After what was a stunning race day for the Australian at his home Grand Prix in sunny Melbourne, Daniel Ricciardo has been disqualified from his second-place podium finish due to the car’s fuel flow reading being “too high”. As a direct result of his exclusion from the race, McLaren’s Kevin Magnussen and Jenson Button have been promoted to second- and third-place podium finishes respectively.
Ricciardo’s car was found to have been in violation of Technical Regulation 5.10.4 which specifically states that cars are limited to a fuel flow rate of 100kg/hour, and to measure this, only “one homologated FIA fuel flow sensor may be fitted to the car which must be placed wholly within the fuel tank”.
After receiving inconsistent readings from an indicator they’d used on Ricciardo’s car during Friday free practice sessions, the Red Bull Racing team replaced it with a second FIA sensor for qualifying on Saturday. However, neither the team nor the FIA were satisfied with the readings from the replacement sensor.
The team were instructed to change back to the original sensor, but Red Bull chose to rely upon their own fuel flow models, which were in violation of the FIA’s technical regulations (specifically rule 5.10.4).
During the race on Sunday, the team were warned that the fuel rate was still too high and were given the chance to lower the figures, but according to a report by one of the race stewards, the team chose not to make any changes.
Red Bull Racing have not had a good weekend, despite things looking positive after the team’s numerous problems during pre-season winter testing at Jerez and Bahrain earlier this year. Ricciardo’s team mate and four-time champion Sebastian Vettel had to retire on lap six due to difficulties with the car’s engine.
The team have released a statement, as well as showing their intent to appeal the stewards’ decision, on their website: “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”.
In other news, Williams driver Felipe Massa displayed anger towards Kamui Kobayashi after a lap-one turn-one incident caused by the Caterham driver, asking for Kobayashi to be given a race ban for his dangerous driving.
However, on closer inspection the FIA have decided not to punish Kamui for the incident, after it was discovered that the crash was caused by a significant rear-brake failure on the Kobayashi’s Caterham CT05 racer.