With Red Bull Racing indicating its intent to appeal the disqualification of Daniel Ricciardo from last night’s Australian Grand Prix, team principal Christian Horner believes it shall be proven that the team complied with FIA rules.
The FIA DQ’d Ricciardo, who had finished runner-up in Melbourne, on a fuel irregularity. In its statement, the FIA said Ricciardo’s car “exceeded consistently the maximum allowed fuel flow of [100 kilograms per hour].”
But just as Red Bull did in its official team statement, Horner pointed out what the team saw as problems with the FIA-issued fuel flow sensor.
“Hopefully through the appeal process it will be quite clear that the car has conformed at all times to the regulations,” Horner said to reporters from Melbourne. “These fuel flow sensors that have been fitted by the FIA to measure fuel which have proved problematic throughout the pitlane, and since their introduction at the start of testing, there have been discrepancies.”
Horner explained that they thought the original fuel sensor had been applied in error and changed it out for a new one after Friday practice. However, the second sensor failed during qualifying and they were told to go back to the original one.
In addition to re-using the original sensor, Horner said Red Bull applied an offset on it to make sure the fuel was legal. However…
“That offset we didn’t feel was correct, and as we got into the race, we could see there was a significant discrepancy between what the sensor was reading and what the fuel flow, which was the actual injection of fuel into the engine, was stated as,” Horner said.
“That’s where there was a difference of opinion. It’s immature technology, and it’s impossible to rely 100 percent on that sensor, which had proved to be problematic in almost every session that we’ve run in.”
In the stewards’ decision, the FIA said it warned Red Bull that the fuel flow was too high on Ricciardo’s No. 3 car and that the team was given the opportunity to “reduce the fuel flow such that it was within the limit, as measured by the homologated sensor – and thus gave the team the opportunity to be within compliance.”
Nonetheless, the team remains convinced that it is not in violation.
“We wouldn’t be appealing if we didn’t think that we had a defendable case,” he said. “It’s disappointing that this has happened, it’s certainly no fault of Daniel.
“I don’t believe that it’s the fault of the team, I believe that we’ve been compliant with the rules, and the investigation and documents that will be submitted within the appeal will demonstrate that.”