Red Bull’s Horner “confident” that team will get Melbourne points back at appeal
Red Bull Racing
Posted By: James Allen  |  25 Mar 2014   |  7:33 pm GMT  |  502 comments

Christian Horner, boss of the Red Bull Racing team has today explained what their case will be based on at the April 14 appeal hearing into Daniel Ricciardo’s disqualification from the Australian Grand Prix. And he says that the team is very confident it will be able to prove that it didn’t break the rules on fuel flow.

“We are appealing on the grounds that we are extremely confident that we have not broken the rules, that we haven’t exceeded the 100kg/hour of fuel that is permitted to be utilised by the car and the engine,” he said.

“Our whole case is on the fact of which reading is correct. We have a [FIA] sensor that is drifting and isn’t reading correctly versus a fuel rail that we know is calibrated and we know that hasn’t varied throughout the weekend. We haven’t broken the Technical Regulations. That we haven’t exceeded the fuel flow limit and that the sensor, which hopefully we will be able to demonstrate in the appeal, is erroneous.”

Although Technical Directives – the secretive documents issued by the FIA to teams to clarify and update interpretations of rules on complex technical areas – are considered by many F1 teams to supersede the technical regulations, Horner said that his team doesn’t see them that way, that they are more of an “opinion”.

The role of Technical Directives in governing F1 will be tested at the appeal hearing.

However the key point here is that even if Red Bull can demonstrate that its own readings were more accurate than the FIA approved sensor, the FIA will argue that the rules do not allow a competitor to take matters into its own hands when measuring something fundamental to the running of the car. He must follow FIA guidelines, as all the other competitors did in Melbourne.

As the stewards’ statement spelled out in Melbourne, “Although the sensor showed a difference in readings… it remains the homologated and required sensor against which the team is obliged to measure their fuel flow, unless given permission by the FIA to do otherwise….it is not within their discretion to run a different fuel flow measurement method without the permission of the FIA.”

Red Bull’s owner Dietrich Mateschitz has made some vague threats this week to quit F1 over this issue and over his general frustration about the new hybrid power train rules. The company has pumped billions into F1 over the last 15 or so years and the team is committed to the sport until the end of 2020 in a bilateral agreement with FOM.

Mateschitz is using a tactic employed to great effect over the years by Enzo Ferrari, who frequently threatened to leave the sport, even building an Indycar once to add some spice to his threat. The tradition has been continued by current Ferrari chairman Luca di Montezemolo, who faced down Max Mosley at the end of his FIA presidency over Budget Caps – and won.

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Sorry that something went wrong, repeat again!

From what I understand, the flow sensor was reading higher than expected (As measured by RB) during practise on friday. FIA changed the sensor (Admitted it was reading incorrectly) but then put the original (faulty one) back in for qualifying and the race.

The FIA get a bunch of sensors. Some read higher than average, and some read lower, but remain within a predetermined % of accuracy. This is fairly normal for sensors (I regularly work with different sensors). It appears that RB got a sensor that read higher than average, and that is what they are appealing. Had they got a sensor that was on the lower end, they may have been OK. The fact that the FIA had them replace the sensor twice, shows that RB have ground to appeal based on their own data (Which would probably be more accurate).


Go to website and look up technical regulations. Please read the very detailed notes on it. Once you have understood come back to me as they are quite detailed.

“Offence: Breach of article 3.2 of the FIA Formula 1 sporting regulations and Article 5.1.4 of the FIA Formula 1 technical regulations”

Please note very carefully the following:-

“10) Under Art. 3.2 of the sporting regulations it is the duty of the team to ensure compliance with the technical regulations throughout the event.”

This is a very dangerous precedence if Red Bull succeed because it would effectively bring into question the governance of F1 in the sporting regulations and would mean every team could question every sporting decision made by the stewards including every team filing appeals under the sporting regulations for the loss of points as they FULLY complied with the agreed technical regulations AND directives- please understand all these three things are linked.

I think the outcome will prove to be fruitful for all the teams in that clarification will be realised on the fuel flow sensor issue and that the teams will be able to run their cars more accurately if a more effective measure is adopted.


And RBR is arguing

1.They did not exceed 100kg/hr (5.1.4)

2.And therefore THEY ensured they complied with the regulations by not trusting a dodgy drifting inconsistent sensor.It is the teams responsibility to comply,not rely on FIA, therefore should use all means possible to ensure compliance. The FIA sensor is (in the regulations) the PRIMARY means of measuring fuel flow, but therefore not the only one. If the fuel flow meter failed in a race, under 3.2, the team still has a responsibility to ensure they comply, and it would be correct and proper for them to use the data from the fuel rail to ensure they were complying.

Directives are not regulations

Too many amateur lawyers on here


Read the regulations on this in FULL. Understand it THEN comment!

Under the sporting regs in the event of the fuel sensor failure the FIA is the body that determines the measurement NOT Red Bull.! Otherwise whats to stop 12 teams running 12 different measurements.

I wish there were too many armchair lawyers on here and not just people with blinkers on.- look beyond your nose.

Ive already explained that the issue with the sensor is debatable and probably will be clarified as a result of the appeal but the issue about who determines the measurement and the changing the rules is where Red Bull should fail!


*Please delete- duplicate to 129 above


If this is done properly (its a Court at the end of the day), then parties will be able to discover all info the FIA has from all teams.

One could find that Red Bull’s gill sensor over-read flow rate by say 2% and Merc under-read by 2%. So in reality one team was disadvantaged and another advantaged.

Therefore it may not be a given that another team could have done the same, without evidence that proved their gill sensor was over-reading.

To answer earlier post where it was questioned whether you can challenge a traffic infringement if the radar gun was reading faulty – yes of course you can, you just have to prove it – as the traffic enforcement office has to prove it was correctly calibrated.


Hi everyone,

Firstly on the Ricciardo disqualification. I suspect that the F1 appeal court will simply re-confirm that Red Bull broke the rules and will therefore not get their 18 points back.

While on the fuel flow limit, could someone please tell me why we need it? I assume the aim is to encourage efficiency? I have no problem at all with the 130 litre tank limit and teams can plan their race strategies knowing that they will run out if they go too hard. But why also limit fuel flow?

Secondly, I was at Melbourne for the 1st race and I was absolutely appalled by the sound of the cars. Downright embarrassing. 10 years ago I witnessed the loudest sound known to mankind…the extraordinary V10s. It was simply not possible to not wear ear plugs within 40m of the track. Unbelievable passion and excitement. Then came the V8s which were not as loud and not as engaging as the V10s but were borderline ok. Now we have something that sounds more like my Toyota Prius!

Crikey, are the fuel efficiently rule makers determined to kill F1 off by totally removing the passion and the excitement of this once great sport? Generated to a high degree by the intensity of the amazing sound?

On what I ‘heard’ this year, I won’t be going back to next year’s race and I can assure all readers that there were countless others around me who felt exactly the same.




Have you considered the possibility that the new F1 cars, which at 134 dB, are still loud enough to cause permanent hearing damage, aren’t “that loud” to you because you destroyed your hearing listening to the V10’s?

Listening to 145 dB (the V8’s) even with ear protection, can cause hearing damage. Unprotected, you’re good for about 2-5 seconds before you have hearing damage.




What if it would have been the other way around:

RB: Jean our own sensor says we are having 110kg/h fuel flow, but your sensor is saying 90. Are we allowed to ignore our own sensor?

JT: Aehm, hmmm, you are not Ferrari!


JT: Not only are you allowed to ignore your own sensor, your own sensor shouldn’t even being used as a sensor. This year, your sensor is a paperweight.

Now, OUR sensor, even though it reads 90. Go with it. Look, its all here in the manual. We even typed it this year, no joined up writing. Use. The. FIA. Sensor.

Use. The. FIA. Flow model.

Kay? Kay.


I am unable to understand why common sense does not dictate!? Surely RBR have not followed instructions for the governing body and therefore face the consequences. Why is there being such a debate about right and wrong? The only debate is the size of the fine, dq.

RBR have dug a hole for themselves and wasting more money on lawyers when there is talk of cost sitting does not make sense. Newey is a big part in this and Horner is DM puppet. Wouldn’t,t be surprised if Newey quits the sport at end of season.

kenneth chapman

@ fausta, if they do that and on the 14th april the court uphold red bulls appeal, what then?

i see it rather as a situation that red bull will not make any changes, i certainly hope not anyway, as their case lives or dies on the regulation of actual ‘fuel flow’.

rock on red bull.


I was talking about the stewards Black Flagging the car in the first place when they refused to turn down the fuel flow during the Australian race. To me the debate about the sensor is separate from the fact RB completely disregarded an order from the stewards. We cannot have teams doing as they will in this matter if we wish to improve the integrity of the race. If they black flagged Riccardo then the focus would be more on finding a solution with the teams knowing full well they must follow the rules first, then debate them second. I am not a RB fan, but I really feel for Riccardo as that kid drove his heart out. I feel his team really let him down.


My Fantasy FIA Ruling

1. Red Bull, your appeal is rejected.

2. Oh, and you know that double-points race you guys don’t like? You are banned from that one.

3. You’re welcome.


It IS a fantasy because the case is not before the FIA. It is an independent court and THEY will make the ruling


But just to be clear that is the Independent Court of Middle Earth, correct?


Looking at this from a legal stand point I can see how Red Bull will proceed on this :-

1. They will prove categorically that the fuel flow sensor was / is inaccurate

2. They will prove scientifically that their fuel measurement is more accurate than the sensor.

3. They will argue that rules stating 100kg/h do not stipulate 1.66kg/m or 276.66grams/ sec etc.and therefore if it varied from time to time does not matter as long as they were within the total capacity for the race

4. They will argue that given the above- how can the FIA stipulate the tolerances if

A) the fule flow sensor is inaccurate

B) the method of measurement is immature and unclear

This may lead to the rules being clarified in regards to the fuel flow sensor or even an additional measure be apllied such as one on the fuel rail.

It will not change fact that Red Bull went against the spirit of the sport & Iand applied a methodology right or wrong where they may have gained an advantage over the field and this regard the appeal should be quashed.

From a personal point of view I would welcome Red Bulls departure from F1- because there is always a question mark over what they do in F1. What should be clear to Dietrich Mateschitz is that despite their success fans are always questioning the legitmacy of that success and this could not be good for their overall image.

kenneth chapman

you surprise me, as there is no such thing as the ‘spirit of the rules’ i would ask you to consider the facts and the facts alone. according to charlie whiting a technical directive is an ‘opinion’ not a rule or a regulation.

faced with an option of reducing the fuel flow, when you are in the knowledge that it has not been exceeded, would be to accept an unfair penalty. forget what happened to the other teams it is irrelevant in this instance. what action would you take?


Go to website and look up technical regulations. Please read the very detailed notes on it. Once you have understood come back to me as they are quite detailed.

“Offence: Breach of article 3.2 of the FIA Formula 1 sporting regulations and Article 5.1.4 of the FIA Formula 1 technical regulations”

Please note very carefully the following:-

“10) Under Art. 3.2 of the sporting regulations it is the duty of the team to ensure compliance with the technical regulations throughout the event.”

This is a very dangerous precedence if Red Bull succeed because it would effectively bring into question the governance of F1 in the sporting regulations and would mean every team could question every sporting decision made by the stewards including every team filing appeals under the sporting regulations for the loss of points as they FULLY complied with the agreed technical regulations AND directives- please understand all these three things are linked.

I think the outcome will prove to be fruitful for all the teams in that clarification will be realised on the fuel flow sensor issue and that the teams will be able to run their cars more accurately if a more effective measure is adopted.


Kimis a real chance if its dry – even from 6th. But I suspect my next fav -Lewis will do it after the Aust heartache!

kenneth chapman

@ elie… there are distinctions here. read my post again. i said that ‘directives’ are an opinion. from my understanding, and also that of red bull, the issuance of a ‘directive’ to reduce the fuel flow was in effect an opinion and invalid.

like you i certainly hope that the issue can be resolved. the FIA have produced a dogs breakfast here and they deserve to be challenged. F! is no place for dodgy homologated components when so much is at stake.

it will be most interesting to see the fallout in malaysia. enjoy the race.


If this scenario happens again regarding the sensor or any other area the stewards should black flag the car so we don’t have to go through all this politicking etc.. If you disregard a rule or a directive you are black flagged. Give them x amount of laps to comply or they can park it. NASCAR uses that method, it is cut and dry. If a team is having difficulties or issues then it can be sorted out, but no one can disregard the rules and get away with it. The FIA must turn RB’s appeal away.


Money talks.


I know.

Mine’s always telling me that it’s leaving me for someone named Bill 🙁


Does Mr Bill have the initials of P.A.Y. in front of his surname Random?

PS – Apparently Mr P.A.Y. Bill is always being posted to a certain team in Enstone, Oxfordshire, although by happy coincidence some very generous Venezuelans are posting big juicy pay cheques to the same address in Enstone to ease the pain!


Might be the same one, but it’s okay now – I just got a phone call today from some guy named Ijaz at Quantum.

No, I’ve never heard of them either, but apparently now all my monetary problems are solved 😀


There’s a lot of emotional venting here based on the parties involved. Try to separate your feelings towards Red Bull from the facts of the matter. If it were Bottas and Williams who were disqualified and appealing the decision, would you feel the same way? In most cases, no.

If RB can show that their car did not exceed the fuel flow limit then they should win the appeal. But even if they fail in that, every team and every fan will be a winner if the FIA are forced by the appeals process to clean up their act and implement a fair and transparent rule making process. Charlie Whiting being a one man secret court and handing down secret orders made up out of his own head is not any to run F1, or any sport.


D) That regardless of the team’s assertion that the sensor was fault, it is not within their discretion to run a different fuel flow measurement method without the permission of the FIA.


For new F1 fans:

So far this season we have had:

1 a disqualification

2 an appeal against disqualification

3 team threatening to withdraw from F1

4 team accused of cheating

5 promoter threatening break of contract as noise did not damage Australian eardrums.

6 promoter saying other circuits will withdraw from F1

So welcome to normal service of F1 it’s been the same for the last 57 years to my knowledge and I am still here.

By-the-way, you might see occasionally every 2 to 3 weeks a few computerised go karts imitating F1 cars going around a circuit somewhere which breaks up the political saga for awhile.


Are we (or is he?) still sure Horner doesn’t want Bernie’s job? Seems he could have upset DM big time if they lose….


James or anyone have you heard of anything further on the camera in the nose of RBR instead of them using the ones on the bodywork as all other teams are using??


No way Red Bull will pull out just on this… 2 race teams and one track is a lot on investment.

They are just doing what Ferrari have done for years and posturing in an overly arrogant manner


decision to be in April;

what about next race?!?!

Does anybody know the sensor RB will be using?!?


They are stuffed.

If they do the same again it’s double or quits

If they do what FIA asks, it undermines their argument from Melbourne.


This is good James. If they do something they lose anyway.

There will be a lot of compromises i assume. Not that we will hear about them anyway. They do need a win-win solution here.

My proposal about fuel use. Give them exact same amount fuel, let them race and after the race give them penalty seconds according to used fuel quantity.


Yes. You are right.


Reasonable, but from what I’ve been reading I don’t think many would like that solution.

When a driver crosses the finish line that should be it; where they finished is where they finished. There shouldn’t be any messing around after each race waiting for the officials to decide who ended up where.


Gentlemen, place your bets… 🙂


You’d get better odds on the Russians joining NATO!


Seems a lot of folks are bashing Red Bull because all the other teams followed the directive. But many of those teams followed the directive because they didn’t have the guts or the commitment not to. Many of the teams had problems with the sensors, including Mercedes. On Sky’s F1 program, Graeme Lowdon implied they turned their fuel flow down as well – and basically ducked answering Ted K’s question about it.

I’m more critical of the other teams – their decisions were not made on any moral high ground. The whole reason d’être for F1 is to be the pinnacle of motor sports and on the cutting edge of technology, and the sensors clearly aren’t up to snuff and it’s ridiculous for teams to settle for trundling around at 96%-98% of the max flow rate allowed under the regulations.

I don’t know why folks seem to think that wanting to take 100% advantage of what the rules allow is the same as cheating because other teams choose to settle for less. This would be similar to preferring drivers who keep all 4 wheels inside the limits of the track at all times. Or who settle just for finishing. But we don’t. We respect drivers who push the limits and we much prefer a driver err going over the limit than always playing it safe. We’d rather see a driver go for the pass even if he ends up going off the track (like Grojean on Massa in Hungary ’13), then never attempting to pass at all. For some odd reason, many seem to prefer just the opposite with the teams.

Regarding Maetschitz, whatever you want to say about him, he’s not some motorsport dilettante. His commitment to sports, and motor sports, not just F1 (look at Rallying), is beyond that of most “fans” who’d prefer him to just go away. If you’re a fan of Mark Webber, Maetschitz was Webber’s biggest supporter and backer. That Maetschitz decided on Ricciardo over Kimi, and not so that his “golden boy” wouldn’t be challenged, says a lot – he wasn’t swayed by star power, but by a commitment to doing the right thing. He is funding a junior team (Toro Rosso) to cultivate young drivers and when the slot in RBR came open, he brought in their top candidate at the time. That shows that he’s committed to the long term, and this is true not just with the junior drivers program, but with his business as well.

Red Bull, not just the F1 team, is an incredibly well run company. You may not like their products, but they are one of the best run businesses you are going to find. If just from a purely business standpoint, I’m sure Maetschitz shakes his head at the ‘pinnacle’ of motorsports (mis)management, and overall, has stayed remarkably silent.


Yes, heaven forfend that any team should obey the rules. Why that would create a situation where all teams were competing on an equal basis, and we would know at the podium ceremony who had what finishing positions and points. How boring!

Your idea is much more exciting. Have every team use whatever settings and equipment they feel is right, thus showing their “guts and commitment”, then let the lawyers fight out the result over the next few months. Instead of a boring old race and podium ceremony (so overdone!), we could have a thrilling series of ongoing court cases, which would prolong the excitement and uncertainty for weeks or months after each race, before we knew the winners.

And since the winners wouldn’t be known for months after the race, there would be no reason for a podium ceremony, saving the track owners money.

And the season would be longer, since the championship wouldn’t be determined until all the court cases had concluded, months after the last race. There would be no off-season! How wonderful for the fans and media! In fact, there results of one season might not even be known until after the start of the next, producing an excitement overload!

Simply brilliant idea – you should pursue a patent or copyright.

kenneth chapman

well said. my sentiments exactly.

kenneth chapman

my sentiments lie with uan’s post.


So you are critical of the other teams for following the FIA instructions in spite of their own concerns?

So was I, for about a microsecond, till it occurred that whoever else made it to the chequered flag, did so on a merit that included coping with the FIA instructions, and it would be MASSIVELY unfair to them all if Red Bull decision to break the agreement they signed when they chose to participate in the 2014 campaign, was accepted and their lost points re-instated.


+ One Million!!!

God forbid any other sponsors were as generous as Red Bull – they help keep motorsports alive and not just F1. It is incredibly hard to get sponsors, especially ones willing to finance racing and Red Bull pores money into everything. If it’s arrogant to try and be the best then count me in! Because we know how humble and quiet Ferrari is. Remember – “life is fair” – just not for you.

Jonathan Cooper

All of this could have been avoided if the stewards had got involved. The only problem being it was Ricciardo at his home GP and a lot was going on in the race.

After RB ignored the warnings, Car #3 should have been issued with a drive through each time it exceeded the maximum permitted fuel flow. Potential performance benefit negated, problem solved. I doubt they would have ignored the next warning.


I think this will be a quick hearing:

“Red Bull, did you do what the FIA told you to do repeatedly throughout the race?”


“Thank you. We’re done. No points.”


How about:

“FIA, did you try to force RBR to use your inaccurate fuel flow sensor knowing that it was inaccurate?”


“Thank you. We’re done. Give the points back.”


No, “FIA, did you instruct Red Bull that the official flow meter was showing they were in violation of fuel limits?”

“Yes, but they said they didn’t care, because their sensor’s better than ours”.

“Red Bull, are you aware that the FIA homologated sensor is the only valid sensor to determine if you are within limits?”

“Yes, but that’s a technical directive, not a regulation”

So, if the hearing goes Red Bull’s way, technical directives aren’t worth the paper they’re written on.

If technical directives have any validity as to the procedures to be followed during race weekends, then Red Bull loses.

Charlie Whiting and Jo Bauer have been a major thorn for Red Bull for several years now– ride height adjustment, holes in the floor, engine maps, etc., and if this hearing goes in Red Bull’s favor, then they’ve effectively neutralized Mr. Whiting and Mr. Bauer.


Yes it’s going to be interesting…


All RBR got is arrogance of the highest order, other than that they don’t even have a wooden leg to stand on in this case.


Another point: After struggling for pace, Red Bull suddenly seemed to gain it out of the blue. Perhaps they have been deliberately exceeding the allowed fuel flow in order to gain that performance. In the past, when using illegal cars, they were permitted to keep their points and merely required to correct the issue for the future. Perhaps they were counting on the same leniency (or favoritism) with the fuel flow, and are now shocked to discover that they are being penalized for breaking the rules.

This reminds me of Ferrari’s public fury in 2010, when they discovered that Mosley’s departure had resulted in an FIA which now enforced the rules without catering to Ferrari’s expectation of special treatment.


It seems pretty clear-cut. The rules say that

(a) Fuel flow must be less than 100kg/hr.

(b) The FIA sensor is the only approved method for determining flow rate.

(c) No alternative method may be used without the permission of the FIA.

Red Bull violated all 3 of the above, in addition to ignoring a specific directive from the FIA to reduce flow rate. They should be grateful the stewards actually gave them the chance to correct the problem in the race, rather than just black-flagging them.

IMO, they have been getting away with rule-breaking for so long that they believe they are untouchable. If the FIA does not uphold the DQ, it will make a mockery of the entire championship, as one team will have been shown to be above the rules.

As to their petulant and manipulative threat to leave the sport if they aren’t allowed to cheat – I’d like to see them get a one-race ban for “bringing the sport into disrepute”. Blackmail should NEVER be tolerated by the FIA.


“Blackmail should NEVER be tolerated by the FIA.”



12 weeks have passed, and no new updates about Schumi.


Normally I’d say that no news is good news, but in this case I’m not so sure that’s true…


Mateschitz made it clear, he would stop F1 project if his car is not on podium.

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