Ricciardo faces investigation for fuel limit breach

2014 Australian Grand Prix

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Daniel Ricciardo is under investigation by the FIA stewards for a potential breach of the fuel flow limit rules.

FIA technical delegate Jo Bauer reported Ricciardo’s car “exceeded consistently the maximum allowed fuel flow of 100kg/h”.

“As this is not in compliance with Article 5.1.4 of the 2014 Formula One Technical Regulations, I am referring this matter to the stewards for their consideration.”

Under new regulations introduced this season a driver’s engine may not consume fuel at a peak rate higher than 100kg per hour.

The FIA had experienced difficulty in monitoring the fuel flow rate limit on cars earlier in the weekend. Yesterday the teams were advised by race director Charlie Whiting of a change to the fuel flow filter frequency.

“Due to time constraints before the qualifying session the FIA data versions will not be changed [to the new frequency],” Whiting added. “The revised monitoring will be processed by the FIA officer.”

Red Bull had changed the fuel flow meter on Ricciardo’s car before the race. The same component was not changed on Sebastian Vettel’s RB10.

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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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177 comments on “Ricciardo faces investigation for fuel limit breach”

  1. Well Charlie Whiting did say there would be “zero tolerance” on breaches of the fuel regulations, so it will be interesting to see what is going to happen here.

    1. Gazzaguru (@garygushbiz-com)
      16th March 2014, 9:38

      Would assume the only remedy being a disqualification. The pit wall must have been aware of it – so that’s a huge disappointment for Ricciardo after such a great drive.

      1. “The pit wall must have been aware of it.”

        I really doubt they were, as they would have known it would lead to a disqualification and told him to use a lower fuel mix that wouldn’t result in breaching the limit.

        The fact that the meter was changed before the race really makes it sound like an error with the component. No doubt using all their telemetry to prove so.

        1. Gazzaguru (@garygushbiz-com)
          16th March 2014, 14:10

          From the FIA stewards report, it appears Red Bull (‘The Pit Wall’) were informed by the Technical delegate that they were using too much fuel. Seems like they did indeed choose to ignore it at their own peril!!!!

    2. When Charlie Whiting mentioned the “zero tolerance” policy, I think he was only referring to the 100kg per race limit (per Article 29.5 of the Sporting Regulations). Ricciardo’s car is in breach of the 100kg fuel flow limited, that’s a separate requirement under Article 5.1.4 of the Technical Regulations.

    3. I would say penalise the team, not the driver… Take away WCC points from RBR (if found guilty)

    4. Officially DISQUALIFIED now

      1. I can’t find official confirmation, who has it?

  2. Would that be a Renault issue?

    1. Definietely a Red Bull problem, probably carried out by Vettel’s mole on the Australian side of the garage ;)

      1. In all seriousness though, you would think the engine would regulate it. So unless Red Bull went ahead and altered the engine or its mapping without Renault approval I don’t quite know how they could have done that.

        1. It should be adjusted by software, I think.

          1. @jcost perhaps that’s why Vettel had the update.

        2. @vettel1
          Red Bull software engineers have been helping Renault in developing new software for their PU

          1. @tifoso1989 I think it would be weird if they had programmed it so as to allow for it to go over. Unless they thought they had found a loophole.

    2. The fuel flow sensor is supplied by Gill Instruments but the metering is Renault + proprietary & RB Software.

      1. @baron thanks for the information :)

      2. The supplier is actually Gill Motorsport, not Gill Instruments

  3. hopefully there won’t be any action taken against him, wouldn’t be nice to see him loose such a great result.

    1. If the rule’s been broken, I hope he does get penalised.

      Don’t get me wrong, I was ecstatic for him when he crossed the line, a fantastic performance by a top line driver, and I’d be so gutted if he was disqualified, not just for him, but for Australia as a whole.

      However, fuel flow is one of the major factors determining engine power this season. I agree entirely with Whiting that this rule needs to be completely inflexible or you’ll find some team trying to take advantage down the line.

      1. Pretty much sums it up perfectly @mouse_nightshirt.

    2. If a car does not comply with the technical rules and regs, it is, will and should be disqualified, there can be no other way.

      So if the statements above are true, DSQ is coming.

      Reminds me of the 2011 opener, where Kobayashi and Perez were disqualified after a probably much less performance influencing technical breach (and rightly so, illegal is illegal). Was really impressed with the drive of Perez then and quite impressed with Ric’s drive today, but rules are rules, there is no gray area in this particular case.

      1. “There is no gray area in this particular case.”

        Technically, there is a grey area. If the Fuel Flow Meter is the only component teams can use to measure whether they’re fuel flow is too high, and this had not been working on the FIA side through-out the weekend until qualifying, when it was then checked after qualifying and the team then learnt that it wasn’t working on Ricciardo’s car. Then when they replaced it for the race that would have been the first time all weekend for the fuel flow meter to be working.

        It can hardly then be argued it’s then the teams fault after the race for not knowing their car was exceeding the fuel flow meter as it’s the first time the component has actually been functioning (and furthermore not reporting live as it should be, but rather being processed after the race off-car) all weekend to the fault of not the team, but rather the FIA.

        The whole thing seems very grey to me…

        1. I am sure they would have been tested in the factory. And anyway, shouldn’t the tems adjust the engine according to the only flow sensor?! Do they even have this info real time? Because they should.

          But anyway, I said, if the statement is true, if they did exceed the flow limit, then there is no gray area, there is no room for interpretations, the measurement procedure was declared in advance.

          It is doubtful that the sensor may be broken, maybe RBR will take it off the car and ask for it to be tested.

          1. Why would there even be a flow sensor on the car if the FIA could just look at the teams telemetry and see that the cars aren’t passing the flow limit. Of course the team doesn’t have the data, that’s why the fuel flow meter is on the car, to get the data.

            I stick by my argument that there is a grey area if the team didn’t even know they were breaching the fuel flow limit.

          2. Team’s telemetry on such matters would be only useful in relative terms, not absolute, so there is the necessity for a standard FIA sensor, as is the case.

            Do we know the teams don’t get this data real time from that sensor?
            I am intrigued to know.
            If they don’t then that is silly situation, but teams should have calibrated the maps accord to the readings of the flow sensor in advance with acceptable margins of error. (could it be they are still testing completely untested engine maps, given their problems?)

            So, I, contrary to you, maintain that if the readings exceed 27.78 g/s and they are correct then it is as black and white as it gets.

            Sauber in 2011 did not have the data that the radius of their rear wing flap was not within the rules,it did not stop their cars from being ruled illegal and DSQed (and it should not have). Or, for example, not having a reliable speed sensor, or live data from it, would not excuse speeding in the pit lane.

          3. I agree to an extent, I’m just thinking of possible scenario’s I guess. I saw a lot of “he should be DSQ” here in the comments so just thought I’d play the devil’s advocate a bit. My apologies if it came across a bit aggressive.

            It will be an interesting outcome anyway for sure. Considering it’s nearly midnight in Melbourne, they must be heavily investigating the issue. Stressful night for Ricciardo no doubt.

    3. @rigi
      As long as no action is taken for similar transgressions in the future.

  4. Wow. Possibly sensor error?

    1. It is possible that it could be a sensor issue – this type of fuel flow meter is very similar to the type used by the ACO in the World Endurance Championship, and I believe that teams there have reported an accuracy of about 1% either way (i.e. a flow rate of 100kg/h would read between 99-101kg/h).
      If he is within the tolerance of the equipment he might be OK, since the team could then argue that it is a potentially erroneous reading by the sensor – however, if the peak fuel flow rate was significantly higher he might face disqualification.

      1. You’d think the stewards would take such inaccuracies into account – isn’t one of them here a WEC driver? So then it might have been quite clearly over that. Sad end to race really, he was going so well the whole weekend (well seemed to, but with a bit more fuel flow, heh).

        1. Or maybe the FIA feels the teams should take this into account?

          Besides, if the fuel meter registers fuel flow going over 100kg/h shouldn’t the software limit the fuel pump? Or are there two fuel flow meters in the car (one for FIA and the other for the team).

    2. I would hope so, as the supplier until recently was having problems with the sensor. but in all, I hope its a non issue because it will just destroy the morale of the fans.
      I must also add that this 100kg/hr flow limit is a very ridiculous rule, why not allow teams to run their engines the way they like even if it means running out of fuel.
      F1 is over regulated even in benign areas, and yes I know I’m sipping some wine at the moment but that is not in any way responsible for my angst.
      Do wish the FIA will just go away sometimes.

      1. The main intention behind this was to avoid an arms race among manufacturers in qualifying – to limit costs. But I agree that the implementation is way too complicated.

  5. the key word is “consistently” here… I wonder what will follow

    1. Exactly what I was thinking. The use of that word doesn’t look good for Ricciardo.

    2. And yet his overall consumption for the race was OK.

  6. That would be seriously heartbreaking :(

    1. @andae23 I know :( and it even makes me more angry since I thought from the beginning that this fuel flow limit was stupid. Huh

  7. Australia will be on fire if he gets disqualified. On a more serious note, this is the sort of thing that turns off viewers from F1. You have a race where a popular guy gets a seemingly deserved podium finish and then later it’s taken away for a technical reason. Everyone needs to play by the rules (or not found to be circumventing them!) but there has to be a way to determine these issues in real-time. It’s not like we don’t have the technology.

    1. I thought the fuel flow was determined by FIA technology? SO wouldn’t that allow them to sense when it was happening as it was happening?

      1. The fuel flow meter is supplied by a third party, not by the FIA itself, so it isn’t entirely clear what information would be automatically available to the FIA.
        Added to that, they would probably want to interview the team first and to inspect the car to ensure that there is no other reasonable explanation for erroneous readings – for example, in case there was a defective sensor or calibration issue with the fuel flow meter.

      2. The flow meters and rate are mandated by the FIA. Supposedly there is real-time data feedback. The meters are homologated and all teams use the same meter. I’m not sure how one team would get a flow rate consistently greater than that allowed, outside of any parametric limitations. Since it’s easy to get feedback there’d be no point in trying to get around it. Red Bull may have tried something “clever” that hasn’t paid off but it’s hard to see how this could be circumvented. Presumably they check at the end of the race based on residual fuel in the tank. It will be interesting to hear the technical reasons if this does indeed result in a disqualification.

        1. @mortyvicar, I didn’t read anything in that story to suggest that the RBR exceeded its total fuel allowance for the race, this is a metering issue regarding max fuel flow, it will probably be difficult to determine whether it is an actual breach or a metering inaccuracy and whether the fault lies with RBR or FIA, it’s far from black and white at the moment.

          1. @hohum Correct. Was the reported flow rate (measured 5 times per second) correct or reading high? You check fuel flow by replaying the sampling data and calculating the fuel used against fuel remaining at the end of the race (basically, start_fuel – sum(instantaneous fuel flow rate * sample time) = end_fuel). A discrepancy (within an agreed error margin) means the meter wasn’t calibrated correctly. If the measured amount equals the calculated amount (within a predetermined error margin) and the fuel flow meter says you exceeded the maximum at any time then you used more fuel than allowed. If you don’t do this then all you have to go on is the fuel flow meter readings, and the FIA’s say-so that it’s correct. At some point that say-so will be acceptable based on experience, but we’re not there yet.

      3. From what Keith wrote, the real-time monitoring was not working quite perfectly (the part about the frequencies) so the FIA had to check the data after the race to be sure about any infractions.

        To me it seems that the part the team changed in was somehow not calibrated right to the car to make this possible. Or something like that.

    2. If we look from the rules point of view, it wasn’t deserving, others could keep it at 100kg of fuel, which is kinda unfair advantage.

    3. Well I like Ricciardo and I also think he drove well. But as a F1 fan I think he should be penalised for this, Magnussen might have overtaken him if they were on equal power (more fuel flow=more power). I think that the fia should give a penalty an be consistent with it over the season. Not penalising will turn of the real fans from viewing because then we are going to think everything is too political and that if it had been a back marker he would have gotten a penalty.

    4. Rules are rules, popular driver or not. Its the responsibility of the team and or Renault, but very sad for Daniel.

    5. @mortyvicar +1 – it was such a feel good result, and I’m sure many fans would be left feeling slightly bitter if he was disqualified retrospectively.

      1. @vettel1 personally, I would feel far more bitter if he was allowed to keep his result despite breaking the rules. Don’t get me wrong, I was so happy for him and what he achieved, but emotion can’t get in the way of technical decisions, just to keep some fans happy. I’ve already heard a lit of “post race DQ makes a mockery of F1” blah blah blah, but what would actually make a mockery of F1 would be if someone was found to be cheating after the race, yet got away with it to save a few fans feeling “bitter”.

        1. @jleigh absolutely, but it is a case if raising one’s hopes – then crushing them. This is something which should be dealt with during the race.

    6. Well said. Why do we find this out few hours after the race? Monitoring a sensor’s readings in real time is not difficult to do in 2014. FIA can look at all cars’ fuel flow rates and immediately penalise or disqualify the culprit driver and team. During the race itself.

    7. @mortyvicar @magnificent-geoffrey

      I think I read somewhere about penalties not being given after the race or something like that… Could anyone throw some more light on that please…

  8. It doesn’t look good, honestly. It would be heartbreaking after such a brilliant performance.

  9. It would be a shame if he lost his place but Charlie did say that there would be no ifs, ands, or buts. sucks for Daniel, but rules are rules. Remember back in 2011 when Sauber was disqualified due to a manufacturing fault causing the rear wing to fall in to noncompliance.

    1. Yeah, it would be a pretty clear disqualification if it turned out to be true… and it would MASSIVELY suck.

  10. should be allowed to use the fuel as you please, everyone has the same amount so at the end your either over taken or able to push like crazy,

    that is a stupid law…

    1. Agree. Would lead to more exciting racing if drivers could conserve fuel and let fly with everything they’ve got in the last few laps.

      Allows for more options in strategy as well, which is what the FIA wants.

    2. I agree and have done since the rules were announced. It’s a pointless thing to regulate.

  11. oh man…someone’s reality is going back to dream…too bad for dan

  12. Uh oh.

  13. I wonder if they did this deliberately giving their past with technical infringements

    1. Chris (@tophercheese21)
      16th March 2014, 9:58

      Why would they deliberately put themselves at risk of losing 18 points? Especially in a season such as this where scoring points is of utmost importance.

      Is this some sort of ‘Ferrari Tin-foil hat’ theory or something?

      1. @tophercheese21

        Why would they deliberately put themselves at risk of losing 18 points?

        They risked more in the past (Bahrain 2012, Monaco 2012 with the hole in the car, Germany 2012 engine mapping …..)

        Is this some sort of ‘Ferrari Tin-foil hat’ theory or something?

        This my usual conspiracy theory when i’m trying to figure out the bad guys a la sherlock holms

        1. Yes, but in those cases they did have a valid defence case. We haven’t heard anything much on that note yet, but it sounds like Red Bull are arguing an error – not for a grey area in the regulations.

          1. Chris (@tophercheese21)
            16th March 2014, 10:43


            Those previous cases were all down to Red Bull’s interpretation of the regulations.
            This isn’t.

    2. Ferrari should also be checked, they are thirsty this year

    3. I seriously doubt Red Bull would do anything as stupid as that @tifoso1989. The things they have been coming up so far have all been on the edge of what the rules allow but mostly have been withing reach of arguing that they do not in fact infringe on the rules as they are written.
      Given that these sensors and the whole measurement of the fuel flow was discussed in detail and repeatedly tested (especially with regards to tolerances etc.), and a problem was found on only 1 of the Red bulls by all accounts this looks like a very unfortunate mistake somewhere

  14. Mercedes was under investigation for the same thing during practice. Result = no penalty. If they can do it for one team they can do it for the others

    1. Maybe Mercedes was actually inside the rules or else it is only practice, i.e. doesn’t mean anything re points as in the race, where Kevin had to give up passing Daniel because Kevin didn’t have enough fuel.

    2. Practice infringements tend to not be penalised heavily as they have virtually no effect on the race.

      This was a racetime infringement – Magnussen would no doubt have had him, hell, probably Button and maybe even Alonso if the infringement was “consistent” as it appears. Significant effects need significant consequences.

    3. Sounds really retarded comparing Free Practice with an actual race.

  15. Does anyone remember when racing was actually just racing?

    1. That is a silly comment. Every sport needs rules & regulations.

  16. I thought that would get calculated as a whole looking at the GP and not constantly as I thought cars could juggle the fuel at will.

    1. Nope @peartree, it is both a 100kg over the race max, and that 100kg/hr flow rate that they have to keep. The flow gives a maximum to what you can use at any moment, while the maximum fuel allowance means you won’t be able to do even that flow for the whole race (but long enough apparently to be over the flow rate consistently in the case of Daniel Ricciardo here, apparently).

  17. iAltair (@)
    16th March 2014, 9:51

    Daniel Ricciardo has been disqualified for fuel limit breach.

    FIA to post confirmation soon.

    1. That’ll wipe the smile off his face.

      Shame, poor guy. It’s not his fault.

    2. So sorry for Daniel and all the Aussie fans. That will teach them to booh at Vettel;-)

    3. Just in case people might wonder where I got the info from: https://twitter.com/tedkravitz/status/445135537285111808

      1. This info has been relayed by some French media :(

    4. Where are you getting that info?

  18. Kevin Magnussen could be on for an unexpected bonus – and beat Hamilton’s record. Rookie start, qualify 4th and finish 3rd is a stat I expected to stand for a while.

    1. It would (sort of) equal Jacques Villeneuve’s record from 1996 @tribaltalker. He finished second on debut after starting on pole and leading most of the race.

      1. Good call @geemac! I’d forgotten – he pushed Damon Hill quite hard that year in the Williams. I was mostly watching for Hill in those days.
        So Magnussen is in good company – two world champions with comparable starting stats.
        Maybe someone could do an article on rookie driver stats and the correlation with subsequent performance?

  19. It would be such a shame if Daniel was disqualified for that superb drive! I hope the FIA just gives a fine to Red Bull or something else.

    1. Yup, fine driving when you’re cheating, no ?? Everybody drove slow to stay within the fuel limit, just 1 guy drove the hell out of that car. No wonder he got so high.

  20. I’m hoping for a 10 grid penality and not a disqualification …

    1. @paeschli It’s a technical infringement so sporting penalties like a grid drop are not available. It’ll be disqualification or nothing.

  21. Although what I do find hilarious is I guarantee if it had been Vettel who had suffered from the issue it would be “dirty cheats!” “Ban him from racing forever!” “Red Bull should be disqualified from the championship!”.

    1. @vettel1 It’s the modern world we live in Max, It’s sad to see how certain fans treat the champions of the sport. Yesterday during Qualifying the crowd cheered when Vettel crossed the line in 12th and went berserk when Ricciardo almost took pole. Some people actually where doing the booing routine again when he stepped into the paddock.

      It’s mediocre if you do something like that, such folk cannot be considered true fans of the sport.

      1. I guess they are holding a grudge because of “multi 21” situation from Malaysia last year.

  22. Old Lightnin (@lightnin-hopkins)
    16th March 2014, 10:08

    Just how brilliant was Daniels drive if he was miles behind the Mercedes and struggling to keep kev behind when he had more power? Vettle is gonna wreak this kid. you’ll see

    1. Really? What if Seb’s performance on Saturday is what the current RBR car is worth when it’s running within the regulations’ limits? Surely beating Ricciardo to 12th isn’t much of an accomplishment

  23. The FIARce. Dan doesn’t deserve this given the way he drove. Red Bull owe him an apology. Vettel will be pleased though.

    1. Yeah Vettel will be real pleased his team now has 0 points as opposed to 18.

    2. If it was a clear technical breach that potentially gives a performance advantage, then ultimately the team should face a sanction irrespective of how unpopular the result it. I know it won’t be widely supported, but if it is definitely breaking the rules then it shouldn’t be the case that a driver can get away with it just because their performance made them popular.

  24. I fail to understand why, with all that technology, the fuel useage maximum rate cannot be limited automatically. Surely this is not something the driver should be able to change.

    1. Archimedas (@)
      16th March 2014, 10:14

      I disagree, i want to see some strategic planning from drivers or with a team input when to back off and when to push using more fuel.

      1. @archimedas
        He hasn’t used too much. He has used fuel too quickly.
        He cannot, even for a tenth of a second use fuel at a rate higher then 100kg/h.

    2. They are barely getting most of their cars to run, so no surprise. Remember, they have only had a few days of testing in a few weeks. Sure the electronics on the car should take care of the max flow limit, though the driver should be able to adjust it. I’am sure that will come, but first they have to get them running properly.

      If the engine was a commercial project, they would have been doing years of real life testing. Given all that, I’am quite surprised to see so many classified finishers(even with Ric’s DSQ), but it must be said, that only two of them with an Renault engine…

  25. He didn’t know what his car was doing.

  26. That would be a shame if Daniel was to be disqualified. This would also be a really bad news for Red Bull. The consistently exceeded fuel flow surely gives a performance boost. Without this boost, with flow within proper limits, the Red Bull car would not be competitive.

    1. You are just assuming that. We still don’t actually know that it exceeded the limit, and no concern was expressed on Friday (where they also seemed fairly competitive).

    2. @cyclops_pl

      Without this boost, with flow within proper limits, the Red Bull car would not be competitive.

      Why not? Ricciardo put it on the front row without using fuel too quickly.
      Illegal would, theoretically be anything as little as 100.01kg/h. Depending on how accurately the fuel flow meter can actually be.

  27. obviously RBR Pit crew was trying to be clever, im pretty sure they knew it all along during the race.. RBR should be punished.. not good for the driver though..

  28. The very worrying word in the report is “consistently” – it implies either a software fault or that Ricciardo was gaining a clear advantage for the majority of the race. Unfortunately I’d say this is a done deal, but rules are rules.

  29. I wonder if this will have ramifications for the future of the Australian GP… It would be easy to feel that Australians’ performances are continuing to be undermined.

  30. A question from the uninformed: how could he complete the race with only 100kgs of fuel if the flow rate “consistently” exceeded the 100kg per hr over the duration of a race which was nearly 1 3/4 hrs?

  31. Alright, I’m going to do a ‘Horner’ and ask for some clarity here.

    I think I may have misunderstood the new rules a bit. So, the cars are only allowed 100kg of fuel onboard and may not use more than 100kg of fuel per hour.

    What I don’t understand here is that you obviously cannot consume more than 100kg of fuel per hour as you wouldn’t be able to finish the race. So how exactly do they measure whether a car is using a fuel flow higher than 100kg/h over one lap or ten laps for that matter?

    1. EDIT: Because if I understand this correctly, the rule is absolutely ridiculous and not required at all in the first place. You should be allowed to use that 100kg of fuel as you wish during the race.

    2. @aced because you won’t always be using that value. You would only reach 100kg/h rate at maybe 12000rpm: below that your rate would be lower (say at 6000rpm it would be only 50kg/h).

      So when it is averaged out (maybe you average 9000rpm), you will only be using the 100kg in the time.

      1. Thanks @vettel1

        I just read Keith’s article on it and understood what the whole deal is here. I still think the rule is unnecessary, though.

        1. @aced Always good to hear :-)

        2. You’re welcome @aced :)

          I agree entirely – it doesn’t improve efficiency as you are still using the same amount of fuel and it introduces some strategic variety. Allow an unrestricted fuel flow, ban DRS.

          1. @vettel1, I think the idea of the fuel flow limit is to prevent the engine being able to develop 1000+hp and have the races turn into alternating slow laps with sudden drag races to prevent or achieve overtaking, also ironically for reliability concerns.

  32. I was fine with the 100kg fuel limit, but I always thought this rule was stupid. Well, what can we do now?

  33. Is disqualification the only punishment available? Could he be sent to the back of the grid in Malaysia or something else?

    1. @mwyndo7
      A technical breach of the regulations is always punished with disqualification unless the breach is caused by damage, or other faulty components. In which case no penalty will be given.

  34. Does anybody knows what performance benefit that would have given him? 0.5 sec a lap, more, less?

    1. @paeschli it would depend on exactly how much more fuel was being dumped into the engine beyond the 100kg/h. From there this would equate into a larger output and could go from anywhere really in how much quicker lap times became.

    2. @paeschli
      That will depend entirely on how much over the limit he was.
      He could be 2kg/h, or it could be 0.02kg/hr
      So until we know that, guessing how much faster it made him is simply impossible.

    3. wouldn’t he lose that benefit in other parts of the race? what a retarded rule.

  35. In response to why it took a while after the race to flag the problem, There have been some technical problems this weekend with the telemetry systems relaying the information to the FIA & FOM.

    So to ensure they had correct data they downloaded the data off each car post race as soon as they were able to & the data downloaded from the cars ECU & teams internal telemetry is more accurate.

    Besides its down to each individual team to monitor the fuel flow & inform the driver if he needs to save a bit more or not. Everyone else seems to have managed to do this.

    Disqualification may seem harsh, But if a technical regulation was broken & the penalty is clearly defined & has been reiterated several times, Then its fair.

  36. Might just be me, but given how unclear the rules are as of yet, and that the FIA’s sensor is not yet 100% proven, I wonder if there might be a halfway-punishment of some sort (i.e. Daniel’s result – and points – stand, but Red Bull get no constructors points).

  37. Can anyone clear how precise the rule of a fuel flow limit 100kg/h is defined?

    If it’s only written “fuel flow rate may not exceed 100kg/h” then it’s not very precise because for example you can use 120 kg/h for 30 min and 80 kg/h, then you would still be within the rules on average for the 1h. I know it’s measured 5 times per second but if the rule still stands as it is – you could take interprete the rule as average or at any measurement.

    This also makes too much fuel saving an disadvantage and you have to be very precise with fuel management. For example: If you driver A saved more fuel than driver B and could still use fuel rates of 110 kg/h to make it to the finish whilst driver B can only use 100 kg/h. Then driver A could not use his advantage on driver B.

    Overall the rule about fuel flow rate is unnecessary in my view.

    1. Apparently, the fuel usage is not supposed to exceed a peak rate higher than 100kg/h at any instant. Since the measurement is done every 0.2 seconds(5 times per second), that’s 5.56 gram of fuel per 0.2 sec. Also, it seems that the maximum allowed flow of 100kg/h(5.56g/0.2s) seems to be allowed only above 10500rpm(I could be wrong there). And, yes, the rule seems to be really unnecessary.

      1. EDIT: I guess the 5 times per second only measurement is done for practical reasons as it would probably be impossible to measure it at every instant.

        1. Not just for practical but for fundamentally theoretical reasons. There can’t be infinite number of measurements every finite second:D

      2. On top of all this complexity you have to take into account that the density of the fuel varies with temperature so fuel volume and fuel weight are not constant, with a large battery pack being constantly charged and discharged situated right under the fuel tank I suspect that the fuel temperature would increase significantly during the race causing an increase in volume per kg.

        1. Fuel volume is not constant, but its mass does not change. That’s why all the regs are specified in kg, not litres.

    2. I think it is measured at 50 or 10 Hz, cant remember of the top of my head exactly which one of those figures are correct, they changed from one to the other.

      So no, it is measured multiple times a second and all those have to be below the limit.
      Also a measurement is not just a single number, it is an interval, with a certain probability, that the actual figure is somewhere within that interval. This would depend on the fuel flow sensor, the measurement (interval) has to contain the 100 kg/h (or be below it), if that is not the case, its a technical breach.

      Finally, I think the rule is good and necessary. And fans should not blame the rule, but say it as it is: we hate to see drivers DSQed.
      If there was no fuel limit, the engine manufacturers would be obligated to build engines capable of 300 kg/h or something ridiculous like that. (obligated, to remain competitive) Firstly that would almost certainly increase engine disparity even more as well as unreliability. Secondly it would massively increase the possible performance range settings of the engine, meaning less wheel to wheel action like we saw today,a driver could just push a button and sail past, if you dislike DRS, this would be a whole different thing entirely and FIA would have no control over it, unlike DRS. And thirdly, most of the teams can barely afford the engines at the moment, at a time when teams don’t want to waste money on tyre warmers, having non-flow-limited engines would be a massive waste, for them to be used at the limit for a couple of laps in qualifying and a few laps in the race.

      There is a good reason why we have parc ferme (No qualy-only chassis, engine etc.), and there are good reason why we have the flow limit.

      1. Also a measurement is not just a single number, it is an interval, with a certain probability, that the actual figure is somewhere within that interval. This would depend on the fuel flow sensor, the measurement (interval) has to contain the 100 kg/h (or be below it), if that is not the case, its a technical breach.

        So, if I can interpret that to ensure I am understanding right… if you look at any two measurements taken in time, whether they be 2 seconds, 2 minutes, 30 minutes or 60 minutes apart, the rate of fuel flow has to be below that 100 kg/h rate. Therefore, you couldn’t flow fuel at 120 kg/h for 30 minutes, and then dial it back to 80 kg/h for 30 minutes to be under the limit. Correct?

        @xenomorph91 – thanks for asking. I was wondering the same thing myself.

        1. The bit where you quoted me, I talk abou the margin of error.

          No, it is measured multiple times every second, meaning the flow can not exceed 100 kg/h (or 27.78 grams / second) at any moment.

    3. @xenomorph91

      If it’s only written “fuel flow rate may not exceed 100kg/h” then it’s not very precise because for example you can use 120 kg/h for 30 min and 80 kg/h, then you would still be within the rules on average for the 1h. I know it’s measured 5 times per second but if the rule still stands as it is – you could take interprete the rule as average or at any measurement.

      100kg/h is a flow rate. Not the flow rate average.
      If you at any point were doing 120kg/h you would in breach of the rules.
      Similar to the speed limit on the road. The police don’t care what your average is.

      1. A bit late it seems. Oops.

    4. Thanks for the replies guys, but in either case: speed on streets or fuel flow rate is for me unclear defined – logic presumes that it should be at any given time but that’s not how rules and laws are made – they have to be crystal clear so there is no question about it no matter how you see it. If you write the rules, you have to write them as clear as them and may not give other people freedom for interpretation. You cannot expect that the people reading the rules, interpretate them as you have intended them in the first place.

      If Article Article 5.1.4 would be “Fuel mass flow must not exceed 100kg/h at any given measurement intervall – here: 5 or 10 times per second” then it would be precise.

      That’s how I see it.

      1. *as them = as possible

    5. If the rule was 27.78 g/sec, it would be better, no?

      1. @paeschli, yes, but that would be different to 100Kg ph due to temperature variations.

    6. It’s peak rate – from the article:

      “may not consume fuel at a peak rate higher than 100kg per hour”

    7. Erik Torsner
      16th March 2014, 13:34


      While I haven’t read the regulations until now, the definition isn’t that detailed but shouldn’t be all that difficult to understand and measure. Each car has a mandatory fuel flow meter that measures the fuel flow in real time. That data is stored and sent via the telemetry link to the teams and FIA. The measured value may not exceed 100 kg/h at at any point. Under 10500 RPM, the maximum fuel flow is a function of the RPM. The wording used about Ricciardo makes me think that the measured value for his car was over 100 kg/h a lot during the race.

      (wild oversimplification warning)

      As to why the rule is there. With and combustion engine, the power output is going to correlate very very closely to the amount of air you can force in to it, you just add an appropriate amount of fuel to get an efficient combustion. With the new turbo engines, the “force enough air” part of the problem is pretty much solved, if you need more air, you just let the turbo push more (higher pressure). So given that the mechanical parts in their engines can hold it, you could use an insane pressure from the turbo to force an insane amount of air into the cylinders and then just add enough fuel for a nice combustion.

      While writing regulations for the new engines, I’m assuming that FIA wanted to put some sort of lid on the maximum power output that the engines can produce. Stating a maximum RPM and a maximum fuel flow is a quite efficient way to reach that while still giving the teams a lot of parameters to play around with. They can raise the turbo pressure through the roof but since they can’t add enough fuel to go along, they will not get any more power out of it (just a very hot engine).

      As the rules stand now, the only way to get a significant advantage in power output is to achieve more efficient combustion. I don’t know about these engines, but a normal street car can typically harvest 30% of the energy in the fuel. The other 70% is heat (and noise). I think that FIA and others hopes that a couple of 100 millions USD and some really well motivated F1 engineers will find a way to increase that efficiency and that it’s something that can carry over to street cars in the future. That can not be said about the aerodynamic advanced made by Red Bull and others. “Road relevant” in F1 lingo.

      I think fuel limits and fuel flow limits are great additions to the F1 technical challenge. May the best engineers win :-)

      1. Great post Erik Torsner.

  38. This is just complete BS.

  39. Rules are to be followed, otherwise is chaos, but if this is to happened, what was a great start to the F1 season, after all the negatives talks in the winter, will turn F1 again from the glory to the dark – I am not a Red Bull fan, I like Daniel, but it’s just too bad… F1 needed this boast – this great weekend, from a emotional qualifying to a engaging race!

    1. if only you knew about the invisible hand friend :) If only you knew. There is always chaos, just the illusion of control.

  40. It’s a real shame, but if it is true, and they then took no action, that just opens up for a very messy and inconsistent rest of the season – where the precedent has been set that it is okay to exceed the stated limit. Which is a massive bummer. At least Ricciardo got to do the podium ceremony :D

  41. along side the new nose regulations, the fuel flow regulation is just as inane.

    Who comes up with these rules? If you want to make it about saving fuel, shouldn’t the 100kg per race rule satisfy? I mean if you can do more with less, should you not be rewarded? Maybe not.

    I think the people in charge of the rule book are just looking for excuses to stay employed and finding various ways to give out contracts to their friends.

  42. 5.1.4 Fuel mass flow must not exceed 100kg/h.

    “Must not” – pretty clear legally

  43. Sorry for him, but if things were off – DSQ is the way to go ! Then, funny how many people talked about Schumacher cheating, but now nobody seems to be talking only about all kind of technical issues. How do we know cheating is not present these days too ?!?! Come on, these engineers are among the finest in the world, that hard is to built and monitor the fuel consumption ?!?! I find that hard to believe if we talk about F1. Anyway, issue or cheating, any team outside the +/-1% margin should be DSQ since the fuel consumption has quite an impact in the car’s performance.

  44. Has been disqualified

    1. Sorry for him, but rules are rules. This rule is more than stupid tho, in my opinion. It kills the racing/driver abilities even more and makes the engineering even more important….. like it wasn’t more important already. The engine with the best HP/fuel consumption ratio is the winner. FIA tries to replace the lack of pure racing by inserting all kinds of rules that add unpredictability and spice up racing artificially in order to create movements in the field.

    2. Has been disqualified

      Seems the stewards haven’t made a decision yet. No technical expertise. Part was replaced after qualification. FIA changed way of checking flow over weekend.

      Unneeded complexity. How about 100kg of fuel and go racing?

    3. No he hasnt (yet). Sky Sports F1 tweeted at 12:10 UK times that Dan left the circuit with no result from the investigation

  45. Crying shame after what appeared to be a superb drive. Rules is rules, but i think that the FIA must take a little bit of common sense into their decision. (not possible)?
    It would make more sense to penalise the team and not so much the driver.

  46. i wonder when the engineers say over the radio “press the overtake button”, if that goes over the fuel flow limit, it would have to increase considerably, even if for a few seconds. how does the FIA know the fuel flow rate of each car? do they ahve sensors and modems on the injectors? over what time frame is the flow rate calculated, seconds, minutes?

    1. The flow is measured in the fuel line with a FIA spec fuel flow meter. Reading the fuel flow 5 times a second.

  47. Is there really a point in introducing a maximum fuel flow rule when the drivers are giving it their all to preserve it and get to the chequered flag?

    1. @pezlo2013
      In qualifying yes. It limits their power. But in the race I think it is completely overkill to both limit to maximum fuel flow, and limit the total amount of fuel. One or the other would surely be enough.

      1. The fuel flow restriction altogether is a joke in my opinion. Surely it cant be right to put it on a car that has 100L of fuel trying to cover 300km+ on a regular basis,
        And why do it in qualifying where it is highly likely that you will exceed the limit whilst edging every bit of performance out.
        Are the FIA basically saying you cannot push 100% in Qualifying when it really counts, and no to pushing hard during stints in the Race?
        Either I’ve completely missed something or I’m losing my interest for all FIA governed sports as a young 16 year old adolescent in Melbourne, I’m more looking forward to my mid-year exams in June!

  48. It’s a done deal, Dan is penalized

  49. It is going to be a bitter pill for Ricciardo to swallow. Horner is the one at fault if this turns out to be true. This is something Ricciardo would have no control over or knowledge of.

  50. Joe Saward ‏@joesaward 1m
    Ricciardo excluded. It’s official.

    1. Red Bull is appealing.

  51. Am I the only person who feels this rule is necessary? I’m not going to pretend that I know why it was introduced but unless I’m mistaken, it needs to be in place because:

    (a) Safety. There have already been concerns about drivers using the ‘lift and coast’ tactic to save fuel. If this rule wasn’t in place (and you could use as much fuel as you want in a lap), then drivers would have more incentive to use potentially dangerous fuel saving strategies to make up for times when they want to really push. Additionally, it could create massive time differentials between cars using a lot of fuel against cars who are using extreme measures to save fuel. This goes against the point of the 107% rule, to stop cars that are too slow being on the track, which again was made for safety (although I’m not 100% sure I agree with that).

    (b) Overtaking. Say you’ve behind a few slower cars which it is possible (but difficult) for you to overtake. Then you have two options:
    (1) take the risk of damaging your tyres and wasting extra fuel.
    (2) Save both your tyres and some fuel. Wait for either them to pit or for a gap to open up to pit. Then, with the fuel you’ve saved/will save later, try and gain a few seconds over them to gain the places.
    I doubt many will pick (1). I know this happens to a lesser extent with the undercut but it would be dramatically more extreme if we were to add a massive fuel difference as well.

    Note: On Ricciardo I think It’s harsh he’s been disqualified (BBC twitter) and it would have been fairer if he got a time penalty, shame the rules do not allow that.

  52. where are official results? Formula1.com still shows him qualified as 2nd.

  53. Previously there was no restrictions on fuel flow rate per hour at all, so I don’t understand that why it has to be only 100 kg, which is already the maximum capacity for full tank!?

  54. What nobody is talking about is the method the FIA use to collect this Fuel Flow Rate data. I understand it is via telemetry from the sensor itself, and i certainly see a future scenario where this could fail. So what then? What is the redundancy built into this system?
    From the telemetry fiasco last season, i can’t see any.

  55. F1 is over regulated even in almost every areas. You give them a fuel limit of 100kg per race limit, fine; but let them use it as they wish.

    This is the sort of thing that turns off viewers and racers away from F1. You have a race where a popular guy and deserved podium finish, then later it’s taken away for a technical reason is just bad for everyone. I wonder if this happened with a red F1 car what would have been the verdict?

    We want to see new technologies, new designs and new ways of thinking. the FIA’s idea of making F1 a speck race is dreadful.

  56. News Flash:
    FIA to become governing body for all world sports and amateur organisations!

    FIA to penalise Usain Bolt for exceeding the acceleration allowance over first 20m hence giving him an unfair advantage. Penalty: All past Gold medals withdrawn.
    FIA to penalise Valentino Rossi for utilising all his riding skills for entire GP thus providing him unfair advantage. Penalty: All past championships withdraw.
    FIA to penalise Roger Federer for exceeding 200km/h serves for entire match. Penalty: All past Grand Slams withdrawn.
    FIA to penalise America’s Cup winner for utilising the wind for 100% of race duration providing unfair advantage. Penalty: Cup withdrawn.
    FIA to penalise Jean Todt for exceeding his limit of stupid rules in one season. Penalty: Extend his contract.
    FIA to penalise Jean Todt for ruining one of the best sports in the world. Penalty: Extend his contract.

  57. Zippythehog
    17th March 2014, 1:37

    It’s a silly rule. However, if everyone agrees to race, one must follow the rules.

    These are race cars. They go fast. Typically, this takes energy. If a team can be more efficient than the competition, they should be rewarded. If not, penalties like this should not be implemented. Perhaps some revision to the rule to award contingency points for efficiency.

    That notwithstanding, if one competes, they should expect to have the rules universally enforced.

    It’s a silly rule.

  58. rob01189 (@)
    17th March 2014, 10:11

    “Red Bull had changed the fuel flow meter on Ricciardo’s car before the race. The same component was not changed on Sebastian Vettel’s RB10.” Mark Webber conspiracy theorists form an orderly queue please!

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