is measured in thousands of a second that cant be classed as good enough or fair enough.


  33. Theoddkiwi says:

    The fuel flow limit provides a power limit. In WRC they had a restrictor to the turbo inlet. That in itself limits the power of the engines.
    A number of times teams in WRC have been disqualified for running a larger restrictor.
    If you can all recall the Sauber’s were disqualified post race in Melbourne because their rear wing element cord dimensions was out by a few millimeters. They had no significant performance benefit and it was traced to a manufacturing error. There was no uproar because it did not affect the podium or a local driver. Sauber accepted the error as any respectful team would

    The Fuel Flow limit is designed to limit the peak potential power of the engine. Without a fuel flow limit they could have massive boosts of over 1000hp. By limiting the flow it prevents teams being able to have this level of boost even if they stay within the 100kg over the race. It also means during Qualifying they are not running ridiculous and unsafe power levels as fun as that might be to watch. I’d expect a fair few cars to end up in the wall in a flaming mess.

    Red Bull have no defense because regardless of if the fuel flow was faulty, they fitted a component without the FIA approval, and continuously ignored warnings during the race. Either of those is grounds for disqualification. This regardless of if a performance benefit was their or not. (I strongly suspect they were getting a benefit otherwise why would they not comply when instructed)
    Imagine a driver is given a drive through for a contentious passing move. Have you ever seen a team ignore a drive though? Being told to do something by the FIA is mandatory, the teams do not have discretion. Applying your own rules and ignoring the officials is grounds for disqualification.
    Perhaps the next a team who ignores them will simply be given a black flag during the race.

    Red Bull should be apologizing to Riccardo and do their up most to pay him back. They cheated him and the fans out of his best result. They should have accepted a guaranteed 4th or 5th position.

    1. SteveS says:

      “they fitted a component without the FIA approval”

      They did no such thing.

      “and continuously ignored warnings during the race”

      There was just one warning issued to them during the race.

      “Without a fuel flow limit they could have massive boosts of over 1000hp.”

      Well, Heaven forfend that we see powerful motors in the pinnacle of motorsport! That would be a Very Bad Thing!

      “regardless of if the fuel flow was faulty”

      I’m seeing a lot of people claiming that they don’t have a problem with a car being hobbled by a defective FIA supplied part. The closest case I can think of was Mark Webber having his car crippled by a bad ECU – which by amazing coincidence took place at last years Australian GP. If RB had had some way of working around that issue I’m sure they would have taken it.

      1. Theoddkiwi says:

        I concede they did not fit an unapproved fuel flow sensor afetr reading the findings again.
        However these findinsg are pretty clear cut

        10) Under Art. 3.2 of the Sporting Regulations it is the duty of the team to ensure compliance with the Technical Regulations throughout the Event. Thus the Stewards find that:

        A) The team 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.

        B) That although the sensor showed a difference in readings between runs in P1, it remains the homologated and required sensor against which the team is obliged to measure their fuel flow, unless given permission by the FIA to do otherwise.

        C) The Stewards were satisfied by the explanation of the technical representative that by making an adjustment as instructed, the team could have run within the allowable fuel flow.

        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.

        The rules are very clear, and regardless of your position of if you think they should have fuel flow limit or not, those are the rules. Working outside of those rules which apply to all the teams means you are not compliant and are subject to disqualification. You dont get to pick and chose which rules to follow.
        F1 is full of rules and limitations thats what is ment by Formula. A set of rules and limits within which the car is made and operated. Outside of those rules and limits means you no longer fit the formula and thus not eligable to compete.

        The winning team is the one than performs the best within the Formula for that season. its been that way since F1 started.

        Explain to me why Sauber deserved to have its cars disqualified for an insignificant breach with its rear wing after the Melbourne GP in 2011 and Red Bull deserve to keep their 2nd place.

      2. ptrfjd says:

        Just think about this (I posted what I think above): if Red Bull didn’t use more than 100kg/hour how could you exclude it from the race because of excessive fuel flow?

      3. Theoddkiwi says:

        It doesn’t matter if they technically didn’t break the 100kg/h, in reality. They ignored a direct instruction from the stewards.
        They don’t get to pick and chose which rules to follow.

        “The team 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.”

        If every team could pick and choose which regulations they wanted to follow F1 would be a farce. If you are not going to fit into the Formula you are no longer part of the Formula. There is no grey area here. They broke the rule, One which all the other teams were able to comply with.
        Red Bull will likely show using their own calculations that they were not in breach, but the rules do not allow them to use their own modelling as the primary fuel flow measurement. Its really that simple

  34. Leslie D'Amico says:

    With all due respect to you, Mr. Mark Gillan, to “ensure that suitable R+D resource was put into the new ERS which, with the addition of the MGU-H, are at the forefront of a potential technology revolution for new highly efficient down-sized road car and commercial vehicle power units…” while it is commendable that Formula 1 and MotoGP have taken the lead in fuel efficiency R+D with their racing series it is hard to believe that all of the world’s motorcycle and auto manufacturers are saving their R+D money waiting for F1 and MotoGP to solve their fuel efficiency problems.

    Are there fans of F1 and MotoGP who follow the races to see who can drive most economically? Wasn’t that the objective of the Mobil Economy Run? This competition ran from 1936 to 1968 in the USA and for a few years in the UK during the 70′s I believe. It’s conclusions were, “… The experience obtained by skilled drivers in the Mobil Economy run indicates that for best fuel economy, a car should be operated at nearly constant speed in the range of 30 to 50 mph. Rapid accelerations or decelerations and operation at (or near) full throttle should be avoided.”
    30 to 50 MPH… NO rapid accelerations or decelerations and NO full throttle!!!
    I don’t think this would be an exciting racing season but imagine the fuel economy!

  35. Confused Fan says:

    Once again F1 has forgotten that sport is about entertaining the fans. Having race results decided in stewards room is NOT entertaining. These rules about fuel flow are confusing fans and driving them away. I feel sorry for the paying customers at the GP.

  36. Darcy says:

    As it’s fuel mass and not volume that we are talking about (given that fuel volume will change with temperature)it must be quite tricky to exactly know the amount of fuel mass that is actually going into the engine at any given time. I wonder just how accurate any ultrasonic device can be when measuring this?
    If Red Bull were measuring flow at the injectors, I’d imagine the volume would be different because the fuel would be hotter there and I’d expect that they would make corrections for that. But it seems to me that comparing the total race fuel usage as calculated by the Gill ultrasonic device to what is actually used (ie.before and after race measurements) should prove who has got it right and the car should have only had 100 kg’s of fuel (plus what’s in the fuel system)at the start.
    Can you tell us how the scrutineers make sure that cars have the correct amount of fuel at the start?

    On the subject of the maximum 100 kg’s per hour fuel flow, it occurs to me that it would prevent teams from making the car’s a lot faster in speed over limited distances.
    That might spice the racing up for the public, but for safety reasons they may not want straight line speeds to be too high and there is no doubt a lot of further development to come out of the current formula. It seems that the sky is the limit when it comes to Turbo’s if they can get enough fuel flow.

  37. Michael says:

    Autosport: “In promotional material on its own website, Gill Sensors claims that 52 per cent of its meters are with a 0.1 per cent accuracy reading, with 92 per cent within 0.25 per cent.”

    They are nice numbers but that information doesn’t answer all the questions.

    That is likely data derived in a test lab with known environmental parameters such as temperature, humidity, EMI and shock and vibration. How far off the cliff do these sensors fall in the harsh environment of F1.

    Is there also a drift concern with these sensors? What repeatability issues are occurring? Was this the issue with the subject sensor fitted to the #3 RBR car?

    Relying on a single device for a go/no go test where winning or losing are the two possible outcomes is never going to be pretty.

    Surely with the standard engine ECU, the FIA could come up with a more reliable method of determining fuel rate based on a required sensor suite and pre-defined embedded code where multiple determination methods are employed that is locked away from the teams?

    IMO, the current solution is at best very untidy.

    1. RobertV says:

      Interestingly when the flowrate formula is applied, the fuel flow changes with engine RPM i.e.;
      at 5500rpm max fuel flow = 55kg/hr ,
      at 15000rpm max fuel flow = 140.5 kg/hr, only
      at 10500 the fuel flow is 100kg/hr, therefor one can not separate the fuel flow from engine rpm.
      also this fuel flow is measured I believe every 0.2s
      I do not know how quickly engine rpm increases while accelerating through the gears but it would be quite interesting to know how all this is measured.
      If RBR found that the fuel flow rates from the FIA sensor did not correlate to the fuel flow decided by the engine maps applied to the ECU and that by complying to the flow rate suggested by the FIA sensor they would lose considerable performance one could understand why that chose to ingore the FIA instructions and handle the situation after the race via a protest. if there indeed was a large discrepancy, which is the impression I got from the communication from Read Bull.

      1. Michael says:

        Further to your point Robert, with a 0.2 sec sample rate, at what point in time within that sample rate is the actual measurement taken or is some averaging taking place?

        In the lower gear ratios they are changing gears within a second or two, assuming an operating RPM range of 6000 RPM it is possible that a discrepancy between the actual engine RPM at the time of measurement and the engine RPM utilized by the ECU in the order of 100 RPM is possible.

        Another consideration is the fuel flow, is it steady or pulsing, what effect does that have on fuel flow measurement. Further, how do the different engine manufacturers systems differ in this perspective.

        Finally, I believe that it is for the manufacturers to implement risky design solutions to maximise performance on the cars, in my opinion the FIA mandated equipment should be bullet proof and beyond reproach. This is clearly not the case.

  38. Sri says:

    Can someone explain to me how Stefano can improve Ferrari’s engine performance after they got homoglated? He says improving engine performance is something they need to work upon.

    Also James I guess you will post your race analysis soon along with those plots?

    1. TGS says:

      Yes how can they possibly catch up to Mercedes if they can no longer tweak their engine? Can you ask someone at Renault or Ferrari this question James? It’s hard to watch a race when so many things are in the dark.

    2. Gergely says:

      By changing parts on reliability or cost saving basis. So they can add some more horses to, as a “side effect”.

    3. matt says:

      The power is all in the software running the entire unit. Have the correct program MORE POWER.

    4. aveli says:

      they can improve performance by convincing the fia that they intend to improve safety and reliability.

  39. Ryan says:

    Wow, what a wonderful regulation for the fans. We really love it. Reduce power, reduce aero, make the cars uglier than sin, make the cars so quiet that you’d be hard pressed to wake a sleeping baby, make racing as slow as possible. Thank you everybody involved in making the new regulations, from Jean Todt to a hired consultant; thank you for doing your very best to make sure no one wants to watch Formula 1.

    Get rid of the damn fuel flow rate. Fuel flow is none of the FIA’s business. Let the teams figure out the best way to use their 100kg of fuel to find the FASTEST way to the chequered flag. Stop regulating the very essence of racing, of speed, of excitement, of man and machine and team fighting at the very edge of possibility. All this nonsense with fuel flow makes me want to stop watching F1. It’s not right, it’s not within the spirit of what F1 is supposed to be. Brilliant engineering and SPEED -you need both of these things for the sport to be F1 and without both it’s not F1. I’m very disappointed with what I saw in Australia.

    1. andy james says:

      Ryan for FIA president..
      brilliant response.. agree 100% with your content.
      it seems as though FIA, Teams, and all those involved are so wrapped up in their own little world they have missed the big picture… WAKE UP.. numpties..
      its not what the fans want… AT ALL!

    2. Marko says:

      Agreed totally. Too much politics and not enough red blooded racing. How can you win when you are worried about how much far you push the accelerator pedal?

    3. Marcin says:

      Which of your complaints will removing the fuel rate sensors fix:
      Reduced power, yes*
      Reduced aero, no
      Ugly cars, no
      Quiet, no

      *And is engine/PU power actually the problem – I’ve heard that the aero regs are what is slowing them down, and that power is actually up.

    4. Sammy says:

      Exactly my thoughts.

    5. sickkiwi says:

      The problem could be solved very simply,fill the tanks to Regs. and seal them,after the race measure them in park fer-mae end of story,why penalise a driver for a team decision

  40. Jim says:

    If the referee says it’s a penalty and Man Utd do not agree, can they just ignore the penalty? Unless FIA was not the “referee”, I can’t see how Red Bull can legitimately ignore their order of lowering the flow rate!

    1. Mike84 says:

      +1, it’s like disregarding an order to give back a position because their own view is that they didn’t gain an advantage by cutting a corner… sorry coach, you’re not the referee.

    2. CC says:

      It does seem curious how all the other participants/finishers have been passed legal after the race, yet Red Bull have apparently – apparently – contravened the rules. Still, let’s wait for the Court of Appeal case: perhaps fresh evidence will come to light.

    3. KRB says:

      Timely, as Man Utd had three penalties called against them, and they didn’t agree with any of them!! Granted, they had a strong case with the Vidic penalty/Sturridge dive, but not with the others.

    4. SteveS says:

      Charlie Whiting has a long and ignoble history of being wrong and either reversing his own decisions or or having them reversed for him.

      You want examples? Take the Red Bull engine mapping sage of a couple of years ago. Whiting had to admit that what RB were doing was within the rules as written. But he claimed it violated the “spirit of the rules”, so he extensively rewrote the rules part way through the season to ban that which was previously allowed.(An action on his part which is supposed to be illegal, incidentally)

      Of course we all remember how Whiting granted Mercedes permission to engage in illegal testing last year.

      At Spa 2008 Whiting told Hamilton that he had correctly returned the his position to Räikkönen following an illegal overtake move. This opinion of Whiting’s was subsequently overturned. There are many more examples I could mention, but what it boils down to is that Whitings rulings are not in any way analogous to a football referee awarding a penalty.

      1. luqa says:

        Damed if you do, and damned if you don’t. Charlie is a self appointed, infallible supreme being that needs to get back to reality.

        I lost a lot of respect for him over the Spa 2008 incident and the rewriting of the rules in mid season for no other reason that it violated his perceived spirit of the rules.

        Credit where credit is due, but much too late were the changes made due to safety reason of exploding tires.

  41. Tom Haythornthwaite says:

    If the FIA asked Red Bull to alter the settings during the race, and as F1 now has no pit-to-car controls, it must mean that they expected Ricciardo to adjust something in the car. What type of setting would that have been – an engine mapping? (I doubt they have a ‘fuel rate tweak’ button.)

    1. John T says:

      I seem to recall Magnussen being told to reduce fuel usage and being told what sounded like 2 codes. Can’t remember exactly what they were but something like G5 for a couple of laps and then back to G1. I took it from that that the driver made the change.

    2. Jake says:

      A good point.

    3. Gergely says:

      I am sure the drivers CAN change flow rate. As it was told 2 times until the race on the team radio put into the international broadcast. Maybe not a single button for that, but a method, a certain sequence of buttons.

  42. erik says:

    Hello Mark and James. If that is really the case and we are waching road car development programme and not racing, why do we keep hearing about who are behind the wheel.
    I really want to hear about how it went related to the powertrains. what progress they made every session and what they do next test.

    1. Timmay says:



      Not really a sport anymore

  43. Lockster says:

    Firstly, I imagine that the fuel flow meter is to stop drivers from using enormous bursts of fuel to gain track positions on tight tracks like Monaco then going into heavy fuel saving mode when they get in front of the other cars knowing that track position is king at those street circuits.

    Regarding Red Bull in this race, it would have been a tough decision to make because if they turned the fuel flow down as per the fia request and Ricciardo losses 3 positions as a result, and they subsequently prove to the fia after ths race that they were correct, the fia can’t reinstate their original 2ND place, it would just be tough luck.

    At least in this instance, if they can prove that they were right then they may get their 2ND place back under appeal, but the risk is that if not they’ve got no points at all, high stakes poker indeed!

  44. TGS says:

    So this means that F1 is a fuel efficiency formula and at the moment Mercedes can extract the most efficiency from their 100kg/h. And as super seven pointed out in a previous post, due to homologation Mercedes have an advantage for the entire season. I am left very confused not knowing how the engines work and how the teams can improve them post-homologation. The FIA have not explained this well enough although the Red Bull video during the pre-show was pretty informative (it was the first time I’d seen a good demonstration of what the blown diffuser was though).

  45. Mike84 says:

    Regardless of what we want F1 to be, does anyone really think they would scrap these engines any year soon after spending fortunes developing them and designing their cars around them?

    Also the max flow thing was integral to the plans and is here to stay, it’s key to the agenda and the same president just got re-elected, so that agenda will probablt not change in near future.

    Now FIA will assert their authority by winning the appeal, and the only remaining problem is bringing the last fraction of a percent accuracy to the sensors.

  46. Nihon 1868 says:

    This sums it up very accurately in my opinion: “Formally the FIA are right. The rules say that only the FIA sensor reading counts, so in essence if yours delivers wrong data, you have to be an obedient peasant and accept being bent over the proverbial barrel but in terms of common sense their reasoning is ridiculous. They fatwa’ed a rule allowing a certain fuel flow limit, but the equipment to monitor it is faulty. A team might be forced to run at 95 kg/h because the sensor adds 5 imaginary kilos, while another runs 105 kg/h, because the sensor says only 100. So basically a 3rd party piece of equipment decides how much of your cars potential you’re allowed to use. Now I know why India disappeared from the calendar. They would’ve imposed a gambling tax”

  47. Panayiotis says:

    My question is, if the FIA noticed that RBR were exceeding the fuel flow rate limit during the race and warned the team, why did they not take any further action during the race? Why did they allow Ricciardo to finish the race, get on the podium etc and then came afterwards to disqualify him? They have created all this negative publicity, which is reinforced also by the fact that it was the local hero who they disqualified, basically without being necessary.

    Are they not allowed to take any other action during the race?

  48. David says:

    Just wondering whether the reaction would have been the same had Vettel come second and had been disqualified?

    Seems to me a lot of the furore is because it was Ricciardo, but seems to me in this case that Red Bull were playing a dangerous game and rules are rules.

    James, what sort of performance advantage would Ricciardo have had with a higher than legal flow rate? To me if significant that detracts from his performance in the race.

    1. SteveS says:

      In all probability he did not have a higher than legal flow rate. A lot of people are already conceding this point and falling back to “It does not matter whether he exceeded the flow rate or not, he should still be penalized”.

  49. Mohan says:

    Excellent article James. Only issue is how do we prevent drivers like Ricciardo giving their all in front of their home crowd and later have it all taken away. Sadly, it leaves a bad taste in everyone’s mouth and its the driver who feels more penalized unnecessarily.

    I guess, since the FIA knew what was happening, it could have conducted an in-race investigation, broadcast the investigation, and threatened Red Bull with a black flag for Ricciardo’s car. In this case, Red Bull would have had no other option but to lower the wicks or face a black flag.

    I think FIA should consider adding this to their rule book.

  50. giorgio says:

    Australian GP results remain as preliminary?

  51. Monza 71 says:

    Ryan has summed up everything about this new racing formula : I won’t call it Formula 1 but I suppose in terms of technology, restructive regulations and cost it is still number 1

    But then it’s also number 1 for boredom and lack of excitement and 2nd only to Audi’s LMP1 cars for lack of noise.

    Political Correctness has no place in F1. No racing formula can be truly green and whoever says otherwise surely lacks any credibility.

    Bernie warned about the change of direction. F1 should have listened.

    Hundreds of millions have been spent on the new engines and aero and all it has achieved is incredibly ugly cars and a dramatic loss of excitement and spectacle.

  52. kenneth chapman says:

    mark gillan states that he spoke to two teams running ferrari and mercedes engines and that they had reached an accomodation re fuel sensors with the FIA. what would those accomodations be? what we, supporters of F1 want to know, is what the arrangements were. some transparency would be deeply appreciated.

    1. James Allen says:

      No it was me who spoke to them

      One had found a sensor offset after to-ing and fro-ing with FIA which worked for both sides, the other had no problems with sensors and it all worked ok

      1. marcus says:

        Hi James,
        could this imply multiple/different solutions to the problem if the sensor issue is different per team?

      2. kenneth chapman says:

        thanks for the clarification james. what this tells me is that the ‘sensors’ are rubbish and there appears to be no consistency between them.

        i guess that my point is, why should a team run homologated parts if the tolerances vary from part to part when they can run a system that is far more accurate and, according to red bull, they can prove it.

        the crime seems to be that the FIA are trying to nobble the team and they have been exposed. i have absolutely no love for red bull however i do see their point and hope that they are successful in their appeal. the FIA must make major changes for the future races otherwise this issue will only get worse.

  53. Richard Piers says:

    Personally I find the technical challenges most interesting. The cars will undoubtedly get quicker, this was the first race. Last years cars were much slower than those from the recent past. It’s not really relevant if the racing is good.
    The cars are obviously more demanding to drive and that’s good and if we could only get rid of even more of the aerodynamics that would be even better (and no I’m not a Luddite, Mr Autosport)
    The fuel flow meter is a good idea and very silly of Horner to choose to ignore the FIA, everyone else seems to have managed. Being an old cynic I surmise that Red Bull/Renault decided to go for the publicity both during the race and subsequently (any comment Mr Mateschitz) and even that Ron Dennis (wily old fox) had a good idea what was going on hence didn’t push Magnussen and Button to go for it and Button (wily old fox) thought of the team, reliability and brownie points. Still only the first race and didn’t McLaren do OK.
    A point I have made elsewhere is that excess fuel aids cooling, a Renault problem. What do you think.?It will be very interesting to see how the Renault engines fare in Malaysia with much higher ambiants and how Red Bull’s aerodynamics may be affected by more “holes”.

  54. Christopher Woods says:

    James, do you know where the fuel flow sensor has to measure the flow? I’ve read that Red Bull may be drawing more fuel from the tank than needed and using the excess for cooling before returning it to the tank. Are the teams allowed to return fuel to the tank? If so, then the amount drawn from the tank will be greater than that measured by the injectors. Is there scope for tricks such as flowing the fuel past the sensor, diverting the excess into a reservoir (e.g. cooling pipes) and then pumping the extra from the reservoir to supplement that from the tank when needed to exceed the legal maximum flow?

  55. Dave Emberton says:

    What nobody seems to be mentioning, even the experts, is qualifying. In qualifying they effectively have unlimited fuel, the 100Kg limit is for the race, and with no restrictions on fuel flow we’d be back to crazy 1500bhp engines for qualifying, and much less for the race.

    They were going to have to have either a boost limit for the engines, or a fuel flow limit, and they chose the latter. It makes perfect sense.

    1. Timmay says:

      You do know this is meant to be a sporting contest right? The life is being sucked out of F1 and its just a parade of tech.

      1. Dave Emberton says:

        Name a sport that is unregulated.

        In motor racing it’s about who does the best according to a strict formula, hence the name formula one. I really don’t understand how someone can call themselves a formula one fan, or even a motor racing fan, and complain about the use of technology. What have you been watching up to now?

      2. Timmay says:

        Well so far the entire debrief about Melbourne has been about fuel flow. ALL of last year was about fail Pirelli tyres. The year or two before that was ruined by DRS and endurance style engine & gearbox management.

        For some reason I miss the outright fastest driver & car being the talking point, given that this is a sport & all.

    2. kenneth chapman says:

      great qualifying engines…great racing.

  56. GazC says:

    It’s a shame that race control didn’t put up a on-screen message to say that car 3 is under investigation for illegal fuel usage. Maybe then RBR would have toed the line, and if they didn’t then a drive through could have been given, followed by a black flag if they then didn’t comply.
    Christian Horner in interview was happy to say they met the technical regulations, but obviously knows they didn’t follow the sporting regulations. RBR have been happy to drag the sport into further trouble in public at a time when the sport really didn’t need it. I hope the FIA throw the book at them.

  57. bmg says:

    Thats great, but you still have not explained why Redbull and FIA have different views on what happened.

    If a part that FIA supplied is faulty then the team should get the benefit of doubt.

    Is this just a way to manipulate the results to suit a particular manufacturer.

  58. Steve says:

    I think we are all being diverted down the engineering route of questioning when the decision is based far more on ‘green’ issues, public perception and pandering to the big motor manufacturers. All the new technology we see is potentially transferable to road cars. This makes F1 make ‘public’ friendly, it has a purpose rather than just a bunch of petrol heads screaming round a race track. The fact that they are ‘saving’ fuel makes it green. F1 has long been trying to attract back the big motor manufacturers and now they have a set of rules that could allow them to develop the tech for their road cars and get a lot of public attention at the same time. F1 has become a test bed for new ideas which will, they hope, end up on road cars. Unfortunately for those of us who just want to see our favourite teams and drivers going to the max those days are over.

  59. Phil says:

    Agree with others. Not a particularly satisfactory explanation. It seems the primary purpose of this rule is to discourage the engine manufacturers from investing r&d into the engine and encourage them to develop only the ERS. Isn’t there a maximum power output specified for the ERS anyway?

    The promise of the new engine spec was that it would lead to innovations that could trickle down to road cars. It seems like the regulations are so locked down with fuel flow limits, power output limits, homologation etc. that real innovation is impossible. All we will see is optimisation of a fixed spec. Once all the engine makers have optimised then we will effectively have a spec series with all r&d effort once again fixed on minute aero improvements.

    For real innovation, the regs need to be opened up. I say limit the fuel but let the engine makers have more freedom. As the cars get faster just keep reducing the fuel limit. In 10 years you would have super efficient powerful engines.

    1. Voodoopunk says:

      Such a sensible idea, it will never happen.

  60. Neil Mc says:

    If efficiency and cost were the driving factors behind the new cars/regulations (clearly the entertainment value for the paying fan that allows this sport to exist wasn’t) how does such costly R&D, maintenance and fault finding fit with this ideal?

    Why is such a pivotal regulation based on measurement, using such inaccurate/unreliable equipment?

    I think if someone was given a task to create the most complex and costly car to maintain on the planet, know one could have come close to what the FIA came up with. 6 hours to change an engine, whereas last year only 45mins. How is this efficiency and progress?

  61. Supersi says:

    You break the rules, you should be penalised. Red bull knew all too well what they were doing but just chose not to change anything even when they were warned. It doesnt matter if you knew you were in the wrong or not, it is still a breech of the rules. They took the risk and got found out.
    If I was RBR I would feel lucky if I didnt get a race ban. Honda got a race ban back in 2005/2006 for fuel related rule breaches? What goes around comes around.

  62. Hound Doug says:

    On another thread someone observed that a without fuel flow restrictions the teams could burn 80% of their fuel in the first 10 laps and trundle home in fuel save mode providing a dull spectacle for the majority of the race. Which seems more compelling that ensuring a “significan emphasis” is put on engine efficiency.

    1. Mohan says:

      By burning too much fuel in the first half of the race, a driver can pull his teammate’s direct competitors out of alignment and gain a strategic advantage to his team mate. It would be too difficult to strategize at teh end of the season.

  63. Arnie S says:

    I don’t understand why lot of fans are upset with new engine requirement or the FIA – Be upset with your team who apparently has not done their homework.

    Why set up a maximum fuel flow? Because fuel = energy = bhp. If you don’t maximaize fuel flow, you could have engines up to 1000+ hp in over-taking or straights.

    I don’t really like the sound (sonds like Moto GP – Ducati) but F1 is going forward, that’s called evolution. V10 are dinosaurs. Look at all car manufacturers, no more naturally aspirated V10 or even V8. Small V8 turbo and V6 Turbo (maybe superchargers).

    F1 should be the Pinnacle of Car racing, i.e. technology used or will be used in road cars. If you want to see “max everything”, look at Top Fuel Dragsters (but yes they have also limited the Nitro to max 90% and max 1000 feet distance.

    1. kenneth chapman says:

      1000 HP…so what. F1 is not for wimps. pig sick of the luvvies and the ‘oooh ahhhh, can’t have that now can we’.

  64. Scott says:

    I still don’t see why the sole restriction can’t be the total amount of fuel for a race distance. If a team wants to use more at a certain point and less at another point then that should be possible. It would be then just another factor in race strategy.

  65. Ahmad says:

    If the fuel flow regulation was purely meant for making the cars as efficient as possible, then I think its current limit should only be applied during qualification, and the FIA can set a higher limit (e.g. double) for the race based on safety grounds.

    This could create differences in strategies between the teams, increase the risk of teams running out of fuel, and make races more unpredictable and interesting, as someone who has saved enough for the end of the race could then unleash far more power to try to overtake drivers ahead of him.

  66. Grant H says:

    Still think its a pointless rule, give them 100kg and let the teams decide how to use it, teams are still going to develop cars efficiently as that means they can run in go fast mode for longer….

  67. Richard says:

    While I can see why the FIA want to control fuel flow rate, they need to demonstrate they can police it with a high degree of accuracy otherwise it becomes a nonsense.

  68. Balsac says:

    Give them there 100 kilos and let them race. It’s not hard

    1. James Allen says:

      Please do not make deliberately inflammatory comments – next time the whole comment will be deleted

  69. matt says:

    To me it seems not about the fuel flow sensor or the admission of it being faulty but about the FIA being the law makers and RBR challenging FIA on this.This is the true essence of the disqualification, RBR did not have permission to use an alternative.

  70. Pete says:

    I for one can whole heartedly say that I will not be following f1 anymore…. I have been watching f1 since the days of Senna, Prost, Mansell and the beginning of the legend that is Schumacher. I have enjoyed many a years in front of the old box but alas this time has come to an end. Why limit 100kg of fuel for a race then impose fuel flow rates….. This is f1 not a ECO run, yes the pu are highly advanced, but the teams would of still come to a compromise between power and efficiently, who would want fuel in a car that doesn’t need to be there, less weight = speed..

    Anyways these are my personal thoughts. It was always nice reading your articles James, hope you enjoy the future years as I did the days of old.

  71. quattro says:

    You have got to give it to Ecclestone. Many months before the 1.6l V6 engines were designed or run for the first time, he did express his worries about what the sound would be.
    Even though you often have something to say about what he says and does (and the greed), the guy obviously is a F1 encyclopedia…

  72. Bruce says:

    Hi James,
    This is very interesting and it’s good to have an experienced engineer to explain the technical side, so thanks Mark.
    I would now like an explanation, please, of torque, what it is, how it works and the effect it has on the cars. I know there are spanners where you can set the torque for tightness, but it is all cleaver stuff beyond my technical knowledge.
    Thanks James.

    1. Darcy says:

      I think of torque as an engines turning or twisting force and when it rotates it’s working and producing power. One way to calculate an engines rate of working is in horsepower and the condensed formula for that is:- HP = torque in foot pounds X revs per minute/5252 and for kilowatts of power it’s kW = torque in Newton metres X revs per minute/9549.
      You’re just multiplying the engines torque by speed.
      One thing that frustrates me is the way Motoring Journalists often compare the torque figures of high and low revving motors in car comparisons and they seem to expect that a bigger torque number must automatically mean more pulling power, but often that’s not the case. Consider the following simplified comparison
      Lets say that engine A is a low revving engine with a maximum of 800 foot pounds of torque at 2000 rpm and engine B revs twice as fast but only has half the torque (400 foot pounds) at double the revs (4000 rpm).
      Now I believe most people would expect that the low revving motor(A) would pull a lot harder at it’s maximum torque point than the high revving motor(B) because it’s got twice as much torque, but they are forgetting about the effects of gearing. For this example lets say that both cars are geared down to produce the same 1000 rpm at the wheels when the engines are at their respective maximum torque points. Then in that case the engine flywheel torque of engine A only gets multiplied by a factor of 2 in the transmission because the revs are being halved, but higher revving engine B’s torque gets multiplied by a factor of 4 in the transmission (because it’s dropping from 4000 to 1000rpm) and they both end up with the same 1600 foot pounds of torque and 1000 rpm at the wheels where it counts (which is the same power). They just have different combinations of torque and engine revs but with appropriate gearing they get the same result. Of course in practice both would get some frictional losses but I trust you get the point.
      So it’s worth keeping in mind that a bigger torque number in a lower revving motor may not give the expected performance.

      1. Bruce says:

        Thanks Darcy, it’s quite complicated when you put it like that but I have a much better idea of what it is now.

  73. Mazdafarian says:

    Like many others, I find the whole existance of a fuel flow limit perplexing. Nevertheless, if one is required, surely a control fuel pump and/or orificial restrictor is a better solution than a (flaky) sensor and penalties.

    Just like the automatic pit lane speed limiter is a better solution than relying on the drivers to get it right and installing a thousand speed cameras to punish breaches.

  74. Anthony says:

    With all due respect to Mark Gillan, who is obviously extremely expert, I have learned more from the user comments than I did from him.

    The basic questions remain unanswered:

    a. what actually happened in the race?
    b. if DR did have an unfair advantage, any idea of how much he might have gained from it?
    c. what is the specific need for a maximum fuel flow rate?

    If it is true that the sensors the FIA has chosen are inherently unreliable and all three manufacturers are having to work around sensor issues with agreed ‘offsets’, the outcome of each race could come down to the luck of the draw – whether your sensor happens to work for you or against you, and what deal your engineers managed to do with FIA in secret.

  75. Pkara says:

    Has the BBC done a
    Like the one they did last year.
    I’ve been to all the Main stores & I can only see F1 Racing & Autosport are in stock & none from BBC ?
    Did the Beeb not schedule one for this season?

    Any info ?
    I know this is abit off subject but thought you might know the answer?

  76. audifan says:

    i think there is a point being missed here
    the FIA took away the original sensor and tested it ; they found it was in error , calculated the correction required , told RBR to reinstall it and apply this correction to the readings ; RBR reinstalled the sensor but refused to accept the results as determined by the FIA , despite being told by the FIA during the race that they were exceeeding the permitted flow ; hence the penalty

    personally I am all for the maximum flow regulation …what else will stop a rich team developing a map allowing an excessive power output for qually , starting the race like that , then blocking for the rest of the race , a sort of super trulli train

    1. Voodoopunk says:

      So you would apply an offset correction to something that was supplied to you as faulty?

      1. audifan says:

        100% accuracy is a nice theory ,but rarely achieved in the real world
        the FIA determined the degree of accuracy and informed RBR so that they could apply it ; they didn’t , full stop

        do you think all 5 engines they will use this season will be identical ? close , like this sensor , but 100% the same ? you cannot be serious ; have you heard the word tolerances ?

      2. Voodoopunk says:

        Tolerances, goddamnit I’m forever putting ± in where for some reason people want to type plus or minus.

      3. Voodoopunk says:

        “do you think all 5 engines they will use this season will be identical ? close , like this sensor , but 100% the same ? you cannot be serious ; have you heard the word tolerances ?”

        Plus, if they want the engines to have the same power and consumption then supply them all with the same engine and make it a spec series.

  77. cosh says:

    During the race I was continuously surprised that Ricciardo was able to pull a gap on Magnussen knowing that the Mercedes powered cars were significantly faster in a straight line. The circuit characteristics favoured the more powerful McLaren yet every time they closed on the Red Bull it seemed to be able to not only defend in the DRS zones but to pull a gap. At the time I thought this must be because Magnussen had been told to save fuel, however, the radio feeds seem to suggest that the McLaren drivers were free to race.
    The information provided by the FIA after the race suggests that if Red Bull had followed the instructions from the FIA regarding fuel flow they would not have been able to defend Ricciardo’s position as easily and they may well have lost their podium position.
    Of course, all of this is speculation, albeit based on what we saw and the information provided by the FIA. Also, it is easy to understand why Red Bull took the action they took, when you consider the issues they had had with the FIA issued flow meters over the weekend. However, other teams have reported that they had similar issues, but decided to follow the FIA instructions regarding fuel flow.
    We will never know what the results would have been if Red Bull had complied with the FIA instructions, however it is fair to say that Ricciardo would have been slower.

  78. Harvey says:

    Sadly, still nothing about the performance of the Mercedes engine vs. Ferrari and Renault and the alleged 70-plus bhp advantage. James and Mark, I’m wondering what the FIA do with the engines once they receive them? What exactly does the homologation process involve? Are FIA engineers testing the engines to make sure they comply with the regulations? Can computer programs show this? And what could they possibly do if they find that an engine manufacturer was not in compliance?

  79. Bolt says:

    A rumour I had heard (James / Mark perhaps you can sniff round and confirm )

    The Sensor was faulty so it was replaced, sensor 2 failed so FIA calibrated the original sensor and told Red Bull to fit it, and use an offset they gained through the calibration so that they would have correct readings. Red bull decided that the offset was not correct and applied a different offset they had arrived at by their own means.

    If this is the case then I don’t think they have a leg to stand on.

    Also bear in mind that the FIA sensor is fitted in a very specific place in the system for a reason (whatever that may be) and that is they point they with the flow to be measured, there could be multiple reasons why (leaks or inefficiencies being the chief ones I’d guess) the fuel passing the sensor and the fuel actually being injected into the cylinders could be different.

  80. fsanchez says:

    I see a lot of comments regarding “faulty” fuel flow sensors. It is known that for ultrasonic time-of-flight sensors everything is like in real state – “location, location, location”. Do we know for a fact that RB fuel flow sensor was having an erratic behavior because of a faulty sensor, or is it possible that they were hit by bad sensor location? Ultrasonic fuel flow sensors are not necessarily inherently unstable/unreliable when all installation and calibration instructions are met. Crying foul about a sensor with 0.1% to 0.25% tolerance speaks volumes about people understanding that all our technology should be virtually trouble-free and have 0% tolerance.

    Having said that, I do not really like F1 becoming a surgical environment. Without any uncertainty in the process, this will eventually become a very dull entertainment, it will come down to just having a nice start and then cruising along for a very predictable result, à la Monaco. F1 must closely monitor where the entertainment value is going and make the proper adjustments.

    1. SteveS says:

      “F1 must closely monitor where the entertainment value is going and make the proper adjustments.”

      I’d argue that almost all of F1′s problems are due to their doing exactly that. It should not be their job to make “adjustments” to cars in order to get the correct “entertainment value”. That’s the mindset of fake sports like professional wrestling.

      There have to be some rules, but the rules should be straightforward and sensible and should simply establish a framework within which the different teams compete as best they can. When the FIA is applying an arbitrary “offset” to the allowable fuel flow rates on different cars it certainly suggests that that are making “adjustments” to get what they see as the “entertainment value” they prefer, and F1 looks less and less like a genuine sporting competition.

      1. kenneth chapman says:

        i agree in principle.

        what absolutely amazes me is that we have three teams who all have differing examples of the ‘FIA approved flow meter’. of the two teams who spoke with james one of them informed him that after varied attempts to get an accurate reading they settled on an offset. the other oner appeared to have no problems at all and the third team, in this example, was red bull who had two duff flow meters.

        so there are three teams who had problems and they appear to all be different. how many other teams had problems but have decided to keep schtum for fear of upsetting the FIA as well as opportunistically sticking it to red bull.

        i do fear that we have only heard the minimum on this and i look forward to more information coming to light over the next few days/weeks.

      2. kenneth chapman says:

        sorry for the mistake, should read ‘two teams out of three’

      3. Voodoopunk says:

        “There have to be some rules, but the rules should be straightforward and sensible and should simply establish a framework within which the different teams compete as best they can.”

        Otherwise we’re heading towards a spec series.

  81. james encore says:

    Seeing all these comments about “get rid of the fuel flow rate” controls
    I’m puzzled by a few things.
    You have a total of 100KG of fuel. Last year the Italian GP (I think the shortest by time) ran for 1hr18Mins (1.3 hours) so to use 100KG the cars must average 77% of the maximum allowed flow rate. I don’t think that’s going to happen, so for some races the maximum flow rate will mean the cars run the race with less than 100KG.
    So flow rate becomes a secondary economy factor.

    I think there was a desire to avoid an arms race, because the sensible thing would be to say “any number of cylinders, any size, level of boost, revs etc” but only 100KG of fuel : but that would have made the engine makers worry that a 500cc engine running at 30K RPM and 5BAR boost might prove better. Ditto an engine which was designed to be able to burn a lot of fuel for short periods and almost no fuel at other times.

    1. Timmay says:

      Monza is not a high consumption circuit.

  82. Harsha says:

    To James, and anyone who has an answer to this:
    Charlie Whiting said, RedBull were warned as early as lap 5 that their fuel flow was in violation of regulations. If that’s the case, why was RIC’s car not flagged/disqualified immediately after let’s say, 2-3 more warnings? Why wait until the end of the race and make do a 4 hour deliberation on it?
    I am no RedBull fan, but somehow this whole delayed verdict of a race does not look good. I can understand when there has been contact and the stewards want to hear both sides, but this is an infringement, right?

    1. SteveS says:

      “Charlie Whiting said, RedBull were warned as early as lap 5 that their fuel flow was in violation of regulations. If that’s the case, why was RIC’s car not flagged/disqualified immediately after let’s say, 2-3 more warnings?”

      There were no further warnings after the one on lap 5.

      1. Craig in Manila says:


        I find it very interesting that stewards did not blackflag the car.

        I mean, if they thought that they had enough ammunition in place to be able to issue a warning then, surely, when the warning is not actioned the next logical step is a further warning or a blackflag as illegal cars should not be on-track !

        It almost appears that the stewards were not sure if their warning was valid/reasonable and were waiting for the reply from RBR to get some feedback ?

        To do nothing for almost two hours and THEN disqualify the car is very odd indeed.

      2. Harsha says:

        but when they found out that they did not heed, they did not immediately, maybe black flag the car? Seems odd, no?

    2. Rudy says:

      Ahh…. that’s because Charlie W and the tech people have [mod] in their heads. As simple as that. I have read yesterday that some media had trouble re-editing their sport news sections to offer their readers the really fresh stuff. Due to time difference between AUS and Europe and even America, that was challenging.
      Stewards, Tech people from FIA must do a more expedite ruling. I agree with Harsha, why wait 4 hours after the race to disquallify someone? I guess what RB are appealing is they over-used that engine for around 40 laps. LOL on that though.
      Excessive ruling delays bring the sport into disrepute and starts conspiracy theories, something we don’t need in F1.

  83. SteveS says:

    This fuel flow nonsense looks like it will be the Pirelli tyre fiasco of the 2014 season.

    There was no (official) fuel flow limit in F1 prior to this season. There is always a de facto fuel flow limit set by the size of the engine and its maximum RPM. On a conceptual level, this new fuel flow limit is pointless. That’s problem 1.

    Problem 2 is that the FIA cannot accurately measure fuel flow. They lack the technical expertize to do so.

    We eventually learned last season that certain teams were engaging in all sorts of dodgy behavior to get around the (deliberately created) tyre limitations. Some of them were running the tyres the wrong way around. I suspect something similar will be found to be this case this year.

    Internal combustion engines are very mature technology and very well understood. It’s most unlikely that Mercedes have discovered some new technical means of getting more power out of one. Their power superiority over the other units is most likely attributable to discovering a means of tricking the FIA’s fuel flow sensor into believing it is “seeing” less fuel flow than is actually occurring.

    1. Bolt says:

      To be honest SteveS I think it highly unlikely that Mercedes are tricking the FIA sensor.

      Engines are a mature technology but there is no definitive way of doing it, there are plenty of things that can be different from engine to engine.

      Ferrari’s engines are far better with cooling than everyone else’s, but are also heavier.

      Do bear in mind that Mercedes started working on this engine almost 2 years before most of the other manafacturers, so they have had more time to perfect and tweak. They had the engine that was widely recognised as the best and most powerful of the old V8′s as well, it’s just something they do very well, they have never been accused of cheating the regs on their engines before, so why now?

      Next year Honda are back, and their engines will have different characteristics again

  84. Rudy says:

    Sorry Mark (and James) but the article doesn’t shed any further light on what we already knew. The sensorgate has put a lot of words in a wide variety of media. For a normal journo this is really technical so I understand why special collaborations, like Mr. Gillan, is needed every now and then. An illustration or cut-off would explain way better.
    Somewhere up the bloggers posts, someone says the restriction is to avoid the turbos going wild, specially during practice or quali where there is no fuel limit. Even mentioning to avoid the 80′s turbo madness and thus the poor reliability.

    What is beyond understanding is why they rely on a poorly tested (manufactured maybe) sensor. That sensor rules the core of racing. There were 3 pre-season tests and clearly no one got to terms with the new technology. For sure many must have done the testing on their dynos, but real rolling, real racing is a world apart from dyno testing. So, why there wasn’t an adaptation process, like when the KERS was first introduced back in 2009? 09 was optional to develop and from 2010 was used by all, except 2 teams, and the handicap for not running with it was for everyone to see.

    I don’t like being overly critical but these FIA heads along with the Technical Working Group (some teams) are really shooting themselves on the foot. 2013 was about tires. 2014 was supposedly about power units and fuel efficiency and for the info coming from teams it looks like it will be the year of the fuel issues: Disqualifications, appeals and mistrust between teams.

    F1 is a laugh now. Being a fan since the end of the 70′s this Formula is way off from what it should be. Yes, some tech from these cars will surely appear some time into the future on our road cars. But for that there are the GT cars, the Supercup, Rallying. F1, WEC, are the pinnacle of motorsport. I don’ t give a penny (or a loonie) if they try to make racing go “green”. Rubbish! The airfreight for moving the circus one flyaway race burns more fuel than the entire field for a season.

    BRING BACK the V-12′s, the V-10′s. With less displacement but a true racing F1 engine.

    Sad times for us true racing fans…

  85. Graham says:

    What I find troubling in this is that the scrutineers seem to have admitted that the flow meters are not giving accurate readings, This is the gist of other articles posted about this since Daniel’s disqualification on Sunday. This was why they had RBR switch to another unit, and then switch back when the substitute was found to be even more inaccurate.
    A good analogy to this situation would be getting stopped for speeding by the highway police based on a reading given by their radar unit that subesquently was found to be defective. There would be no case against you. Any court in the land would throw out the police evidence.

  86. Dave says:

    The approved flow rate sensor is manufactured by Gill, this has a max flow of 8000mL/min
    Which I calculate as 8 litres / min, or 480 L / Hour.
    With petrol at 0.71 or so kg / Litre, this gives a mass flow figure of 340 kg / hour.
    The acuracies quoted by gill are probably at the maximum flow, it would be good to see the actual accuracies across the whole flow range of the approved sensor, I guess that at a flow of under 30 % of the max figure the accuracies start to show greater discrepencies. Over to you Gill and FIA to show that this is not happening.

    1. Old Dry Joint says:

      Here’s the off-the-shelf sensor specs.


      600kg/hr at 1% at 20deg c. 1% is 6kg/hr… I’m assuming they have a special sensor that has better specs. Otherwise, RBR will have no problems with their appeal.


      1. Dave says:

        I believe this is the actual Fuel Flow sensor spec sheet.

        The one quoted by Old Dry Joint is an Air mass flow sensor not a fuel sensor. Note that the fuel sensor is quoted as being approved by the FIA.

      2. Old Dry Joint says:

        Yep.. you’re correct.. I’ll redo calcs..

        sensor capacity 8000ml/min = 480L/hr
        spec gravity of fuel is around 730grams/L
        makes capacity 350kg/hr
        0.25% accuracy gives 0.876kg/hr

        Pretty good.. designed for auto use because of the CAN bus..


      3. Dave says:

        OK, sorry if this repeats what others have said.
        As a by issue the the sensor accuracy, the fact is that we have a max use of 100kg of fuel per race, and a max flow rate of 100kg.hr. With the self toerencing nature of the metric system of units these mean that:-
        1/ in term of race fuel between 99.51 and 100.49 kgs are to be read as being within the 100kg allowance. As the FIA did not specify a tighter tolerance.
        2/ for the max fuel flow rate 100kg/hour means just that, you cannot use more than 100kg in any period of 1 hour.
        As the max for a whole race is also 100kg, THIS CANNOT BE what the FIA intended.
        The 100kg/hour figure should have had an equivalent max flow per set period of time included, say 0.5 seconds. (13.88 grams).
        Also in terms of the measurment device, (i.e. the “Fuel Flow Sensor”)what does this measure. I believe that the sensor measures the velocity of the liquid passing through a known diameter of pipe in the unit. this in turn is computed into a volume of fluid in a set time. and then calculated into a Mass using a known specificgravity for the liquid in question at a measured temperature. mant factors here are again subject to tolerences and calculations. (The temperature itself will also be measured by a separate sensor with its own accuracy.
        Taking all these into account, on a moving vehicle with many vibration issues to be factored in makes amockery of the complete system.
        I can believe the manufacturers quoted accuracy of 0.25% as tested on the test bed in the factory at the max flow rate of the sensor, and in to this the factors quoted above and errors creep in.
        I pesonally believe that Red Bull have realised that the FIA figure of 100kg/hour is nonsense when taken out of context of a small time perid and that they did use more than the equivalent flow rate over a small time period.

  87. kenneth chapman says:

    there are some points that need clarification if we are to fully understand this farce. i can only presume that the car was fitted with the FIA sensor otherwise how could the FIA monitor the fuel flow. it appears that red bull were monitoring the fuel flow at the injector level which is synchronous with the pump.

    if the RB monitoring indicates no breach of the msx fuel flow and the FIA sensor indicates that the level is excessive then what does red bull do? do they reduce the flow and lose any competetive ability?

    in another thread it was stated that mercedes and ferrari discussed the issue with charlie whiting and they then proceeded to use the FIA sensor. if this is so what was the FIA accomodation? were the only faulty sensors given to red bull or did the recalibrated sensors work accurately and red bull’s injector measuremnet was wrong? who would you believe?

    i would love to understand more about this as this issue is destined to dog each and every race until sorted.

  88. Malcolm Norwood says:

    Running an engine at a ‘richer’ fuel setting, hence more flow, will make it runs cooler, the incoming charged air actually cools the engine. Red Bull know what they were doing, they have got their hands caught in the till.

    Expecting the FIA to trust the data the teams give them is living in cloud cuckoo land, all competitors want an advantage, they always have, and always will, bend the rules as far as they can.

    I have sympathy for Ricciardo, but he is a team member, in F1 you win with the team, and you lose with the team

    1. kenneth chapman says:

      so malcolm, what you are saying is, in essence, that horner was lying and that they cannot provide evidence to prove conclusively that they never exceeded the mandated maximum flow, also that the evidence that they will supposedly provide at the appeal court will by logical extrapolation, be false/misleading.

      strong call, given that the details of any evidence being lead by red bull has not, to the best of my knowledge, been published in the public arena?

    2. Voodoopunk says:

      “Expecting the FIA to trust the data the teams give them is living in cloud cuckoo land”

      I would say it’s round the other way.

  89. Richard Piers says:

    Me again.
    It’s really very simple.
    1. Max quantity of fuel permitted 100kg.
    2. Max fuel flow permitted 100kg/hr.
    3. Red Bull/Renault told they were consistently exceeding max fuel flow rate. Everyone was given prior fair warning.
    4. Red Bull/Renault decided to take on FIA.
    5. Red Bull/Renault were disqualified.
    Finish !

  90. Marcelo Aguiar says:

    I didn´t understand this case yet. How many flow sensors is there on the engine to check the rate? If it is two sensor for example. One was setup by Red Bull and the other by FIA rules? If there was only one, why RB would have installed with parameters against them?

    1. KARTRACE says:

      It was a merely different interpretation of the rule. The rule is saying 100 kg/h which doesn’t read ,if you like, 100/3600 sec. In ohter words it should say that your flow may not exceed f.flow rate at any given time. As it is written I am assuming that I may not exceed flow rate of 100kg/h which is leaving a vide open dore for interpretation. It means that at some sections at the trac I could run even 130 kg/h because I am going to run other sections at 60kg/h or 75kg/h which would leave me still within the 100 kg/h. I belive that having a norm of 100 kg over an hour is wrong. That is why RBR is saying that they are within that rule but FIA is measuring the current flow rate employing ultra sonic sensor that is at some point showing that fuel rate was higher then regulated not taking into the account that over an hour they are within the limits.

      1. neilmurg says:

        wrong, 100kg/h, measured every 0.2seconds

      2. KARTRACE says:

        Really ? so wasn’t much more easier to say so much furl flow over o.2 sec. Where did you read this 0.2 sec ?

      3. neilmurg says:

        Here (below), the sensor actually samples at up to 1kHz. Look in FIA Documentation, document 24. Don’t you read all this stuff + the technical regs before commenting??


        Sensor spec:

        And the rules about the engine:

        There’s lots of fun stuff, like not using Rhenium and using spark plugs not lasers, plenty of rules to complain about (not you)

      4. Dave says:

        This is the crux of the matter, the flow rate can either be 100 kg in any 1hour period (60mins)
        Or it could be interpollated as being the equivalent flow for any other time period, the FIA rule is ambiguous, in that the time period is not directly stated. I would read that a total flow over a one hour period was meant to be the case, And Red Bull have assumed that, clarification is needed ion this matter. I can believe that the other teams have based usage on the above. Please note that with a total for the whole race being 100kg, the race average would be rather short of the 100kg/hr figure. If the FIA did mean an ‘intanteoneous’ rate equivalent to 100kg/hr then the rule makers should hold there hands up and say we goofed.

      5. KARTRACE says:

        In the world and era where we easily measure 100/sec. what is the point in expressing fuel flow over an hour. That by no means that those engines may consume 100 L/hour. The catch is that by increasing fuel flow through the fuel lines the pressure would increase as well providing finer fuel atomization under engine thus yielding better acceleration and top speeds.

  91. Richard Laznik says:

    If RBR have ignored the correction factor that everyone else agreed to, that is not technically a breach of the rules as published on the F1 website.

    I assume their (strict letter of the law) argument will be that they have used the sensor supplied (rule 5.10.3), they have used one sensor (rule 5.10.4) and the data from that sensor shows that the flow was less than the limit (rule 5.1.4). There is no mention of a correction factor in the regulations.

    1. GWD says:

      From what I understand, the sensor indicated that the flow limit was breached and thusly notified the FIA/Stewards in the race, and RB decided to ignore the then delivered advice to make an offset/correction adjustment because their data showed no breach and the offset is, as you mention, an adhoc situational application made by the FIA/Stewards and is not specifcally in the rules. One would imagine that this non-existent component in the rules will be sorted fairly quickly. How that affects RB’s case here is unknown, as they did defy the umpires call regardless of how correct it was or wasn’t. I’m sure RB’s act was damaging to the authory of the FIA/Stewards/Charlie Whiting/etc, and can not be ignored for being so regardless if they can then irrefutably prove they did not breach the flow reg.

  92. Mohan says:

    When most of members in this forum accept that a 100 kg fuel limit per race is acceptable, why do they have difficulty in accepting a flow limit as well? Red Bull just broke the rule laid down by F1 administration and they need to lose the points.

    1. kenneth chapman says:

      @ mohan haven’t you read the posts? they are self explanatory in most cases.

    2. neilmurg says:

      I agree with you Mohan.
      Last time with turbos we got 1250bhp quali engines with too much power and speed to be safely contained on an F1 track, with the consequent danger to drivers, marshalls and spectators.
      A quick glance at the rules and their complexity shows that you just can’t drop the odd one on a whim just because RBR want to choose which ones they will follow.

      RBR should be fined for the reputational damage they have caused to an FIA supplier (by the words used to justify their rule breaking), and that supplier should be compensated

      1. Voodoopunk says:

        “A quick glance at the rules and their complexity shows that you just can’t drop the odd one on a whim just because RBR want to choose which ones they will follow.”

        Applying a correctional offset to the sensor is in the rules is it?

      2. neilmurg says:

        yes, but that wasn’t what I said

  93. Mad McAdder says:

    I disagree with the fuel flow sensor rule. I believe the FIA should fuel the cars to the correct race distance. If the car then runs out of fuel… Game over. However if as on Sunday there are a number of safety car runs then the teams obviously have a margin to run the engines with more fuel.

    Keep it simple FIA this fuel flow monitor thing is a recipe for argument……Wait until Ferrari have a problem then suddenly they will all be removed!

    1. Mad McAdder says:

      I received this email after posting this comment yesterday accusing me of hating Ferrai.

      “Oh what a surprise, was waiting for this, you know, the avg brit hating on the one team on based in their precious UK~ How amusing”

      I would just like to say I do not hate Ferrari and the comment was made tongue in cheek. On the contrary I like Ferrai and do not think F1 would be the same without them.

  94. F Chenevert says:

    Too many rules is worst than not enough rules.

    RPM and boost should be unlimeted. Anyway with 5 engines only and 100kg for the race nobody will get creasy and everybody will work on ERS to get more out of it.

    Scrap the 100kg/h rule as soon as possible. Maybe we will get a better sound as well…..

    1. Voodoopunk says:

      Much worst.

  95. Elie says:

    I fully understand and agree the principle of a fuel flow meter. The whole purpose of the new formula is to improve efficiency. If teams could dial up horsepower at will you could have safety issues along with people jumping to the front and blocking the whole race using team mates etc..then we would see a lot of “artificial racing” and other inconsistencies.

    If the fuel flow meter is wider problem within the teams and we are simply not as aware about it. Then it is fine that it be challenged. However given all the teams are aware of the rules and the parameters set by the FIA- why is jt only Red Bull playing hard ball. Until the rules are changed they cannot brake them!- end of story. Horner knows RBR are in hole at the moment and he is using every means possible to gain some advantage. It is totally unacceptable the actions Red Bull took at Melb. I fully support a change of measuring equipment if all the teams and the FIA agree it but not 1.and until then they have to abide by the rules.

    Further all the jokers saying its “not the drivers fault” – well too bad – he was in an an illegal car – which bit of that dont you get!!-For crying out loud there are some ridiculous comments out there..

    1. F Chenevert says:

      Never forget that F1 racing is a show. The argument for the fuel flow meter is to force the team to work on the ERS. It’s a false argument. In F1 nobody can leave any HP on the table. Fuel management is part of the game but it should be managed so it does not smother the intensity of the show. F1 fan will not accept that. The only way to crank the intensity of the show is to let the team and the driver use all the potential power they have, according to their strategic management of DRS, ERS and Thermal power. With DSR, systematic blocking is unlikely. Safety issues? Excessive power at higher RPM is also unlikely because of reliability (5 engines/season) and fuel management. They are not going to open the boost at 5.5 bars as in the old F1.

      The first race was lacking of intensity big time. It’s clear that from a spectator point of view FIA need to react and adjust. The big thing about the noise will also benefit of the drop of the 100kg/h rule. I’m convinced that it will be good to ear the engine revving up to 15000rpm in qualifications and for passing when an opportunity occur. At 12000rpm as we saw in Melbourne we are 6000rpm away from last year. Boring!

      PS Fuel flow meter should be used be FIA only to include a graphic display of each team use of fuel during the race. That will raise the television broadcast quality. Think of all aspects of F1 for the benefit of the audience.

  96. neilmurg says:

    Congratulations on an article which has generated more heat than a 2014 spec engine running at 101kg/h.
    Someone even said that F1 doesn’t need conspiracy theories :-O
    I’m looking forward to the rest of the season, especially as you can now hear the arguments over the sound of the engines…

  97. Dave says:

    OK, sorry if this repeats what others have said.
    As side issue of the sensor accuracy, the fact is that we have a max use of 100kg of fuel per race, and a max flow rate of 100kg.hr.
    With the self toerencing nature of the metric system of units these mean that:-
    1/ in term of race fuel between 99.51 and 100.49 kgs are to be read as being within the 100kg allowance. As the FIA did not specify a tighter tolerance. if 100.000 was required, a figure of 100,000 grams should have been used (99,999.51 to 100,000.49 grams)
    2/ For the max fuel flow rate 100kg/hour means just that, you cannot use more than 100kg in any period of 1 hour.
    As the max for a whole race is also 100kg, THIS CANNOT BE what the FIA intended.
    The 100kg/hour figure should have had an equivalent max flow per set period of time included, say 0.5 seconds. (13.88 grams).
    Also in terms of the measurment device, (i.e. the “Fuel Flow Sensor”)what does this measure. I believe that the sensor measures the velocity of the liquid passing through a known diameter of pipe in the unit. this in turn is computed into a volume of fluid in a set time. and then calculated into a Mass using a known specificgravity for the liquid in question at a measured temperature. mant factors here are again subject to tolerences and calculations. (The temperature itself will also be measured by a separate sensor with its own accuracy.
    Taking all these into account, on a moving vehicle with many vibration issues to be factored in makes amockery of the complete system.
    I can believe the manufacturers quoted accuracy of 0.25% as tested on the test bed in the factory at the max flow rate of the sensor, and in to this the factors quoted above and errors creep in.
    I pesonally believe that Red Bull have realised that the FIA figure of 100kg/hour is nonsense when taken out of context of a small time perid and that they did use more than the equivalent flow rate over a small time period.

    1. Elie says:

      Very good points Dave and could definitely highlight why Red Bull can argue the rules because if the variables of time in the measurement.

    2. neilmurg says:

      Dave, someone else made the same point. But it’s just wrong I’m afraid.
      The metering was done every 0.2seconds (but the sensor samples at 1kHz).
      Your maths looks right though, I got 27.777778g/s, between 37 and 52.9 milligrammes per power cycle, dependent on revs

      1. Dave says:

        I fully agreed that the actual sensor would measure at a short interval. The main point is that the rate quoted by the FIA is 100kg in one hour, and not the equivalent flow rate over a shorter time, unless of course the FIA have a technical document in addition to the tech regs that have been published on the ‘FIA’ web site. we will have to wait for the appeal to see what the outcome is.

      2. neilmurg says:

        a flow rate doesn’t imply an interval

      3. neilmurg says:

        sorry, maybe that was too cryptic. The flow rate must comply with the rule – 100kg/hr, without reference to an minimum interval. It could be expressed in different units, ie number of milligrammes in a number of milliseconds, but that doesn’t change the fact that a flow rate doesn’t imply an interval. I suspect the units chosen were for readability/ease of understanding.

        If your interpretation was correct, it would be almost impossible to break the rule. There’s only 100kg of fuel in the car (plus a bit) and no F1 race takes less than an hour, so over the race the flow rate will always be less than 100kg/hr. Also, if you were correct, the discussions here would be completely different

      4. Dave says:

        re-posted in the currect place!, sorry James / neilmerg

        Some clarification on my part
        from the FIA tech regs
        the fuel flow is:-
        5.1.4 Fuel mass flow must not exceed 100kg/h.
        Note no additional tolerance’s quoted there the standard metric system should apply +/- 0.5 kg and a time period measured in hours to the nearest hour when rounded down/up, this Is a very course measurement and should have had a tolerance added.
        note that reg 5.3.1 Cylinder bore diameter must be 80mm (+/- 0.1mm).
        Has an additional tolerance added, so that the standard metric tolerance of +/- 0.5mm is overruled by the added +/- 0.1mm.
        The full sensor specification document, does not state the period of measurement for summation, only that the sensor should be with set accuracy at 1hz.
        (This spec does read that the FIA has this side under control), It is what the FIA does with the numbers that matter. I hope this puts this to bed!
        I might add, I am not a red Bull fan, and only want fair judgement

  98. Davegt27 says:

    A little math help on this 2014 F1 engine

    220.462lbs of fuel /6.422wt per gal =34.329 gallons of gas for the whole race

    Does these numbers look right?

    100Kg/hr. = 220.5 lb. /hr.

    220.5lb/hr. = 36.755 gals per hr. which = 2315.6 cc/min which = 441 HP

  99. Paul Gawne says:


    If fuel in F1 is measured in KG (as the mass changes at temperature) and the fuel flow is measured in litres by the fuel flow metre, doesn’t this allow for different teams running fuel at different temps to achieve different results?

    1. James Allen says:

      No, temperature is now regulated


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