Start, Albert Park, Melbourne, 2024 Australian Grand Prix

Heartbreak for home hero Ricciardo as Rosberg and Mercedes dominate

2014 Australian Grand Prix review

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Every year the mantra of Melbourne is that the first race of the year tends not to give an accurate impression of the season to come.

Last year Adrian Sutil led a chunk of the race and Kimi Raikkonen won it – two things which never happened again.

Albert Park is something of an outlier as F1 circuits go. It’s a temporary facility which isn’t shaped in the derivative mould of more recent additions to the calendar. It tends to produce unusual results.

That counts double when qualifying is disrupted by rain, as happened on Saturday. And again when many teams arrive at the first race of the year with so much potential still untapped in their new designs.

But the emphatic, assured manner of Nico Rosberg’s cruise to success affirmed every suspicion around Mercedes pre-season test form. They are in very strong shape indeed, and in the opening phase of the season the contest for victory is likely to be exclusively between their two drivers.

Engine failures sideline champions

On this occasion it was decided before the race even started, though it took a few laps to become apparent. Having taken pole position Lewis Hamilton found his engine had turned into a V5 instead of a V6.

Rosberg blasted past from third to take the lead as the race started, and Daniel Ricciardo lunged down the inside to reclaim second. Further around the opening lap Kevin Magnussen – following in Hamilton’s footsteps as the first rookie to make his race debut for McLaren in seven years – also dispossessed him.

Mercedees quickly took the decision to save Hamilton’s power unit – one of just five he may use this year – and pulled him in the pits to retire.

Minutes later Sebastian Vettel took the same course of action due to problems with his Renault V6 turbo. “In the beginning I thought I just had no power from the battery,” he said afterwards, “but it turned out that the engine failed in some way”.

He was much less sanguine at the time, angrily telling his team about the loss of power from his engine and MGU-K: “Do something! I’ve got no power, less ICE than normal And no K. That’s ridiculous guys.”

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Kobayashi eliminates Massa

At this point it looked like the fears over mass retirements during the season-opening race were being realised. Three drivers had started from the pits due to various problems, including Jules Bianchi, who was unable to get away from the grid at the original start, forcing a second start.

Two drivers had got no further than the first corner. Kamui Kobayashi suffered what later turned out to be a failure in his brake-by-wire system on the run to turn one.

He ricocheted off Kimi Raikkonen’s Ferrari, somehow not breaking its left-rear suspension, then ploughed into Felipe Massa, taking the Williams driver out of the race with him.

Both drivers were unharmed. But worryingly Massa’s car was lifted off the ground by Kobayashi’s in the impact, indicating the lower noses mandated by the FIA this year on safety grounds may put the new cars at grater risk of ‘submarining’ – something Adrian Newey warned about earlier this year.

Bottas hits the wall

Rosberg extended his lead steadily over Ricciardo, holding a five second advantage after eight laps. Nico Hulkenberg had taken up fourth behind Magnussen. Fernando Alonso closed within a second of the Force India but even with the aid of DRS he couldn’t pass the Mercedes-engined car.

The sole remaining Williams of Valtteri Bottas was also having its Mercedes power plant wielded to good effect. He picked off the Toro Rosso drivers in the opening laps, then put a superb move on Kimi Raikkonen at turn three.

Alonso was his next target, but on lap ten Bottas swiped the wall coming out of turn ten. Vettel did much the same in qualifying but dealt the wall a glancing blow square-on. For Bottas the rear stepped out – easily done with the torquey new V6 turbos – and he wrecked his right-rear wheel.

Bottas had fortune on his side, however. Not only was the damage slight enough that it could be repaired with a trip to the pits for a new wheel, but the chunk of debris he left behind was large enough that the Safety Car had to be deployed, cancelling out much of the time he lost.

As the Safety Car boards appeared Jenson Button was heading towards the final corner. He reacted immediately, diving for the pits before anyone else could get in. That instinctive response bought him three places.

Most of the other drivers pitted on the following lap. The unfortunate Raikkonen had to wait behind new team mate Alonso and the delay dropped him behind Jean-Eric Vergne’s Toro Rosso.

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Button makes places in the pits

When the race resumed Rosberg pulled away more quickly from the chasing pack more quickly than he had at the start. Even so he set his fastest lap on the 19th tour and was clearly maintaining a steady pace thereafter, staying off the kerbs and not stressing the car too much.

Button made his second pit stop early as well and this one was also beautifully timed and well executed – apart from a mechanic knocking the tip off the MP4-29’s nose. The McLaren driver had been running behind Alonso, who still trailed Hulkenberg, but after all three had stopped their running order had been reversed.

The slow running behind the Safety Car and the shortening of the race distance by one lap served to ease concerns about fuel consumption under the tight new rules. In the closing stages the drivers were clearly exploring the limits of their cars more fully and several battles for position developed.

Most drivers had a fresh set of medium tyres for their last stint but Ricciardo had to make do with a used set. Magnussen now had Button behind him and the pair pressed on after the Red Bull, but never got close enough to mount an attack.

Bottas, however, was regaining lost ground. He passed Raikkonen again – both Ferrari drivers had electrical problems but his were more acute. Bottas then passed Vergne when the Toro Rosso driver got out of shape in the final corner, one of several points on the track which the combination of lower downforce and increased torque have made much more challenging for the drivers.

Hulkenberg was the final scalp for Bottas, meaning he finished the race behind Alonso, the position he had occupied before his brush with the wall. A case of what might have been.

Rookie Daniil Kvyat began to close on team mate Vergne at the end, so much so that the elder Toro Rosso was reminded not to hold him up. The order remained unchanged at the finish, and Kvyat made history as the youngest driver ever to score a point in Formula One.

Sergio Perez finished out of the points in 11th – though that would change – followed by the lapped Saubers and twice-lapped Marussia of Max Chilton. Bianchi was still running at the end, albeit eight laps down and not classified following his earlier problems.

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Ricciardo stripped of second

Three jubilant drivers stood on the podium after the race.

Rosberg basked in the glory of victory and the realisation of two-and-a-half years’ work on the new engine by his team in Brackley and Brixowrth – masterminded, it must be remembered, by the now-absent Ross Brawn.

Ricciardo was greeted by rapturous applause as he became the first Australian to stand on the podium at his home race. And Magnussen had brilliantly and unobtrusively taken a podium finish in his first ever start.

But one of them was about to be cruelly disappointed.

It took well over five hours for the stewards to decide to disqualify Ricciardo from the results. His car had exceeded the maximum fuel use rate of 100kg per hour on multiple occasions, something his team had been repeatedly warned about. Though it was no consolation to Ricciardo, the stewards’ lengthy report conceded “this parameter is outside of the control of the driver”.

The race had given an intriguing glimpse of the competitive order in 2014 and the nature of racing under F1’s new rules. But it ended under a cloud and with a disappointingly familiar storyline: one of a race decided long after the chequered flag had fallen and the crowd departed.

An already complicated sport has become even more nuanced and more tightly policed in 2014. The FIA still were still rewriting the rulebook mere days before practice began in Melbourne.

As the stewards pored over the myriad new regulations governing fuel flow rates and their measurement in order to decide who finished second the first lesson of the year became clear: Making Formula One ever more complex has its consequences.

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Keith Collantine
Lifelong motor sport fan Keith set up RaceFans in 2005 - when it was originally called F1 Fanatic. Having previously worked as a motoring...

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146 comments on “Heartbreak for home hero Ricciardo as Rosberg and Mercedes dominate”

  1. It didn’t look like Nico was even running at 80% today. He had the race completely in control without even trying. Very ominous for the rest of the season. From what we saw today I’d say Mercedes were head and shoulders – as well as knee’s and toes – above the rest and in fact it’s Williams – at least in the dry and on race pace – who are closest. Behind them, McLaren, Red Bull, Ferrari and Force India all seem fairly close.

    1. Agreed, Mercedes is looking very strong this year. Hopefully Williams (way to go Bottas!) and McLaren can bring in some weight.

      The review says “Both Ferrari drivers had electrical problems”, something I didn’t hear until now. So maybe the Ferrari’s can do a better race than this, which was really disappointing.

    2. Yep, Nico did his fastest lap in lap 19 and from there he kept a steady pace to the end without pushing the limits of that Silver Arrow. :)

    3. petebaldwin (@)
      17th March 2014, 10:14

      Mercedes look more dominant than Red Bull ever did at the moment. I wonder if everyone still finds that boring or whether it’s simply Red Bull and Vettel who aren’t allowed to dominate?

      1. @petebaldwin I think for now NR has dominated one race and that is a far cry from 4 year’s worth. Not that SV dominated every race or season like NR just did in Australia, but for sure many times SV was able to crank it down and coast home for a race win, including sealing up the WDC well before the season’s end.

        Let’s see how things go since it is such early days in a far different era. I’m sure by mid-season if not sooner there will be more similarity to the cars’ performance, and let’s not forget we could see a much better rivalry from NR/LH than SV/MW provided.

        But sure…give NR a 4-year WDC run and many F1 fans will be wishing for a change.

      2. Well, it’ll be boring if Mercedes wins continuously with such large gaps.

        My only problem with RBR/Vettel winning was that they were so far ahead of the field that at most races, you knew no one else had a chance. If Vettel had won 4 years in a row while Alonso, Hamilton, and whoever else fought him tooth and nail for it, it would’ve been an amazing 4 years (which is why 2010 and 2012 were great seasons).

        What I’m hoping to see is RBR with a 2nd best car, and Vettel still getting a couple of wins. It’s sad, but there are still those who believe Vettel didn’t win those championships, but Newey. I want Vettel to get the respect that so many seem to show Alonso (who does tend to get a lot out of lesser cars).

      3. @petebaldwin I’m a huge Silver Arrow fan and I would not like to see it finish this way every race. I think it’s bad for the sport and if Lewis and Nico truly win every race by a lap, what is the point? OK, I’d like it more than SV dominating…but it would still be boring :)

        But as @robbie pointed out, I dont think one race is enough to determine the season yet. And we already saw Newey put together a car that went from not being able to run 20 consecutive laps to finishing 2nd two weeks later. I don’t trust all the hulabaloo about the fuel flow meter, but give Adrian time and SV a good car and I’ll be irritated as hell at him again soon enough LOL

  2. It’s unfortunate that it ended this way for Ricciardo, but I don’t think there was any other fair option that the stewards could have taken. There were some great performances by other drivers as well – Magnussen and Bottas in particular were absolutely superb, I’d be amazed if we don’t see them battling for world championships in the coming years.

    1. finally, someone who agrees with me on the whole ‘let’s exclude the one who worked the hardest for the position’, but also Magnussen was the man of the match today, I mean, to get a third (now a second with all the complications) and also Bottas and it’s a shame for Massa to be out aswell.

      1. Mag was great, that kid is fast and to me he’s gold while Perez is silver. Good pick McLaren.

    2. I knew Ricciardo was running illegal car. The way he was smiling was weird and anyone could suspect something fishy.

      1. Exactly. He looked like a doped pro cyclist in 2006 who’d won a position he hadn’t really earned and knew it – even as he stood on the podium.

        1. You’re comparing Ricciardo to Lance Armstrong? You disgust me.

          1. This is one off, so more like Floyd Landis. It could be Lance Armstrong if FIA found out all RBR cars from 2010-2013 were illegal and stripped Vettel of all titles.

          2. I was hoping that Joe’s comment was just sarcasm which didn’t translate well into text…

      2. @nin13 Ricciardo is always smiling like that, I bet he did sport that smile while being informed his 2nd place was gone.

      3. The way he was smiling was weird

        what a nonsense comment

        1. +1, It’s because of comments like this Raikonnen has the same “poker face” for all situations :facepalm:

          1. An enormous smile is Ricciardo’s poker face!

        2. Honestly. It was weird in that if he smiled any wider, his head would’ve split in half.

          If I were that new to F1 and just got my first podium, you’d be able to see my smile from space.

      4. I like to think this was somehow meant to be a joke but did not work that way, rather than thinking you are serious here @nin13, same goes for Joe Papp.

  3. An already complicated sport has become even more nuanced and more tightly policed in 2014. The FIA still were still rewriting the rulebook mere days before practice began in Melbourne.

    No matter how simple the rules can be, if teams are trying to circumvent them in every possible way, there will always be post-race disqualifications. Red Bull has been in exactly the same situation many times in previous seasons, so it has nothing to do with rules. It’s with Red Bull trying to break their own equipment in order to try to compensate for it in a way which is giving them performance advantage.

  4. I don’t see how can you blame the after race situation on FIA or the necessary, simple, one dimensional, straightforward rule. There is a very detailed, well thought out procedure in place, taking into account all sorts of possibilities, the team chose to ignore it, even after being warned. I still can’t understand what were RBR thinking?
    (It’s not often I find myself defending the integrity of FIA and the stewards or the necessity of a rule)

    Overall I loved the race and the weekend as a whole, seeing the drivers fighting with the cars, seeing wheel to wheel action, great debiew by Kevin. The competition was closer than I feared, though Mercedes does look like it is going to be difficult to catch. Reliability also seems quite well, considering all the factors and the pre-season, though it must be said that only two Renault powered cars are classified, but at least the engine seems competitive, Daniel was able to run at the front (even with the fuel factor, RBR must be there or there abouts) and TorroRosso seemed to be on pace with the Ferrari.

    1. The “procedure in place” told red bull to use 96 kg/hr of fuel (supposedly, as other teams were) just because they had a faulty sensor. Yet the rule stipulates they can use 100 kg/hr of fuel. It’s pretty clear what they are thinking. If the maximum fuel flow rate of the car conforms to the regulations, why should they lower it just because of a faulty sensor, backup procedure or not?

      To bring a parallel example to aerodynamics, it would be like saying; our tape measures broken at 1649mm therefore to be sure you’re not breaking the regulations you’re wing can’t exceed 1646mm insteal of 1560mm.

      It’s hardly a straightforward, well-thought out, situation.

    2. I don’t see how can you blame the after race situation on FIA

      Maybe because the FIA mandated fuel sensor doesn’t work?

      1. Let’s think about it.
        Let us say FC Barcelona thinks the line judge have mad wrong offside decisions in the training football match.
        So FC Barcelona decides to take their own line judge to the liga match. The referee tell FC Barcelona to follow the appointed line judge, but FC Barcelona ignores and only follow their own line judge.

        That would be absurd, but it is what Red Bull did in Formula 1 at the Australian GP.

        They ignored FIA’s requests to lower the fuel rate, because they trusted their own equipment more than the sensors of FIA. Wrong or not, they arrogant ignored the referee.

        It had to bee a disqualification.

        1. Black flag would have also been appropriate (if there was enough time to issue it).

          1. @mateuss

            Black flag would have also been appropriate (if there was enough time to issue it).

            I was wondering about this when I read the justification of Ricciardo’s disqualification. If the FIA’s technical delegate knew about the fuel-flow issue during the race, and gave Red Bull the opportunity to correct it but they refused, then why wasn’t Ricciardo shown a black (or at least black and orange) flag? Surely that would be preferable to disqualifying him after the race thus changing the results hours later?
            You refer to this fuel-flow regulation as a

            necessary, simple, one dimensional, straightforward rule.

            If the rule is that straightforward, I would’ve thought the stewards could make a decision during the race — and certainly sooner than 5 hours later.

    3. @mateuss, I think what RBR was thinking was “our fuel flow is legal and we can prove it after the race, the FIA know that the sensor is inaccurate so it should not be a big deal”.

    4. @mateuss the problem is that the procedure is not well thought thru. IF RBRs claims are true then the sensor works with an accuracy in the percentiles. Would be the same as if tolerances in the bodywork would be measured with +/- 1 cm or the min weight with +/- 6.9 kg.
      The FIA reserves the right to say which measurement is accurate without having a clear reference point. Which makes the advice to run with an offset (like 96kg/h) almost a joke – considering how much money is spent by teams to improve just by 1 tenths of a second.

      However the penalty is still ok, because they didn’t protest and just ignoring rules can’t be the way to go. Though I think the reason for RBRs actions are some political stuff going on in the background. First LDM sheds light on the policing of this rule with his comment – now RB drags the matter to court – so there is more going on that we know right now, but we’ll see.

      1. @tmf42 To run at 96 kg/h seems reasonable, 4-5% margin of error seems reasonable (especially if it is at 99+% probability, but even at 95% (which is the golden standard in science)) for such a complex non-direct measurement device. If the error was more than 10%, than that could be considered too much (that would not excuse such actions either though). And anyway it is the same for everybody and you run the car within the margins of error (like everybody) and comply with the FIA procedures.

        And anyway, as I understand the sensors are bought and maintained by the teams (but even if that was not the case), they should go cry a river to the manufacturer to improve it and help improve it themselves, not act like a pigeon playing chess – knocking all the pieces off the board, defecating all over it, then fly off and declare moral victory…

        1. @mateuss 5% is an awful lot not just for F1 but in general – precision fuel flow sensors work in the range of .1% (for comparison).

          RBR handled it incorrectly and deserved the penalty – there is no doubt about it in my mind.
          My criticism is directed towards the rule itself resp. how it’s policed. The FIA selected the supplier of the sensor and the teams have to homologate it and only take over the maintenance. Variances are 10% (+/- 5%), which is way too high and unacceptable for F1 standards. LDM was right all along – the FIA should make it a priority that the fuel flow rule is not only enforced but also fairly for everybody and if RBRs claims are true – then that’s just not the case right now. (doesn’t mean that the penalty should be taken back)

        2. @mateuss 5% is an awful lot not just for F1 but in general – precision fuel flow sensors work in the range of .1% (for comparison).

          RBR handled it incorrectly and deserved the penalty – there is no doubt about it in my mind.
          My criticism is directed towards the rule itself resp. how it’s policed. The FIA selected the supplier of the sensor and the teams have to homologate it and only take over the maintenance. Variances are 10% (+/- 5%), which is way too high and unacceptable for F1 standards. LDM was right all along – the FIA should make it a priority that the fuel flow rule is not only enforced but also fairly for everybody and if RBRs claims are true – then that’s just not the case right now. (doesn’t mean that the penalty should be taken back)

        3. @mateuss – I think you are getting confused with what the scientific golden standard is which is five nines, i.e. 99.999%, not 95%.

          1. Actually that’s not quite right either. Gold standard is as close to 100% as you can get but the standards can be different depending on what you measure. I was getting mixed up between up-time and 5 sigma standard deviation.

          2. I don’t quite understand what you mean. I talk about the probability at which the margin of error is estimated.
            In all the scientific literature I’ve read it is always 95%, its kind of a quasi-standard, or as some call it, “the golden standard”, though its not actually any kind of standard, hence the “quasi”.

  5. I’m not technological enough to know how , but they need to devise a system where the cars are able to be signed off and deemed legal before a race, not illegal after it. This changing of the result after the event is a terrible way to go about things and a damaging thing for the sport in general.

    Then it is only the actions of the driver that can be called into question, immediately and for all to see.

    1. Well, they have the system in place, RedBull simply ignored the warnings during the race and the set procedure for such situations.

      1. Yeah, exactly.

        People act like applying an offset to correct a universal calibration error – and thusly getting the corrected fuel-flow rate – means that teams should’ve been able to exceed the limits.

        The hubris of Red Bull is impressive. I’m glad the stewards knocked them back and defended the integrity of the sporting spectacle.

    2. @peteleeuk How could that possibly work. What you suggests means that teams could make their cars illegal after they are signed off and before (or during) a race without penalty. There is no other way than to have the cars inspected after they have crossed the finish line.

      In this case the car would have passed pre-race scrutineering anyway since the rules don’t say that a car must not be capable of running a fuel flow rate of 100kg/h only that they must not exceed that rate. The only other option available to the stewards would therefore have been to black flag Ricciardo when they spotted the illegal fuel-flow rate, thereby removing him and his illegal car from the event. I’m not sure that would have been a better solution for either the driver, team or fans so I think the decision to exclude him after the event was the correct option.

      1. @jerseyf1

        I’m not sure that would have been a better solution for either the driver, team or fans so I think the decision to exclude him after the event was the correct option.

        I am interested to know why you think this. (I’m not saying you’re wrong! Just that your opinion is the opposite of mine and I’d be interested to hear your thinking on the subject.)

        To my mind, while a mid-race disqualification for Ricciardo would have been terrible, it’s preferable to what has happened. The end result in terms of both drivers’ and constructors’ championships is the same, but for Ricciardo himself, and the fans, the gut-wrenching feeling of having had his first-ever podium finish (and the first home-race podium finish for any Australian driver) taken away from him after the event is just horrible. Yes, he got to have that moment of standing on the rostrum, and the home crowd got to enjoy cheering him as their new F1 hero, but I doubt there are many of them for whom the memory has not been utterly soured by what happened later. At least a black flag wouldn’t have given false joy before the crushing disappointment.

        Moreover, as others have already pointed out, the changing of results after the race makes a mockery of the sport. The FIA has made it clear that it is trying to appeal to fair-weather or ‘casual’ fans this year by imposing that insane double-points-for-the-final-race rule, and yet this sort of complicated post-race result change is exactly the kind of thing that will put off casual fans as it negates what actually happened in the race.

        1. @ladym I get your point but for me if the black flag had been shown there would only ever have been a what-if over Ricciardo’s race. The technical infringement was entirely unseen by fans at the track and they would have been furious (they probably still are but lots of furious individuals isn’t as big a problem as a furious crowd!) As it is he did get to stand on the podium, the fans got their moment of enjoyment and he knows that he was (and is) up to the job over a race distance even if Red Bull’s engineers/decision makers aren’t. I also think that in the eyes of many of his fans this will still count as a podium result.I don’t think the sour taste is any worse for happening after the race – it’s the same but at least it was a low following a high. It also gives Red Bull the chance to appeal.

          In terms of fans watching (not just Ricciardo’s) there was that little bit of excitement as Magnusen got close to Ricciardo and the uncertainty about the final outcome. Without Ricciardo in the mix it would not only have been a procession from the Mercedes up front but also for the McLarens behind too.

  6. It was nice to drivers struggling with the cars grip, also good to see overtakes in places other than DRS zones. On the whole, it was an entertaining and eventful opening race. The unknown is what makes for more excitement.
    My heart goes out to Danny Ricciardo, he deserved more from his team, they thought they could tell the FIA the rules, instead of the other (correct) way round.
    I’m already excited in anticipation on the next race, Malaysia, that will test if RedBull have really got on top of cooling, plus the chance of more rain is never far away.
    Thumbs up so far for the new generation of F1 from me.

    1. +1, Love the new Formula.

    2. I loved it too.

      The cars have more torques than grip, it seems, in all gears and at all point in the rev range. The drivers can no longer just floor it, they have to use their right foot and determine how much grip they have, even in a straight line.

      As for the sound of the engines, although many people told me they thought they sounded like lawn mowers, I actually like it. I think the FOM TV crews could do with making some adjustments to the sound levels, but I loved hearing other notes in there, hearing the turbo and the MGUs off throttle. I also had a HUGE grin on my face every time I heard someone setting off from a pit stop: hearing the wheels squeal was brilliant.

      The racing seemed better too.

      All in all, I am feeling very positive about this season. Which is a bit of a shame, as I still plan to boycott the last race, no matter what the championships are looking like at the time. Abu Double is casting a cloud over what is looking to be one of the best seasons in a very long time!

  7. This is a very nicely written and insightful review — one of several posts lately that have just been really high quality. You’re getting pretty good at the whole journalism thing, Keith. I hope you don’t get poached by The Times or some other paywall-enforcing publication!

    1. The detailed after-race reviews that Keith has been writing for the past two years (I believe this is the third year) have been consistently excellent and definitely one of the best things about the site for me. They’re especially great for races that you miss (like this one for me).

  8. Even though the Aussie grand prix’s results usually don’t reflect on the rest of the year, consider the following:

    In 1996, Damon Hill qualified right behind Jacques Villeneuve; and went on to win the race by a dominating margin. He won the 1996 WDC.

    In 1998, Mika Häkkinen got pole position and won the race, dominating it along David Coulthard. Häkkinen went on to win the 1998 WDC.

    In 2000, even though he didn’t get pole position, and pretty much everyone else retired, Michael Schumacher won the race, and again, went on to win the WDC.

    2001 – Schumacher led the race from pole, and won. WDC.

    2002 – Schumacher won race with a 20 second margin. WDC.

    2004 – Ferrari dominated the whole weekend. Schumacher won the WDC.

    2007 – Kimi Räikkönen won from pole. WDC.

    2008 – Lewis Hamilton won from pole. WDC.

    2009 – Jenson Button won from pole. WDC.

    2011 – Sebastian Vettel won from pole. WDC.

    2014 – Nico Rosberg didn’t get pole, but he dominated the rest of the race.

    Now, my point here is that given Albert Park’s toughness and uncertainty as a circuit results-wise, when a team or driver dominates it in such a fashion (and usually it being the first race of the season), it means that they have the strongest overall package car and driver-wise, and thus are in a stronger position to win the championship. If they have such a good combination to dominate the race that is thought to have the most uncertainty out of them all, it would make sense for the results to be similar in other less-difficult races. Mercedes clearly had the upper hand this weekend as well, and by a very large margin. We could be seeing this year’s result follow the same pattern.

    1. It’s too soon. Nico had an easy job because his main competitor (HAM) retired after three laps.

      Plus, the double points rule can mess everything in November…

      1. I think there is something to the concept of having a car that is good straight out of the box, and therefore starting off the season with an edge, but it certainly is no guarantee.

        Hopefully NR/LH have a rivalry that excites the fans for the season. In 96, the only reason DH beat JV was because in the last few laps JV’s car had coated DH’s with oil from a leak so JV had to cede the position to DH and just bring it home. It came down to JV/DH in the last race that year but DH had a points advantage and then JV had a tire issue that handed DH the WDC.

        SV has 4 WDC’s yet only 1 came from getting pole and winning the first race. JB barely hung on for his WDC having started with the double diffuser advantage that it would take everyone else half a season to catch up to, and JB got the bulk of his WDC points in the first half.

        They run all the races for a reason, but I agree, there’s no better way to start than to be good out of the box….heck of a lot better than the alternative.

  9. Summing up the first weekend, I have a very clear view…
    FIA has some serious mending to do or people (= fans = the revenue generator of F1) will lose interest pretty soon…
    Eco-drive crap, fuel-flow stupidity, lack of speed, no more noise, and silly looks….to mention some.
    Worst of all, the drivers cannot race any longer – they now have to nurse fuel and check the fuel-rates obviously & nurse tyres instead, it has become a ”green and environmental tv-show” instead of being the pinnacle of motorsport.
    The problem is that FIA sit in their ivory towers and seems not to care. Their solution will probably be even more complicated rules that will hamper the drivers even more…
    Mr Todt – you are responsible for this mess.
    Sad times.

    1. Did you see the same race as the rest of us? What fuel saving? There was over takes in non-DRS zones!

      1. I agree F12345. I think that it’s time for DRS to say goodbye with this slipery new cars.

        1. I am not a DRS fan. I agree with you. I seriously think they can start to get rid of it. At least limit to one zone where they usually set two DRS zones.

    2. Come on Joc, when did we see drivers nursing fuel and tyres this race?
      And you have a point regarding the sound as provided by FOM but trackside sources and amateur video as in yesterdays roundup suggest a really good sound is being made by these cars.

      1. Race sounded fantastic on my surround sound system.

        Problem is, most internet sources like Youtube, etc., compress the bejesus out of the sound, and drive it down to 1.5 channels.

        As for the rest, some of it’s teething problems– it’s unfortunate that the first race of the new formula was at one of the most fuel hungry tracks. Some of it just takes a bit of time for the teams to get used to. In 2009, there was much wailing and gnashing of teeth about how ugly and undriveable the cars were, but the teams will sort that out pretty quick, just like they did then.

        1. Martin Brundle says it sounds better on TV than on sight… that’s a reverse of fortunes :)

          1. Spot the car salesman who’s now trying to sell Sky.

          2. I heard loads of others (including @keithcollantine here and @willwood) state that the opposite is true @jcost

          3. @bascb I understand opinions vary. Going to a race, the sound was always one of the things that I most enjoyed but taking it away will not keep me away from F1 races in loco. Actually I’m looking forward to attending a race this year, I can stomach quieter races.

    3. The point of a fuel flow regulator is to prevent excessive fuel saving by setting a maximum flow rate. This prevents high fuel mixtures by leading drivers at the beginning of the race that results in them pulling away quickly escaping risk of being overtaken, only to then need to aggressively conserve fuel at the end of the race.

      1. GB (@bgp001ruled)
        17th March 2014, 3:45

        shouldnt that be the drivers problem? it shouldnt be the FIAs problem…
        to me that flow rule does not make any sense!

        1. @bgp001ruled perhaps I didn’t make myself clear. The ‘problem’ is that the pole sitter can use the begging of the GP, a rich fuel mix and clear air to pull away from the pack (something that RedBull took full advantage of in previous years). By imposing a maximum fuel flow limit it gives those behind a fairer chance of keeping up and therefore more chance of an overtake. It also means we don’t see aggressive fuel saving at the end of a race.

          The 100kg an hour is a rate not total in the hour, meaning you can’t use 50kg in the first 20 mins, and then the other 50 in the remaining 40 mins. i.e. it would be more accurate to say 27.77g per second.

          1. GB (@bgp001ruled)
            17th March 2014, 5:13

            but if someone pulls away using a high flow rate: 1) the time will come when he must save fuel and the other catch him; 2) if there is a safety car, using the high flow rate was a waste!!!! so again @ady, it shouldnt be regulated! let the driver/team administrate their fuel the way they want…

          2. ok, so perhaps I’m not doing a good enough job of explaining it. There are a lot of advantages of getting poll, by using techniques such as the one I described above teams can increase their odds. By imposing rules that restrict these techniques you end up with closer racing and less of a procession.

            I would prefer more rules such as this that affect everyone equally rather than unequal rules such as DRS.

      2. Main reason the fuel flow rate rule is their is too try and limit the power output of the v6 engine to around 600hp. There’s no current limit as to how much turbo boost can be applied to the engine. The FIA want to try and avoid a repeat of the 1980’s when the turbo engines generated around 1500 brake horsepower.

    4. Australia will be the first to lose interest if things continue like this. And I sincerely hope they do. And I say that as a proud Australian. Yes I am unhappy about Riccardo, but its not only that. I feel that F1 no longer deserves the hospitality that Australia and many other countries offers. Year after year, Australia has shown to be a top supporter and promoter of F1. Australia always gives the best to F1 and I believe the best introduction to F1. And what does it get in return? An expensive show (which no longer worth the effort in my opinion) and too much politics, corruption and rule changes that are unpredictable and contradictory to the essence of MOTOR-racing.

      1. To be honest, I really do not understand what you are talking about there. These are the first rule changes in years that were decided on pretty long up front, and were expected @maksutov.

        The other parts really would make more sense, had you mentioned them in 2011 when DRS was introduced and Pirelli was instructed to make tyres to “spice up the show”. Bernie has been operating this way for the last 2 decades, no change in that aspect at all.

        1. @bascb

          I guess I am just frustrated, as I very much dislike the fuel regulation rules. I know they were decided long up front, but I simply don’t agree with them and I feel they don’t belong in motor racing.

          And also there is the way in which penalties are enforced. The whole time you could be at a race, cheering for the wrong thing and made to look like a fool because several hours after the race, you are told that the driver you cheered was (more or less) a cheat and did not deserve their position. It makes the experience, the joy, the pre/post effort of the local race organisers, TV/show/host presenters and interviewers – to look stupid. Simply put, I feel that the penalties for something like fuel flow peak rate is too harsh and overall unnecessary.

          As some have already stated, the FIA need to get their act together, clean up the rules and their decision making process relating penalties, and let motor racing be what its meant to.

          1. Maybe they should have told us by lap 10 that RBR were going to face DSQ if they did not change their approach?

            Fuel flow rate defines the maximum power of the engine, so when Sauber get a double DSQ for having their rear wing off by a couple of mm, something that certainly cannot cause any advantage on track, how can you argue that using more peak power than allowed under the regulations, and doing so willfully and even despite having been repeatedly warned about it should not warrant a DSQ @maksutov.

            I do agree that its always a big letdown if post race penalties like this change the result, especially one like this one, but there is no way to do it up front, apart from the Stewards black flagging the car. Not sure that is a better solution.

            Fuel flow restrictions are part of Motorsport as much as restrictions on cylinders, limits on air inlets, turbo boost pressure, RPM limits, etc. There are different ways to do it (some just use restrictors instead of measuring), but all are good ways to put a limit on peak power allowed.
            In the (distant) past, power was more or less limited by the technical options available, but nowadays every sport uses limits to keep things from going horribly wrong.

          2. @bascb

            Maybe they should have told us by lap 10 that RBR were going to face DSQ if they did not change their approach?

            perhaps they could have.. or maybe they should investigate the cars before and after the race. So that if someone breaches the rules they are black flagged accordingly.

            Fuel flow rate defines the maximum power of the engine..

            you don’t have to explain me the intricacies of fuel flow rate, I used to work as a mechanic for 4 years… and I understand what you are saying. But I still disagree that fuel flow rate should be a component that is monitored and limited. You have to leave some room for mechanical and engineering competition and ingenuity relating to how engines are used. On the end of the day, if engines can produce more power with less fuel they will most likely be in advantage. And besides, the more fuel you use, the more fuel you need.

            And to confirm, I don’t actually mind if fuel quantity limit is imposed, but I do mind if peak fuel flow rate is controlled. But it is what it is, but I don’t have to like it.

            And where does it end? There are unlimited number of things you can control and monitor in the car and the engine. If FIA continue to adopt this ideology, there will be no end to these sensors and restrictions. And sooner or later all the cars will become identical and so why don’t we just get the drivers race a video game and we can all watch and cheer for that.

  10. Yet again enforcement of F1 regulations have ruined the outcome of a otherwise exciting and satisfying event. I’m not saying cheating should be permitted (deliberate or otherwise). I do think though, that when rules interfere with the enjoyment of the sport, something isn’t right.
    Daniel Ricciardo’s beaming smile was one of the best sights of the weekend. Sport needs dreams to come true every now and then. F1 should be all about the wild, the crazy, the fastest, the coolest, the most electrifying, the dreams we all have. No compromise, no namby-pamby half baked sucking up to the sandal wearing tree huggers.
    I’m not anti progress, nor am I anti green. But come on, what’s all this about hybrid F1 cars? The pinnacle of Autosport has now become humiliated and neutered. What next, Touring Car to be a one make series for Toyota Prius?
    Electric bikes on the Isle of Man have been a massive success. They’re developing into quite fast machines. There is a place for electric, hybrid and alternative energy vehicles. There is a case for promoting the use of such technologies in our daily vehicles, but not in F1. Not F1.
    Formula One, is the ultimate car race series. Or it should be. Scrap prohibitive regs. Do away with these potty post-race bombshells. Open up the series to be Open to anything and everything. Why not six wheels? Why not eight litre V16 4WD rear wheel steering? Ok I’m being silly, I know. But who wants the present situation? Every single year, races are settled through the appeals process months after the actual event. That’s not sport.
    How on earth can the sport justify ruining the outcome of a race, simply to uphold regulations that have nothing to do with ultimate performance? The rule that Ricciardo has fallen foul of, is there to make the sport less offensive to the environmental critics, that’s all.
    The F1 moguls want their backsides kicking.

    1. But come on, what’s all this about hybrid F1 cars? The pinnacle of Autosport has now become humiliated and neutered.

      I agree that F1 should be the pinnacle of motorsport.

      But the pinnacle is no longer “bur petrol, go fast”. It needs to be on the limit of technology, driving it forward.

      These cars are about as fast as last year’s cars (within acceptable margin), with an engine of a third less capacity, using a third less fuel, and with much less downforce. That is an AMAZING achievement, and this will improve as the season progresses. It will push them to develop better battery and motor technology, and to get more out of every drop of fuel.

      Far from holding F1 back, these regs are dragging it, kicking and screaming, into the 21st century, and back to the technological pinnacle it should be.

    2. I agree and disagree with your points; the way these engines work is really the limits of hybrid technology, with all the different types of energy harvesting, etc. I don’t really agree with irrelevant V16s and such, but it’d be nice if the formula was more ‘free’, so that people could use such engines if they wanted (which is what I think you’re getting at). I really wish the engines didn’t have to be homologated for the season and that development could occur freely as well.

      The direction F1 is taking towards ‘road relevance’ is silly when open-wheel vehicles are not relevant (it’d be nice if everyone drove around in Ariel Atoms or BAC Monos, but that’s not he case). There is already a series for this: LMP1. If you want road relevance, it’s LMP1, since even Porsche was saying a lot of the technologies in their 919 LMP1 car can be applied directly to their road cars.

      To me, F1 should essentially be rockets on wheels (although I want the aerodynamics to be severely limited, I think they ruin F1 personally) with some possible road-relevance, whereas LMP1 remains the high-tech series with directly applicable, road-relevant technologies.

      As far as the Ricciardo situation goes… I hope he keeps smiling. I couldn’t help but smile, too, when I saw him celebrate on the podium.

  11. I’m not RB fan but I don’t get it. They’ve been accused of breaching the Rule by consistently exceeding the maximum flow rate of the Fuel. I have to commend RB Engineers for inventing the first true Perpetuum Mobile. They had only 100kg of fuel, and exceeded constantly max flow rate of 100kg per hour during a Race which lasted more than one and the half hour. I must admit, that’s amazing! Guys, you achieved a miracle! Good job, indeed!
    Sorry Ricc, I can only emphatize without beeing much helpful.

    1. Even if you have a flow rate of only 50kg/hour for 95 % of the lap – if you use 101kg/hour on the main straight each lap, you are exceeding the maximum consistently.

      1. You’re right mate. I just wanted to say that this rule sucks. Formula 1 mimics road cars and gives back nothing to car industry. Couple of decades earlier Formula 1 was “1” indeed. It lead automotive industry in terms of technology in every aspect. This is Formula FIA for a long time now. It simply isn’t Formula 1. Especialy not in the sense reffered by its name. FIA signed the documents abiding itself to the interest of reducing CO2 emitions supporting the UN policy regarding the matter. However, they had no constraints in introducing rules contradicting the spirit of documents they’ve signed. Eg. no variable valve timing, single turbo charger. Things like that… The list of their rules is so long that kills every engineering creativity. Some of the greatest designers left because of it: Gordon Murray, John Barnard, and who knows who else… I admire these guys who find the way around their stupidity and hail the engineering creativity any time of the day!

        1. You’ve listed all the things that people like Gordon Murray and John Barnard were NOT responsible for, i.e. engines. The fact that they no longer design F1 cars owes more to the shift towards pure aerodynamics. The only things F1 gave the automotive industry were paddle shift, carbon ceramic brakes and a few other items usually found on high value road cars only. Desmodromic valve systems were in the public domain before Renault put it into an F1 car for the first time, thus unleashing the high rpm potential from the previous engine formulae but have no relevance whatever to road car tech. I am not listing VVT because there were mechanical type systems before the advent of electronics.

          The new technology engines have returned F1 to an engine formula and the tech they are developing is directly linked to a car you and I could afford in a couple of years time – hence manufacturers renewed interest. And remember, if the rules mandate a future increase in power at any time, with these motors, it’s a software and external hardware upgrade to be capable of 1,000 hp without the ERS.

    2. I don’t think you understand the regulation.

      100Kg of total fuel for the race (though they can put more in).

      Maximum flow (into the engine) 100Kg per hour. The car is not at full throttle for the entire lap, so they do not ( and should not) hit this limit.

      1. The concept of ‘100kg/h’ is a gross simplification – the actual sensor will be monitoring the flow to the second and if they’re running a car constantly over the approved limit, it will flag it. The rule states that it should not go over the limit. Red Bull might have been running the car rich at several points.

        1. No, 100kg/h is the rate of fuel flow. It doesn’t say anything about when it’s measured.

          1. Actually, you will find in the TDs that it was measured at 10Hz (10 times per second), and this has been changed to 5Hz (5 times per second).

            Although people get confused about the 100kg/h terminology, this is 27.8g/s, or at their sampling rate, they cannot use more than 5.6g per sample. It was always going to measured on a very frequent basis (although this is much slower than most other sensor readings on an F1 car).

    3. Consistently was probably the wrong word to use, maybe “repeatedly” would have been a better fit.

      1. Actually, consistently could be the right word. For example, if they exceeded the slow rate at even one point on the track, every lap for 5 laps, they consistently used too much.

    4. You do not go full throttle ALL of the lap though Boomerang, just about 55% for Melbourne I think (although with the blown diffusers it was a lot more!)

  12. Not too bad a race considering the new formula, but a pity the FIA had to spoil everything once more.
    I think if the fuel flow sensor is proving to be inconsistent, each team should just be allowed 102kg of fuel before the race and then they use it at however rate they deem fit. For a fact, just only a few weeks to the start of the season, the company supplying these flow sensors were having problems with the device, and it just adds another whole level of complication and contention to an already complex regime.

    1. a pity the FIA had to spoil everything once more

      Yes. That damn FIA. Introducing rules, talking about a zero tolerance policy, and then upholding it. Of course, they’ve ruined everything…

      It seems some F1 fans can’t be happy…

      1. Haha. Well said!

      2. That damn FIA. Introducing rules, talking about a zero tolerance policy, and then upholding it. Of course, they’ve ruined everything…

        LOVE IT!

      3. I have no problem with the FIA enforcing a rule when they feel like it, what I can’t understand is why the FIA rushed in faulty sensors into service. As recently as only a few weeks before preseason testing, the supplier of the device was still having problems with its consistency.
        I will also like to know how Redbull were able to bypass the sensor considering the cars had gone through pre race and post qualifying scrutineering .

  13. This fuel use saga just might run and run, you would not normally expect racing engines from 2 of the top manufacturers to suffer piston or valve failure so early as Vettel and Lewis surely did, one traditional cause for holed pistons or burnt valves is running lean, and since these engines are running as lean as possible to begin with it is very possible that a faulty reading from a fuel flow sensor caused them to run too lean and suffer the failures that put them out of the race so early, not an option you would want to force on your 1 remaing car.

    1. Have you seen reports of piston/valve failures? I was under the impression that the problems were electrical.

      1. Mercedes/Hamilton confirmed that his retirement was due to a piston failure – @keithcollantine even wrote it in this article…

        Having taken pole position Lewis Hamilton found his engine had turned into a V5 instead of a V6.

        Red Bull just had some wide-reading failure on Vettel’s car – the PU wasn’t working properly.

        1. Just because a cylinder isn’t firing, doesn’t mean the piston failed. It could just as easily be a faulty spark plug.

          1. I understand that @raceprouk, but you don’t tell a driver to retire immediatley to save the engine because of a faulty sparkplug, (unless you think the spark plug has broken pieces in the combustion chamber) you bring him in to check the HT lead and/or change the plug.

          2. It could just as easily be a faulty spark plug.

            @raceprouk I don’t think they have sparkplugs on these new engines

          3. these engines dont have spark plugs.

          4. yathish, @onebhk – All petrol engines have spark plugs

            @hohum – True, but it does depend on how easy it is to get to the plug

    2. I doubt that the Fuel flow meter is that involved when measuring the air to fuel mix. I’d bet they’re using a series of Lambda sensors on the exhaust side to determine the current mix, just as most normal engines would. If the lambas fail, they can fall back on various models based on other sensor values, inlet manifold pressure to name a likely candidate.

      Could it be that the fuel flow meter is only there to satisfy FIA? In the V8 era there were no regulations of fuel flow. Or?

      1. After getting some sleep I can see I may have overdramatised the situation, however I still think it’s ludicrous for the FIA to be telling a team to slow down on the basis of information from a sensor they know to be inaccurate. I await further information.

  14. I’ve enjoyed reading this fantastic story. Thank you Keith for your passion and dedication to F1.

  15. OmarR-Pepper (@)
    16th March 2014, 22:07

    I saw the last 10 laps today (repeated), and what an awful thing the race is on Mute mode…

  16. I thought it was a pretty boring race for excitement, but you can’t say that the weekend has been negative as a whole. Overall it’s been a positive start to the new season and there’s plenty of reason to be optimistic about 2014.

    I never want any person or team to dominate in any sport, but it looks as though Mercedes are way out in front. I’d still prefer them to dominate over Red Bull due to what I would expect to be a great inter-team battle between Hamilton and Rosberg. But today it looked as though Rosberg could have turned the wick up at any point and gone at least a half a second quicker, and he still won by over twenty seconds.

    Even though there will be most likely a huge development race throughout the season with the car’s continually getting quicker, the advantage Mercedes look to have now won’t be pegged back in my opinion. I guess you can look back to 2009, the first year of significant rule changes, where Brawn were incredibly dominant but only for other teams (mainly Red Bull) to claw back the advantage later in the year. I don’t think that will happen this year unfortunately, but I hope I’m wrong.

    The biggest problem I have is with the fuel saving. I don’t really see why the fuel limit has been so drastically reduced. Sure I guess it is “road relevant” but I think it will be a negative influence on wheel-to-wheel battles throughout the season, with drivers not choosing to push and try to overtake because of the need to save fuel. Reading through lots of comments I’m surprised that there hasn’t been more outcry on the matter. It’s a real shame because the tyres seem to be perfect. Not too degradable so that the drivers aren’t driving ridiculously off the pace in order to preserve them, but yet there still seems to be huge levels of conservation in the ultimate driving of the cars. So really, F1 has gotten rid of one bad element from last year – the degradable tyres, but have replaced it with another – the fuel saving. Very frustrating overall.

  17. Magnussen, Ricciardo, Bottas and Kvyat were the stars.
    Not a good advert for GP2…

  18. I’ve followed Ricciardo since his WSR days. I was thrilled to see him get his start with HRT in 2011, excited to see him promoted to Toro Rosso the following season, and cheered every points finish along the way.

    Seeing him land Webber’s seat for this year was something I’d hoped would happen for a long time. I’m not saying that I was as excited as Dan himself, but maybe a close second!

    Attending yesterday’s race and see him come second, and being part of the crowd cheering him on was a sporting experience I’ll remember for a long time.

    So to describe his post race exclusion as deflating would be an understatement. However, I’m not going to complain about the decision of the stewards. There’s an appeal process in place, and provided Red Bull get a fair hearing (I am sure they will) then what will be, will be. If the exclusion stands, well I am sure there will be plenty more great results ahead for Dan. Mind you, it will be tough to replace the magic of a first podium at home, the best result by an Australian in the modern era.

    What I can’t stomach is this. In this brave new works of fuel limited Formula One, the enforcement of the fuel limits depends entirely on the accurate measurement of fuel rate and total consumption.

    It seems uncontroversial that the FIA mandated sensor doesn’t work properly. It doesn’t do its job.

    This change in the regulations has been coming for years. This is a sport which generates more than a billion dollars a year in revenue. It is meant to be the pinnacle of vehicle technology.

    Yet despite all this, the FIA has proved unable to procure the one piece of equipment that determines if the power units achieve what the rules require.

    Epic fail FIA, you should be embarrassed and ashamed. Let’s hope you fix it soon.

    1. @tdog RBR are known to push the boundaries when it comes to the legalities of the letter of the law. It will be interesting to see how the appeal plays out, but it is clear that RBR believe the measuring equipment wasn’t accurate. However, its a very big risk to be at odds with those that wield the power, e.g. FIA…

      1. RBR are known to push the boundaries when it comes to the legalities of the letter of the law

        Just like all the rest ;-)

        1. But it’s one thing for teams’ to push the boundaries like they all do, but another to continue to act beyond the boundary even while in full disclosure with the FIA. They were warned, and were given ample opportunity to save themselves from this penalty, and yet according to the FIA they just went ahead and made their own decision anyway, and that is what caught them out.

          Maybe they will have good grounds upon appeal, so if they are so confident why didn’t they run this by FIA first rather than ignore them and just go ahead on their own?

          I feel really bad for DR and his fans.

  19. Chris (@tophercheese21)
    16th March 2014, 23:30

    I particularly enjoyed the race because of the rising talent that was on show!
    RIC, MAG, HULK, KYV, and JEV oh and Bottas! All great drives! Was very nice to see some new faces on the podium.

  20. I’m not sure where Red Bull fit into the pecking order after all this.

    Vettel had a software problem on his car, which should be resolved easily enough. Ricciardo appeared to have no problems at all – and excellent pace – until the stewards announced their decision to disqualify him. I don’t understand why his team chose to ignore the rulebook, but if his fuel rate monitor really was faulty, perhaps they anticipated getting a working one for Malaysia and chose to use the race as a testing session. If that is the case, they could be much closer to the front than most people anticipated. On the other hand, if their monitor wasn’t faulty, then Ricciardo’s pace was misleading and they could be anywhere.

    My instinct tells me it’s the former. If the team can sort out its reliability issues then more podium finishes are well within their grasp for the next few races.

    1. The sensor is provided by thr fia. Red Bull believe the sensor was faulty. The fia advised them to reduce their fuel intake but, as Red Bull believed it was the sensor and not the fuel intake that was at fault, they did not.

      1. I’m aware of all that you said. What I’m not sure of is whether or not the sensor was actually faulty – that was the crux of my post.

  21. The FIA are indeed guilty of miss management. If they had warned RB that the sensor limit was being exceeded and as alleged nothing was done to reduce the problem; a drive through penalty at the time would have been a sufficient penalty for all concerned.
    What i do not agree with is the after race penalties that eventually exclude finishers from positions the drivers worked hard for. If a penalty for regulation infringement is found to be the only answer then the driver should not bare the brunt of the rule breaker as in this case.
    It means more to Red bull to finish first, whoever the driver is (Marko will think differently) so a deduction of manufacturers points and say a grid penalty for the next race for the driver would at least leave a less bitter taste in the mouth of the enthusiast who pay fortunes to watch the pinnacle of motor sport.
    This leads me to draw the conclusion that there are indeed “jobsworths” flexing muscles within the sport, who are more than happy to upset the majority of fans because they can.
    A rule is a rule, but if it is blatantly being ignored during the event, then stop it there, not when the paper cups and debris are being blown around an empty circuit hours after we all switch off or go home.
    If this is such an industry as to set an example then everyone should take a professional approach to policing it, leaving personal politics behind, and always being on the lookout for an example to encourage people to watch…not turn them away.

    1. leave a less bitter taste in the mouth of the enthusiast who pay fortunes to watch the pinnacle of motor sport.

      The fans did get a return for their money. They watched a good performance from Ricciardo. No one is going to take that away from them.

      Also the FIA did warn them during the race. If RB had turned it down as the rest of the other teams did, there wouldn’t be this discussion. So it is not the FIA flexing their muscles but RB making them do it.

      1. The fans did not get a return as he was disqualified, and my point was that if they had penalised RB there and then it would all have had a different outcome without the bitter taste of “robbery” that is evident.

      2. The fans did get a return for their money. They watched a good performance from Ricciardo. No one is going to take that away from them.

        the FIA took it away from them.

      3. @evered,Where do you get the information from that says other teams turned down their fuel flow, I saw nothing to sugest that other teams were being given the same instruction as RBR.

    2. If they had warned RB that the sensor limit was being exceeded and as alleged nothing was done to reduce the problem; a drive through penalty at the time would have been a sufficient penalty for all concerned.

      Although I really feel sorry for RIC, and quite like him, I completely disagree with this.

      For one, they had warned RB, and told them what they had to do to correct it. RB chose to ignore it, thinking they knew better.

      For the other, a drive through is not sufficient for breaking the technical regs. If the car does not meet the regs, the only course of action is disqualification. They could well have black flagged him as soon as they knew RB weren’t complying with their instructions.

      1. Yeah that’s just it…firstly, and I don’t know the answer to this, what performance benefit was DR enjoying? If it was big, then a drive-through penalty would have been meaningless. Drive through and go back out there with an illegal car and carry on like everything is fair and square? Secondly, this is obviously early days of a complex issue, and I can understand the stewards needing more time than they had within the race to figure this out. They obviously knew of the issue during the race, but perhaps not all of the details nor how to deal with it on the fly. They may have been waiting and expecting RBR to comply at some point during the race, and only knew for sure that RBR acted on their own once the race was over.

        1. The performance benefit does not play a role for infringements of the TR though @robbie. Remember Perez losing his first points finish at his debut in Australia because of a manufacturing error made the rear wing illegal?
          There was not even a question about any advantage gained (there was non) but it was against the rules and resulted in automatic DSQ once the stewards found this during post race scrutineering.

          1. @bascb Fair point. I was assuming that running at higher than 100kg/hr was an advantage and therefore why it was an issue but I totally get you that illegal is illegal, performance gain or not. Usually illegal means advantage though, or at least potentially so, or why would they do it, which is why I thought something like a drive- through would barely deal with the issue, and would have been unfair to the other teams and drivers on the track as he still would have been out there running illegally after the drive-through.

          2. Exceeding 100KG/HR is definitely increasing the fuel flow into the engine @bascb and @robbie. More fuel pushed into the engine, more power produced.

            So if they breached that 100KG/Hour flow rate while other teams did not, then they are guilty of not following the rules that everyone else followed to the T.

            The main problem for RedBull in this race was they did not pay heed to the recommendation provided by officials. RedBull Technical Representative made it clear that he had received and acknowledged the email with the suggestion from officials to use the original sensor with a corrected fuel flow of 96KG/HR. RedBull did not think so, and they continued racing with their own sensor instead of using the FIA approved sensor.

            Now when all other cars were using FIA approved sensor and RedBull using a different one is not right. Even if it was erroneous, they were given adequate instructions to get around the problem which they did not consider and went ahead with their own solution – which tells me that Stewards deciding on this are right.

  22. Surely you are given 100kg of fuel, yours to use or abuse, if you don’t make the end of the race, your issue…
    Pretty simple, cars are weighed teams need points what’s the issue

    1. yeh, this fuel flow thing makes no sense…. 100kg per hour fuel flow limit — races are usually over 1.5 hours — 100kg fuel limit —- it means the teams have to use a fuel flow rate of about 66kg/h “average” just to finish a race… hard to see how redbull went over 100kg/h – wouldn’t they run out of fuel? and even if they did, what is to be achieved??? any advantage gained for a few seconds will be lost over the rest of the time period of the race. with this 100kg/h limit, why limit the teams to 100kg fuel? most fuel usuage is during acceleration, it just makes no sense…. are the fia expecting 20 to 30 litres of fuel left in each car at the end of ever race???

  23. Glad to see somebody mentioned that the great Ross Brawn had something to do with Mercedes performance and win!! Come back Ross we miss you!

    1. since 2009, when ross brawn took over a great Honda engineered car.. each one of his cars went backwards as the year went on. this year, with brawn out of the picture, Mercedes are likely to succeed more then they could with brawn. toto wolf is the man… Brawn was overrated from achieving greatness in the richest team of early 90s, Ferrari – with unlimited testing. last year Wolf came into the team, and that is why Mercedes will now succeed, if brawn had stayed, they would be close to the front at the start again, and finish 4th by the year end.

  24. I really enjoyed the race and particularly the new(ish) faces doing well up the front.

    I have to say that I’m gutted that Danny has been (probably rightly) denied his podium. But the people who should get the biggest kick in the backside are the RBR management. Regarless of the technicalities and “he said, she said”, they were given a chance to alter the flow during the race by the FIA and that would probably have gotten them through without a DSQ. It was a massive gift/wakeup call from the FIA in my opinion. At worst they’d have had Danny in 3rd. But no, the great big brains at RBR went all or nothing. Here’s to you RBR – nuth’n!

    1. How do you know where Dan would have finished with 4% less power, my guess, midfield.

      1. I think what he said was a possibility with a slight less top end performance and it was a guess!

  25. If FIA were contacting Red Bull throughout the race and letting them know of the breach. Then why didn’t they just black-flag Ricciardo?

    I don’t care about whether FIA is right o Red Bull is right. My concern is changing results hours after the race is over.

    1. Well said and my point exactly.

      1. Maybe they thought black flagging DR would be harsh given that their preference for the race and for the fans would have been to see RBR comply, and therefore were giving them the chance to do so. Maybe they needed the race to run it’s course while giving RBR a chance, and it was once they no longer had the chance to comply because the race was over that the stewards had no choice…ie. RBR left them no choice after ignoring the warnings.

        And I’m not sure black flagging DR and therefore not making a decision hours later would have assuaged most fans. At least DR has the sentimental backing right now, and I’m sure that if they were black flagged during the race there would still be huge disappointment, an appeal, and the true results would still be pending perhaps for more than just hours.

  26. There’s been lots of discussion here concerning the reasons for and arguments behind Ricciardo’s exclusion, some of it quite arcane and complex. Over the past couple of years, one of Bernie’s main and stated aims has been to keep the worldwide television audience figures high and to that end, F1 has tried to “improve the show”.
    But now, if F1 is trying to appeal to a wider and therefore less knowledgeable audience, how on earth can this wider audience be expected to understand the reasons for Ricciardo being disqualified?
    I think one of the reasons for football’s almost universal popularity is that it is relatively easy to understand – even the fabled offside rule – whereas F1 is not easy to understand at all. Yesterday it got even harder to fathom, with lots of us here – F1 fanatics after all – failing to grasp the new rules.
    I think F1 may be in the long process of shooting itself in the foot.

  27. Not bad for a Half-Points race huh?

  28. WilliamB (@william-brierty)
    17th March 2014, 9:47

    F1’s new era has indeed arrived, and it was one prominently heralded by the “young guns” of F1, who very much showed their quality. Magnussen’s pace throughout practice was frankly unimpressive, but the second it started to count, Kevin found the speed – which is not just an attribute of an excellent racing driver, but of a potential future champion. Although I have been utterly scathing of any that attempt to illustrate him as Hamilton reincarnated (based on Magnussen’s frankly mediocre junior category results compared with Hamilton’s utter domination), and was equally scathing when he was parachuted in to replace the perfectly decent Perez, I see now where the logic was, with it being frankly illogical to retain Perez based on a piece of paper presumably gleamed from the Young Driver Test that said Kevin was faster. That said, I still believe that McLaren should have filled Hamilton’s seat with the Hulk in the first place…

    But perhaps the most encouraging component of today’s, other than the lack of a potentially fatal continuance of Vettel domination, was the performances of all the young drivers. Sadly, last year we lost Webber from the grid and in the coming seasons we may loose Massa, Button and even Raikkonen, and yet the quality of the grid will remain with young guns like Magnussen, Bottas, Kvyat and, when he eventually finds himself in F1, Robin Frijns. Bring on the future champions…

    1. @william-brierty ,I agree, actually all rookies for this year impressed me… Bottas was flying and showed awesome grit, and didn’t lose his cool after the misstake. Magnussen, no words needed.
      Kvyat impressed me both on saturday and sunday, and I must say Ericsson handled it better than some would fear.
      Except for Rosberg dominating the race in a RedBull-way, I found it a much more down to earth racing Race, than I’d been expecting

      I will be sad to see Kimi and Button go, but at least the newcomers are exciting

      1. While I don’t really disagree with anything being said here, I’m certainly not convinced that ‘the second it started to count, Kevin found the speed…’ He may have, sure, but it might also have had to do with tires, or the realization by the team that fuel would not be an issue, or it might have had to do with energy harvesting etc etc. I just think we need more time to see how it all settles out, and I also like to think that all drivers at all times are trying to find the speed…it all counts at all times. KM finished way way back of NR, as they all did…so he needed to find the speed all along and it counted all along.

        1. WilliamB (@william-brierty)
          17th March 2014, 15:11

          @robbie – I’m talking about Magnussen’s practice pace relative to his race and qualifying pace. He was definitely tailing Button in terms of consistency during his race runs and by his own admission made mistakes on his qualifying simulations, so it was definitely impressive to see his form pick up so emphatically in the dying seconds of Q2, Q3 and then the race.

  29. I don’t get why Red Bull should have turned it down. They made a car that can only perform at the stipulated levels and they were running to those stipulated levels. The FIA should not be changing what the stipulated level is at the grand prix.

    1. The FIA didn’t change the stipulated level

      1. They brought a sensor that was below the stipulated level

      2. They brought a sensor that didn’t check the stipulated level

  30. with this 100kg/h fuel flow limit,,,, does that mean most cars will finish with heaps of fuel still in the fuel tank? most races are over 1 hour 30 minutes – so with 10kg of fuel, most cars should have about 30kg of fuel left in the tank at the end of the race?? this is such a stupid rule, either limit the fuel flow or limit the amount of fuel for the whole race, what is the point of limiting both???

  31. with this 100kg/h limit in fuel consumption, am a right that teams who only use 65kg of fuel for the whole race will have an advantage, if they stick within the consumption limit, they will still finish a 1 and a half hour race, and their car will be more light weight then a car starting with 100kg??

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