March 16, 2014 — staff report — photo courtesy Keith Collantine/F1 Fanatic — MELBOURNE, VICTORIA, AUSTRALIA — Red Bull’s Daniel Ricciardo has lost his second-place finish in Sunday’s Australian Grand Prix after stewards decided his car had run with too high a fuel flow rate during the race. The team are to appeal the decision.
Ricciardo crossed the line behind winner Nico Rosberg to claim his maiden F1 podium. His exclusion elevates McLaren’s Kevin Magnussen to P2 and team mate Jenson Button to third.
Under article 5.1.4 of the new 2014 technical regulations, cars are limited to a fuel flow rate of 100kg/hour, as measured by an FIA-homologated sensor on the car.
According to the stewards’ report, Red Bull used a different fuel sensor on Saturday after they found the one used on Friday had produced unreliable readings. However, when the sensor used on Saturday failed to provide results that were satisfactory to them or the FIA, they were instructed to change back to the original sensor within parc ferme on Saturday night.
Considering this sensor unreliable, Red Bull chose to rely on their own internal fuel flow model, something that the stewards say is in violation of the procedure outlined in the technical regulations.
Furthermore, Red Bull were warned by the FIA’s technical representative during the race that the fuel flow on Ricciardo’s car was too high. The team were given the opportunity to correct this, but according to the stewards’ report, they chose not to make any changes.
Announcing their intention to appeal the stewards’ decision, Red Bull said: “Inconsistencies with the FIA fuel flow meter have been prevalent all weekend up and down the pit lane. The Team and Renault are confident the fuel supplied to the engine is in full compliance with the regulations.”