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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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.


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.


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 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.


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.


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.


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.


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…


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.


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.


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)


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


I think Dans attitude is spot on.

Roll on Malaysia.


…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.


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!


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?


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?


Interesting article on how the sensors 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!


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.


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.


Yeah, bad for the sport but good for me…


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.


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


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.


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.

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