Christian Horner, Red Bull, Interlagos, 2013

‘Improve fuel sensors or scrap them’ – Horner

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Christian Horner, Red Bull, Interlagos, 2013In the round-up: Red Bull team principal Christian Horner says F1 needs to find a better alternative to the fuel flow sensors or get rid of them.


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Horner wants rid of fuel sensors after more issues (Reuters)

“We need a better way of measuring and monitoring the fuel flow, or say you get rid of it and you have 100kg for the race and that’s it. Personally, I think it would be easier to get rid of it.”

Red Bull disqualification could happen again (The Telegraph)

“The stewards, meanwhile, said it would be “very dangerous” to abandon the ruling, and could cause accidents on the straights, as the escalation of claim and counter-claim continued.”

Horner: Better system needed (Sky)

“It’s very difficult for the FIA to police. On an aeroplane you would have three sensors. If one becomes erroneous you’ll take the average of the other two. There are ways that we need to ensure this is measured accurately.”

Whiting adamant no loophole in fuel flow rules (Adam Cooper’s F1 Blog)

“Article 5.10 makes it quite clear in my view that the only way that the fuel flow will be measured is with the homologated sensor. As you probably know Gill is the only sensor that is homologated by the FIA. So for me it’s perfectly clear.”

F1’s future is in danger, warns Force India’s deputy team principal (The Guardian)

“[CVC are] asset-strippers, they’re not builders. They’re not bad guys but they just don’t fit Formula One. They have devalued Formula One by allowing it to become a fragmented sport with so many bilateral agreements with individual teams.”

Revealed: Lehman Brothers Makes 550% Return From Formula One (Forbes)

“Although the return from F1 is turbo-charged it won’t even scratch the surface of the amount owed by Lehman which comes to a total of around $450bn.”

Daniil Kvyat Q&A: I’ve set myself a high benchmark (F1)

“The only downer was that when the safety car came out we missed going into the pits by something like five seconds – Jenson Button behind me managed to pit and when coming out he gained some positions. I wouldn’t say that we could have finished ahead of him, but probably ahead of Kimi (Raikkonen).”

Massa fears Williams could slip back (Autosport)

“We have the same car more or less compared to Australia. This is a different track, so we need to see how the car behaves here, but we’re working 100 per cent in the factory to improve.”

Promising start (Toro Rosso)

“Tomorrow, everything is shifted a couple of hours, so that FP3 gets underway at 13h00 with the second qualifying session of the season beginning at 16:00 local time. Today, at 16:30 we witnessed a spectacular storm that caused a Porsche race to be red-flagged and as the daily weather pattern often repeats itself in this tropical part of the world…”

The pill that takes drivers’ temperature (BBC)

“The former Red Bull racer says the pill is a welcome change from the alternative method of taking a person’s core temperature – by using a rectal thermometer.”

F1 rules make life tough for drivers (Lewis Hamilton)

“There are all sorts of ways to affect that: how late or early you change gears, what gear you take a corner in – and in particular, when you’re braking and using a technique called ‘lift and coast’. I’m sure hardly anyone knows what that means.”

Sam Brabham Unveils Brabham F1 Inspired Formula Ford Livery At Brands Hatch (Brabham)

“The 19 year-old’s 2014 title charger, backed by Forresters and Auto Windscreens, features completely new livery influenced by the Brabham BT59, the car in which Sam’s father David made his F1 debut.”


Comment of the day

One of the most frequently expressed sentiments about the interminable engine noise debate:

I imagine the promoters will say almost anything if there’s even a slim chance they have to pay less fees. But this debate on the sound has gone far enough.

It only matters to those who care more about the ‘entertainment’ factor than the sport itself. Double points is the real controversy of this season, because it is nothing more than a cheap gimmick, like DRS and the tyres (which are thankfully not an issue this season).

F1 should be all about racing with cutting edge technology. The sound is irrelevant and the issue should be laid to rest because it is a boring non-issue which distracts from problems which actually effect the sport.
Adam Kibbey (@Kibblesworth)

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On this day in F1

A remarkable Australian Grand Prix on this day in 2009 produced a one-two finish for Brawn, the team formed after the abrupt withdrawal of Honda over the winter. Jenson Button led home Rubens Barrichello.

Behind them Sebastian Vettel and Robert Kubica took each other out in a late-race collision.

That should have promoted Lewis Hamilton to third. But McLaren’s decision to let Jarno Trulli pass him while they were following the Safety Car, and the misleading information given to the stewards by Hamilton and the team afterwards, ultimately led to the McLaren driver bring disqualified from his first race as world champion.

Image © Red Bull/Getty

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  • 50 comments on “‘Improve fuel sensors or scrap them’ – Horner”

    1. Horner wants rid of fuel sensors for the same reason he wanted rid of tyres from the first race last year: His team can’t get them working and know they’d have a massive advantage if they were changed.

      It’s naieve to expect that a team principal wouldn’t act 100% in his own team’s interests all the time. It’s equally naieve for Horner to pretend that the fans really are that stupid and continue with his nonsense arguments about the sensors, as if the other teams don’t have the same issues and aren’t running to the spec given to them by the FIA.

      It’s quite amazing, sometimes, how a company that on paper should be able to get popularity and the fans on their side always manages to do the exact opposite. Still, Horner turned a serial losing outfit into a winning machine. I doubt his bosses are worried about how he presents the team.

      1. Horner wants rid of fuel sensors for the same reason he wanted rid of tyres from the first race last year: His team can’t get them working and know they’d have a massive advantage if they were changed.

        Red Bull were consistently exceeding the 100 kg/hr fuel consumption limit in Melbourne, yet Ricciardo was still miles slower than Rosberg. I’d hate to imagine what Mercedes could have done without fuel sensors.

        With that being said I do agree that Horner is often an incredibly obnoxious politician.

        1. @kingshark you cannot prove they exceeded the limit. And the consensus is in fact that the fuel rail is a very accurate means of measuring the fuel flow rate.

          1. But that’s not the issue. The rule is that you run to the rate as reported by the homologated sensor. Everyone else did, Red Bull didn’t. End of.

            “But Officer, my speedometer said I was only doing 28 mph…” You can see how much weight that would carry with the magistrate.

          2. @vettel1 just consider the massive task FIA would be presented with in case they had to verify and validate each teams fuel sensing equipment. It would be impossible and would raise even more controversy, hence the homologated sensor.

            This is clearly just a matter of Red Bull not accepting the higher tolerance of the sensor than what they can handle themselves but the argument makes no sense because the limit is to stay within homologated sensor limit regardless of the actual flow rate. To fight this in court by the argument or “proof” of the actual flow rate is pointless from the outset because the actual flow rate is not at debate, only the same measurement that all other teams have to abide to and which they did, tolerance included.

      2. I think I must have been watching a different championship last year. Red Bull were well in the lead when the decision was made to change the tyres.

        That said, I agree that this is Horner up to his usual tricks.

      3. Yea OK. Last year when by Silverstone when 5 tyres exploded and DJHam was leading all of you were screaming to change tyres. And now it was RedBull. Every F1 fan would agree the night after Silverstone that they needed new tyres.

        1. @prelvu that same race (and all previous races) where ALL teams ran with tyre pressures that was OUTSIDE the recommendations from Pirelli, and camber angles exceeding recomendations as well. But the worst was that the teams even switched sides on the tyres so that insides were put to the outside and vice versa.

          After all those facts, it is arguable if the tyre change really was needed.. the teams did it to themselves, Pirelli didn’t design the tyres for any of those conditions

      4. Yes, I bet they sneaked into everyone’s garages the night before Silverstone and rigged everyone’s tires to explode, so they could have them changed because Red Bull was only leading both championships.

        1. @prelvu and @ironcito
          Red Bull were already moaning about the tyres long before Silverstone. In fact, they were crying about the tyres not allowing good racing after Spain.

          The overall race time in 2013 was very similar to 2012, and both races were 4 stoppers. 2011 was also a four stop race. I don’t remember Horner crying about it then.

          What I do remember though, is Horner whining about the 2013 tyres as early as China, but I can’t find the article right now.

          Horner is a great team principle, currently the best in F1, but a despicable, hypocritical and obnoxious politician.

          1. It wasn’t just Christian Horner/Red Bull complaining about the tyres in early 2013, Most of the fans weren’t happy with them either & there was plenty of criticism from non-Red Bull drivers & other people involved in F1 as well.

            In fact lets not forget that a part of the reason the Mercedes tyre test took place to begin with was because of some of the concerns & complaints about the tyres over the 1st couple of races.

            The overall race time in 2013 was very similar to 2012

            Which highlights how much extra tyre saving was been done compared to the previous 2 years as according to Pirelli the 2013 cars were upto 2 seconds a lap faster than the 2012 cars.

            both races were 4 stoppers. 2011 was also a four stop race.

            Yes they were, But with much less tyre management. Much of the criticism from fans after Barcelona 2013 was that a 4-stop race still required absurd levels of tyre management.
            Also remember that most fans & others involved in F1 (Pirelli included) disliked 4-stop races anyway & thats why there was additional complaints.

            Those who make the 2013 tyre situation into a Red Bull led issue are wrong, Red Bull were 1 amongst the majority that were unhappy with the tyres we had early in 2013.

          2. @kingshark Red Bull were saying that the tires were unsafe. Then Silverstone came, everyone saw that the tires were indeed unsafe, and the tires were changed. Red Bull were right all along. There could have been a serious accident in Silverstone that would have been avoidable if people had listened to Red Bull. And still people criticize Red Bull for wanting to change the (unsafe) tires. By now, it seems that people see the words “Red Bull” or “Vettel” and immediately start trying to figure out ways to twist the facts to suit their conspiracy theories.

            1. @ironcito OK I say the same to you:
              that same race (and all previous races) where ALL teams ran with tyre pressures that was OUTSIDE the recommendations from Pirelli, and camber angles exceeding recomendations as well. But the worst was that the teams even switched sides on the tyres so that insides were put to the outside and vice versa.

              After all those facts, it is arguable if the tyre change really was needed.. the teams did it to themselves, Pirelli didn’t design the tyres for any of those conditions

            2. Teams have been doing all that for years though & there were never any serious problems, Thats why they kept doing it & were allowed to keep doing it by both the FIA & the various tyre suppliers.
              Gary Anderson for example said they were swapping the tyres to the other side of the car as far back as 1997 & that it never caused a single problem.

              The reason it became an issue last year was because Pirelli didn’t design any safety margins into the tyres.
              In the past you could go beyond the recommendations safely because there was a safety margin designed into the tyres to allow teams to push the limits.
              The steel belt in the 2013 tyres removed the additional safety margins because it was stiffer & saw tyres run hotter (To get more thermal deg) & this is what caused the problems.

              Outside of the Silverstone failures the early 2013 tyres were also much more prone to getting cut & there was a significant increase in the number of cut tyres. When the tyres were changed we saw a lot less cut tyres.

      5. I don’t like the tricks but we all to admit that when Horner starts with them things change. e.g. The tires at the beginning of last season and Mercedes test. That’s why he is where he is and why he is probably the best guy, out there, to replace Mr. Miyagi.

    2. Such a shame that FOTA is no more. The sport needs them more than ever, with all teams represented, equal votes, and no veto power from Ferrari.

      1. True but they really were powerless, with the asset strippers taking Billions of dollars out of the sport F1 could only go downwards.

    3. Thanks for featuring my tweet :)

    4. Oh Horner. Just stop. We all see past your lobbying.

      1. Yeah . How about “make the car within the rules or get lost”

      2. @joshua-mesh

        I’m curious about the negativity. What’s so wrong about wanting accurate sensors so all teams can get the most out of their cars? I mean, isn’t that what we all want, cars that push to the max?

        It’s not like Horner is making the problem up, it has been confirmed that most teams have problems with the accuracy of the sensors and had to turn the flow down.

        Wanting accurate enough equipment so cars can be driven to their best sounds pretty reasonable to me, not so sure why everybody is so negative about it.

    5. Correct me if I’m wrong, but wouldn’t a restricter plate fix any problem that is already a pretty straightforward rule with regards to the fuel sensor?

    6. Have to disagree with the COTD. You can’t just simply peel the elements off Formula One’s complex audio-visual fan experience and claim it’s only racing that matters. Fans would turn their attention away if F1 were to race on car parks with 90-degree corners. You could say it’s only about racing, but the fans love the majestic venues we see on the calendar.

      It’s similar with the sound – Formula One clearly a few steps down with the new engines – they cannot survive the comparison to the previous motors in terms of emotional aspect they have on the audience. F1 used to sound like nothing else in the world, and now it’s lacking that aspect. You can like the sound of V6T, but several different racing series give a much better sound experience. I know it’s all a matter of preference, but listen to what drivers, and especially fans have to say. It was a change for the worse.

      If V10 and V8 engines were what made people come closer to the sport, it’s natural to expect that worse sounding engines will make people walk away.

      1. and especially fans have to say

        Data so far suggests that most fans like the sound of the new engines.
        The poll done on here showed that & the tweets sent in to sky during FP1/Fp2 were also predominantly positive regarding the new sound.

        If V10 and V8 engines were what made people come closer to the sport, it’s natural to expect that worse sounding engines will make people walk away.

        Wasn’t the case in the 80s, The quieter (Compared to the V8/10s) turbo’s of the time drew more fans in & got more fans watching on TV.

        Also look at the WEC, Its TV & track attendance has been growing despite its top class been dominated by near silent cars since 2006. Le Mans has also seen growth the past few years again despite its top class featuring near silent cars.

        The TV figures for Melbourne were up on 2013 for the entire weekend which suggest’s that people heard the new noise in testing & throughout practice yet didn’t turn off.

        The noise ‘issue’ from all the data thus far is not the ‘issue’ that some would like it to be. By Mid-season I predict the complaints will have stopped & everyone will be focused on the racing.

        Noise aside, These cars & power units are so much more exciting to watch with all the sliding about, wheelspin & power oversteer the drivers are having to deal with. I’d gladly take this formula over what we have had the past 20 years anyway, The V8/10s may have been louder but they made for a boring spectacle due to having no torque & been very drivable, These new V6s are much better in that regard.

        1. Well PeterG, I would tone it down some regarding “most fans”. You are way off here.
          There are loads of people that speak up regarding the lack of LOUD in the 2014 version of F1. Any poll here at F1F is not either statistical representative for the F1 fan community – we (yes, I am one of the F1F bunch) here seems to have an engineer/TV-set watching profile and that is luckily not the typical F1 fan. Abt 100 000 fans per weekend spend loads to experience irl – well, used to.

          People speaking up are numerous fans, drivers, F1-team executives, race organisers, sponsors…..loads of people stating that they will not spend their cash on F1 trackside presence with the 2014 version of F1.

          I do not share your excitement of the track performance now in 2014 either. In dry Merc rules without any competition. The sliding, well sure fun to watch but let’s take Melbourne as example – no one was really pushing to try to catch Nico – they did not have the fuel for it. To me, this is a ruined sport and not the F1 spirit. Sad to watch.

          Your reasoning with V10/V8/V6T is all rubbish, most readers see through that.

    7. This time you can call me a conspiracy theorist. It’s clear to me now that RBR are conducting a PR campaign in order to force the FIA to change this rule and Horner is as always is trying to create a “false panic”, things are just getting worse for them. One thing is obvious RBR are struggling or Adrian cannot deploy his usual tricks with the fuel flow restriction, Ferrari and Mercedes have publicly supported the FIA which will leave RBR alone in this battle. What amazes me the most is that Torro Rosso is having the same problem accidentally, it’s true that other teams maybe have suffered the fuel flow inconsistency but we didn’t heard them moan like RBR. At this stage the theory of RBR causing these failures is inevitable, the sensors related to the ignition system are very precise and the team is still having continuous abnormal values, it very difficult at this stage that the engineers at Milton Keynes didn’t realize at least the cause behind the sensors failure. Has anyone an idea about how the magnetic fields coming from the MGU-K can affect the fuel flow sensor?

      1. Chris (@tophercheese21)
        29th March 2014, 2:45

        As long as Mercedes and Ferrari back the FIA, then the fuel flow sensors are here to stay (hey, that rhymes!).

        1. Dont quit the day job just yet.@tophercheese21

          1. lol not yet.

      2. German article giving one explanation of why this affects RBR more than some others.

      3. Either the FIA is in charge of regulations and enforcement in F1 or the teams are. I would rather have the FIA in charge of all teams fuel flows with their approved sensors than to spend the whole season wondering which team has the best fuel rail mapping and algorithms designed to potentially beat the system.

        On another facet of this issue is whether or not the FIA has the authority to enforce regulations through directives. What could have happened last season if FIA directives to stay within certain camber limits and not switch sides on tires had not been able to be enforced? It could have been chaos worse than Silverstone. If the FIA does not have the authority to enforce regulations, sometimes through the use of directives, then who is in charge? Red Bull? Should the teams be allowed to do whatever they wish? Then why have any regulations?

        I’m not a shill for, nor a fan of the FIA, they have obviously not always made the best decisions. But, in this case I trust their methods of trying to keep all teams on an even playing field more than I trust the teams with their win at any cost attitude and clever engineers ready to push the envelope of regulations.

        1. @bullmello Agreed, and the thing is I’m no longer convinced there’s anything to this unenforceable ‘directive’ concept. Whiting seems to be seeing it as quite black and white and that it is well spelled out in the rules that the sensor will be the means of measurement. Seems to me the FIA spent the Australian weekend reminding teams, and moreso RBR of that fact. Not suggestion…fact. I also think that if this were as simple as RBR proving their method of measurement was more accurate and that they never exceeded 100kg/hr, they should have been able to sway FIA during the weekend, and it certainly shouldn’t have taken 5 1/2 hours to dsq DR. ie. couldn’t and wouldn’t the stewards have looked at their data and said ok you’re fine, with maybe a small penalty for ignoring their directives?

      4. “Adrian cannot deploy his usual tricks ” – Mr. Newey is the best technical director around! His experience and expertise along with the success are needless to comment. However, no one can be the specialist in every field of technical applications regarding modern racing cars. His role is much more likened to a Symphonic Orchestra Conductor. You can also say that he is at the helm, steering engineering efforts of his squad.
        I am using this opportunity to advertise ‘a trick, or tricks’ that should solve their problems for a price of ‘ONE GILL’S SENSOR’ payable in US dollars by Mr. Horner only.
        Thank You ;-)

    8. I have to wonder why this problematic system of fuel flow restriction has been chosen by the FIA (and the teams?) as the best way forward to control extreme and unsustainable engine performance. I’m no engineer, and hopefully someone out there can set me straight. Why not just set a maximum turbo boost? Or possibly mandate that whatever engine map is chosen by a team for qualifying must also be used for the duration of the race as well. Make any sense?

      1. @schooner, You would think that with the FIA supplying the fuel injection processor and all the rules on engine mapping together with years of experience policing them that an additional sensor would be unecessary, or if necessary only as a tell-tale to point to cars needing investigation.

      2. I suppose controlling (or rather monitoring) the fuel flow is seen as more high tech and more eco-friendly than simply restricting boost pressure.

    9. Agree totally with COTD , if only that part “the tyres (which thankfully will not be an issue this year).” Hadn’t bought the commentators jynx out of its lair.

    10. Nice of RINGO HAMILTON to right an article for us.

      1. that would be Write* not right.

    11. Most of what your COTD says is spot on @Kibblesworth. However I’d say the people the sound matters to (apart from the obvious money-makers), is anyone going to a race. The whole thing has been overblown by people who love to complain. But in that crowd there are probably people who’ve bought their tickets for a GP weekend and feel a bit let down that it would be the same loud-as-hell experience. I know I’d be disappointed if I went to a football match with only 75% fans allowed in/quieter atmosphere. The weird thing is, none of the complainants raise that point. They just say it isn’t loud enough for whatever reason. So, as you say it really has gone on long enough. Especially when the people who’ll actually hear these cars in the flesh, aren’t really vocal about their compaints

    12. Warning!! Very technical.

      Found what I was looking for, notice that it calls for a Butterworth filter. This type of filter can produce ringing on sharply rising waveforms, that could contribute to noise and/or overshoot of the reading, wonder if they considered other types of filter, maybe a Bessel or Chebyshev.

      The other thing that puzzles me is several stories think the problems with the fuel sensor has to do with vibration and temperature. This leads me to ask have they ever been tested to something like MIL-STD-810.

      1. I’m glad you posted this FIA info @w-k. It seems to me that there’s ONLY an error range of +/- 0.25% between sensors and the sensors cannot have from -1% to +0% error in flow overall… Meaning that if the RBR fuel sensors can display at exactly 99.0 lbs/hr to FIA at the worst and at best, they should not go above 100.0 lbs/hr, essentially stating that RBR should NEVER have this problem all season.

        1. @beejis60 These are theoretical limits at a stable temperature and no vibrations – the drifting, which RB mentioned, happens under changing conditions. Some WEC engineers have also stated the exact same problem.

          1. Exactly, which is why I mentioned the MIL-STD-810, I used this standard for new electronics fitted to electric train control systems and for TBM’s. (I’m now retired).

            I notice that there are new yellow flag rules,

    13. As a fan I’m also interested in a solution for the fuel flow thing that works for everybody. Imo, that the fuel flow meter even came up as a topic and wasn’t a rock solid solution from the beginning is already a pretty huge turn off.

    14. Tiff Needell must know that Sky has 100’s of millions in F1 therefore they are in no position of fair journalism, in fact tv rights make up for so much of the revenue that you can say they are a part of one of the structural components of F1, the FOM. What’s more alarming here is that a fundamental human right is criticized. They are protecting the business by demanding money, making their own show and then shoving Bruno Senna in it’s Sky’s the business model so good luck with panicking.

    15. Very insightful article by Lewis Hamilton; shows there is always much more going on than we think.

    16. in particular, when you’re braking and using a technique called ‘lift and coast’. I’m sure hardly anyone knows what that means.”

      I do this every day in my road car Lewis, thanks to UK fuel prices.

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