F1 Winter Break
Sebastian Vettel: Ricciardo disqualification affair is “bad for the sport”
Scuderia Ferrari
Posted By: James Allen  |  27 Mar 2014   |  10:35 am GMT  |  285 comments

Sebastian Vettel has weighed into the debate about his team-mate Daniel Ricciardo’s disqualification in Melbourne and the subsequent decision to appeal, saying that the episode is “bad for the sport”.

The four times champion was a spectator in Melbourne after retiring early in the race and congratulated his young team mate on a breakthrough performance.

But he said in the paddock in Kuala Lumpur on Thursday that the decision to remove the Australian from the standings because the Red Bull team did not follow the FIA’s instructions on reducing the fuel flow was “a big hit for the team and for Formula One”.

He added: “We had the race, Daniel did a fantastic job finishing second. The whole country [of Australia] was very happy and then a few hours later they take the second position away from him. From a driver’s point of view and a team point of view it hurts a lot. We need to see where the appeal goes, but if you look at the sport itself it’s always bad when these kinds of things happen.”

Red Bull’s appeal will be heard by the FIA Court of Appeal in Paris on April 14th. The team has indicated that this weekend it has acquired a number of new fuel flow sensors and will work with the FIA during the weekend to find one that is accurate to the satisfaction of both sides. A repeat of what happened in Australia is not ruled out, but it will be a case of seeing how well set up the teams are with accurate sensors after qualifying on Saturday.

Red Bull has carried out tests since Melbourne, observed by FIA staff, which show that their system was accurate and this is what has given them confidence that they will win the appeal. The appeal judges will have to assess, in other words, whether fuel flow sensors which are accurate to +/- 0.25 per cent are good enough and accurate enough for F1. Should the world’s most technically advance sport seek to do better?

Rival teams have pointed out that in these fine margins, there are real performance differences. Running at 0.5 per cent above the 100kg/hour flow rate for key parts of the race, for example, would make a difference of 1/10th of a second per lap to the overall race time.

Red Bull themselves estimate that if they had run as the FIA asked them to – with the troublesome sensor they used in practice together with the offset the FIA requested – that Ricciardo would have finished fifth.

The Australian driver, meanwhile, was his usual smiley and sanguine self, saying he took more positives than negatives from his performance in Melbourne. He added that he believes he can fight for the podium again here in Sepang.

“The team is appealing and fighting [the disqualification] because they believe it didn’t have any performance gain,” he said. “So we believe that the pace was still the same in any case. So yes, given that set-up goes well on Friday here I hope to be in the top three (in the race).”

Ricciardo said he was deeply disappointed when informed on Sunday night that he had lost his result, “I was like, blimey, really?” he joked. “It was a bit of a bummer. I was like, ‘Does this really have to happen now?’ Everything had gone as well as it could. We were never going to catch the Mercedes, but I did all I could, so in any case I was pleased with that.

“The team has a lot of faith in me, but there were probably still a few question marks until someone races at the front and gets the podium. So it was nice with all the pressure in Melbourne to show them that I can do this and that I’m ready to rumble!”

Although his target is the podium on Sunday here in Malaysia, Ricciardo was realistic about his chances of keeping the Mercedes-powered cars behind him on the two long straights in Sepang. In Melbourne he was clocked at 273km/h through the speed trap, compared to 308km/h for Kevin Magnussen’s McLaren. But it’s hard to pass in Melbourne, whereas a speed differential like that here will make him powerless to resist.

“Yeah, we know we are still a bit down on power and the Mercs are strong on the straights,” Ricciardo admitted. “We know it will hurt us here a little more than Melbourne, but I’ve heard from the factory and from Renault that they have made some progress, so hopefully we will have a few more horses in the car this weekend.”

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Sebastian, it's also bad to blatantly flout the rules too.

At the end of the day Mr Vettel, Red Bull - and only Red Bull - have been implemented by the FIA for using illegal fuel flow rates, so if its bad for the sport, then it is self-induced from the Milton Keynes brigade I'm afraid squire.

As a German, I would have thought Sebastian knew all about rules and regulations, they like that sort of thing! (C/O Al Murray and James May).



Yikes Red Bull would be wise to tone down their rhetoric. Their many millions of dollars in good cheer branding is rapidly turning into a sour faced whine fest. Nobody likes a sore loser and I have to admit my respect and esteem for the team is on a downward spiral. I'm not sure they're going to end up winning this round if they destroy the entire arena by attacking the FIA and the sport with such vigor.


We are all talking about the fuel flow issue but I haven't seen anything about the fact red bull run in Melbourne without the same sort of camera mounts on the nose like everyone else, which I thought was mandatory?


Mr. Vettel, your team breaking the rules is bad for the sport. It's a great day for the sport when the FIA stands it ground when it comes to cheating.


Even if, as is likely, that the red bull meters are better than the FIA meters. The fact that other teams have complied with the FIA meter readings IN GOOD FAITH is usually sufficient.


So if you get caught by a faulty speed camera even though you knew by your own instruments that you weren't speeding would you just bend over and take the ticket?

Red Bull didn't break the rules they just didn't comply with the FIA's unreliable sensor because they knew by their own instruments that they weren't breaking the rules.

I hope Red Bull win so the FIA can learn that a "pretty good" sensor is not acceptable when enforcing a rule with a high consequences for inaccuracy.


I don't think the analogy of the speeding ticket is the correct one to make here. The issue is RB not using the mandated equipment, ie the homologated sensor (which IS in the rules - the technical directive was a calibration adjustment). Regardless of whether or not the fuel flow rate exceeded the maximum RB can't switch to their equipment to measure it without FIA permission.

I think a better analogy might be getting ticketed for not wearing your seatbelt to keep you safe in an accident. The law here says you have to wear a seat belt and if you are caught not wearing it you can't argue that you don't need to because you have air bags and are wearing a big downfilled vest to keep you safe.

The sensor is a homologated part required by the rules. In the same way Renault can't show up with a new unhomologated power unit at the next race and say it is ok because the new unit meets the rules.


No question that SV's comments are to the point - just don't think a lot of folks see the same point he's trying to make by attempting to shift the focus off-center. One tenth of a second over 55 laps is 60.5 seconds and that's an advantage (mathematically per the article above).

A 5th place (by their own statement) would have been far better than a D-Q for both the team and the sport, no matter which side of the table you sit on. Continuing to work with the FIA during the interim, as it is noted they are doing, would have been the far more honorable approach compared with the one chosen and this ongoing and, FWIW, unnecessary dramma.


Sorry folks -- the math used for the example above was wrong but it's still an advantage.


In the instance of the speed camera, you would have to take the ticket then, if you can prove that you were not speeding (who has telemetry on their road car? seriously?), take it to court. Just because you are confident you are within the speed limit, you would not be pardoned for ignoring the police officer or tearing up the ticket, which is effectively what Red Bull did.

Red Bull should have followed all FIA instructions, then after the race taken their argument to the tribunal to make a case that the FIA were unfairly implementing the rules. Red Bull instruments will show what their readings were and that they were not actually breaching the rules. Adequate compensation would be worked out, considering realistic limitations Red Bull suffered for having had to follow the incorrect FIA instructions during the race. Most likely a monetary form of compensation would then be awarded to Red Bull. The FIA would not like having to payout to a team and so would endeavor with great zeal to make sure they get it right in future.

This is how it should have unfolded. Although it is very inconvenient for the party who is in the right, authority exists and must be respected at face value or else there be anarchy.


We all seen fotball matches when a goal was not allowed by the referee even if it passed the line and came back out. If the referee did not see it in, was not called in. It could be that 15 players saw the ball go beyond the line, the TV cameras saw the ball go in, but in the end it was not allowed. Even after the match, where the TV shots show the ball clearly went over the line, that goal is still not validated.

The point I am trying to prove is that in almost every sport, there are mistakes with either equipment or human error. But in other sports, like football in this case, the governing body's decission is the final one and the players, coaches and fans have to accept that decission even if it's wrong and not 100% correct. And sometimes these decissions will be in your favour and other times will not.

Nothing is perfect, tyres are not perfect, cars are not perfect, drivers are not perfect, sensors are not perfect, but we have to accept them as they are.


Almost but not quite.

Only a week or so back a ref sent the wrong player off in an Arsenal game, despite the actual offending player owning up.

Post game the mandatory follow on suspension for the next game was rubbed out.

Video evidence proved the actual offence did not warrant a sending off and the offending player was also exonerated.

RBR disqualified for a known faulty sensor. If their data is proved to be accurate and the sensor showing worse or variable reading outside the tolerance they should walk.

Rules are rules and should be enforced equitably.


Spot on Mister.

Good analogy.

They where warned three times and chose to ignore the referee at the time.

Red Bull have become arrogant and think they are bigger than the sport.

I hope they get there comeuppance.


Another key difference is that Red Bull were warned that they were using too much fuel, but chose to ignore it. Had they listened to the FIA's multiple warnings and reduced their fuel flow none of this would have happened. Your speed camera analogy is an insufficient representation of the situation as the camera doesn't warn you that you're going too fast before you get a ticket.


In reality they may not have broken the rules but going by the FIA's sensors they did, and ultimately whether or not they were faulty they are still the standard of measurement that all teams have to abide by until officially instructed otherwise.


The sensor was proven faulty and they were told to refit it because the replacement they fitted was also faulty, as were many other sensors. Red Bull chose to carry on regardless confident they were not breaking any rules, that's why the disqualification was ridiculous and an incompetent decision by the FIA. All this could have been avoided when the sensors were identified as giving inaccurate readings during winter testing.


All these arguments totally miss the fundamental point here. Teams do not get to decide when they will or will not listen to the governing body in any sport - that is utter madness. The FIA will not always be right but they have to be obeyed in the moment and rules or processes changed after the fact for the good of the sport going forward.

Your speed camera analogy is a nonsense. You cannot go the police and say my speedometer said 70 officer, honest, and expect them to waive your ticket despite their camera clocking you at 90.


Wrong Wayne. If you can prove the speed camera was faulty, in a society based on principles of reason and justice you will get your ticket waived.


You can if you can prove it Wayne!

Can they be disqualified if they haven't actually broken any rules?


"Teams do not get to decide when they will or will not listen to the governing body in any sport"

Charlie Whiting is not the governing body in FIA. He's taken a huge amount of power for himself which he does not have according to the rules.



But you can go to the court and prove the camera is wrong and hVe the ticket dismissed.


Carry on and argue it out after the race, thats the way its always been in F1. The FIA are 100% in the wrong here, the fundamental point is they missed the opportunity to avoid this fiasco when the dodgy sensors were identified during winter testing. If Red Bull had listed during the race and they came 5th as they predict a case would have been rasied about the sensors because the cars data would have still proved the sensor read wrong. Either way this was always going to happen. The FIA have acted like ostriches yet again the same as they missed the opportunity to avoid the cars having penises sticking out the noses and also change the ridiculous double points rule that everyone hates. Oh yeah and they let F1 completely lose its identity by allowing the cars to lose the sound that set them apart from every other racing car on earth. Way to go FIA, thanks for ruining my favourite sport


Sean - the analogy is not quite accurate.

Red Bull DID break the rules. When the FIA told them to turn it down or they would be penalised, they refused to do it.

Why? Because of their arrogance that they know better than the FIA and they refused to abide by their GOVERNING BODY's decision. No doubt some teams were helped or hindered by using the standard sensors. It is the same for everyone.


Wayne, thanks for responding to my post with your excellent analysis - you are spot on. Red Bull ignored the FIA - and so must be punished.

If anything, disqualification is somewhat lenient. Is it possible Red Bull may get a couple of race suspension, like BAR in 2005?

You are right Wayne - the FIA must set a precedent to tell the teams good and proper "we are in charge." If you break the rules - you must be punished.


It's been done, and people have one, at taking the police to court for an inaccurate camera. You need to be able to prove that the camera was wrong.

Red Bull obviously believe they have sufficient proof that the FIA's camera would have been wrong.


When reading your comments, most of which I agree, I see one issue. The word 'rule'

Now I'm not a red bull fan. In fact like many I hate the fact they bend the spirit of said rule. Be it blowing exhausts or front wings that bend under specific load, we could go on, regardless....the 'rule' regarding fuel flow doesn't say anything about sensors. In fact the sensor doesn't appear anywhere in the rules. The technical rules. The rules that govern the sport. The rule, 5.1.4, states the fuel flow is not to exceed 100kh/h. (It's about that many words too!) So technically if they can prove the rate they used was below the 100kg per hour mark, they haven't broken a rule to have been disqualified with. So the issue here isn't the Melbourne result, but the whole issue of what is and what isn't a rule. I don't like them, but what they have done is a very clever interpretation of what the 'rule' states. And until the fuel flow sensor is amended into the rules this could happen every week for one team or another who see one figure being higher or lower than another. It's the sports fault. I believe that's why it took 5 hours to disqualify Daniel and RedBull in the first place. They knew they hadn't broken the rule. It's all about what happens next....


And that is what is "Bad for the sport" as Vettel pointed out. FIA are forcing a rule which is making it an uneven playing field.

"Your speed camera analogy is a nonsense"

...In parts of Aus they have a bunch of lines painted on the road so the speed can be visually calculated between 2 photos. This came about because of faulty cameras. One case an old truck was booked for speeding and it was contested in court that it was physically impossible for it to reach that speed by that point based on the corner it just turned. So my analogy is correct, and even if you couldn't prove it, it's something everyday people can relate to. Getting screwed by the police is just as wrong as getting screwed by the FIA.


"Your speed camera analogy is a nonsense. You cannot go the police and say my speedometer said 70 officer, honest, and expect them to waive your ticket despite their camera clocking you at 90."

You can if you can prove that their equipment is faulty.


Well said Wayne, the lone voice of reason here it seems.

This is a sport, there is a rule making and enforcing body, you can not take the policing of said rules into your own hands. This is complete arrogance and hypocrisy on RBR's part and their Australia result being re-instated will be catastrophic for the running of the sport.


No, but if they clock you at say 72 then you're in with a chance - a small chance, but a chance nonetheless.


You are missing the fundamental point that the race director and the technical delegate do not have the authority to make, or enforce rules (that falls to the WMSC, and the stewards of the race).


The analogy here is that you drive through a speed gun, and are told "You are driving above the speed limit, drive slower", then that happens again, and are told "You are driving above the speed limit, drive slower", and repeatedly being told the same thing for 90 minutes. Then at the end of 90 minutes, you drive through a speed camera, and get 3 points on your licence. All the warnings are the important part!

David in Sydney

As has been pointed out elsewhere the fuel sensor is NOT in the rules.

A technical directive has indicated that the FIA will use the FIA supplied fuel sensors to measure the rules of 100kg/hr fuel flow.

But the FIA mandated fuel sensors are unreliable and issue varied readings throughout a race weekend.

So... who has been breaking the rules and who has been failing to supply the teams with an accurate tool with which to enforce its own technical directive?

I'll put money on Ricciardo being reinstated with Red Bull losing constructors points at worst.

It's an own goal for the FIA. Again.


Agreed, David In Sydney. I am personally amazed at how willing fans on this blog are to support FIA incompetence messing about with a race.


See items 5.10.3/4/5 in the Technical Regs.


actually, if we're going to live my the rules themselves, then RB is in the clear. The rules state a max fuel flow of 100kg/h (5.1.4). The rules 5.10.3/4/5 only state that an homologated fuel flow sensor be installed an that data provided to the data logger (5.10.3), that there can be only 1 such sensor (5.10.4) and that a team can increase the flow of fuel after the sensor (5.10.5).

No where does it say that the homologated sensor is to be used to determine compliance with 5.1.4. That is why they had a technical directive. Also, the directive is then vague and arbitrary in that it gives no recourse to the teams if the F1 says a faulty sensor needs to be used.

That at least 3 teams (RBR, Mercedes, Marussia - per Graeme Lowdon on the F1 Show) needed to turn down their fuel flow to meet that 100kg/h reading by the sensors, and each of these teams have different engines (Renault, Merc, Ferrari) is pretty troubling. Three different teams, 3 different engines, and their internal data on the fuel flow is inaccurate - all 3 of them? That stretches credulity.

Regarding the rules - the appeal process is in place for a reason. Red Bull has done nothing out of the bounds here. They are actually following the process that's been in place for years.

The appeal IS the way to get clarification. Not whimsically hoping that Charlie Whiting will take another look at it at sometime. And better in the first race of the season.

David in Sydney

5.10.3 mandates that fuel sensors must be fitted to measure fuel flow and that data should be sent to the FIA.

It does not cover fuel flow sensors that are faulty or provide drifting measures.

The Red Bull argument will be:

1. The fuel flow sensor was faulty and was drifting (their words) which presumably means applying a single adjustment factor during the race would still result in a faulty fuel flow reading.

2. The team, when the sensor is proved to be faulty, has a more accurate way (they believe) of measuring fuel flow to stay within the rules.

3. The technical directive is insufficient and therefore does not apply in the case of Red Bull's faulty and drifting fuel flow measure.

I think Red Bull has a good case - if their data stacks up - the compromise for the FIA will probably be Ricciardo reinstated and Red Bull losing constructors points as it clearly floated an FIA instruction during the race.

Next time the FIA will simply black flag a car that is seemingly failing to comply with the fuel flow rule - but that doesn't solve the FIA's problem of poor sensor supply.


Every other team agreed to use the readings/offsets of the official fuel flow sensor.

If for no other reason, that is sufficient on sporting grounds to keep the result as is.


The fuel flow sensor IS in the rules. the person suggesting this previously was entirely incorrect.

"FIA Technical regulations 2014.

5.10.4 - Only one Homologated 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"


You're correct in saying it is in the technical regulations. Technically though, it only says that one homologated fuel sensor must be installed in a specific place, and that the signal must be supplied to the FIA data logger.

It however doesn't actually say all the business about the homologated sensor being the one method that has to be used and whatnot.

David in Sydney

These two regulations do not mandate that the fuel flow sensor is the only way a team may measure the fuel flow rate.


The flow sensor is in the rules. The technical directive established possible sensor variance and the advised correction factor the teams should apply to the value in the case of a wayward sensor.


The FIA gave the teams a directive, all but RedBull followed it. The accuracy of the sensor is second to the fact that RedBull ignored the governing body when others did not. The people who make the rules are not always right but they DO make the rules and have to be obeyed. We cannot have teams deciding when to comply with the FIA and when to ignore them.

Giving RBR RIC back his championship points is not the solution. The WDC is prized overall by the top teams and it brings by far the most prestige and PR for them and their sponsors. You could not give the striker his goals but dock the team points in football and the same should apply here.


The WDC and the WCC are two different championships, each one stands on its own and either affect the other.

The only reason and only time they are the same is how they get the points, i.e. a car and a driver has to cross the finishing line then the same points go to both championships, but like I just said the championships are separate.

The difference with football as you have made the point, is its just one league table and it doesn't matter how many goals a person scores or how the TEAM won, its just one win in that league.

So getting to my point it is very easy to give back points to the driver and not the team, as you can have these separate and that way you are saying that you blame the team and the team and only the team should suffer.

As most if not all teams don't really care about the WDC its the WCC that they want to show they are the top dog and you don't need a winning WDC driver to become the top WCC……..

On a final note, history shows us that this HAS HAPPENED.

Mclaren in 2007 = DNF

Michael schumacher 1997 = DNF

Do I need to continue……….


Bear in mind that intention is just as important as the rule. In legal matters the draughtman's intention is frequently examined in court.

The directive is indicative of intention, but that is all.

The FIA themselves stepped in though and they themselves made the intention of the rule clear.

It is this latter part that is more important than the directive. The rule makers themselves explained the rule (not Charlie), so ignoring this is going to be a big part of Red Bull's problem


But the directive is not a regulation or a rule, the rules only state that the fuel flow rate must not exceed 100 kg/hour, and that the fuel flow sensor is _one_ of the ways this will be measured. Nowhere is it stated that it is the only method, or that it has priority or anything of the sort.

That came in the form of a technical directive issued after one of the Bahrain tests, and those don't appear to be enforceable.

So if Red Bull can prove they did not exceed 100 kg/hour fuel flow rate (the reason they were excluded in the first place) they will probably be off the hook.

They might then face trouble for 'undermining authority' or 'bringing the sport into disrepute', but seeing as the race exclusion was due to allegedly exceeding the fuel flow rate I doubt any of the later two points will have much baring on this appeal.

The speed camera analogy is a good one. If you could prove that you really didn't exceed the speed limit, and that it was the police measurement device that was faulty, then you should be off the hook.


Your points are well made. The disqualification isn't bad for the sport but the failure to comply with the directives of the governing body certainly is. What's even worse is failing to accept the penalty. I say dock RB a further 5 points in the appeal hearing and dock Vettel 10 points for carping about it in public. Plus ban him from using that aggressive "Number One" gesture or at least make him rotate his wrist 180 degrees so it looks less like he's "shooting the bird".


Thankfully this is not football, or are you suggesting a piece of leather is technically as complex as an F1 car?

Taking the logic that 'rules shouldn't be broken' as many have here, you people in the UK would still be required to have a flag man running in front of your car while you were tootling along at 4mph (Locomotives Act 1865).

The FIA has painted itself into a corner by trying to implement something it is (still) technically incapable of doing with sub standard measuring equipment. The Pinnacle of motor sport? The FIA couldn't run a road side refreshment stand.

I'm quite sure if it were any other team (Mclaren or Williams for example) than RB that had appealed the disqualification, there would be considerably less hate, emotion and obvious ignorance spewed forth and a more reasoned position taken by the majority of the "fans".


But a directive is not rule you see. So follow the rules or follow arbitrary directives that are not agreed to by all in the paddock?

I vote we follow the rules and not an FIA ego trip.


Well Gaz heres the prob, Mercedes caught cheating with an already Bhp advantage,,told to turn it down and they did, still cheating no matter what. now with that bhp advantage why would they do that and take a risk in the first place.


I openly admit to not recording evidence so that I can back up my comments on here, so I am being hypocritical here when I enquire where you have seen official or media reports that Mercedes were cheating during the Australia race?

Or are you referring to something last year?


I just read that Merc were also told to reduce fuel flow. The tone of my reply was also too harsh, I don't want to flames to the blog.



I don't see how your fantasy scenario helps the discussion, and introducing untrue 'facts' confuses things further.

There are people here who still don't understand/accept the fuel flow rule, never mind the addition of stuff you just made up to make a point which, frankly, you have not made clear either.


Wait, what horsepower advantage? If one team builds a better engine than the others, that's not cheating.

Or is this theoretical?


Option 1:

If the FIA turn up with a measuring tape that is wrong, should all the teams change the length of their cars on the basis that they can't work out what the issue is?

Option 2:

Or whilst the FIA sort out their problem, should they accept to use the teams data and once their own measure is accurate move onto that?

Patrick Guillon

Option 4 If Red Bull can prove without doubt that they did not exceed the fuel flow limits how about this. Reinstate Daniel's position as second and award him the points. Disallow any constructors points to Red Bull for ignoring the FIA directive. I think this would be a fair result.


Brilliant analogy, nice and simple for some of the people commenting on here that seem to think its ok for the FIA to issue the teams with random and inconsistant fuel flow sensors.



Fuel sensors that are inconsistent and that have a high degree of error is bad for the sport.

Why spend hundreds of millions on complex hybrid engines only to have performance dictated by a fuel sensor technology that's immature and doesn't work well.

Of course Mercedes "complied". They were leading by a country mile and Rosberg himself had "turned down" his own performance - just to bring the car home.


The problem with option 2 is, how can you trust the data from Red Bull? They could be applying their own factor to the data giving an artificially lower flow rate. This is the reason why there is an homaligated sensor to stop people exploiting this loophole.

Red Bull new exactly what they were doing. They saw a grey area and exploited it. Vettel is right saying this is bad for the sport but I don't put the blame on the FIA or their sensors


They should do whatever the FIA tells them to do, and RedBull didn't. Rule makers are not always right but they ARE the rule makers and should be obeyed until the rule or the implementation of it is changed.

There have been plenty of technical controversies over the past 5 years that Redbull have been in the centre of that have been bad for the sport.

I despise their hypocrisy utterly.


I'd actually *prefer* if Red Bull left the sport. I agree with what Wayne has written in both postings above.


The other thing Wayne is teams obbey Charlie, even when they disagree, on sporting matters. They give back a place when Charlie says the overtaking was not within the rules. They don't give back a place because Charlie believes they are burning too much fuel or their wings are flexing too much.

Alleged technical infringments have to wait until the end of the race because if the team is found to be complying there is no way you can reinstate the points if you show them out during the race. If they do not comply you can simply disqualify them. That is the way it has always been done and it is the only way to do it.


Here you go Wayne. See the problem?


"Teams will end up buying hundreds of sensors, as some manufacturers already have, to try to pick the best.

"It ends up like the tricks in go-karting, where you go through carburettors to try to find the best ones. I don't think that is an acceptable way of moving forward."


In answer to all the responses here about the difference between directives and rules, and Charlie Whiting not being a 'rule maker':

It's still utter hypocrisy. The teams rely heavily on Charlie's advice when it suits them. They bend the 'spirit' of the rules when it suits them, they say they are sticking up for the fans only when it suits them and them alone. They cannot be permitted to start deciding when they will and will not abide by the directives they are given.

Charlie asks them to give a place back in the race and they do it. Charlie asks them to use the equipment provided rather than rely on their own unapproved equipment and they refuse while everyone else complies. Charlie advises them that their newest innovation is in the spirit of the rules and they run with it because it suits them. See the correlation here, we'll comply and call it a directive when it suits us, when it doesn't we'll call it advice, ignore it and say there is a problem with the sport.

VET saying this is bad for the sport when his own team has brought the sport into disrepute over the last 5 years on more than one occasion for pushing the boundaries of the rules too far is bad for the sport. Adrian Newey's arrogance of claiming that everyone else is envious and jealous and therefore their arguments against RBR engine maps and off throttle blowing etc have no merit is bad for the sport. The owner of RBR threatening to quit F1 because he does not like the decisions taken and unless he gets his own way in the appeal is bad for the sport.

The spirit in which RBR go racing is not appealing in my opinion. They favour a specific driver (emotionally and technically) while saying they do not and publically denounce teams like Ferrari who are honest about their approach, they allow their drivers to ignore their own directives when it suits them and are apparently unable to do anything about it, they bend the technical regs to the point of indecency and have the nerve to call anyone that questions them jealous. The buy their way to the top and then block any attempt to control and/or enforce budgets for the long term good of the sport. They forms factions with Bernie and help him to destroy FOTA which weakens the position of all, especially the smaller teams, the give Marko a platform when he is an outrageously arrogant buffoon who upsets half the civilised world every time he opens his mouth with the nonsense he spouts.

RBR do not give a single solitary hoot about F1, they will walk the minute they begin to lose consistently when the wheel turns as it always does in F1. They are not in the same class as Ferrari, McLaren and Williams but have been given the same slot on the top step of the ladder because of the success they have bought.

I say, to RBR, walk if you so wish. Don't posture and threaten like spoilt children, do it.


Chralie Whiting is not supposed to BE "the rule maker".


Well Said. And yes.. If these keeps going on, I have to say, Redbull have no Place in the sport.

The noble thing to do is to follow the rules and then ask the FIA for clarification on the same if certain parts of the rules don't seem to make sense so it gets analysed and gets revised in the future.

It is getting really annoying, Sebastian has to know better. He's a great champion for crying out loud!! Redbull should pull out and sell off the team to Renault! Be a good loser!!


Well you've been conditioned to think for yourself...not! If a policeman tells you to bak like a dog, would you do it?Robots are programmed to follow rules. Humans have the luxury to determine for themselves what is fair and not. No doubt you've never gone over the speed limit when driving? If you did, call the local authorities now ask for a fine. Shame on you for not following the rules of an almighty authority made of infallible and perfect humans.


Option 3: Despite the known problems and issues, the rules of the meeting are agreed upon beforehand. All teams then obey these rules, despite not necessarily agreeing with them (perhaps with a view to sorting it our afterwards), except for one team, who then get disqualified, and then for some reason, seem to think they have the right to appeal...

The most damaging thing that could happen to F1 is for Red Bull to win this appeal.

The fuel flow sensor issue was known within the Formula 1 community. It could have all been dealt with out of the public eye, with no negative publicity, but one team decided to use it to their advantage. It's as simple as that.

Red Bull were disqualified for ignoring FIA (the referee, remember) requests. Whether or not their own fuel gauges are more accurate, in this case, is irrelevant. The rules of the meeting were agreed, all teams adhered to them, except one, who got disqualified. End of.


I agree with Martin. All teams were operating with the same "average" advantages/disadvantages and had a set of rules to follow. Red Bull felt disadvantaged, as others very might well have, and only they chose to break the rules. As such, they brought the sport into public disrepute. I'm actually quite tired of their constant pushing the rules beyond the intention of the rules to gain an advantage over other teams as it is relentless. If RB wins this I'll just stop watching Formula 1 and will switch to Indycar for my open-wheel "fix". I did it once before for five years and I'll do it again. Sure, F1 won't care. The point is neither will I. The throwing the toys out of the pram thing that RB constantly does constantly makes me think of them as sore losers and cheats....I just CANNOT imagine that it's considered good advertising for them to act like this.


Well, I think we'll have to agree to disagree on this one. At the end of the day, all the teams knew about the sensor problems. More than one team were 'directed' to do things regarding this, but only one team ignored this. Essentially, one team considers itself above the law.

All I would say is that if Red Bull win this appeal, it sets a precedent that teams can simply ignore FIA directives, which means we'll see DSQs and appeals, and race results being decided in courts, for the rest of the season.

I race at club level, and I tell you now, if I ignored any official directive at our meetings - be it right or wrong - I would be disqualified. It's the same at all levels of motorsport, F1 shouldn't be an exception.


This idea that the teams and FIA would have quietly addressed the problem and RB are to blame for all the negative attention it brought to the sport is naive at best.

What exactly is the motivation for the FIA to address the problem if it can quietly order teams to do as the FIA wants? Just face it, the only reason why something will be done about it is because RB took a stand. I'm not saying RB did it in the sport's best interest but teams don't work with one another to solve these situations. They compete. And competition is also a coordination process.


So wrong right now, how does it feel to be so wrong right now?


This is pretty clear cut and the hearing is about 2 aspects:

1) Did RBR break the Technical Regulations? RBR seem extremely confident that they never exceeded the 100kg p/hr limit for fuel. I.e. They did not "cheat"... They have been working with FIA since Melbourne to prove this.

2) Did RBR break the Technical Directives, I.e. Code of behaviour? They clearly took matters into their own hands & disobeyed orders from race stewards. This becomes an issue of undermining authority and damaging someone's ego (FIA delegate) and not cheating as per se. FIA is trying to enforce a technical directive by using a widely acknowledged inconsistent part as a measurement. When teams fight tooth and nail for 1 tenth, how is this fair?

Does standing up to FIA justify losing a strong race result? If RBR can prove that there was no unfair advantage/benefit gained and they did not break the regulations, then I believe that losing 18 points is too harsh a punishment and a reprimand would suffice.


Rubbish, Martin, …. if RBR can prove adherence to the 100kg/hr rule (and I suspect they can) then all they are guilty of is having the chutzpah to stand up to an incompetent FIA and tell them to get their house in order. It's supposed to be a motor race not some competition to see who can stand up straightest in the most orderly queue, with the neatest hair.


Well put. I agree.


Agree. This wasn't a spurious reading.

It's a shame that a team with a top designer, a top driver, and a future top driver, also needs a top lawyer, and a top PR firm.


Absolutely agree with you mtm - it needs sorting out, and it can be sorted out by everyone working together - but the point is that for that meeting (Australia) the rules were agreed, and Red Bull, and Red Bull only, broke them.


So it's unfortunate for the team that get's the -1% sensor and lucky for the team that get's the one reading +1%?? It's a lot of seconds over a race and it shouldn't be luck of the draw.


“Should the world’s most technically advanced sport seek to do better?”

I should damn-well think so regarding fuel-flow meters.

Red Bull is right to appeal and deserves to win.

Begs the question as to what other second-rate technology lies under that ‘pinnacle’ façade.


Only the Renault power Unit.. 🙂


lol! The Renault F1 PU at the moment is less of being the 'pinnacle' and is more of being the 'pineapple' of motorsport...


Wishful thinking – ‘only’ is far too optimistic!


"Red Bull themselves estimate that if they had run as the FIA asked them to – with the troublesome sensor they used in practice together with the offset the FIA requested – that Ricciardo would have finished fifth"

I think this bit is very important, it shows the pre-season pace we saw was actually reflecting their real pace. They fiddled the fuel sensor to gain an advantage and make up the time.


So their real pace is only real when retarded down by a faulty unreliable sensor? That makes zero sense.


No, if they didn't go above 100kg/h as they claim then they didn't get a performance gain/

What they are saying is that if they had turned it down a notch then that would have resulted in a performance drop.


... but what you seem to be missing is that Red Bull were not the only team that would have had to turn down the performance a bit, to be on the safe side of the FIA measurements.

We have seen statements from both Ferrari and Mercedes, and indications from McLaren as well, that they made sure, before the race, to take that slight performance hit to be sure to be legal.

So in effect, what that statement by Red Bull shows is that, relative to the performance allowed by the rules and directives everyone else was competing with, they knowingly _gained_ (again, relative) a quantifiable amount of performance.

And about that sensor: calling it crap is a bit easy, especially if you don't know the specifics, but it just turns out to not actually be easy to measure (unless you trust the teams/engine manufacturers to do it, each in their own way, which is not a good way to go with a sport like F1, where teams are apt to reinterpret the rules as seen here ...)


No team should have to turn down the fuel flow to be on the safe side - if there has to be a fuel flow restriction then it should be a clear cut 100kg/h that is measured accurately, but the FIA were unable to provide an accurate enough sensor so RBR took steps to provide their own.

Now you could argue that

A: Red Bull used more than 100kg/h and so cheated, but we should find that out in the hearing.

B: Red Bull should have used the FIA's sensor anyway, but if it wasn't working properly why should they?

C: They should have turned the fuel flow down when directed, but if they were in fact not using more than 100kg/h then again why should they?

Everyone has their own opinion on this (including me) and everyone's sure they're right (also including me), but once the hearing is done a decision will be made and even if everyone doesn't agree with it that should be it.

Roll on April 16.


No! Their pace at Melbourne was legal, they didn't go above 100kg/hour. Their pre-season pace can hardly be measured accurately if they couldn't get out of the pit lane.

Whether the cars behind would have been quicker than they were is a valid point for debate and it would be very interesting to see the figures for how much faster (if at all) McLaren feel they could have gone using their own data.


Well that all depends which point of reference you take for the flow rate 😉


"No! Their pace at Melbourne was legal, they didn’t go above 100kg/hour" How do you know, or anybody else for that matter. Red Bull claim their system was more accurate, problem is, testing the system now does not prove it was accurate during the race, there are any number of factors that could cause erroneous results, including deliberate tampering. You should also consider that there is no such thing as a perfect sensor. All measuring devices work within a tolerance range. Even the ones used to calibrate the sensors have an error range.


Red Bull say they didn't go above 100kg/hour, but as Red Bull's data wasn't measured using the FIA Homologated Sensor, it's a bit meaningless.

There may be questions about the homolgated sensor, but that's what they are currently using and the teams should adhere to it.


They've confirmed that they received the call to reduce MAG's fuel flow. Given he was gaining on RIC (who was running rich) it's safe to say that he would have had the legs (although not necessarily the space) to get past.


273 vs 308 is a huge difference!

Sounds like RBR stuffed up their gearbox ratios... How are they going to change them and get away with it.


remember top speed depends on how much drag/downforce you run


I suspect that has more to do with Mercs 80hp advantage.


I think it's more of a case of Red Bull not being able to run at full power. Once they sort that out their top speed should be decent at least.


Remember there may be DRS at play...

They're allowed one change during the year so I imagine once the Renault is vaguely what they expect it will be performance wise they'll do it then.


Red Bull need to get their story straight. On the one hand we have "The team is appealing and fighting (the disqualification) because they believe it didn’t have any performance gain," and on the other they're claiming if they'd done what the FIA told them to they'd have finished 5th.


Yeah that made me chuckle.


Oh don't be a nitpicker now. You know very well what they meant by "performance gain". By running on their own fuel flow measurements, they only extracted the maximum permissible performance as opposed to running on FIA's recommendation that would have, according to their calculations, seen them finish 5th.


But they didn't extract the "maximum permissible performance". The FIA specified the mode by which that would be assessed and they chose to reject that standard.

Even without their conjecture that with the FIA sensor they would have finished fifth (a telling statement in its own right) if everyone else used the same sensor and applied the same adjustment based on the margin for error (whichever way the error would have gone) surely using a different measurement system is not fair to the other teams.

Maybe if Mclaren had run their own fuel flow sensor they could have won by half a minute?


It's not nitpicking, it's the fundamental fact.

They ran to their own uncertified calculations, meaning they had a performance advantage over the chasing McLarens (at least one of which had to reduce performance when advised by the FIA).



How do you know that McLaren was 1% over based on the FIA sensor? Which would've given them a performance advantage over Red Bull which could've been 1% under?

Both hypotheticals, but it illustrates that FIA should not be introducing an inconsistent part which could translate into the above scenario...


Would Red Bull also have finished 5th if the other teams had ignored the FIA fuel meter as they did?


They (RB) could have finished higher up depending on whether the other teams sensors under-read the flow. Remember accuracy is +x% to -x%.


Agreed. Red Bull was arrogant and should follow the fia ruling as the other teams did. Then they would has some points instead of zero. Hope they lose the appeal. Having said this i do feel sorry for riccaido. Who drove a good race. Which I really enjoyed.


Probably not. But then those teams aren't running Renault engines and may not find it that pressing a matter to fight FIA.

Paul Richardson

RBR have been in F1 9 yrs this time, 4 yrs mid stream also rans, and 5 yrs top of the table. No doubt in those early years they cowtowed to authority, joined in with FOTA agreements and towed the line. But as we all know, with success comes arrogance. The fuel flow episode goes to prove, whether a regulation is correct or not, no team has the unique right to deliberately flaunt it just because t doesn't work for them. Argue the point before or after the event but race within the guidelines of the FIA. You are 1 team in 11. And a relatively new team at that.


If they didn't race within the rules stipulated by the FIA, why weren't they immediately black flagged after having been repeatedly issued the advice to change their fuel flow rates? Did the FIA have doubts?


The answer may lie in the fact it took over 4 hours after the race to disqualify Ricciardo, although if the FIA knew after only 5 laps, why the long wait.


They were not actually "repeatedly warned". There was one warning on lap five.


Race results decided by the stewards are always a bad thing, regardless of the reasons. However it happens all the time. Why is it bad for the sport after the last race weekend? (Lewis Hamilton in Belgium few years back...? Ayrton Senna at Suzuka '89?) I'm sure there are more examples in between but those sprung to mind quite prominently


"Red Bull themselves estimate that if they had run as the FIA asked them to – with the troublesome sensor they used in practice together with the offset the FIA requested – that Ricciardo would have finished fifth."

"The team is appealing and fighting (the disqualification) because they believe it didn’t have any performance gain."

Mixed messages coming out of Red Bull, or are they claiming that what they did wasn't a performance gain but was averting a performance lose?


Had the sensor been working correctly the results would have been the same ergo no performance gain. Or are you purposefully misreading the statement due to blind hatred of RBR success?


I'm not purposefully misreading the statement - it's just that at the moment it's the FIA's word against Red Bull's. The FIA says the fuel flow was too high, Red Bull says it wasn't.

You say 'Had the sensor been working correctly' but I've not seen anything official to say it wasn't working correctly (the FIA apparently issued a statement 'confirming their confidence in the development and stating the meters meet the FIA's accuracy specification.'). Perhaps this appeal will clear up if the sensor was malfunctioning?


But, surely, "averting a performance loss" is a performance gain?


You have an interesting definition of the words loss and gain.


To me and you it is, but when lawyers get involved don't be surprised if they make a distinction! 😉


Good to see Ricciardo still smiling and Vettel supporting his team mate.

Might be a different case after they actually go racing against each other, but enjoy it while it lasts 🙂


True but Ricardo doesn't seem to be a back stabbing disgruntled driver like his predecessor.


Perhaps thats because he hasn't challenged Vettel in any meaning full way yet?

Let's see reserve that opinion until he's been there for a season or two shall we?

I think the antics RB and Helmut Marko especially pull WILL cause that kind of behaviour in the sanest, most mellow of personality.


sorry he "hasn't" challenged.....


Disgruntled maybe, but back stabbing?


Random, would Sebastian be so supportive if that was the other way around? Suppose Seb had finished 2nd and been booted out of the results?

As you know, I like Daniel, he's a good decent bloke with potential to be WDC. Problem is, his team are messing up his potential to be WDC - I wonder if, privately, Daniel is fuming with his team?

I would fully understand if he was - most of us would be.


I think if it had been the other way around he would be even more supportive of Red Bull's case.

But as it stands look at it from Vettel's point of view: His team mate (a potential threat to his WDC hopes) has been disqualified and so loses the 18 point advantage he would have enjoyed after the first race - now they're starting from scratch again.

Before I read this article I would have fully expected Vettel to come out and and say Ricciardo was disqualified, fair enough, tough luck, and on to the next race...but he didn't.

I'm not saying that Vettel doesn't have a private agenda, but I can give him the benefit of the doubt.


I can’t help thinking there’s been a lot of mock outrage about this issue, based on a dislike of Red Bull. Recent F1 history shows that all the (successful) teams are more than happy to push the limits.

I suspect ALL teams at Melbourne would have considered ignoring Charlie Whiting depending on (1) just how “dodgy” their own FIA sensor was, and (2) to what extent turning down the wick would affect their own race result. Thus, for different reasons, both Mercedes and Marussia (to take two examples) could easily afford to follow Charlie’s advice.

I may have missed something, but I haven’t read anywhere that all the sensors were EQUALLY unreliable, or that the re-calibrations were EQUALLY valid. If you were in charge of a RACING team, just how much loss of performance would you accept before deciding to ignore the referee?

(sorry for the CAPS)


Peter, you have a good observation.

I would like to add that I have read an article (on Autosport I believe) where Charlie Whiting said they have the sensor to measure the fuel flow as the primary measurement, but if that fails, they have a back up device.

Well, if that's the case, and a sensor gives a weird reading, I am pretty sure that before deeming that sensor faulty and giving a team instruction to turn down the fuel flow, they would've checked the backup device to see if indeed the sensor is faulty.

If they did that, and still told RBR to turn the engine down, to me it says FIA did not believe the sensor was as faulty as RBR seem to think.

Interesting, right?


Well said!


The details aren't clear yet but there does seem to be some room in the FIAs technical directives for teams to use their own data with permission from the FIA. Red Bulls main problem at the appeal seems to rest on the fact that they went with their own readings without permission. So perhaps they can in future races be granted permission by requesting it with evidence of the FIA sensors inaccuracy.


That is a sticking point I think RBR is saying that the appeals court is the place to seek redress and that is what they chose.


That's the whole reason why the FIA should dismiss the argument.

There's a documented in-race process for switching to team-derived readings if the fuel sensor is faulty or inconsistent, but it's a decision made by the Stewards/Race Control - Red Bull superceeded the decision and switched it's measuring process on it's own volition, which violates the rules.

The FIA mandate this because they have no control over the teams calculations, which could be fudged to derive a performance advantage.


If he had been black flagged, as he should have been, this debate would be over.


they could not blackflag them.

it was a breach of a directive of the technical director, not a breach of the rules at that moment.

e.g pirelli last year not allowing running more chamber on the tires, was a directive - teams could have ignored them, thats what i understood.


You may be right. But if they can disqualify them after the race and they knew by lap 4 they were breaking the rules, I don't see why he couldn't be black flagged during the race.

The difference, in directives, may be that the rules don't cover alignment specifics of a tire(for lack of better term)whereas they do cover fuel flow rate and how it will be measured. The directives were Red Bull specific to their particular situation. The directions were given to keep them within the rules according to how fuel flow would be measured. They ignored the advice and as a result the standardized, fuel flow measurement system showed they were over. No other team, all of which were using the allowed measurement system, race within the allotted volume of fuel.

We never hear about the communication between Horner and Whiting. We only hear Horner saying they can prove they didn't use to much fuel according to their system of measurement.


Sorry, should be "raced above" the allotted volume.


I don't think Red Bull would have accepted a black flag lightly... they would certainly have complained about it and the debate would go on.


No points, little reason to appeal.


If he had been black flagged there would have still been the same contention and RBR still would have appealed it and we'd all still be talking about it.


There would be know argument over points. By letting Ricciardo finish the appeal became worthwhile.


LOL. Of course he would say that. What else could he say?

How ridiculous it is from someone, who just got "Sportsman of the Year" award, to say the disqualification is bad for the sport but to fail to see the reason of that disqualification. Maybe he should look at his team which didn't follow the rules like every other team.

It's the same as saying getting a red card in a football match is bad for the sport after hitting the ball with your hand to get it in the goal.

James, how come in cases like this, when Sebastian and others answer a few questions, that nobody asks him "But isn't the disqualification a direct result of Red Bull not following the rules?"

Bottom line is that I believe it doesn't look good for the sport on the short run, but it is better for the sport in the long run to have this disqualification now, rather than not doing anything and it becomes a free for all.

This guy is never going to be liked by the majority of the fans if he continues with these ridiculous statements.

Craig in Manila

My interpretation is that Vettel is/was saying that it was bad for the sport as the decision was made AFTER the race was completed (ie. after celebrations by the aussie fans etc etc).

I don't agree with the Red Card analogy as that happens during the event and all fans can see it and accept it. In this case, all fans watched the entire race then found out later that cheering for Ricciardo was a pointless exercise. That's like watching a football match, going to the pub to celebrate your win, and THEN a few hours later finding out that a goal had been re-assessed, disallowed and the scores adjusted accordingly.


"It’s the same as saying getting a red card in a football match is bad for the sport after hitting the ball with your hand to get it in the goal."

Funny you should say that. We recently saw Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain hitting a ball with his hand to keep it out of goal. The red card was overturned on appeal, even though there's no question the deliberate hand-ball occurred.


Well, you're missing a lot of context there. Oxlade-Chamberlain (Ox) was not initially red-carded, even though it was he who deliberately hand-balled. The ref mistakenly showed the red to Kieran Gibbs instead, even though Ox told the ref that it was he who did it. So Arsenal appealed Gibbs' suspension, and the red card was transferred from Gibbs to Ox by the FA. Arsenal then appealed Ox's red card, arguing wrongful dismissal, arguing that it hadn't prevented a goal b/c the ball wasn't going in the net anyways. That appeal was upheld, removing the red card from Ox.

At the end of the day what it showed is that football's refusal to introduce video replay/review for key plays, keeps it in the sporting Stone Ages. The only ones happy about that are the Luddites in Zurich at FIFA HQ.


i agree 100%. All it does is maintain lots of coverage through endless controversy about decisions. So the world's most popular sport has to put up with wrong decisions and wrong results even though the TV watching world can see the truth.

This has a knock on effect of undermining referees and then in turn kids learn not to respect referees. I've seen it many times.


What many seem to not understand in this issue is there some controversy about whether Red Bull actually broke any rules in the first place... The key question I think will be the role of the techical directive. Was the FIA's statement to Red Bull during the race an actual "command"?

The blather about Seb not being liked by the marjority of fans is just that... and presumptous.


Pot + kettle = Black.


+1. What does he care about doing what's best for the team and the sport?

kenneth chapman

errrr... did you just read james article? i doubt it.


The unit price for the Gill Sensors is €5,000 to answer your earlier question. Confirmed by one of the F1 teams to me


So much for cost reduction with teams now buying up Gill sensors in family packs to pick their favorite 😛


You get air miles.


Lol, excellent 🙂


OK, so they would have finished 5th if they'd obeyed the rules. Doesn't that mean they would have also finished 5th if the other teams had decided to use their own fuel flow readings and had also ignored the FIA sensors?

Rules are pointless if everyone interprets them differently. That is why sport has referees / umpires / stewards to hopefully ensure a level playing field.


How many times does it need said. They did follow the rules. The dispute a directive. The sensor was installed they said the readings were incorrect even with the offset and therefore to have the same performance as allowed under the rules they used their own readings and claim the FIA did not provide propped governance.


They never applied the offset. They estimated what would have happened (ending up 5th) if they did.


"Doesn’t that mean they would have also finished 5th if the other teams had decided to use their own fuel flow readings and had also ignored the FIA sensors?"

No. You're assuming everyones sensor was equally inaccurate and equally inaccurate in the same direction. Some cars may even have received a performance boost by using the FIA sensor data instead of their own, more accurate numbers.

James McPastilhas

Well, if Red Bull had used the sensors, or measured the fuel flow with the FIA sensors, then Ricciardo would have finished 5th. However if the other teams would have ignored the FIA sensor and did the same as Red Bull did, then maybe Ricciardo would have finished 7th - even using the non-FIA sensor.

In my opinion the case or not whether the sensor supplied by the FIA is accurate or not - is if it is measuring the same thing for all the teams.

This is a bit like the flex-wings saga of the past, where the FIA tests dictate if the wing was complying with the rules or not. At that stage the Red Bull wing did pass the FIA tests and was deemed legal, even so we could see it flexing during the races. They're now being hit by the other end of the stick, where although some poeple can "see" that they're complying the FIA tests (sensor) say they aren't.

Red Bull only have themselves to blame for this issue and, although a pitty that Ricciardo was disqualified, I think it's only fair for all the other teams that he has been so.


Do you know where I can get some links to read about the flex wing issue? It was prior to me paying so much a attention?

Thanks in advance.


You can see it on YouTube. Red Bull wing flexing.

James McPastilhas

Best source for info is this same blog. Here's a link to just 1 of the few posts about the flexi-wing saga:


Try to look at the archives for around June or July 2010 and the following months too.


This is the first time I can recall some one actually trying t0 quantify the margins.

Is there any information on the consistency between the teams, ie how much were the other team told to turn the wick down compared to Red Bull?

As to the ethics of this protest it reminds me of Ross Brawm and the interesting application of tolerance on the Ferrari floor measurements

Lets see, If the performance effect is as big as RBR say then if th eother team had ignored the FiA they might have been fifth anyway ....


Everyone is going on about rules in this flowgate affair. If I am not mistaken, Red Bull didn't didn't break any rules by ignoring the FIA's advice during the race - otherwise they'd have been black flagged immediately. They also didn't break any rules by running on their own fuel flow measurements as that back up option is expressly permitted if the FIA meter isn't performing as it should. Presuming Red Bull can prove beyond any doubt that their measurements and fuel flow rates complied with the rules, I hope Ricciardo gets his place back.

It's also strange to see how people often slur FIA on so many occasions, but as soon as Red Bull is involved, it's all Red Bull cheating, acting up and not being sportsmen.

And last but not least, here we have Sebastian standing up for his team mate, yet again, I hear voices calling calling him a cheat and reminding him that he should know better.

Give 'em a break. They have a point. The mere fact that these sensors aren't sufficiently trustworthy to enforce FIA rules and the fact that the wording of the rules can be interpreted differently - enough to warrant a case for an appeal - are reason enough to question FIA's authority in this matter.

And let us not be mistaken, I am certain many teams agree and would welcome more definitive measurements and conclusive wording within the regulations. Yet they stand by and let Red Bull ride this one out because they aren't keen on bad press and the connotation of collaborating with "cheats". Nice one F1 paddock... grow some balls!

Whatever the outcome may be, I think it's good that there are teams who will question the authority of FIA and their decisions!


Well said K!

Graham Passmore

Very well stated. This whole controversy is a farce. Ongoing, I'm not sure how to address the problem. It's not just that each sensor is inaccurate but that there is no consistancy in the inaccuracy. If every unit came out of the Gill factory with the same constant discrepancy of + or - X, there would be no arguement. All that Dan, Sebastian, Lewis, etc. need to know is "Don't turn the green knob past 5" & you'll remain in compliance because the adjustment algorithm that tech. inspection uploaded to our pit wall will put us right on the 100kg/hour limit allowed with the knob in this position. The farce is that each sensor is different in its own way and, for all we know, isn't even consistant in its inaccuracy throughout the race duration.

Pit wall to driver. "New upload on that fuel flow compensation.Turn the knob to down to 4. You're over the limit on 5".

20 laps later. "Just got another upload. You can turn the knob to 6 now. The sensor reading has shifted again".

In a sport timed to 1/1000 second, the time run under the limit can't be depended on to

exactly balance out the time run over the limit.

On 2nd thought there is a solution. Keep it simple. We know that each team starts with 100kgs of fuel (or less if they're feeling lucky)and each race lasts over 1 hour (even Monza). If you run out of fuel before the end,that's your punishment. Zero points. Untill we are at the end of the season, that 5 engine limit hangs over everyone like the sword of Damocles so I doubt anyone will be abusing the spirit of the current rule too much anyway. Grenading engine 3 at Silverstone is too scary to contemplate.

By the way, I'm loving the new technology otherwise & I've been keenly following F1 since Black Jack drove for John Cooper.


Well said BRAVO!


Very rational and well-stated.


Have you ever seen a football team taking FIFA to court to get a goal counted for when the referee did not allow it during the game even if the ball crossed the line and the TV cameras caught that? No, they accept it because their decission is final. They are now looking to put goal-line technology to avoid such things and that is fine, but they accepted the decission even if it was the wrong one.


This is NOT football. The compassion is lame on so many levels. A piece of round leather vs a technically complex system pushing the edges of automotive technology.


Mr. Horner, is that you?


...as that back up option is expressly permitted if the FIA meter isn’t performing as it should.

The key wording of the regulations is this back-up can only be used in agreement with the technical delegate & the stewards. Red Bull did not obtain this permission.




'And let us not be mistaken, I am certain many teams agree and would welcome more definitive measurements and conclusive wording within the regulations. Yet they stand by and let Red Bull ride this one out because they aren’t keen on bad press and the connotation of collaborating with “cheats”. Nice one F1 paddock… grow some balls!'

Yes....if only Redbull were a member of some kind of team organisation.....perhaps a Formula One Teams Association.


Assuming Red Bull lose the appeal, shouldn't there be a different option on penalty? Give Ricciardo his second place finish but remove the team's championship points and fine them. Aren't the FOM big bucks distributed at the end of the year based on the team's points haul and finishing position? If the driver did nothing wrong but was acting on team orders then it does seem a bit harsh. Didn't that get applied to McLaren a few years ago?


But Daniel got that second place by burning more fuel and getting more power out of the engine compared to the others, for example. How is that fair to Kevin Magnussen? He had an advantage which aided his chances of that 2nd place. It doesn't matter it was the team's decission to run at a higher fuel flow rate, Daniel benefited from that. So, to answer your questions, no, he should not keep the 2nd place.


If Redbull can prove they never exceeded the 100kg/h limit then your statement regarding burning more fuel and getting more power is 100% false.


If Ricciardo won the WDC by more than 18 points, you could argue that his win would be sullied by the fact they were obtained unlawfully.

The WCC brings the money to the team, but the WDC brings the plaudits and sponsors who want to be associated with the best driver & car package.


If the car is found to be illegal Ricciardo can't be reinstated. It doesn't matter if it was beyond the control of the driver, a mistake, or anything else - if the car is illegal you can't decide to punish the team but not the driver. If you do that you open the floodgates of everyone cheating to win the driver's championship at the expense of the constructors. The only way I can see for Ricciardo to be reinstated and the team punished is if they can prove that the car was legal (something that we can't do because we don't even have full access to the rules let alone details of the car), but that the team acted inappropriately. From the sound of it this will all come down to the enforceability of the Technical Directives - do they form part of the binding rules of competition or not?


Correct: The great spygate scandal of 2007 I reckon.

McLaren got a hefty fine and lost all their constructor points and weren't even placed but the drivers were unaffected.

http://www.formula1.com/results/team/2007/" rel="nofollow">2007 Results

Kind of funny too to look back and see how low the points totals were back then - it's like the halfway point of a current F1 season 🙂


It's not the same situation. '07 was about the theft of property. This is about a team breaking the rules in a race. Should Magnussen remain third when Ricciardo's team gave him an illegal advantage?


This is what the appeal is about: Red Bull maintain that Ricciardo did not have an advantage over Magnussen as they were complying with the 100kg/h limit by their more accurate sensor, but they refused the FIA's request to lower the fuel flow rate to less than 100kg/h as that would have resulted in an unfair disadvantage to Ricciardo.

In other words (if you believe them) they didn't cheat. The real point of contention is that they refused a request from the FIA.

Maybe they're right, maybe they're wrong, but it will all come out in the wash.


Its a while ago since I did sensor design but from memory MASS flow ie Kg/Hr would be measured usign a Coriolis flow meter, not an Ultrasonic device whichtypically measure volumetric flow, ie l/s....

Granted there shouldn't be much difference in fuel desnity but atthe tolerances we are talkign about it coul dbe signifcant.

Is ther evidence of how the Gill instrument was selected ? I am just curious and not not trying to undermine Gill Sensors in any way.



Last post mod I promise 🙂

That is interesting to say the least.

I have also been wondering what the fuel providers were doing to decease the weight of their fuel as 2% decrease in density seems like a huge gain. Less dense would not only increase the amount of fuel it would give a huge increase in the amount of fuel flow as well.

Is this something within the scope of the rules?


Reading up on coriolis meters, it seems there is a lot of interaction with the fluid being measured (through tube movement) and the sensors are vulnerable to incosistencies from external vibration.

The Ultrasonic sensors are completely passive and do not interfere with fuel flow. My guess is the fuel path through the sensor is straight and they are not affected by vibration or heat.


I guess they choose the ultrasonic sensor coz they want to have the minimal effect or disturbance on the fuel flow.


There's a lot of noise coming out of red bull prior to there appeal all over the place. All saying they are in the right, I still feel they broke a technical directive whereas other teams complied if you don't have a referee chaos ensues. Anybody know if there has been any movement on the red bull camera in the nose question is it legal or not even if from haven't got a camera to fit?.


James, it would be interesting to have a poll on what your readers think. Should Red Bull be disqualified or not.


The problem with that is like the current poll. Readers who support RBR will vote "No DSQ", non-supporters will vote "DSQ".


SV is getting nervous. He just slammed the Sound of the current cars. RB sounds like a bad loser this season


Yes. Sebastian is the only person to slam the sound of the new cars this season. Shame on him and RB.


Its bad for the sport if a team rightly or wrongly ignore the FIA when every other team played bu those same rules.

What Red Bull need to ask themselves is where would Mercedes or Mclaren have finished i they adjusted their fuel flow-- good bye Seb!


We'll never know because no other teams had the balls to take on city hall.


Every team takes on city hall at some point -no other team says f/you and everyone else before they legitamrelybtake them on


That was meant to be " legitimately take them on". Forgive me Glen it was my f/ing text flow sensor in my Iphone !- Im going to Android next because they have a better tolerance ! 🙂


Dont recall Horner saying that. Would love to have heard it live 🙂 Apologies for my English as it isnt my first language (Australian) but what does 'legitamrelybtake' mean Elie?


"Its bad for the sport if a team rightly or wrongly ignore the FIA when every other team played bu those same rules."

Yes, that's why everyone is up in arms about Ferrari's turbo housing, isn't it?


Well if its illegal the FIA should ban it too- no arguments from me- nnone whatsoever !! - **notice how I said FIA ..


So if the FIA wants a certain outcome, say at the last race of the year they just have to hand out a bunch of sensors with a narrow margin of error to the team it doesnt want to succeed and give the preferred one sensors that leave more room for performance gains ? Makes all the money spend on engines and aerodynamics pale in significance to who has the FIA golden sensor of the week. One step closer to total manipulation of the results ala WWE !



Yes mod I can't be trusted 🙂


I agree that doing it this way would open up the FIA to the charge of race fixing.

If the sensors make that much difference (1/4 of one percent)then the FIA needs to find a way of transparently issuing them to the teams, or do away with that rule.

I am pretty fed up with F1 and all of it's crappy regulations. Formula Renault 3.5 or GP2 doesn't seem to have these issues and the cars sound great.


I doubt the FIA are involved in the individual sensor procurement process. They put out tender, selected a unit based on responses (and unit performance) and told the teams 'you will use these'.

Gill officially state that 52% of the units have a 0.1% variance, whilst just over 92% have a 0.25% variance and they will guarentee the accuracy for 30 days after purchase of the unit.

My guess is all the other tendered units had a worse variance per unit or a shorter accuracy guarentee period.


Red Bull will win because the repercussions could as big as withdrawing from F1 (Red Bull & Toro Rosso) and if they wanted they could withdraw all sponsorship associated with the FIA if they wanted to really hurt them. Of course this is all a hypothetical, and couldn't possibly happen, right? ....


Vettel just said it himself, RBR ignored instructions from the FIA.

I'm not a huge fan of cars being disqualified from races, but one has to be consistant and the crime has to be punished as it has been in the past. Consistant refereeing is the answer.


bad for the sport ? multi 21 ?

i am trying not to hate red bull to much , in the end they designed a great car for the last 4 years and done well ..

but there talk about bad for sport , leaving formula 1 etc ... just seems to be opposite to what they do sometimes...


Fifth place? That's over 20 seconds further back, or nearly half a second a lap. James' figures suggest a much smaller time loss.

If the sensors are inconsistent something will need to be done - it's not right for the supplier to make extra profit because teams have to buy several sensors to get a good one. But in the short term it seems to be the teams' best option, and if I was Dietrich or Daniel I'd be asking why RBR didn't do it sooner.

Last but far from least, what will happen if RBR succeed in establishing that Technical Directives are unenforceable?


The team believes their car would have finished fifth pod they had done what the FIA told them. Instead, they finish second and say there was no performance gain?

Black and orange flag, followed by a black, if necessary, would have prevented the whole problem.


In the event that the FIA's stance is ruled positive, the precedent will be set going ahead and teams will be even more careful about how close to the sun they choose to fly. However, if Red Bull Racing's position is ruled as correct, the FIA will most certainly find a way to "even the score" down the road.


This is typical red bull rethoric ...break the rules and then make as loud a noise as possible to divert attention and pressurise the FIA all to gain an unfair advantage

As joe saward writes "The ethos at Red Bull, as seen clearly last year, is that winning is all that matters, even if that means crapping on the sport. In my view that is what has happened here. Red Bull decided that there was a grey area that could be exploited and duly exploited it, just as last year they wanted different tyres and piled criticism on Pirelli until that happened. One can argue that winning is all that matters, but I will always argue that winning with grace is better than winning at any cost. In the long term this kind of behaviour impacts on a team’s reputation and that rubs off on the brand as well"


at least Red Bull compensates for the lack of noise from F1 engines:-)


I'm sure Red Bull can make a strong case to say their sensor is more accurate. But if we assume that the FIA sensors are as inaccurate as has been claimed, then I'm sure the other teams will also be able to do that too.

Indeed, comparison of individual teams own sensors might find that Mercedes for example have sensor that is more accurate than RB's. So where would it end?

The point, and it seems to be the fundamental point, is that the FIA are the ruling body and the teams must abide by the rules and direction of the FIA whether they like it or not.

The FIA told other teams to turn down their fuel flows during the race at various time and they did (even though it's likely they felt the same as RB).

RB on the other hand, keen to ensure that their boy didn't lose his second place, decided to ignore the directive (and the rules).

Allowing them to succeed in doing that will effectively allow all the teams to make similar arguments with other bits of equipment. It sets a precedent would allow the sport to degenerate into chaos as teams contest the accuracy of this, that, and the other.

Like it or not, the accuracy of the fuel flow sensors is an FIA problem that the teams will just have to live with and manage as best they can. They are the rules!


Can I ask if anyone knows whether the sensors (complete with re-calibrations) given to the different teams by the FIA were EQUALLY good/bad?

Possibly one divide on this issue is between those that think the need to follow the referee's decision is more important than the levelness of the playing field, and those that think the opposite.

I'm assuming here that the lack of levelness - if it exists - is significant, and of course analogies with weights aren't really valid as everyone uses the same FIA scales.


I don't doubt Red Bull have incredibly accurate sensors. They weren't disqualified because they used their own sensor readings.

They were disqualified because they didn't get prior authorisation from the FIA to use their own readings. If they had followed the procedure that was in place, this would be a non-issue.

Is there something in the rules that allows teams to use an alternative method? Yes, if the FIA approve it BEFORE use. Did Red Bull follow this procedure? No. They broke the rules as they are currently written, end of story. Unless they have evidence to contravene this this, they're barking up the wrong tree.


no Mr Seb whats bad for the sport is your team refusing to follow the rules set by the FIA and the warning they kept giving. we know your are champs and Mr Red-bull is a billionare but you should follow rules its as simple as that everyone did so why cant you?????


So RB and Renault can prove they didn't break the 100kg/hr rule.

What this stupidity is now about, is the fact they ignored a directive to use a sensor that's designed to enforce a rule they didn't break.

So people want to argue, 'well they broke the rule regarding not using this sensor.'

The purpose of this sensor is to check the fuel flow, which if RB, Renault, the FIA and the entire grid all agree isn't accurate and that RB's was, then what's the issue here?

Give the man the points back.


I had had about as much of this debate as I could take after the first 2 days and untold comments but I did want to point out one thing. For all those upset with the sensor error; you do know that it is virtually impossible to measure anything with absolute accuracy don't you? I'm a computer scientist by trade and even in a digital system that I've built I can't get an absolute measurement. Their is always a margin of error. As for RBR and their off line tests to prove their sensor is more accurate. Apples and Oranges. Changes in air temperature, road surface, humidity, internal pressure, air pressure, etc, etc..mean that those readings are in no way relevant to readings from Australia when you are dealing with variations in calibration ranging from 0.25 to 0.1 percent.


Whilst I agree that a DQ after the fact is bad for the sport, the fact of the matter is that the FIA posistion on this issue is clear:

"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.”

RBR were not given permission thus the rest of their argument is irrelevant.

Ricciardo should have been black flagged as soon as RBR failed to comply.

As for the noise that Dietrich Mateschitz is making about quitting F1, I say good luck to him and bid him adieu.

RBR are not held in anywhere near the same regard as Ferrari either by Bernie / CVC, the FIA or the Fan's.

F1 was around long before anyone had heard of Red Bull and will be long after they go.


So complying would have made them finish 5th, that's 20s down on their actual position, half a second per lap(ish). Are they saying their sensor was out by 2.5kg/hr? (given the figures in your article)


There are sporting regulations and codes of conduct that will outplay these technical regulations. It is not fair sporting conduct to request Red Bull to submit to performing at a lesser level to its competition due to a technical error. Red Bull will no doubt argue this point and win as there is enough evidence to suggest the sensor was faulty.

A fair playing field is all any competitor asks for. If Red Bull can prove they were playing fair, then the issue falls on the FIA and their governance. They need to be questioned as to why they are forcing teams to use faulty sensors that could create an unfair sporting contest.


Let's try with another example with the referee's decision being the final verdict despite it being wrong -

Assume a marathon race where the finishing line is mistakenly at 40kms, instead of 42.2kms. What happens? What if the guy who was leading by 1km collapses at the mistaken finish line after he crosses? Does he continue to be the winner - there were 2km still left to be completed in reality.

It is not a great idea to be reversing referee decisions, but if the umpires of a low tech game like cricket can use technology to take correct decisions, I expect F1 to do much better. Else it doesn't deserve to be called the pinnacle of motor racing.

After the debacle of double points, and now this, all the folks in the current FIA, including Charlie Whiting should be sacked. They are no good.


Surely the point is that if the cars behind DR had turned up their fuel as per their readings then DR might not have got second anyway.

Your sincerely, Captain Obvious?


I'll have a big smile on my face when red bull wins the appeal and haters get an egg on their face.


Sometimes good lawyers and a lack of common sense can still get the "guilty" off free.

Doubt it'll happen but perhaps the egg will remain on Red Bull over this incident, no matter the outcome.

Then again, you could be right, as multi21 and his band of whingers picked up the sportsman of the year award in Malaysia last night!!!


And what will you have on your face if they don't?


This is not the first time RBR have tried to fool the FIA and stewards, Every season there is some controversy about them as a team. FIA should win this appeal and deny any points for RBR from the Australian GP

RBR have always flouted with rules related to the technical details for the last five season and got away with it umpteen times, where FIA simply could not find a way to control the violations done by RBR. I am glad atleast FIA found the gimmicks this time and duly punished RBR as per the law

Finally Seb vettel talks about the "Bad for Sport" aspect? What a joke and charade.


"The appeal judges will have to assess, in other words, whether fuel flow sensors which are accurate to +/- 0.25 per cent are good enough and accurate enough for F1."

What on Earth makes you think that the sensor in Ricciardo's car was accurate to +/- 0.25 per cent? Not even the FIA has made that claim. One of the things which presumably will be established in the appeals process is how accurate (or inaccurate) the sensor actually was. The fact that some "offset" had to be applied to it strongly suggests that it was less accurate than that.

And a question nobody seems to know the answer to is how does the FIA come up with the offset number. In order to do so it would seem that they must have access to some standard of fuel flow measurement outside of the sensor itself. That's another of the many unknown things which hopefully will be made clear because of the appeal.


Because that's what they are guaranteed to, 90% of sensors accurate to 0.25%


"90% of sensors accurate to 0.25%" sounds like a fairly respectable figure if it were applied to a company chucking out thousands of sensors at a few quid a pop; but pretty poor when you think they're supplying a handful of them to multi-million pound motors and a global audience!


Wait a minute here...

90% accurate.

10% dodgy.

10% of 20 cars is two cars.

Dan is one out of two.


Odds are someone else was running a dodgy flow!

It's like Cluedo, another extra dimension to the new F1, who dunnit? 😉

Actually, nah, it was probably the Marussia and they didn't disobey the referee.


You wouldn't use one of the 10% with low accuracy, buy 10 and test them. Use one of the 52% that are accurate to 0.1% (from the spec sheet).

RB have been very naughty boys, they had options to not break the rules. And they've set a rumour running about the sensors without quantifying the tolerance they experienced.

There seems to be no limit to the amount of mud they will sling when things aren't going their way.


Perez. It failed during the race, apparently


James, but it my very well be that Red Bull was in 10% of those that are not 0,25% accurate and it might be that the claim is not representative of the reality. I am against Red Bull cheating, but this case is not so straight forward and so I am looking forward to April 14th...it will be much louder than the race this weekend anyways:-)


and 52% accurate to 0.1%

I'd use one of them...


James, just to close a potential loop hole in that someone will try to exploit; the other 10% are guaranteed to 0.1% accuracy. As per an earlier article by James taken from FIA information about the sensors.


So... say you get a sensor that is at the bottom of the spec vs one at the top of of the spec. 0.5% in lap time at Albert park is 0.450s. 0.5% top speed (315km/h) at Albert park is 1.6km/h. 0.5% of 700HP is 3.5hp... and yes- this is just silly math...

My point is that the enormous effort teams go through to get 0.01s of lap time, a legal sensor can give you 99.75kg/hr, or 100.25kg/hr of fuel? This seems to have too much influence... it is a poor enforcement strategy to a questionable rule


Oh and here comes Vettel die wunderkind with his hapenny worth.

Tomorrow's whinging Red Bull employee will be Christian Horner, but don't miss Saturday's special guest - Adrian Newey.

I don't think I've ever despised a team more. Oh wait - Renault after crashgate. Yep, that was pretty low.


Vettel argues that Ricciardo's disqualification is bad for the sport but Redbull knew what they were doing prior to the race! They knew that he was going to be disqualified by the steward and it was going to create controversy after in his home country but they didn't care! They were trying it on as always. They should be penalised for bringing the sport into disrepute!


Okay-dokey, I don't know the answer to why the car was not black-flagged.

But, if the issue, or one issue, is that RB were running above the 100kg/h over several laps, it might be that there was an FIA-recognised window of opportunity where you could rectify, equalise, or pull back the situation by running below 100kg/h for a portion of the race, a window which shrank as the race continued.

So you grit your teeth and watch the four times World Champions as the race continues, so you don't get egg on your face by flack-flagging, and have RBR say, "Yeah, we saw your email, and figured we'd apply the offset on lap 50."

But the team made no attempt to comply with the instructions, all the way up to the chequered flag.


From my understanding, the FIA sensor said they were over the limit, but RB has data showing the sensor was faulty and also is able to show that they were always under the limit.

A bit of "he said, she said" I'm afraid- and I'm not saying who "she" is in this case...


Why did the FIA make RB remove the sensor with which Ricciardo set the second fastest time in qualifying and replace it with a sensor which the FIA had deemed faulty in free practice? Were they upset that he seemed "too fast"? Is the FIA using these sensors to get the results they want to see on the race track?

There are a huge number of unanswered questions around these sensors and the FIA's use of them, questions which the journalists seem reluctant to even ask.


As it used to be common to say

"Mandy Rice Davies applies" (he would say that wouldn't he).

Putting it bluntly, no what is bad for Red Bull is not automatically bad for the sport.

And even more bluntly he is saying it would be good for the sport if teams chose which of the FIAs rules are "advisory" and which are required. He might be surprised just how many people don't agree .

Even if any given rule is ill-conceived it is either in force, everywhere, or not. To have one team unilaterally deciding it doesn't apply to them - that is bad for the sport.

Frank Lee Scarlett

Driver says what his employers want him to day.

News at 11 !


I find this entire issue so confusing....with so many questions that have not been asked or attempted to answer by the media....

1. Why was the 100kg/hr maximum fuel mass agreed to by the teams. Nowhere have I read a definitive answer to this question from anyone in F1 (however, have read some excellent theories from posters)

2. If there was already an excellent,proven accurate sensor system on every car, then why did the FIA go down th gill sensor path.

3. Can it be definitively proven by post race data that the fuel mass rate was adhered to throughout the race, at all points in time, and without relying on goodwill from the team. To me, this is the key hurdle for the RBR to get over. They must have "absolute", incontrovertible proof that their sensor was 100% accurate, otherwise how is it "better" than the homologated agreed to sensor.

To address the tape measure analogy, I know how to test the tape measure as I can define a metre to great accuracy (base on the speed of light in a vacuum). So I can easily prove who's tape measure is more accurate, the FIA's or the team's.

On the other hand I'm not sure where I go to "absolutely" prove mass flow of a liquid at a point in time.


The fuel flow was agreed by all relevent steakholders (mostly the likely engine manufacturers)as a cost cutting measure, just like the bore size, and the stroke size, and the degrees of v shape, the metal the dovalakey is allowed to be made from..... it was all about defining specs so they could limit the spheres of development where they had to spend a fortune. For example there is no need to spend a billion dollars figuring out the best V angle for the V6 if it is mandated.

As to the fuel measurement, that is dictated by the injector, these are not unique to red bull, are are very well understood, and the only possible bone of contention could be the fuel tempreature, but Red bull can probably show what the fuel tempreature at the injector was.


1. Because otherwise power levels could have become ridiculous. I thought they'd have a boost limit, but instead have restricted fuel flow at any point. In the 80s they limited fuel for the race as a way to restrict performance of the turbos, but that led to crazy qualifying engines.

2. I agree. Given the FIA can inspect everything, it might have been better to just trust the teams. Good fuel economy relies on accurate fuel injection, the more accurate the better, so that data should be more good enough.


My point from item 1 was "Nowhere have I read a definitive answer to this question from anyone in F1 (however, have read some excellent theories from posters)". You have now added to the second part by nowhere does anyone from F1 talk about the issue behind this rule. With all respect to a poster such as yourself I would like to hear a detailed comment from someone in F1 so that I get the full detail of why this rule was adopted. As is so often the case in F1, the issue is often far more complex than the casual observer sees & on this occasion I would like to know more about how teams would exploit an unlimited fuel mass flow.

James, perhaps an opportunity for a more detailed Innovation Briefing, other than the superficial one that was posted om 17th March.


Fair enough, but F1 has been taking steps to limit the performance of the cars and engines for years, at least as long as I've been watching. I don't understand why anybody thinks this rule is in any way contentious, needs an explanation, or is in any way a change in the way F1 has always been run.


There's a common thread running through the arguments of those predicting that RB will win the appeal. Or perhaps I should say a *missing* thread, in that they avoid mentioning RB ignoring repeated instructions from the FIA to adhere to the limits as indicated by the sensor. I suspect RB believe in the principle of "it's easier to get forgiveness than permission", but I'll eat my Arai if it works out that way on 14 April.


The sensor is only there to check that each team is not breaking the fuel flow rule. If the sensor is not capable of doing so then it is redundant.

The FIA's stipulation that it is only they who determine if it is working, or not, or how well it is working, and the so called fudge factor, is pretty Orwellian. Even more striking is the number of people who think that sort of authoritarianism is an agreeable state of affairs is pretty extraordinary

H.Guderian (ALO fan)

Wrong as usual.

CHEATING is bad for the sport.


i read that the sensors only are good for about 30hrs ... that is not enough, else i would have swapped the sensors inbetween the teams every race ..



What I have read elsewhere is that the sensors are tested and certified as to their accuracy. That means that a sensor that is certified to be showing a slightly higher flow than is actually the case will have it's actual reading adjusted by the software. I am guessing that the issue is that if a sensor during use 'slips' then the software adjustment may then be wrong and can't be adjusted in the race.


I really cannot believe this sensor situation.

It's not the apparent inaccuracy that is the problem - it is the variability. It would be fine if *ALL* the sensors were out by the same amount, everyone would be at the same advantage/disadvantage. But the problem here is that there seems to be an unacceptable variation between the sensors.

If the manufacturer is incapable of making the sensors to high enough tolerance that the differences are irrelevant, then the FIA should get 500 sensors, put them all through careful lab testing (it's trivial to measure fuel flow accurately in the lab as you can easily record the weight of the container the fuel flows into) and then pick the 25 best to use in races. And to make things fairer, each team should draw lots on each race as to which sensor they get, to avoid the FIA using these to 'shape' the teams scoring (we have seen enough arbitrary use of the rules to level up championships over the years).

If the supplier cannot provide sensors which are all within 0.1% of each other, they have no business whatsoever being involved with F1.


FIA: Don't exceed 100kg/hr, and use this sensor

RB: Look- we can prove this sensor is not good enough and we are not exceeding 100kg/hr. Let us race using our methods to validate we are complying with the rules.

FIA: Too bad- use the sensor.

RB: Why? We are being disadvantaged because we now can't run at 100kg/hr like the other teams

FIA: Too bad- use the sensor

RB: Ok- let's roll the dice and see what happens.


FIA: Too bad - use the sensor - like the other teams.


After reading this post i think i have to ask myself and all you out there.we race gokarts at a very high level in perth.the scales change up two 1.5kg beetween day and night due to temp(hot or very hot) If my driver wins a big meeting and comes in under weight should i have a forklift and my own scales that i like with me at all times.

i wish dan all the best but red bull should put the forklift away


The last time a fuel flow regulation was proposed, by Colin Chapman around 1980, the reason we did not proceed was the absence of a sufficiently accurate fuel flow limiting valve. Of course back then we did not have data logging, so using a sensor and telemetry to monitor compliance was not an option.

I fear we have not heard the last of this, and allowing no limit other than the 100kg total substantially defeats the object of these new rules.

I enjoyed seeing the cars sliding about, and when one considers the loss of downforce, removed blown diffuser, harder tyres and considerable extra weight the pace of the cars in Melbourne indicates that these engines have superb performance, even if they don't sound like the ones I was used to in the '80s.


Yeah, bad for the sport but good for me...


Red Bull, essentially, robbed Daniel of the podium in his own Country.

How about a little accountability Herr Vettel?

Then again, this is one of the reasons people boo him.


It's even worse for the sport if one team flouts the rules while the others play by them, then the chief of such a team threatens to quit the sport because of it. And with his political influence in F1 (two teams AND a circuit used on the calendar), he may get his wish.


Interesting article on how the sensors work: http://www.racecar-engineering.com/technology-explained/how-formula-1-fuel-flow-meters-work/

This site also has an article, "Porsche critical of F1 fuel flow meter"; they're using 3 of these in each of their LMP1 cars!


These cheats keep thinking they can interpret rules better than the rule makers, but now they also think they can be the only team to ignore the FIA warning and get off scot free. If everyone ignored the FIA maybe they'd only finish 5th anyway.

Red Bull acted purely in their own interest when they disobeyed. Now they are touting it as if they did it for the benefit of the sport and the fans. It's called a level playing field. I guess if they can't bend floors or blow exhausts more than anyone, they have to resort to something new so the supposed best driver in the world can win... Right?


I don't know why Red Bull participates in this sport. Their attitude about following the rules sure doesn't make me want to risk drinking their soda.


You call it a sport, they call it a marketing platform. Who do you think is right?


What a fantastic balanced discussion. I thought there would be endless RBR or Vettel bashing. Instead valid points and counters.

And some still wonder why we love to read and comment here!


...And as suspected, Vettel has thrown all his toys out the pram because he isn't leading the championship. First he moans about his team losing points, and now he's being a Pre-Madonna about the engine noise.

"It’s always bad when these kinds of things happen."

Get over it Sebastian! It was Ricciardo's home race; so what? Rules are the same at every GP and will not be bent just so a team with a home driver can get away with blatant ignorance of the rules. And as for "Always bad", I don't recall anyone protesting when Massa and Fisichella were disqualified from Canada 2007 for jumping the pitlane at a red light, for example.

And in terms of the engine complaints, I can appreciate that Seb doesn't like it, but there's no need for such harsh profanity! I don't see how Vettel's conduct here has been at all sportsman-like.


I think Dans attitude is spot on.

Roll on Malaysia.


What's bad for the sports is RBR taking the rule of the gams into their own hands while the game is being played.


The teams takes their readings from their injection data system and not from the FIA homologated fuel flow sensor.

The rules says 100kg/h maximum at 10500rpm.

If the fuel map is programed to peak out fuel flow at 10500rpm as the rules say,running the engine over 10500rpm it cannot produce any more (additional) power, it's called peak power speed.

the only way for the team to lower fuel flow rate while the car is running is by ordering the driver to lower RPM (selector switch on steering wheel)


This is not about the rules now, this is about how much product revenue can be generated by keeping the Red Bull name in the press for as long as possible. How many little cans of nasty red fizzy stuff that flow out of the factory is all that matters.


It would seem that there is a problem with teh sensors which is not unusual with any sensor especially when on eneeds to be in the order of accuracy that is required in F1. It will be interesting to see what occrs this weekend with all teams putting teh sensors under increased scrutiny. As I have stated before if there is some doubt as to teh accuracy of a sensor one has to ignore it or be extremely pragmatic about accepting its output unconditionally.


Im not a RB fan but hope the FIA get pissed on at the hearing. It's a bit of a stiff whip to be able to police the sport in what may seem an arbitrary way with the fuel flow sensor. We need faith that everyone is on a level playing field and right now we don't have that. If Ric wld have been fifth who would have been hustling him if everyone had been on the same flow?? people bandy around that everyone else towed the FIA line, but maybe its the confidence and clear thinking RB have that got them where they are, and the confidence to challenge what seems to be an unsatisfactory situation at present.

No more DSQ this weekend please...


I would imagine it's quite difficult for the FIA to dish out 44 fuel flow sensors that are of equal quality when each engine manufacture has a specific fuel for their engine and is kept stored in different ways. Some fuels are denser than others.

If red bull win the appeal then it opens up the door for every other team to ignore the FIA sensors and use their own sensors, not forgetting that red bull were the only team to ignore the FIA and gain an advantage for ignoring them.

Best thing for all parties is for the DQ to stand and then all teams know they have to stick to the FIA sensors.


why even have sensors. F1 is ameant to be the fastest loudest motorsport in the world. If they run out of fuel its the teams fault. seriously where are they taking the sport. I love my motor sport but its stupid what they have done this year.


Irrespective of whether Red Bulls's sensor was accurate or not. They were given an FIA directive to reduce their fuel flow and chose to ignore that request. The question was not whether you did or did not break the rules. But ignored the umpire's decision.

This is just being given a black flag by the Steward for something you did not do. Whether you did or did not do the wrongdoing is irrelevant. You must serve the penalty.

It seems hard to believe that Red Bull will get away with this.


RBR wouldn't bother appealing if they knew they wouldn't get off. At the appeal they will bamboozle FIA with an overload of inconsistencies and inaccuracies in the fuel flow sensors. It will all be deemed un sportsman like and too easily corrupted. The first few races of this year will be scrapped from points. And the whole thing will need a rethink. Because whichever side of the fence your on, I'm sure we can all agree this is bullshit.


No one will readd this so I don't know why I'm bothering:

Surely, in the middle of a race, if the regulations have been set, why does the governing body need to warn teams they are risking disqualification?

Should not the regulations be such that it is unambiguous that you are violating regulations? instead of this BS about failing to follow directives about possible violations?


I read it.


RBR have said the sensor drifted - in which case it is not a case of it just being -1% or +1% from start to finish. If they can show it did drift, this shows the sensor is not working properly and should therefore be treated in the same way as when it stops giving a reading at all, (which apparently has been happening fairly regularly up and down the pit lane) when teams have been falling back on their own systems without penalty.

An independent review of fuel flow feedback from all team from the subsequent races would be useful to see how the sensor readings through the race varied, and how well they agree with the overall fuel consumption based on how much fuel is left in the tank.

It does seem strange, that a multi-million pound sport would put so much trust in a single sensor which has been shown to be less than reliable to say the least.


Hi there i am kavin, its my first time to commenting anyplace, when i read this article i thought i could also make comment due to this good paragraph.

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