Fuel sensors not good enough for F1, says Horner as FIA go public to defend themselves
Posted By: James Allen  |  28 Mar 2014   |  1:34 pm GMT  |  264 comments

The war of words over Daniel Ricciardo’s disqualification in Australia went up a level today as Red Bull team boss Christian Horner said that the fuel flow sensors, which the FIA has specified and which were at issue in Australia, are not good enough for F1.

Horner confirmed that they and another Renault powered team had suffered a further sensor error during today’s free practice session. Asked whether he felt that the sensors were good enough for F1 he said,

“With where it’s at at the moment I would have to say no. We need to work with the FIA to find a better solution because there is so much hanging on it. At this level, it’s not good enough.”

L to R - Lom (left); Bonciani (FIA comms); Whiting

Meanwhile the FIA, clearly feeling that it’s authority is being challenged, took the step of hosting a briefing with Fabrice Lom, the former Renault F1 engineer who is now responsible for regulating the power units in F1. Fuel flow sensors are part of his remit. The FIA’s Charlie Whiting who oversees all technical matters also spoke.

Asked is he was satisfied with the performance of the sensors so far, Lom said, “I’m an unsatisfied person by definition, that is how you make progress. But with this sensor we do a better job than without, better than any other we know about.”

Lom pointed out that the accuracy of these Gill sensors which weigh 300g and are smaller than a mobile telephone is remarkable compared to large bench-top machines which do the same job in a static environment.

The nub of the problem, Whiting observed, is that the rules state that if there is a problem with a sensor teams have to use a back up solution which has been calibrated against a known sensor. Red Bull did not do this, whatever the accuracy they may claim for their own system, it had not been calibrated against a known sensor in a controlled environment. This will be central to the FIA’s case at appeal.

Horner said that the fuel rail, which they used to measure the flow in the race, had been sealed after the race, taken back to Renault’s base in Paris and tested with observers present and had given the same reading as in the race in Melbourne. This will form the nub of their case at the appeal; that they did not break the rules of 100kg/hour at any time in the race.

Experts and engineers here in Kuala Lumpur can see both sides of the argument. Red Bull may turn out to be right, their measurements may turn out to be accurate, but they didn’t follow due process, according to the FIA.

As the FIA is responsible for sporting fairness, “Our role is fair regulation” as Lom put it, it seeks to create and enforce rules which can apply fairly to all 11 teams, not individual exceptions, they feel that they have a strong case and the other teams hope that the FIA prevails otherwise rule enforcement could get like the Wild West.

FIA briefing notes, from Fabrice Lom

Why is there a fuel flow limit?
Because with a turbo engine you have to limit the power otherwise you would have drivers using over 1,000hp at times, while others were fuel saving, the speed differential would be enormous and dangerous. Additionally the message from the new hybrid F1 rules is efficiency, 35% more performance from a drop of fuel than the old V8s. It’s not about monster power for short bursts.

How are the sensors calibrated?
The FIA takes steps to ensure that the sensors are accurate and the same for all teams. Team X gives its sensors and a sample of it’s fuel to the FIA and they contract a company called Calibra to calibrate the sensors to the fuel, by placing them in series and checking each against a known reference sensor. This is carried out in various conditions and at five different temperatures.

During the race weekend the teams tell the FIA which sensor they are using. Each sensor is bought and owned by the team, at a cost of £4,500 each and is regulated by the FIA.

Where does the fuel flow sensor sit?
Inside the fuel cell, in the low pressure area.

What is the limit the FIA will accept for a car going over the 100kg/hour limit before they act against the team?
If a car goes 1% over the 100kg/limit for 10 seconds in any given lap, they are warned by the FIA and asked to make an offset or switch to a back up. This adds up to 3 grammes of fuel per lap above the limit, which is the cut off for intervention (NB The FIA contends that the Red Bull sensor was not faulty and had not broken on Ricciardo’s car in Australia)

What happens if a car hits that limit?
If the FIA feels that a sensor is drifting in its reading (which it contends is very obvious) it reverts to the back up, which has been planned for and the back up has been calibrated against an official sensor. They cannot accept an alternative system for measurement because it has not been calibrated against a known sensor.

Article 5.10 of the technical regulations says that the fuel can only be measured by a homologated sensor and there is only one sensor, which is made by Gill Sensors.

How long do sensors last?
They need to be recalibrated after 100 hours and their life is 400 hours. It should be theoretically possible to do the F1 season on two sensors.

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This changes things slightly....

The FIA have issued a new technical directive that after the Spanish GP only sensors which have not been modified may be fitted to the cars. Red Bull, Toro Rosso and Lotus, have been modifying the sensors provided prior to their calibration.

95% of the issues the FIA have seen with the sensors have been on Red Bull, Toro Rosso and Lotus according to the below article.


In English for non-German speakers


colin de la mare

Why is it just red bull shouting about these fuel sensors is it just because they were caught trying to gain an unfair advantage with a higher fuel flow as they say cheats never prosper i hope the courts uphold the disqualification and are not swayed by the red bull owners threat to quit f1 he is a bit like a spoilt kid ie if i cant win ill take my ball home


As noted elsewhere - I wonder of the harmonics (sound & vibration) from the current era F1 cars are interfering with the ultrasound-based fuel flow monitors?


Horner, you are a very loud obnoxious type. Not good enough for F-1? This from a guy who did not even get both cars to finish the first race. Now I ask you... How good is that for Formula One?

The champion team, with supposedly the best design talent hardly any testing, not able to get both cars to cross the line. And yet, and yet teams with far less resources were able to complete the race. You have a very odd sense of superiority Horner


I think it is about time for Red Bull to move on a new endeavor and quit formula 1.

Space or even time travel are two things that came to my mind.

Both fields should take Horner far enough, that we do not have to hear is BS anytime something is not going his way.


I think the regulators should not be introducing a measuring device that has any kind of fail rate. Lack of integrity for this part makes them look incompetent. This is a race the team has put together a car with so many new systems on it, with little, or no testing and they get disq for a poorly tested part which is failing in other cars.. to even mount a argument shows theyre more worried about image, then solving the problem they caused ..

And you wonder why fans are finding it increasingly difficult to take it seriously.


James, do you know why the Teams opted for a sensor of this kind? It strikes me that a regulation fuel pump with a bit of voltage monitoring attached could achieve something similar (as in max flow rate)

I guess you could get situations where the teams might collect a little fuel at the rail and over consume from that reservoir, but if the sensor is in the tank, I am struggling to see the difference. It strikes me that a pump is easier to monitor.


much of these discussions skip some obvious FAQ's

q. Whose idea was a fuel flow limit?

a. the teams!

q. why?

a. because they thought it would create a level playing field, on which the manufacturers would be forced to create efficient engines.

q. Why doesn't the FIA just restrict the volume of fuel flow?

a. because the teams will get clever and try to cool their fuel, increasing it's density, or play other games to this effect.

q. Why is the FIA sensor so unreliable?

a. because it is not simply trying to measure the volume of fuel. it is calculating the weight of the fuel on the fly

q. Why does the team have it's own system to measure it?

a. because they need to design the engine to stay within the fuel consumption parameters.

q. Why does the teams system disagree with the FIA system?

a. Because short of collecting the fuel in a static environment and weighing it, the mass flow sensor has to calculate the weight of the fuel consumed, taking into account the pressure, temperature and volume of the fuel.

q. Why does the FIA want to measure this independently?

a. The teams suggested it because they don't trust each other.

Rightly so, They probably spent the last year developing specific fuels to take advantage of this sensor / rule. (low density, high power)


Brilliant article. Just one fact missing....

How much are these sensors?

Is this a $10 or $100,000 part causing so much trouble?



how in Earth FIA can say +/- 0,25% is accurate enough, at the same time they are measuring the time down to the 1/1000 of a second.

Say if one car is getting +0,25 and another -0,25%, we're already at 0,5% difference and I'm sure this would account way more than 1/1000 of a sec per lap.

Unless FIA can get the sensor that is 100% accurate they should get rid of the one that is causing so much trounle already.

Each team has 100 Kg of fuel per race let them play with is the way they please, given that FIA can police 100Kg accurately enough.

As a matter of fact I asked before, but never got a answer. Who, when and how is checking 100Kg of fuel?

Does installation, formation and cool down laps counts toward this 100Kg?

If not how do they determine who needs how much of fuel for those laps?

Or 100 Kg should last only from light to flag?



Zachary's Disease

Amazing........the governing body feels it needs to justify itself and the rules of the sport.....It's understandable when we look back on the last 4 years. The FIA probably just to make sure that they indeed have got their sums right. After all Red Bull money runs this show and you don't want Bernie agitated. If rules and regulations need to be amended....whether it's in the name of safety or just the fact that red bull will benefit from it.........then by God we must allow those wings flex, allow their ride height to be altered between quali and race, allow Adrian Newey to fulfill the myth that he is a design guru by not letting him get 'boxed in' by the rules that other engineers adhere too, and finally, as Christian said it last year "we have the best package but the tyres are not letting us fulfill it's potential".

I think these engines are holding red bull back and as seb and Bernie are in agreement that they are shite, I feel the FIA need to address this point. I'm sure there are safety issues due to the low noise of the v6. I mean could you hear seb sneaking up behind u if your a Marshall clearing some debris of the track?!!


We have to take anything Red Bull say with a pinch of salt. They screwed up and got disqualified and have now appealed. They obviously will have identified the arguments to make that are most likely to help their case. It doesn't mean that they actually believe any of them.

They're now raising concerns about the sensors in Malaysia again. Well of course, because criticising the sensors will help their case.


I wonder what happened in the backstages for FIA taking the step of comming to public to explain themselves. Not usual for them.


article from racecar engineering.

Porsche has been outspoken in its criticism of the ultrasonic fuel flow meter used in Formula 1. The German marque will use the meter in its new 919 LMP1 this year.

Alex Hitzinger, Technical Director of LMP1 development at Porsche said, ‘The FIA is still very hopeful that the latest spec will work and will be reliable, but that is not proven yet. We optimise how they are mounted to give them the easiest possible life, but right now we don’t know if it is all going to be robust.'


I can understand if the sensors are, perhaps,inadequate, in their current form, or still in their "infancy". What seems fishy to me though, is the fact that RBR are the only ones with the problem, also the fact that they went all through testing without any complaints and they chose the first race to make a point about it. If they knew that the sensors weren't working for them, and they had to know, why not bring up the concern during testing? Is almost all if they did it at Melbourne on purpose. To me, they intended to run(I dunt want to say cheat)the PU at illegal fuel flow and they knew they could blame it on the sensors, that was their plan all along. We also have to consider that part of the problem the Renault PU is having may have to do with the fuel flow limit, although they seem to be doing alright at Sepang, or are they running at higher than allowed fuel flow?

Christopher Cathles

Maybe the FIA should order a pre-calibrated Red Blood-flow sensor to be fitted to Mr Horner, and warn him to throttle back when the pressure exceeds a pre-determined psi?



Why don''t they regulate rather than monitor. Isn't there something that could be added to the car to restrict the maximum fuel flow. This would then remove the grey areas?


James, why did Charlie Whiting fail to black flag Ricciardo or atleast in form the team of a drive through in the race? They have undermined themselves, it is not red bull undermining them.

Red bull will win this just like Mercedes last year; the FIA is toothless


This is crazy. Without a 99% accurate and reliable sensor, it is pointless having this regulation.

Why not stick with just the 100kg fuel limit, any burned off at a faster rate will have to be compensated by fuel saving later on in the race anyway.


If Horner thinks these sensors aren't good enough for F1 after 2 instances of malfunction, one would expect he feels that the new Renault engines aren't good enough even for karting.


So, if the fuel rail tests good RB didn't exceed the limit.

Hope they RB wins this.

Looks like all FIA is moving the posts now that RB look better than expected.


James are these sensors similar to the ones to be used during lemans?


Are Red Bull going to use their own measuring method again in the next race? Seeing as they're so sure they're in the right 🙂


Excellent article, should have been written 10 days ago. I have already said my piece and I don't believe anything changes. RBR/Renault must have done a huge amount of testing over many months not just a few interrupted testing laps on circuit. They were one of the original signatories to the use of a fuel flow meter the absolutely necessary purpose of which is well explained above. To put it bluntly they cocked up, unwisely decided to take on the FIA, then didn't just go to appeal but conducted a war of words. They have brought everything into disrepute and should pay the price.


This whole thing is such a farce.

I was at Uni today and mentioned that there was a race on this weekend and my friends just started laughing at the state F1 is in (they are just casual fans). They all seemed to be confused as to why Red Bull were evening bothering to appeal given how badly it's reflecting on themselves and the sport.

I can't wait for it to be over so we can focus on the actual racing.


It's unfortunate that this article does not contain the things Horner said in defending his team.

"Firstly we need a sensor that is consistent with the fuel rail, that's the most important factor. Thereafter we will have to make that judgement in the race depending on what the sensor is saying. If it's 0.25% you can live with it, if it's 2% you can't live with it. It depends on what the value is. The rules are very clear, [Article] 5.1.4 of the [technical] regulations very clearly states what the fuel flow permitted into the engine is. We can clearly demonstrate we have not exceeded that.

"Technical directives, of which the sensors are included within, are not regulations. We know that from the Pirelli case, the double diffuser case, and following the Pirelli case it even says on the bottom of them: 'This is not a regulation it is purely an opinion and has not regulatory value'. I think we're pretty confident in our position over the Australian Grand Prix."

All I'm hearing it that it is imperative that everybody bow down before Whiting because otherwise it will be "the Wild West", when in fact Whiting has a long history of being shown to be wrong about various matters relating to the regulations. If Whiting being overturned ushers in the "Wild West" then strap on your six-gun, pardner, because we're already there.



to me this looks very much like Red Bull simply wanted to know if they can pull this off.

According to the FIA, if I read the article correctly, the Sensor was not faulty to begin with, regardless RB decided to revert to there own backup sensor, who was not calibrated as should have been, and allowed for some more fuel flow.

Being an austrian myself, and should feel affiliated, I more and more dislike this somewhat typical RB approach to F1.

Why does no other team has any problems. No word from Mercedes.

So what is the point really?

RB tried to cheat, have been caught, end of it.

Accept disqulification and move on.

Leaves a bad taste...


This is great- so RB goes and buys 5 sensors. They test each one to see which is on the highest end of the tolerance. This fiasco costs hundreds of thousands of dollars... who at the FIA has a stake in Gill???

And: are closing speeds really that much of an issue? Seems other series handle this (WEC)- are F1 drivers just not good enough?


Mr Allen,an outstanding article in plain English if I may say,Thank you kindly.

I like to add, the FIA has a point and it should be adhered to, in regard to control flow of fuel.

Some years back in the rally world, Lacia Delta S4 a

4 cyl 1.76 cc super/turbo charged developing well over 1000 hp,the FIA consequently ban it,perhaps one can assume the FIA of 2014 does not want to go down the road of 1985/6.


F1 management is inept - they have failed to put on an epic race for the past several years...

I can't see things getting better until 90% of the current management are replaced.


So finally Christian Horner has said it, ""Technical directives, of which the sensors are included within, are not regulations. We know that from the Pirelli case, the double diffuser case, and following the Pirelli case it even says on the bottom of them: 'This is not a regulation it is purely an opinion and has not regulatory value'. I think we're pretty confident in our position over the Australian Grand Prix.". I was wondering why no one had brought up the Mercedes/ Pirelli situation till now, and which was somewhat parallel in what Red Bull are trying to achieve, i.e. flouting the technical directive and try and get away with it.


Thanks for the detailed article, much appreciated especially in India where we do not have much access to the pre-race interviews and events.


Not sure why people think this is confusing. Look at the rule around minimum weight of the car after the race. The only scale that matters is the one the FIA uses. They do not look at the scales used at Milton Keys, regardless of whether they may be more accurate.

Also, there is enough super complicated highly complex systems on an F1 car that if the general public were to get a briefing about them their head would spin. If people want simple things to understand, please follow a different sport.

RB get in line and follow the rules!


I don't understand the point of the sensor if they have a maximum amount of fuel to use.

Wouldn't a high fuel flow setting make the car run out of gas before the end of the race? is that not control enough?


To all you anti-Red Bull ragers out there, consider this.

Imagine you are a private in the army and your seargent orders you to march forward and not halt at the edge of the cliff. Do you continue on to your death or do you halt? I bet you'd all halt!

Any seargent who issued such a ridiculous order would, of course, be brought up on charges. However, are you still guilty of insubordination? Should you be punished too?

Even if RB loose this case, I congratulate them for bringing the ridiculousness of this to court. Moral victory at least if they can proove themselves right in their argument that they never exceeded the limit. You can't question physics. When peer review shows that it is what it is, nothing else matters. Yes, referees can be idiots and bravo to anyone who calls them out on it.


I think the article omits one valuable point that was on Sky's broadcast - Mercedes ALSO had some hiccups on their sensors, and the FIA requested that they change settings or go to the backup sensor. Mercedes told the FIA such a change was substantial, and could cost them up to 0.5 seconds per lap - BUT DID IT ANYWAY WITHOUT A PROTEST.

Mr. Horner, it is about fair and equitable, not always about what you can get away with....


"you would have drivers using over 1,000hp at times, while others were fuel saving, the speed differential would be enormous and dangerous"....

....and could make for great viewing without the need to have an engineering degree to understand what is going on.


So being the nerd I am, and working in contracting, I took the time to read the technical regulations to see how the FIA & RB are building their respective defenses.

Sorry for the lengthy post, but the information below are the relevant sections:

5.1.4 - Fuel mass flow must not exceed 100kg/h

5.10.3 - Homologated sensors must be fitted which directly measure the pressure, the temperature

and the flow of the fuel supplied to the injectors, these signals must be supplied to the FIA data logger.

5.2.5 - Cars must be fitted with homologated sensors which provide all necessary signals to the FIA

data logger in order to verify the requirements

above are being respected.

8.2.4 - If sensor faults or errors are detected by the driver or by the on-board software, back-up

sensors may be used and different settings may be manually or automatically selected. However, any back - up sensor or new setting chosen in this way must not enhance the performance of the car. Any driver default turned on during the start lockout period may not be turned off before the end of that period.

RB have obviously satisfied points 5.10.3 & 5.2.5, and they say they can prove point 5.1.4.

The issue I see is with the last point. Seems like a grey area to me (how do you determine faulty?). However, if RB can prove that they did not gain an advantage, I think the appeals court has to judge in their favor.

According to this article, Charlie Whiting stated that "a back up solution which has been calibrated against a known sensor" can be used to measure the fuel flow. However, nowhere in the current regulations is reference made to this point with regards to fuel flow. Articles 16 & 18 describes test being carried in the presence of an FIA technical delegate using measuring equipment which has be calibrated to the satisfaction of the FIA technical delegate. The only problem....this is referring to Impact and Static load testing, not Fuel flow.

So it seems like race stewards built an argument on a regulation that does not exist when they excluded Ricciardo!

Given the monetary value of each point scored in today's F1 you can't blame RB. I will be interested to see the outcome!


James, will RB using the sensor in the same manner as melbourne? if so its brave, if not then its a sign of guilt, surely??


I hope Red Bull gets slapped with a six figure "bringing the sport into disrepute" fine. Virtually no major sporting league allows its teams/players to openly and regularly criticize the officiating body and major sponsors/suppliers.

Between Red Bull's open criticism of Renault (despite having won four consecutive championships with them), openly defying FIA directives and questioning the FIA's authority, and Vettel's criticism of the new engine formula, it's time the FIA slapped Red Bull hard.



RBR have been testing the Gill sensor for some time, you would assume via Renault with Calibra oversight on the dynamometer, and with heavy FIA and Calibra calibration work in pre-season tests, which are also arguably a controlled environment.

So correct me if I am wrong, but the FIA claim seems that this particular fuel hardware used in Melbourne had not being involved in any of this calibration testing, and as such RBR's data (RBR/Renault model based on injector data) is inadmissible.

RBR are countering that by having Renault carrying out said calibration post-event, presumably on multiple Gill & Calibra pre-approved sensors with neutral observers rather than FIA/Calibra oversight.

Would the FIA's stance not also render their own back up system (FIA model based on injector data) unacceptable? They have kept very quiet about what that data says, only saying that they did not authorise it's use.

Do they really expect every individual fuel component used by every team over a season, be involved in a dyno calibration session? In this case, teams would need to also dyno sizable quantities of backup parts.

It seems a confusing mess.


This sensor nonsense is a joke. Typical f1 over complicating matters. Just let them use 100 kilos of fuel for the race whatever way they want and they have to use the same map in qualifying as they do in the race. That way special q3 engine maps won't come into effect and then I don't have to read this amount if rubbish over a sensor as small again.


Whether F1 being green is right or wrong regardless.

what the FIA the thick press dont seem to understand what happend in Australia makes F1 look like a farce.

F1 continuously has scandals and eventually its going to effect the reputation of F1!Eventually F1 will end up like the WWE a complete Farce and a joke!

Preserving F1s credibility is even more important then being Green!F1 can be as green as it likes but if ppl view F1 as a farce F1 might as well be dead!

Look at last weekends motoGP race!

No bullsh1t just pure clean racing!

no controversy's!

no scandals!

no politics!

Just sound racing governed by a sound bunch of rules!

Just a breathless race with fans thrilled to no end!

That is what you call a world class motor sport event!

As a spectacle it smashed F1 to peices!!

Sadly F1 has became a joke!

Nick Harris motoGP commentator could not resist insulting F1!

Stating: "motoGP has all the noise and all the excitement you need!"

"some racing series have trouble with racing and making rules!No such issues in motoGP"

Before trying to make F1 green maybe the FIA should stick to what they meant to be doing and thats enforcing the rules properly and a sound way!

The day they can do that then they can start worrying about making F1 green!

Authentic and Credible are sadly not words which you can describe F1 at the moment!


I do not understand the statement 'If the FIA feels that a sensor is drifting in its reading (which it contends is very obvious) it reverts to the back up, which has been planned for and the back up has been calibrated against an official sensor'.

What 'back up' are they talking about if drifting 'is obvious' during the race? RBR did not appear to have a backup that the FIA accept. Do the other teams all have them? Obviously not a second Gill sensor? LMP cars have to have two Gill sensors - perhaps because they are known to have short term drift and they have to maintain accuracy over a 24 hour race.

Every new statement we have from the FIA's reps confirms what a can of worms this whole issue is.


What happens if the backup is faulty? Shouldn't the backup be another make/model to offset the chance that if there is a problem with the sensors (in their design or something) then the backup sensors won't hopefully be affected with the same issue? Anyone know if the sensor and backup sensor are the same make/model?


It really is simple, RB may be technically correct in saying the FIA sensor is not good enough for the job BUT they don't have the right to create their own non-FIA rules on calibration.

To then flaunt the FIA by ignoring their 'offset' instruction during the race is effectively cheating the other teams.

Sorry RB, play by the rules and defined processes or be prepared to cough up large chunks of money....if only for bringing the sport into disrepute!


Based on the Wild Wild West concept, we can assume that Red Bull is trying to cheat. Fair enough.


James you say "Article 5.10 of the technical regulations says that the fuel can only be measured by a homologated sensor and there is only one sensor, which is made by Gill Sensors." but that isn't actually true. At least by my reading of the regs.

The regs under section 5.10 state that homologated sensors must be fitted and that the data must be supplied to the FIA data logger.

The regs also state under 5.1 fuel flow must not exceed 100kg/h.

Red Bull have not fallen foul of section 5.10. The sensor was fitted and the data was available. No where do the regs state the method to be used to determine 100kg/h.

By their own measurement RB also believe they haven't breached the 100kg/h limit. If Red Bull can prove they didn't breach 100kg/h then they are fully compliant.

Therefore in this regard I am fully behind Red Bull.

Red Bull will win the moral victory at the appeal because they'll be able to prove they didn't exceed the 100kg/h.

However Ricciardo's disqualification should still stand because Red Bull ignored direction from the FIA to turn down the flow and therefore fall foul of Sporting Regulation 3.2 which states:

3.2 Competitors must ensure that their cars comply with the conditions of eligibility and safety throughout practice and the race.

Either way the FIA and Charlie Whiting need a bigger pair of balls because surely they had the opportunity to show the black and white flag to Ricciardo and then ultimately the black flag and I'm not aware they did either.


The words painting and corners come to mind with Horner and the issue of fuel sensors. FIA have now made it clear they wont back down. With Bernie almost out the door of F1 by his own admission Horner may find himself with very few allies. Dumb because everyone should be aware you NEVER argue with the ref regardless of the sport! Having now found out rules he appeared to be unaware of with regard to the sensors(Adam Cooper is reporting that) he would be smart to climb down this weekend. But then that is not his way! He will go to Paris get slapped down and make some polite statement outside the hearing saying they did not agree, but accept the FIA ruling. Dumb, could all be over right now if he would just fall on his sword.

Alexander Supertramp

The article says it all really, I can't see Red Bull winning the case.


My God! What a sport!

roberto marquez

I have a few questions : Is FIA able to monitor the fuel sensor during the race ? If so there is no question Red Bull is at fault. What happens if a sensor looses its calibration during the race allowing a driver to gain an advantage of x horsepowers during lets say half of the race,let me explain it better, lets assume the sensor starts reading 100 kg/h when it is really letting through 105 ? Could this driver accelerate real hard for lets say 15 laps and then lower his speed to save fuel but having a wide advantage still win the race or get a better place ? It seems to me that a better solution would be to stablish a tighter total liter of fuel for each car and let the driver manage as best as he is able to, this way we probably see a few running out but still a better race without this complication.


While I can understand the FIA penalizing Red Bull for not following its rules in regards to the sensor, I can also understand the reasons why Red Bull did what they did. The problem for me is that if the FIA start adding offsets and applying them to teams during a race, then the racing result is compromised. Maybe a temporary solution is that during Friday testing the FIA and the teams check the calibration of the sensors and apply an agreed offset if necessary, and then these settings are used during the race. Any drift in the sensors during the race are then ignored and the racing result stands.


To me it looks that FIA has applied a reasonable amount of technical scrutiny over the fuel sensors. I am surprised to see that they would allow a team to go as much as 1% over the 100kg/h limit even for a short time before the team is being WARNED. From my seat that allowance is relatively high taking into the account the accuracy of the sensor, which Gill Sensors claim to be +/-0.25% (I suspect across various fuel flow intensities, flue turbulence, temperatures, vibrations, etc.)

If Red Bull think that this is not reasonable and not accurate enough I would welcome them to put forward a more accurate alternative that is cost effective, can be packaged to a size of a mobile phone in a car, and can be calibrated and regulated by FIA and third parties.

I would not be surprised to learn that reality was that they ended up with extra fuel on board during the race and saw that as an opportunity to use it to their advantage.

I am not a fan, but I still think that Ricciardo drove an excellent race. That, with the confidence that came along, cannot be taken away from him.


What I find strange is that the fuel sensors seem to be good enough for all the teams except red bull .....Its the same story as last year use every trick in the book to change what does not suit red bull.

last year they wanted different tyres and piled criticism on Pirelli until that happened


Oh dear. Bad luck Red Bull - sounds like you will lose your appeal. With any luck an additional penalty will be added to the original disqualification. Keeping my fingers crossed 🙂


It does not matter if the sensor was faulty or not, Red Bull didn't follow the process to arrange for a backup and so they are at fault regardless of exceeding 100Kg/h or not.

In theory, in addition to prove that they didn't exceed 100Kg/h, they would also need to "prove" that breaking the rules about arranging a backup sensor isn't bad enough to warrant a disqualification.

In practice, they are testing their political power to see if it can bend the rules as they see fit..


"How long do sensors last?

They need to be recalibrated after 100 hours and their life is 400 hours. It should be theoretically possible to do the F1 season on two sensors."

"Horner confirmed that they and another Renault powered team had suffered a further sensor error during today’s free practice session."

You might have asked Whiting and Lom some hard questions here here but you passed on the opportunity.


I suppose this is a case where both sides may be right. I tend to believe the FIA's position should be the law, because protocol was not followed. A compromise could allow Red Bulls 2nd place to stand awarding 1/2 points to the driver and zero constructors points. Daniel did nothing wrong and everything right behind the wheel, the fact that the team violated the rules and the advantage he may have had would be negligible. The individual responsible for the decision should be suspended for a number of events. Just an opinion.


If following ‘due process’ means covering up second-rate technology in order to present a ‘cutting-edge’ façade then. . .

F1 fans are being purposely misled.


Excuse me, but shouldn't it be FIA's responsibility to have the backup calibrated and in place if they know the sensors are a potential challenge?


Is there any suggestion that this problem is worse for Renault teams? If so, there were reports suggesting the Renault engine suffered badly with vibration and could that be adding to the problem?


Thank James for the article.

Incredible how much difference 3 grammes of fuel can make. Also interesting to note from your article that the FIA believe the sensor on RedBull was not faulty.


I wish Red Bull would stop doing things like this, disobeying the FIA during a race and taking it to the appeals court does not do F1 any good.

Win or Lose it will look like Red Bull are trying to obtain an advantage by not following the rule book. This doesn't win fans, as has been shown with Vettel. I really don't believe people dislike him and Boo him because of who he is, because he seems a really nice guy (excluding multi 21). But I get the impression it's because he wins race after race for a team that rightly or wrongly are perceived as cheats.


This should not even be allowed to BE a war of words. It is all to easy for the teams to stir up popular, uninformed public anger when it suits them but it only serves to bring the sport into disrepute. Easy for Horner and VET to get the fans deliberately worked up but a lot harder to put the damage to the sport right in the long term.


Christian and Adrian, as both of you were brought up in Shakespeare country in the [UK] Midlands, I'm sure you've had heard the cliche "I think he doth protest too much."

Sorry Christian, but your team - and only your team - were not in compliance with the rules. Why not just admit culpability now, get a slap on the wrist, and just move forward instead of dragging into F1 into a war of words that we can do without? I know Christian is paid to defend his team, but it's better to be honest, admit you're wrong, say sorry, take a punishment, and get on with the rest of the season.

If several other drivers/cars had been disqualified, I would accept that the FIA had messed up. The fact that only Daniel's car was found to be illegal points the finger squarely at the Milton Keynes mob.

Sorry Christian, don't defend the indefensible!


To many rule changes at one time and not enough testing before the season starts, neither for the teams or for the FIA or the fans who in the end pays it all, Australia race was not only boring (unfortunately) but also having drivers like Lewis and Vettel not making more then a couple of laps, Raikonnen having an well underpowered car, Lotus not really managing anything...makes FIA and rule makers look bad, to many mistakes done. Maybe time for Whiting to overthink his position?

I have no idea who could take it over, but also thinking back to last year and the tires testing issues etc.

I love F1, and I want to continue doing that for many years to come


Wow you need to be a science professional or a engineer to be a motor sports fan these day's.

Given complexity of the new rules, don't you think they should have a 5% variance until all teams get used to all the new rules.


What kind of speed differential does DRS produce versus a hypothetical 1,000 bhp burst?


There's more to it than that. Remember there is an overall fuel limit for the race. The concern is that at any given times some cars may be in fuel saving mode and thus be noodling slowly around whilst other cars are going balls to the wall and travelling much quicker. Danger lurks in the speed differential between the cars in such circumstances.


I'll explain the maths with an example and then let you make your own assumptions.

Alonso was doing nearly 340 km/h in Bahrain. If we assume the maximum without DRS is 320 km/h, divide 340 by 320, which gives 1.0625. Cube this number/raise to the third power. So 1.199 in this case. This means there's an effective power boost of 20 per cent. So if you think the Ferrari engine and ERS make 570 kW then the DRS is worth the equivalent of 114 kW at 340 km/h.

But the DRS will only be worth 90 kW at 320 km/h and 15 kW at 170 km/h. The power not used to overcome drag is available as torque to accelerate the car more quickly than the car it is trying to pass.

As a side note, with the capped fuel flow rates the maths above is more accurate than it was last year as a car's top speed if geared for maximum speed, will occur at the point of maximum power. Since maximum power is now potentially over a band from 10,500 rpm to 15,000 rpm (ignoring factors such as increased friction losses at higher rpm) the with and without DRS speeds can both be at maximum power. I believe the DRS flap was probably made larger this year to compensate for this effect as last year a car at 17,000 rpm will have about 25 kW less than a car at 18000 rpm without considering the DRS effect.

Dimitar Kadrinski

Definitely not big enough. And also Lom mentioned figures from the late 80's, when they were managing to get out 1500 bhp from 1.5 litre turbo engine. It is obvious that a limit on power should be imposed... one way or another..


I don't know, but I would guess the question should be more about '≤1,000bhp burst' + ERS + DRS.

That should give you the theoretical upper limit for the differential.


Good thinking, if it's comparable then we could ditch the lottery ticket fuel sensors and drs in one go 🙂


toyota and audi according to racecar engineering.


Frontal area hasn't really been reduced though as the track width is still the same. The skinnier rear wing would have had a bigger effect on the cars overall drag, especially when the front wing end plates have to be more extreme now to try and turn the airflow around the front wheels.


Without changing anything else, yes definitely reducing the frontal area will reduce the drag and increase the top speeds - motorbikes are fast for that reason.

With the dirty air problem it is more complicated as downforce from the floor of the car is more efficient and less affected by turbulent air. So by removing exhaust blowing the fastest lap time can come from having bigger wings to compensate and that means the following problem doesn't change much.


"DRS is a passing aid, not a lap time aid, as far as the FIA is concerned. It models what is required to facilitate passing."

That has absolutely no bearing on my previous comment.


Martin, is it possible that the narrower front wing - and dimensions - will give the cars potentially better straight line speed from something as basic as less frontal area? I know that sounds over-simple, but a narrower car = less air penetration = less drag. Also, potentially the cars won't be as affected by "dirty air" in fast corners as there is less downforce to loose in the first place?


The increase in the DRS gap size was to compensate for the decreased performance due to the cars having less drag this year. The maximum speed of the cars will always be determined by the drag or the gearing, whichever stops it's acceleration first. A small reduction in drag can have a large increase in top speed but if we're talking a difference of 100's of bhp, as is implied by the article, then the difference in speed is going to be huge as well.


C63 this is the "dumbing down" argument. If F1 was easier/cheaper/greener to compete in , sure everyone and his dog would be in there throwing out the baby with the bath water


The Eco friendly side of the sport is driven largely by a desire to please the motor manufacturers. They are investing heavily in hybrid power trains for their road cars and what better test bed than F1?

To be fair, it has kept Renault in the sport and has also attracted Honda back so perhaps it's not as daft as you think.


It's only because F1 engine technology has been more or less frozen or had a long race life built into them that you don't see too many dramatic failures these days otherwise you could say all these F1 engines blowing up don't deserve to be in F1 because they're obviously not reliable enough. Cutting edge technology takes a while to mature. The sensors are the same for everyone as are the rules. RB had a DNF. Them's the breaks.


It's cutting edge technology as previously stated. You could say, as fuel sensors go, these are the "Pinnacle of fuel flow sensors". Good enough?


RB got caught with their hand in the till again. No biggie, give them all the points and the WDC and lets all move on to 2015 already shall we, lest they pull out of the sport..



‘Technically speaking’ the ability to ‘make one work and get approved’ is not the same as being accurate enough for the purpose at hand – hence the present controversy highlighted by the other teams’ reluctance to openly criticise the FIA ‘for the good of the sport’.

If the FIA’s ‘approach is sound’ then its execution is certainly wanting. Amusingly, you assume that my disappointment is due to team ‘idolatry’.


Actually, I believe that Red Bull are using the data off the ECU. The ECU is supplied to all teams by....McLaren.

Nice try.

BTW - the reason that the ECU data is not considered "homologated" is that an engine supplier can adjust their engine software to fool the ECU's measurement and inject more fuel than the ECU actually reads. I am not saying that RB or Renault has DONE so, but it can be done...which is why the FIA have mandated an engine-independent measurement.

The FIA's approach is sound, and if you did the research on all the factors at play it is pretty easy to see why they arrived at the solution they did - although you can question the call of one sensor versus two (as is used in LMP series cars). But I am pretty technical, you may not care about the details...you may just care that your idol's team was disadvantaged.


If RB and so many other teams have issues with the sensor, then perhaps now is not the time to start voicing them.


Sebee; a loophole is a grey area, the fuel flow sensor issue is quite clear; RB did not use a FIA calibrated device.


I expect the same thing I saw with Brawn.

If there is a loophole in the rules, you take advantage of it. It has always been this way.


Not sure if your comment re energy drugs company is a typo - either way it made me laugh out loud.

+1 on your comment


More boos for RB this year maybe...


They need to use an FIA approved sensor, not their own uncalibrated version.


If the sensor had read too low RB would not be complaining.


It would be good there was an inherent check on the mass of the fuel loaded into the car and then taken out of the car. That way the FIA could easily cross check the claimed drift.

To me what Charlie Whiting has said in defending the accuracy of the sensor lacks credibility. He may well be right that Red Bull did not follow the rules in terms of procedure, but that does not excuse defending the sensor when there is no other evidence presented that Ricciardo was using too much fuel over the race. He has not satisfactorily refuted the claim of drift in the sensor's calibration.

I will note that with the flexible wing tests that Red Bull found a way to legal in a test while ostensibly doing things the FIA did not like and the results stood. Here the car was probably legal in its use of fuel, but failed a test.


That would the same Alex Hitzinger that was formerly the Head of Advanced Technologies at Red Bull F1 and Scuderia Toro Rosso.

Hmmm... thats a coincidence.

Have any other LMP or WEC Technical Directors spoken out against the flow sensors?


This issue just demonstrates the arrogance of RB; they think they know best. And DM's veiled threat to withdraw (presumably RB and TR teams) from F1 leaves a sour taste.


for the FIA its about the law, not about justice. They are trying to justify their spot at the feeding trough...


Even a poorer response from yourself.

The FIA recognizes that there is variation in the sensors and therefore provides direction to the team to account for any potential difference. Also, it is 100% likely that each team will measure the actual fuel flow ever so slightly differently and therefor the only way to have any sort of equality is to use a common part.

Any way you try to argue, the rules are the rules follow them or go home.


@Kenneth chapman

No need for anything as vulgar as 'putting the fix in'. More a question of applying pressure, showing them [Red Bull] who is the boss. Teams and drivers are always up to some shenanigans or other and it's just a question of being patient. The FIA didn't have to wait very long on this occasion. Vetell's ill advised and somewhat crass remarks about the new power units sounding 'sh#t' and batteries belonging in mobile phones, have handed the FIA a nice little lever.

So Mr Vetell how would you like to face a charge of bringing the sport into disrepute? No, did I hear you say. Well let's have a chat to your team and see what arrangement we can come too shall we....

I am sure you get the idea.


How will you go to the toilet with fingers crossed until 14th?..

The same way I do without my fingers crossed 😉

On your second point, do you honestly believe that Red Bull will win their appeal. The authorities have held a press conference to state their case and I see no signs they are softening or offering a compromise. Quite the opposite in fact. Red Bull are, by their own admission, in breach of the regulations having unilaterally abandoned the use of the homologated sensor without the FIA's permission. There is no debate, they have broken the rules. They say they had good reason, it doesn't matter. If the FIA lose this one, the whole governance of the sport is in question and it will become unmanageable (as James said, it will become like the wild west). Now, do you honestly think the powers that be, will let that happen?


@Kenneth chapman

I didn't very carefully leave out Mercedes, or anyone else for the matter.

I also didn't mention anything about suffering! However, I will have a stab at answering what I think you are asking - if my guess is wrong, please accept my apologies 🙂

Several of the teams, including Mercedes, have admitted they lost performance (suffering - am I right?) when they complied with the FIA representative's request to reduce fuel flow. They have also said their own measurements were indicating they were within the limits. The point is, they accepted the regulations are what they are and complied with the request. The original post was suggesting that the matter was a can of worms for all the teams and I responded by suggesting that it was only Red Bull that had seen fit to open the can. As a consequence Red Bull were DSQ.

I hope that clarifies my post, but should you require further clarification, or wish to raise any other points please advise.

kenneth chapman

@ C63....you very carefully left out mercedes benz? could you please also post the source to support your suggestion that it is only red bull that are suffering?



Cold tyres next year will be a bigger problem in speed differentials, Nick Heidlfeld tested it back in 2008 when it was first suggested (along with less downforce introduced in 2009) and said he felt like he was standing still.

Give them the maximum fuel they are allowed and then leave them to race. If the FIA want more out of ERS then limit the fuel to 90kg

Let's not open ourselves up to traction control style debates of the 1990s...


Why can't the flow rate be limited so that it can't exceed the FIAs maximum rate just as rev limiters limited the maximum revs the engines could do?


Read the article....

The speed of a fuelsaving car and a car with over 1000hp on full trottle is simply to much of a risk.

With a none- limited fuelflow, there would also be a greater difference from quali/ race- mode.

what's all this fuzz about this??? It's like the rev limit that's been around for years. They limit the engines....


The FIA instituted it so as to direct development towards the ERS mostly, instead of refining the ICE, or engine maps. Energy recovery is increasingly the way that road car technology is going, not engine maps.

The FIA also do not want one car driving along utilizing 1000bhp, coming upon another slower car in fuel-saving mode using 680bhp. Such a situation could make the Webber-Kovaleinen crash in Valencia 2010 look tame.


For the same reason it is no longer DRS everywhere in Quali. max flow rate per second is important to ensure the car is the same car on saturday, or sunday, or after a safety car etc.


The point of weighing the fuel used is that it provides a means of checking the calibration of the sensor. The sensor runs while the car is using fuel so it can record the total usage. The total mass used is then a simple summation calculation and would be address Red Bull's claim of sensor drift.

Andrew's claim that there's no way of measuring it is simply false.


Shouldn't it be Red Bull that have to prove the homologated sensor is inaccurate? And who's to say that their own measuring system is accurate, so far we only have their word for it. There's no way for measuring the fuel weight to be accurate, the 100kg doesn't include the warm up and slow down laps.


It would be good there was an inherent check on the mass of the fuel loaded into the car and then taken out of the car. That way the FIA could easily cross check the claimed drift...

In what way, would knowing how much fuel was used during the course of the race help settle this debate? Red Bull are not accused of exceeding the maximum race fuel allowance of 100kg. They are accused of exceeding the maximum fuel flow rate of 100kg/hour. Even if Red Bull were accused of exceeding the maximum 100kg allowance for the race, weighing how much went in and then deducting how much was left still would not help. The allowance is for the race distance and not the out, warm up and in lap, nor does it include the 1 litre sample required at the end of the race.


DRS is a passing aid, not a lap time aid, as far as the FIA is concerned. It models what is required to facilitate passing.


£4,500 each, according to a source in one of the leading teams


Get you hand off it champ. You're probably a Merc fan and thought they were well within their rights to stage a secret tyre test last year and probably backed them in the courts to win.

If you feel you have been wronged and have the option of appeal then you would be stupid to not follow through the appeal process. It does not make it BS. In any case the process should provide clarity for all teams as many have had problems surrounding the fuel flow sensors, but no-one else had the balls to take on the FIA over enforcing something that can be wildly inaccurate.


Fairly poor argument from yourself.

The difference is that everyone uses the same FIA scales to weigh the cars so its a level playing field. No one can gain an advantage because the scales are the same for all.

When it comes to the fuel sensors every car has an individual sensor that has an accuracy of +/-0.25% which may see very small but if 1 teams has the +0.25% and another has -0.25% than in the world of F1 where they do everything in their power to gain 1/10th of a second it could have a significant impact.

Redbull claim their sensor was showing readings as wide as 2% out, which if they can prove to be true is simply not good enough for F1.


If that is Charlie's only argument, then his intestines are beyond capacity and overflowing compromising his reasoning abilities.


@Tyler, don't read the paragraphs independent of each other. Art 5.10.3 says there must be a homologated sensor which will monitor the fuel flow, among other things. Art 5.10.4 says it must be an FIA-homologated sensor, of which there is only one, the Gill fuel flow sensor.

There is no other meaning that can be derived from reading the regulations as a whole.



The number 3 car was excluded for breach of 5.1.4, not 5.10.3 or 5.10.4...

Both rules were referenced by the Australian GP stewards in their judgement on Ricciardo.


So why didn't Charlie black flag the car?

Will he black flag cars at Malaysia that refuse similar directions?

As far as I can tell, no one in the press has asked Whiting if he'll use the black flag to disqualify future offenders.

It seems such an obvious solution. What am I missing?


Disagree James. Articles 5.10.3 and 5.10.4 of the Technical Regulations require fitment of the sensor. It was fitted. What those articles don't say is that the sensors shall be the conclusive determinant of the rate of fuel flow, even if inaccurate. If they did say that, the Technical Directive would have been unnecessary. The TD was an attempt to paper over a gap in the Technical Regulations. The number 3 car was excluded for breach of 5.1.4, not 5.10.3 or 5.10.4.

kenneth chapman

@ C63... so you are suggesting that the panel of international judges will 'put the fix in' for the FIA? they are afterall 'the powers that be'.

kenneth chapman

what makes you think that red bull are the only ones having sensor problems? you might like to consider why mercedes has reputedly spent 250,000 english pounds to acquire around 50 units?


weird that he was leading before, then...


Actually I think it's a terrible idea - a good idea would be to have a system that is reliable in the first place as well as working as it should.

Are you listening FIA?


Why has Montoya got this rep that he is a bit of a salad dodger?

I saw him the other day on TV, Legends of F1 I think, and he didn't look particularly fat. I thought he was a bit of a Pratt, but not fat 🙂


Yeah, good comment. I hear what you're saying regarding the ECU. However, while that may be true, ultimately their "fuel rail" is another sensor (pressure sensors, opening apertures, etc.) so is measuring actual fuel flow. It's not "the engine" which reports to the ECU but another set of sensors which measure in a different way.

I agree the ECU readings could in theory be fudged, but honestly I think the FIA has SO MUCH data about the engines, and all the telemetry, AND every component is interrelated. RB would have to be fudging not just one reading but their whole telemetry in such a way the FIA don't notice. I think that is unlikely and the FIA could satisfy themselves the fuel rail sensor readings are accurate.


And how on Earth RBR could claim that their fuel rail flow sensor is "bullet proof" accurate. They are so funny. Any device on this planet got its own tolerances, which means there is not one 100% accurate. The point is that flow rate that is measured in the fuel rail is a high pressure environment while FIA sensor sits in the fuel cell measuring flow in a low pressure environment. In my limited knowledge it is way more accurate to measure fuel flow in the fuel cell vs. the one in the fuel rail as the later one is far more susceptible to far greater fluctuations due to the high pressure environment which is exposed to ever changing and varying temp. environment.


In a sensor "any kind of fail rate" is an expected thing - there are too many factors which affect this. The FIA do not think the sensor has failed, and ultimately Red Bull are trying to gain a sporting advantage by ignoring the FIA's instruction to slow the fuel rate and then retrospectively test the engine. It is the ignoring of the FIA"s instructions that should lose Red Bull this case.


It's because the fuel flow rate is regulated in kg/hour. Weight is not affected by temperature, whereas volume is.


The FIA approved it. It's quite a specialised thing a sensor that is only 300g, small and portable, able to withstand forces etc and has a level of accuracy

That last part is what's at issue!

dimitar kadrinski

To put this in perspective of the current issue: If the FIA scales are not reliable and they say ALL THE TEAMS are bellow the weight limit, and then all the teams comply with FIA and put more ballast in their cars and only red bull dont, then who is at an advantage?

If all teams comply with the regulation we have fair competition. Obviously some people at RB dont like fair competition!


It's the same; incorrect scales or an incorrect fuel sensor should elicit a response from RB. In the case of the sensors, there is a published procedure with which many teams complied but which RB chose to ignore. It's like RB claiming the FIA scales are bad, but rather than work out where the problem is, they just claim the RB scales are correct and go racing at a weight considered light by FIA standards. You (and RB) may not like the sensors, but you can't thumb your nose at the rules and make up your own procedure, especially when all the other teams followed the published regulations. But what do you expect from an energy drugs company?


Didnt James say they cost €4500 each


There is a ton of fuel flow sensor data that has been published on the web, both on Gill's own site, and on various more technical F1 forums. I've spent a few hours reading it, cause my life is very boring right now.

The information is out there...if you haven't read it, it's not because it isn't available. It IS highly technical, which is why you are not seeing good write ups in the popular F1 press, even on JA.

Bottom line after hours of reading (and a science/engineering background): the sensors are probably the best available at our current technology level. The only question is why did the FIA mandate only one, whereas other series that use similar sensors (from Gill) use two? And you can argue either way on that one...

Ideally you would have three, and throw out the measurement from the one that is most differing from the mean value... Not like that is complicated or expensive or anything 😉


but it seems that fuel flow is an ugly can of worms...

Only for Red Bull it would seem.


Well, 0.25% is 2.5/1000 ... yes 150% greater than 1/1000, but not the big chasm that you think it is.

Nothing is 100% accurate.


Geez Louise!! Are Gill Sensors a public company? If so, buy shares!

Surely the cost/unit will come down over the year, especially if the F1 teams start buying in bulk!


Please understand the article:

Comparisons are worthless if the device is not up to F1 standards.


No, Mercedes also had problems with calibration that weekend. The FIA spotted it, requested they apply a correction factor to their measurements. Merc said the correction would slow their car down by _up to_ 0.5 secs per lap...and promptly did it anyway. No whinging, no ignoring of the directives. Just got on with it.

Which is how it should work for everyone. There may be errors, but over the course of the season small differences should average themselves out. There are a HUGE number of things in F1 that basically come down to luck...all this does is add a small degree of variance in on top of the other thousand...


btw, tires were changed after MASSIVE safety problems; did you forget Silverstone.

just because RB warns first and is most hurt, ppl jump right on them;

same this year, Newey predicted that the dropped noses would be a safety problem bigger than they solve maybe;

lo and behold the first race, we got an example right in the first corner;

once again ppl jumped on him saying his problem was that with regulation changes RB would loose their margin on opposition, etc...


I remember there were other teams strongly demanding new rubber. As was the significant majority of fans for some reason.

As for sensors, if FIA lose this one, I fully expect all these compliant obedient teams to keep running rest of season with these sensors. You think they will?


maybe they are more demanding than everyone else...

but actually, i believe they were the only ones put on the spot like that.

Go back 20/30yrs, but ron denis in the same position and he would clearly challenge a wrong FIA position.


So true. You got it right Clyde 


I have read the regs - other sensors CAN be homologated. BUT they need to measure the actual fuel flow at a certain point in the fuel system, and NOT rely upon ECU data. And that is the crux - the RB measurement relies upon the ECU, and the ECU relies upon what the engine tells IT - and the engine can be calibrated to report fudged results, thus fooling the ECU into under reporting fuel flow.

That is why the FIA has mandated a sensor independent of the engine/ECU combination, and RB's method isn't.


What else do you expect them to say? That he merely would have finished...third?

Red Bull have made many fortunes by selling carbonated, caffeinated water as a "lifestyle". I work in marketing, and they do it very, very well.

So you trust their declarations absolutely? Um, really?


I agree I thought the tolerance would even less than that.


Random, that's a good idea - but the downside is that the cars would almost be as wide as Montoya. Scary thought.


Martin, totally agree.

Having said that, if the FIA want to slow these turbo cars down massively, they could ask Pirelli to produce rock-hard tyres with ultra stiff sidewalls and conservative tread patterns. Ironically, the teams asked Pirelli for soft, fast degrading tyres that has probably increased lap times, so it is a push and pull effort between the teams and FIA.


Yes I know, that's why I said there should onlty be the 100kg rule, until they sort out any ambiguity over the fuel flow sensors.

Your "going too fast" reasoning is also quite exaggerated... "Ferrari might wipe Mercedes out"... you mean, beat? Such aggressive language.

The cars are limited to 12k RPM. Even if they could go to "300mph" as you outlandishly suggested, it wouldn't even last half the race. And the powertrain will blow.

It's bizarre why you are so worked up about this. Previous years had unlimited fuel flow. Did any of what you said above happen?


No, he has said that the black and the black and orange flags are not for this purpose


Except that the FIA doesn't consider Ricciardo's sensor to have faulted.


Nice try . . .

Red Bull’s technology is more accurate.

The FIA should do a deal with them.


Unfortunately for you, Sebee, what you may or may not strongly believe, is of no consequence (in the matter of technical regulations).

Its what the race stewards and the appeal court judges believe that matters 😉


And I believe it's the teams responsability to make sure the cars dont break down or wheels dont fall off the cars in the pitlane, but those things still happen, right?

Might be time to stop being so critical of FIA and come down to Earth and be more realistic.


Polite correction, it was a Pirelli tyre test.


Exactly, which is why RBR are trying to move the debate from the fact they broke the rules.


Why can't they simply say you have i.e. 100KG of fuel and use it as you will? Why does the flow rate matter out of curiosity? If they all have the same starting fuel, it should not matter how fast it flows should it? What am I missing?


One reason I see is to promote development on the hibryd side of the power unit.


Think about it. Safety and avoiding a ridiculous mismatch in pace of cars at different points of a lap/race. But the point has been explained plenty of times now.


"and could make for great viewing"

No it wouldn't, Watching 1 car turn up the boost & easily drive past a car running less boost would not be fun to watch, Would be totally boring.

Its bad enough with DRS at times so imagine DRS+1 car with more boost. It would be an utter joke.


1,000bhp, sounds like the goods to me...



Excellent post, right on the money.


That is precisely Charlie's point in the briefing.
He cannot see how Red Bull can win the appeal, even if they prove their measurement was accurate, because they were not in compliance with this article


If you think this was smart, I am sorry to disappoint...


DM would hand the sword to him, then take the sword and cut both of his F1 teams..

My understanding is that Red Bull are contractually committed to F1 until 2020, so no need to panic just yet 😉

BTW, Red Bull only own half of STR and there is an option [for the other partner] to buy full control as part of the deal. So things would not be quite as bleak as you suggest.


Thanks for the clarification Mister. I must admit my love for F1 is waning with the eco-friendly path that F1 is now taking. Personally I watch F1 to see the best drivers drive the fastest cars on some amazing race tracks in some of the most exotic locations around the world. It is not an eco-friendly sport when you consider the logistics and costs involved, so why try and make it one. The way things are going I wouldn't be surprised if next years regs dictated the used of solar panels on the wings...crazy!


Yeah, spot on info on FFM, contrary to what Mark Gillan wrote some days ago right here. These are the kind of news and technical info we, the fans, need to be updated on what is affecting our sport. The more we know the better we can interact in this blog with solid info. Checked other blogs (ESPN F1, PlanetF1) and really people just turn up with rubbish arguments.

This is the place for the informed fan.




The sensors are at least 99.75% accurate, with over half of them 99.9% accurate. And the FIA is allowing 1% deviation without penalty, so what's the complaint?

If the sensor was one of the worst-case ones (0.25% off), and measured Red Bull more than 1% over the limit, and if RB's own system is accurate, that means they were running at least 100.76 kg/hr per their own system, putting it more than 1% over (101.01 kg/hr) per the FIA sensor. Whereas if RB were actually doing 100kh/hr per their own system, and that system is accurate, there was no way FIA would have DQ'd them, because even a worst-case sensor would have had them only 0.25% over the limit, and FIA has said they allow 1% deviation.

As for why there has to be 100kg limit, as FIA has said, otherwise they could run over 1000HP, which nothing has been designed for, such as turbo shields. How would you like to see your favorite driver killed by a disintegrating turbo? or a car going under the barrier at Monza decapitating that driver? If you allow unlimited flow, they'll be coming down the straight at 300MPH instead of 200MPH. Were the tires designed for such speed & load? Unlimited flow could cause a bunch of tire blow-outs, what if Pirelli then claim breach of contract and quit the sport? Race without tires?

Also, suppose Ferrari are losing because they designed their engine too strong & heavy for the original formula, while Mercedes got it just right. If you allow unlimited flow, Ferrari might wipe Mercedes out if their engine can handle formerly illegal power levels better than Mercedes can. Way to punish the best engineers: change the formula.

For both sporting fairness and safety, they cannot allow ANY more flow than the planned 100kg/hr. Nor will they. And Red Bull should lose in court, because the issue is not "did you go over 100kg/hr", the issue is "did you go over per the sensor you were required to use unless permission was given to use the backup method". And they didn't even use the proper (calibrated) backup method, FIA just said that. Red Bull just up and defied the regulations, and are now changing the subject.

The 100kg/hr rule is NOT THE ONLY RULE IN THE BOOK. There is also a rule about how you measure the flow.


But if they go 106% they get black flagged.


Thanks for that.


Your answer confirms what I said, you need to have science degree or be an engineer.

Im just a fan trying to make sense of the new rules.


yes and vettel started winning only after the change of tyres ....surprising huh


I never saw senna winning championships due to Ron denis pressurising the FIA and getting rules changed .... McLaren won on the track


Horner is part of the de facto official Renault engine team so he gets info from those teams. But depending on the sensor design, your premise about vibration could be right.


Capping the maximum fuel flow rate allows the FIA to control cornering speeds. Not immediately obvious, but any increased power late in the straights allows cars to run bigger wings to benefit of lap times. Whether the fans and drivers want it, the FIA is generally trying to slow the cars down in the corners.


The reason the fuel flow limit is there is to stop teams having quali spec engines etc. it's also shift the emphasis on power away from the engine.

The red bull defence is weak. This was a known issue and all teams agreed to follow the FIA sensors it was only when red bull didn't like the readings that they took the law into there own hands. Red Bull will lose this case, no matter how faulty the sensors, you cannot take the law into your own hands.


But it appears they are arguing different points. RB is arguing the interpretation of the technical rule. The FIA is arguing as the sporting authority that only it determines what is legal or not, not a competitor.


The rpm limit is 15,000 btw, but to get your question, if you started with the homologated engine parts and the injectors as is, then the engines wouldn't produce 750 kW as they are not designed to move that much air and fuel as the cars are designed to be efficient.

If you started with a goal of peak power, even without the toluene fuels in the 1980s, 1200 kW would be possible, but the turbo, inlet and injector designs would be different and the cars would most likely run a lower compression ratio.


>"Could those engins even produce 1,000 hp at 12,000 RPM?"

Easily, the BMW M12 was a 1.5 litre 4-cylinder turbo engine used in the late 1980's, and it could hit at least 1300 bhp in qualifying trim, and it certainly wasn't alone in being able to do this.


I agree Mark V,

I would add that the sport may have reached a point where some fans will look elsewhere for their racing fix.

I must say I'm intrigued by all this new technology but it must still produce good racing. If the racing is boring I'm afraid F1 will take a serious hit.


They're not the only ones with problems. They're the only ones who ignored the directive to turn fuel flow down. Problems were raised by many teams during testing. Mercedes were told to turn flow down and said it would have a significant impact on performance but did it anyway, guess its no big deal to turn it down when your pace is already far superior and you're leading by 20+ secs, but for a team like RB fighting for a podium with cars right on your tail if you believe the sensor is giving widely inaccurate readings (up to 2% out) then of course you're not going to be as compliant.


Sure they do have there politics and issues but seriously there issues are no where near the scale it they that often as in F1!!



Did u watch the opening round of motoGP? Nobody can deny that wasnt a breathtaking event!

The point of both sports are to put on a show!

And regardless of whatever motoGP clearly did do emphatically!

F1 on the other by comparison was a joke!


F1 is where it is financially because if its past!!!!

Since 2008 F1s never reached such hi tv viewing figure and the sports popularity is declining season by season!

These rule changes just made the rate of decline faster !

By the end of it all if few ppl watch F1 it s not going 2 be worth much @ all!

Btw y dont u go research last years race attendance figures 4 both sports and ul see F1 didnt even get close!

Michael in Seattle



I believe in Santa Claus, it doesn't mean it's factual.

I strongly believe that it is FIA's responsibility to provide accurate sensors and ensure calibrated backup is in place.


I think the present day rules laid down by FIA are so complicated and long that there is a need of sessions to teach and explain to the teams what these new rules are. F1 has become a game of the rules in order to win more than pure motor racing.


Yeah, I thought a similar thing since the FIA "cannot accept an alternative system for measurement because it has not been calibrated against a known sensor."

BUT, what if RB says, "well we didn't know your sensor was going to be so inaccurate so didn't submit our fuel rail for calibration as a known sensor. But that is what we're doing now. We had it sealed after the race and now it has been tested and so it is a now a known sensor for you and we will use it as a backup."

In the context of all the rules changes I actually suspect a judge might think this is fair.


That point was made in the original article on Sunday night


The Mercedes Pirelli thing was not a Technical Directive.

It was a written opinion in response to a question.


To be clear, Horner's quotes are from an interview I did with him myself.

There are other quotes from other interviews at large


The WEC ones, yes.

Those are mounted externally, and in pairs


I asked him whether he had considered using the black and orange flag as the car would not be in compliance, but he said that was for damaged cars which were considered dangerous and was not to be used for circumstances like this


The sensors are part of a system. If only Renault are having problems with these sensors, then perhaps the problem is with the Renault power unit, not the sensor?

Either the mechanical or electromechanical environment created by the Renault power plant could be the reason for the alleged faulty sensor.

Regarding Mr Horner's constant bringing the sport into disrepute with this fuelgate affair, as another respondent put it, "Methinks he doth protest too much"


So, in that regard, how to you perceive Mercedes secret tyre test last year? And the FIA, should red bull win the appeal?


So if FIA scales were not reliable and RBR was called for being too light they should say nothing? This fuel flow case is different how?


i think its more in the british and latin press that they are perceived as cheats;

now, they push the rules to the limit, but so does every other team, as best as they can;

Ferrari shumi years

Renault mass damper

brawn double diffuser

You don't get to win races and WCs by leaving performance on the table 😉

AND FIA rules are not as black and white as we would like.


If the teams are allowed a maximum variance of 5%, so that would happen is that all teams would be running at 105‰, and we'd be talking about Red Bull running over 106% instead of 101%


You really don't need to know about the sensors. There are plenty of parts on an f1 car that could fail at any time that fans don't really know about.


Yeah, you need to have an engineering degree to follow the sport, and that's IMHO an area which Horner et.al. failed to address so far. If we have a 100 kg fuel weight limit, and a 12 000 RPM rev limit, why do we need to confuse everyone with hyper-technical BS that needs a press conference and three engineers to explain? Could those engins even produce 1,000 hp at 12,000 RPM?


5% variance?!!

lol... you mean any team should be able to run wings 5% bigger? 😮

or any other thing... for that matter...

what you is measure with enough accuracy so it is not a differenciator. Example, you measure car weight with accuracy of 0.01kg... so, a car weighted at 695 is 694.99 to 695.01.

The variability introduced by the measurement error is not a performance diferenciator.

now, image the accuracy is 3KG! (by the way, that's the same 0.5% the FIA says it accepts for the fuel flow).

if each team used their own scale for each car (sensor is different for each car after all), the dif between the "luckiest" and the worst would be a whopping 6kg

Would we accept that a measurement inaccuracy would lead to a team being advantaged by a 6kg difference ?? Doesn't seem much of a playing field, does it...

Sensors need to be much more precise, and its only 92% of them that are accurate for 0.5%; the other 8% are bonkers i bet. So, teams will buy heaps of sensors and find the ones which under-read the fuel flow, simple as that.

Improve accuracy so that the error is not relevant and this goes away.


5% on a good sensor is still more than 5% on a bad sensor.


the standard is 0.05% so the fia is generous on this.


5% is more than the difference between the front of the field and the back, so no that sort of tolerance would be ridiculous in F1. Remember these are teams who spend millions to gain a 0.1% difference.


I disagree. What we see now is the FIA trying to dig themselves out of a hole they created for themselves. If you have been following this issue you will know that many of the teams have been having problems with the fuel flow sensors since late last year. And it's not only the F1 teams - http://www.racecar-engineering.com/news/porsche-critical-of-f1-fuel-flow-meter/ . The problem is that the fuel flow sensors, even though they incorporate some amazing technology, are not yet at a stage of development where they are reliable enough for this type of application and the FIA should never have approved them for homologation.

You can argue about whether or not Red Bull should have followed Charlie Whitings directives during the race but at the same time you need to ask why Red Bull should be forced to compromise their race based on faulty information.

I also don't go along with the FIA's reasons for having fuel flow restrictions in the first place. Turbos have been used in many forms of racing for a long time without these sort of restrictions. The safety issue is just a face-saving ploy by the FIA.


If Red Bull can prove their sensor readings it makes no difference. All they need to do is prove that the fuel flow was within the rules.


not breaking the rules, breaking procedure.

it is in fact defend-able.

Just because RB didn't take it in the chin and put up a fight people say cheaters.

Actually , the sensors need to be better in accuracy.

Would you accept that the weights in F1 are measured to 3KG accuracy? That's the 0.5% the FIA is accepting for fuel flow. And at least the weight is in the same scale for everyone, as for the sensors, each car his own.

I think this is unacceptable, and the weight analogy allows to see just how poor the sensors are.

RB is claiming error of up to 2% (this is akeen to measuring the weight with an uncertainty of 13kg!!!).

Should the "pinnacle" of motorsport do better?

NOT should, MUST; for me it is not even a question!


Perhaps there are a couple of olive branches being offered by RB with Horner quoted in this article saying he's willing to 'work with' the FIA. And, also with Ricardo being quoted in an earlier JA on F1 article that RB was going to 'play fair' in Malaysia. Could it be a new strategy to avoid further damaging flack?

To extend the Shakespeare metaphor "...oh what tangled webs..."


agreed, I respect Red Bulls achievements, much of their success has been through technical brilliance by taking the rules and pushing them as far as possible. (like nearly all top teams do of course)

And sometimes it just doesn't work out, take it on the chin Christian and get on with it rather than so much complaining.


Let's see what evidence is presented by both sides at the appeal before making judgments.....



BTW the explanation, in the article, for the existence of the sensors is excellent.


Agreed Irish Con.

Everything else has nothing to do with motor-racing.


Problem is, without some sort of fuel flow limit, the engineers could pump out outrageous amounts of power and torque for short distances, and there could be huge differences in cars competing straight line speeds, and potentially cause a fatal accident with a car being rammed by another one from behind. That sort of thing happens a lot at Le Mans when the works car try to lap backmackers, and it has produced fatalities, so best avoided in F1.


As we have heard the 100 kg per race is not a limiting factor everywhere. I agree with limiting the flow as well to encourage using the fuel and ERS in a smart/better way. It makes it all more relevant to what is happening in the real world.

If they would just also introduce low profile tires that would be even better.


Sorry, but MotoGP is consumed by politics at the moment surrounding Ducati's decision to enter the Open category - new rules were even created to address the issue only days before the start of the season (instigated by Honda and Yamaha). Throughout the off-season Honda had been complaining about the new ECU rules to be introduced in 2016 (like Formula 1, the ECU is going to be a standard component) and threatened to quit MotoGP (sound familiar?)

Nick Harris is simply WRONG to suggest that MotoGP has no problem with rules and racing. In a bid to keep MotoGP going, they first implemented the CRT rules to maintain a full grid, which this season have evolved into the Open class rules. As a result of politics, they've had to hastily come up with a third class, sitting between the Factory and Open classes, specifically to address the Ducati issue.

Remember the shambolic situation in Philip Island last season? I love watching MotoGP but in terms of politics and messy rules and rule-making, and biased decisions, it's as bad as Formula 1.

Where MotoGP wins over Formula 1: it's more accessible to fans than Formula 1 and motorbike racing has the potential for more overtakes (but not always: the top category in particular has its share of processional races).

On a final note, in Moto2, 2nd placed Nakagami was disqualified after the race. His team used a foam filter instead of a paper filter. This was legal until 2012 but the team had continued to use foam filters throughout 2013 - only when Nakagami got a podium and the bike was examined was it discovered that the filter was illegal. Ridiculous.


Now compare the financial value of the respective sports and I think you'll get your answer.


The turbo engines ARE NOT ABOUT BEING GREEN. They came about because _nearly_ all supercar and sports cars are being built with turbos, and the engine manufacturers want to show off "similar" engines on Sunday that the public can buy on Monday in the showroom. That has always been the mantra of automobile company's involvement in racing.

Ferrari is pretty much the lone big-name hold-out in the non-turbo supercar camp, and even they are making turbo engines for Maserati I believe. McLaren wanted turbos, Renault, and even Merc puts a turbo in nearly all Black and AMG versions. Change to turbos was inevitable - but they couldn't recreate the danger of 1500hp qualifying spec turbos again, because they were too dangerous on too many tracks, and too expensive as they kept blowing up. So we get fuel limitations as a way of keeping them safe.

The result is a compromise...and can be adjusted over time. Expect next year's cars to be louder, and maybe rev higher...


Too much commercializam involved and that overshadows the sport to some degree (and to frequently if you asked me).

As always it is difficult to put that much money in the same package with integrity (across-the-board, per individual and per team).

Some appear to be in there not for the love of sport itself, so some would rather damage the sport then their bottom line. That is a sad dark side of F1.


Anyone who thinks the sensors are faulty and not accurate enough have totally fallen /bought in to the Red Bull tactics of muddying the waters enough to create a dispute where there isn't one.

The rule or directive or whatever from the FIA is to use the approved and calibrated device, as per every other team!!!

Everything else is cheating discuised as politics.



Lom of FIA admits he is not satisfied with the sensor's performance, yet, teams racing against each other down to 1/1000sec are forced to use this rubbish. In this fiercely competitive environment it is ridiculous to penalise teams for 'breaking the rules' when an alleged breach is not known absolutely.

In any aspect of life, a law that cannot be accurately monitored and consistently policed is a bad law.

It is bad enough that the list of unseen variables behind any race result these days includes utterly boring factors such as type management and fuel efficiency but we are now expected to ignore the fact that inconsistent fuel sensors capable of 'drifting' either within or outside 'legal' parameters could have a result altering impact on a cars performance.

Combine all this with absurd contrivances such as DRS and it makes cheering for a particular driver or team quite naive really.


What do you do if these sensors are the best in the world and there's no other that can do the job better?

You need to be realistic here. The cars on the track are prototypes with technology like no other and these sensors are just the same. As with any other new technology, problems will come up. Don't expect state of the art, 100% working equipment when only last year we had tyres blowing up, wheels and wheel nuts falling of cars. By your logic, in a cutting edge sport, wheel nuts should not be falling off cars, but they do. So why do you accept those faults but not a small variance by these 300g, smaller than a mobile phone sensors which do the job while going 200mph and exposed to great vibrations.

Dimitar Kadrinski

Again... please read the article first:

"Lom pointed out that the accuracy of these Gill sensors which weigh 300g and are smaller than a mobile telephone is remarkable compared to large bench-top machines which do the same job in a static environment."


I take it you don't know very much about sensor design or technology.

I suggest you go to the Gill website and get a better understanding, or try Google. What Gill has done is develop a sensor that uses ultrasonic waves to measure fuel flow WITHOUT affecting the rate of flow by its operation - a fairly nice feat. And THEN they made it work inside the fuel cell of a F1 car, and take F1 g-forces and thermal stresses.

Wow. There literally was nothing like it on the planet before they started. You can DO it more accurately, but the meters that do don't fit inside an F1 car, nor take the stresses that the Gill's can.

Let's put it this way - the regulations state that more than one vendor can make a sensor and submit it for homologation and approval for use in F1. The specs that it has to meet are published, as is Gill's overall design. So far only Gill has managed to make one work and get approved. Hardly "second-rate technology"...no one else can even copy it!


We would not accept to measure weight in F1 the way we measure these fuel flows.


5.10.3 Homologated sensors must be fitted which directly measure the pressure, the temperature and the flow of the fuel supplied to the injectors, these signals must be supplied to the FIA data logger.

5.10.4 Only one homologated FIA fuel flow sensor may be fitted to the car which must be placed wholly within the fuel tank.

5.10.5 Any device, system or procedure the purpose and/or effect of which is to increase the flow rate after the measurement point is prohibited.

"only one homologated FIA fuel flow sensor"

There is only one fuel flow sensor (FFS) that has been homologated by the FIA ... that is the Gill FFS, ergo that's the one and only one that can do the measuring.


That makes some sense, the rules are not overly specific. Would not be surprised if that is the outcome. These cars are so complex I have no doubt that each and every team knows exactly how much fuel they are burning from on board systems and RedBull will likely be able to show technical compliance of the fuel rate, but they will lose on procedural compliance.


I agree except I'm not sure about continuing to watch as the powers that be are systematically removing everything spectacular about F1, it's just like F3 but a bit faster now


"To many rule changes at one time and not enough testing before the season starts, neither for the teams or for the FIA or the fans who in the end pays it all".

It's not as if they didn't have a lot of time to prepare. And iirc, these major rule changes were actually deferred by a season or two, along with the originally proposed four cylinder engine updated to six.

More pre-season testing may have helped get everyone up to speed, but then again some teams appear to not have suffered too much without it, Mercedes being the best example. They obviously spent their development time in the preceding season or two wisely, while others such as Lotus might not have gotten their poop in a group with two or even three times as much testing.

People keep saying that the new formula is not catering enough to the fans who pay the bills. That is only partly true. Engine manufacturers also help pay the bills. (No engine, no race car). And to justify the costs of building these increasingly expensive engines, the manufacturers naturally want the engines to be more relevant to what their customers want, and that the technology they spend developing in F1 can also trickle down to their consumer cars, hence the fuel saving hybrids. (Fuel is never going to get any cheaper).

This I believe is why Mercedes stuck it out this long with limited success the past three years, and why Honda is coming back. Having two large manufacturers like this committed to F1 is a good thing for everyone.


I totally agree with u!

Sadly my love for F1 has reached its limit after watching last weekends motoGP race which was breathless ive come 2 a realization that F1 sadly isnt good enough anymore and that something like motoGP provided me with the thrill and joy I used to get from F1!

All im interested in is waiting and seeing how all this farce plays out!then im done with F1!

All we have left are memories of what was a great sport!!

The ppl running F1 FIA, FOM and the teams think they can run F1 however they wish and not give a crap what F1 fans think!All these rule changes are for either of their benefits and no benefit to any of the Fans!

They assume they can do whatever they like and F1 will never fall!

Well nothing is too great to fall!


Yes, they can monitor the sensors in real time. That's why they began warning Red Bull from as EARLY as lap 5 and on through the race.


if you read the articale it tells you why you cant leave it down to the driver. the speed differential would be enormous and dangerous.


How are these sensors impacted by ambient and fuel temps for example? We just don't know enough detail about these $26000 sensors to determine if they are good enough. It may be all we have, but it seems that fuel flow is an ugly can of worms.


The "average use" measurement does not stop drivers from dialling up HUGE power peaks, which would inevitably lead to huge speed differentials on track, and the potential for a massive crash. That is the whole point of an instantaneous fuel flow measurement - to limit peak turbo-boosted power output to something reasonable.


Yes, as far we understand it flow and status information from the sensor is sent to the ECU over CAN (Controller Area Network) and is monitored in real time by the FIA. Hence the warnings during the race for Red Bull to regulate their fuel flow.


My understanding is that the FIA do have a back up, but I have not seen the detail reported. Red Bull didn't adhere to the back up which is where they fall foul.

Red Bull may well have a valid argument regarding the reliability and accuracy of the flow meters, but it's the way they are going about it which is unsavoury. The latest seems to suggest that if a similar problem occurs this weekend, Red Bull will 'work with the FIA', which suggests that they used Aus to test the water and in the mean time will fall in line until the appeal is heard.


red bull had a back up. trouble was it was there own and not the one the FIA had chosen.


One more thought. How do you calibrate a backup fuel flow method against a sensor that can drift?

I know we're getting to the nitty gritty here, but let's all remember, the clock measures down to 0.001, and last I checked FP2 had top 5 seperated by .2s. So if we measure pole, laps, race time down to 0.001 should we not expect same accuracy elsewhere?


No one is bringing the sport into disrepute. These types of tech challenges or "clarifications" have gone on since day 1 of sport. Just another part of the game.


Totally agree.

As stated in the article, "...the rules state that if there is a problem with a sensor teams have to use a back up solution which has been calibrated against a known sensor. Red Bull did not do this, whatever the accuracy they may claim for their own system, it had not been calibrated against a known sensor in a controlled environment."

I think that says it all.

Also, the FIA simply cannot let teams act on their own and ignore rules and directives at their own discretion. Chaos would ensue.


Same here. If Red Bull were to win their appeal, that leaves the door open for other teams to mount a protest saying that they did not break the rules even though their sensors could have been faulty. And then it drags on.



That is the real problem with these sensors. The margin of success or failure in this game is routinely less than the sensor's margin of error.

As an aside, that '1000hp burst, high speed difference' racing series Fabrice mentioned sounds great! Bet the cars are really loud, too. One might even call it the 'pinnacle of motor sport'...

Dimitar Kadrinski

It is all explained in the article Seebie. "(NB The FIA contends that the Red Bull sensor was not faulty and had not broken on Ricciardo’s car in Australia)"

It is also explained there about the calibration of the primary and the back-up sensors. And to be honest it all makes a lot of sense to me now.



that's the problem with these sensors.

nobody would accept a scale (which is the same for everyone one!) with 0.5% error.

That equates to 3.5kg for a car+driver.

Way too much performance to leave on the table...


Doesn't the article state that RBR had not calibrated their own backup?

I understood the calibration would occurr against a benchtop model that is known to be accurate.

So, RBR fail to complete their due diligence before a race and then hope to do it retrospectively and get away with it.


If Horner fell on a sword over this, Mr. DM would hand the sword to him, then take the sword and cut both of his F1 teams. McLaren is a racing team and accepted an obscene penalty because without racing they are nothing. I don't think Red bull is in the same position nor would they accept the same treatment.


Your confusing the FIA approved Gill sensor, which Red Bull had was calibrated and working. With the unapproved method of fuel measurement Red Bull is using as their defense.

It doesn't look like a can of worms to me. It looks like one team trying to gain advantage by not following the same rules their competitors are playing by.


The backup is the team's own systems, i.e. what Red Bull ultimately decided to use. The issue is they need the FIA's permission to use their own reading, and they didn't have it.


From my understanding, if a sensor doesn't give accurate and consistent readings, FIA will look at it and apply an offset (if they think the sensor is not completly faulty).

During the race, they can't ask a team to apply an offset, as they can't know what amount of offset they should apply without looking at the sensor and checking it.

In RBR's case, as James said in his article above, FIA don't think the sensor was faulty, so they just asked RBR to reduce the fuel flow rate because the sensor was saying to them RBR use more than 100kg/h. So from my understanding, no offset was given during the race to RBR.


Read again. There is a back-up and has been calibrated by the FIA.

"If the FIA feels that a sensor is drifting in its reading (which it contends is very obvious) it reverts to the back up, which has been planned for and the back up has been calibrated against an official sensor."

FIA did not use (or maybe it did check the readings from the back-up) because they believe the sensor on Daniel's car was not faulty.


I guess we're getting down to the details finally.

If FIA knows the sensors can drift and backup was calibrated and in placed the RBR and they did not use this method, there isn't much to talk about.

On the other hand, if there was no backup, or backup was not calibrated - who's fault is that?

Also, it is my understanding that there is only 1 sensor as Horner just mentioned that "perhaps there should be two sensors and an avarage should be taken". So what exactly is the backup method?

Dimitar Kadrinski

You are so d@mn right. But then again, try to explain this to an energy drinks company....




if they had a extra fuel they could burn it EASILY without going over the flow.

also, fuel rail pressure and flow are very very very precise, take it from industry insider (especially on custom build, mega controlled, million dollar, performance engines).


I do believe that after the safety car period drivers were told by their teams that fuel was not a concern any more. I'm not sure if that was the case for all teams, but a reasonable assumption.

Also, allowing up to 10 seconds per lap of higher flow could impact a qualifying lap. I wonder how many warnings will go out during quali??


How will you go to the toilet with fingers crossed until 14th?

Actually, sounds like the ruler FIA uses is not reliable enough to be used to enforce this rule.


If backup method is in place and to be trusted, should it not me FIA who ensures backup is in place?

If the scale doesn't work who's responsible for ensuring weight of car is correct?


"the advantage he may have had would be negligible"

Not so according to Red Bull. They have subsequently claimed that had they followed FIA instructions to reduce the flow-rate to meet the regulations (as interpreted by FIA staff), Ricciardo would have finished in fifth place. So that makes at least three drivers who'd say it wasn't negligible!


They should have a backup backup, and a backup for the backup backup just in case the second backup is as faulty as the first backup.

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