Pierre Gasly, Red Bull, Baku City Circuit, 2019

Gasly disqualified by just 0.02 grams in qualifying – Horner

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In the round-up: Red Bull team principal Christian Horner explains why Pierre Gasly was disqualified from the results of qualifying for the Azerbaijan Grand Prix.

What they say

Basically the fuel flow sensor sometimes get a little bit of oscillation and he got a good tow on his lap from I think it was a [Racing Point] so that puts it into the limiter in top gear and the resonance was just such that it dipped in and out of the limit by 0.02 of a gram or something. So in terms of performance, nothing, but obviously zero tolerance from the FIA.

[Afterwards] we changed the code which is why he got another penalty because it was a change in parc ferme so he got a penalty for that.

Quotes: Dieter Rencken

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Comment of the day

Yesterday’s Azerbaijan Grand Prix technical review article highlighted how fortunate George Russell was to escape injury when he struck a damaged drain cover in Baku:

Looking at the cross-section showing how close the driver’s arse is to the back of that T-tray, I think we can all feel extraordinarily relieved that George Russell didn’t end up with a spinal injury.

The consequences of this unnecessary accident could have been so much worse, and I hope that all street track operators bear this in mind in future, to ensure the lessons are learned!

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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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57 comments on “Gasly disqualified by just 0.02 grams in qualifying – Horner”

  1. It’s Ferrari that’s not ready for this kind of situation.

    I don’t see Ferrari changing their strategy until Red Bull gets close to overtaking them in the Constructors’ Championship. Maybe I’m misreading things, but currently there’s no need for them to maximise their points haul at each GP, so it doesn’t really matter if Charles finishes behind Max. Ferrari are happy because now Sebastian is ahead of Max. However, if Red Bull were to catch up, and especially if they pass Ferrari in the WCC, then Ferrari will need to revise their strategy of guaranteeing Charles finishes behind Sebastian by giving him a less than optimal strategy.

    1. yeah but Charles could be racing Mercedes??

      1. yeah but Charles could be racing Mercedes??

        Could he? From 3 of the first four races it appears not.

        1. F1oSaurus (@)
          4th May 2019, 17:52

          @asanator Leclerc was leading the race in Bahrain. So yes Leclerc did show he can race the Mercedes. While Vettel spun off like a rookie when Hamilton challenged him.

    2. @drycrust Have to disagree on several counts. I doubt RBR will surpass Ferrari in the WCC with Max being the main but sole point getter on the team. Gasly hasn’t yet been much of a factor so for now it is looking like RBR is going to be in a solid third in the WCC again this season, unable to touch Mercedes and Ferrari but others unable to touch them.

      There’s always a need to maximize points, full stop. I’m sure Ferrari are not happy whatsoever watching Mercedes dominate again. And that’s the target.

      1. Agreed about maximizing points. People buy into that “Ferrari only cares about the constructors title” a little too much… then they think they have some kind of insider info based on an urban myth.

        There is NO WAY IN HELL, Ferrari is gonna sit there taking podiums when race wins are as feasible as they are. The vettel as no 1 theory is the equivalent of chem trails or Mercedes knee capping Hamilton so Rosberg can win.

        1. Xcm, I thought that most took the attitude that Ferrari only cared about the WDC, not the WCC, and on a broader point there have been times when Ferrari have arguably taken decision that seem to have prioritised success in the WDC over success in the WCC.

          There is, for example, the decision to deliberately take a penalty in the 2012 US GP by breaking one of the seals on Massa’s gearbox to ensure he’d get a grid penalty, promoting Alonso up the grid. Going into that race, McLaren still had a chance to overtake them in the WCC – they were 22 points behind with two races remaining – but, by taking that penalty and reducing Massa’s chances for the race, it seems they were prepared to risk dropping from 2nd to 3rd in the WCC by taking that penalty.

          Now, as it happens Massa did manage to secure 4th place in that race, so it could be argued that it had a limited impact on the WCC – but it shows that there have been times when Ferrari have taken risks that seem to prioritise the WDC position over the WCC position, since there was no guarantee that Massa would regain that lost ground.

          Back onto the wider point of Ferrari’s strategy this year, I’d agree that it seems unlikely that Ferrari would not want to maximise their points haul at each race. That said, the way that they have approached their strategy decisions often have had the effect of failing to do that, and I can see why that could give some the impression they weren’t fully focussed on maximising their results, and were instead more interested in managing the dynamics between the two drivers.

          For example, there were some who felt that Ferrari’s decision to extend Leclerc’s stints in the Chinese GP ultimately cost him too much ground to Verstappen for him to make up, but seemed to be aimed at possibly using Leclerc to back Bottas into Vettel. In some of the post race radio discussions between Vettel and the pit wall in China which didn’t go out on the main broadcast feed, even Vettel seemed to be raising a few questions about the strategy that the team had given to Leclerc.

  2. @Casanova – good CotD, and a very worrisome thought. Good on the FIA for having mandated adequate car safety standards and Williams building a tough car.

    1. Agree. COTD and Scarb article really make me relieved that nothing serious happen to Russel.

  3. There’s a certain amount of truth in Villenueve’s comments. Seb is definitely feeling the pressure a whole lot more this season. If Kimi was still in that second seat, Vettel would feel a whole lot less pressure, as he’d probably be quicker than him anyways, so at least within the team there wouldn’t be any politics about getting preferential treatment.

    Leclerc is a different kind of beast. He’s hungry, fast and looking at establishing himself as a title contender, instead of going down the Barrichello and Massa route. It’s understandable that he wants to beat Seb, and so far, he looks more than capable of doing it.

    Ferrari were really not prepared for this kind of situation. Ever since they signed Leclerc, they’ve been making comments about how he’ll develop in his first year at Ferrari, hopefully take a couple of wins, and will not be favoured over Vettel in 50-50 situations. Little did they know that Vettel would start the season with poor form and that Leclerc would be on the ball straight away.

    I think Ferrari will really need to revise their outlook towards managing drivers. Maybe they should analyse Mercedes’ approach to how they’re racing this year. No preferential treatment towards either driver.. but the driver ahead on Sunday gets the preferred strategy.

    1. ColdFly (@)
      3rd May 2019, 8:12

      There’s a certain amount of truth in Villenueve’s comments.

      That’s probably the biggest news story of the day ;)

    2. @todfod That’s fair comment. Another element to this is that Ferrari are the ones playing catch up to Mercedes and have been all along as have all teams in the hybrid era. So Mercedes has had the luxury of playing out front gaining large points hauls from both drivers on average more than any other team. The temptation is great and of course Ferrari is famous for it anyway, of not having one driver take points from another in trying to chase Mercedes down. I think it is fair enough that Ferrari assumed SV would be their go-to guy, but yeah, let’s see what evolves. Them splitting points while Mercedes takes 1-2’s is not going to cut it.

      1. @robbie

        The temptation is great and of course Ferrari is famous for it anyway, of not having one driver take points from another in trying to chase Mercedes down. I think it is fair enough that Ferrari assumed SV would be their go-to guy, but yeah, let’s see what evolves. Them splitting points while Mercedes takes 1-2’s is not going to cut it.

        I agree. In 2010 and 2012, Alonso nearly took the title because Ferrari adopted this approach. It nearly worked out great for them those 2 seasons. But, Seb’s form since Spa last year is what’s really spoiling that strategy for Ferrari. They need to be nimble an adapt based on his form. If they find out later in the year that Leclerc is the driver more capable of challenging Mercedes, then it might be too late for them already.

        If they’re going to back one horse… they need to be a 100% sure of which horse it is.

        1. ColdFly (@)
          3rd May 2019, 14:50

          If they’re going to back one horse… they need to be a 100% sure of which horse it is.

          Even today, after 4 races, I would not know which horse to back this year, @todfod.
          Leclerc clearly has the speed and talent. But we saw in Baku, that he is still learning and will make some mistakes.

        2. @coldfly
          Agree. Which is why maybe they need to change the approach for favouring only one horse.

          Just let them race… and favour the driver who’s ahead on merit on Sunday. They can pick a horse later in the season. For now, they need to figure out who the better contender is, and just keep the drivers focused on driving instead of politicking for the upper hand.

    3. F1oSaurus (@)
      4th May 2019, 17:56


      Seb is definitely feeling the pressure a whole lot more this season.

      Is he though?

      In 2018 Vettel lucked into a win in the first two races (also helped by Ferrari’s poor strategy call ruining Raikkonen’s race), so he should be having the “momentum”. Yet after that there were Baku, China and Spain where he performed poorly in.

  4. 0.02 grams or 5 grams, it’s still a breach of the regulations nevertheless.

    Regarding the COTD: I hope for that as well, although I don’t hold too much hope for it given that this wasn’t the first time something like this has happened. The earlier instances should’ve already led to appropriate actions taken by other street circuits, and yet it still happened again.

    There is truth in JV’s words to a certain extent, but overall, I don’t feel the promotion came too early. Ferrari should just change their approach when it comes to race strategies as otherwise, the points-gaps only start getting bigger and bigger.

    1. Kimi was disqualified as his front wing failed the flexion test by mere .5mm. There was a discussion that Charlie was quite linient when it came damaged wings being used due to part shortage compared to new racing director who is being strict with rehulations.

    2. Its harsh but also means they were 19 other cars that didnt exceed it so its okay for me.

  5. ColdFly (@)
    3rd May 2019, 8:27

    0.02g could be per millisecond for all we know, which would add up to 72kg/hr.

    1. The fuel flow limit is measured in kg/h and the limit is 100 kg/h which means Gasly used 100,02 kg/h.

      1. That should be 100.0002 kg/h…. a kilo is a thousand grams.

        1. 100.00002

      2. ColdFly (@)
        3rd May 2019, 9:48

        No necesarily, @retardedf1sh.
        The limit is set in kg/hr; the meter however can display flow in many different units – typically g/s or ml/s for the ones I’ve seen (100kg/hr = 27.77g/sec).

        And in your assumption 0.02g too much would be 100.00002 kg/h ;)

    2. It is measured in 5 second intervals, so it is an overage of 0.02 grams total in that period (and no overage in the periods ahead and after it). Fuel flow must not exceed 100 kg/h , which amounts to 138.88888888 gram per 5 seconds, and Gasly’s car fuel consumption blipped at 138.9088888 or thereabouts, exceeding the limit by about 0.0144 %.
      As it was a single blip one may wonder if there was an overage at all or whether the sensor was at fault.

      Back in 2014, when the teams got their FIA calibrated fuel flow meters to build into their cars, Mercedes ordered the maximum number of 100 of those, testing them all to select the ‘best’ ones for their cars… For me the subject has been tainted ever since.

      1. ColdFly (@)
        3rd May 2019, 9:53

        Thanks Bart for clarifying that in F1 they use 5s intervals.

        This in itself opens up another loophole, as they can exceed this for 4s and then ‘adjust’ in the 5th second.
        Might work when accelerating out of a corner, or for a final push before a turn.

        I never liked the fuel flow limitation; max kg of fuel in itself should do it.

        1. I never liked the fuel flow limitation; max kg of fuel in itself should do it.


          1. @coldfly @ruliemaulana I’m kind of with you two on the fuel flow thing, but I think it is necessary and not merely as a competition/cost control (I imagine there would be rich rewards in finding the best ways to juice the fuel flow while staying within the race max volume). with the fuel flow limitation we get a more comparable performance between qualifying and the race (which people have moaned about in the past) – without a limit on flow you could run an extremely rich engine map in qualifying (providing you have enough fuel in the car) and then revert to something leaner that gets you to the end of the race.

            it’s unsatisfying, but then lots of things are unsatisfying about these engines (i’m not talking about the sound…), despite their technological sophistication. when the rules were devised, the intention seemed to be to encourage (road relevant) innovation, but the regulations are so strict everyone has ended up with a very similar engine. the FIA has basically said “go innovate, but only in the way we tell you to”

          2. @frood19 We should limit fuel usage but not the flow. With flow restriction, the performance delta between drivers is pegged to how good car’s ICE efficiency are. It rendered drivers skill less important and created less unpredictability.

          3. @ruliemaulana I agree but in that case we would have to have a max fuel allowance for qualifying too, otherwise the performance disparity would be huge. I’m not totally against the idea, but it might result in very dull sessions, where there’s only enough fuel for 2 runs or whatever.

          4. @frood19 – very good point about teams running a very favourable map in quali.

            Counterpoint – let them :) It’s a tactic available to all PU manufacturers (hence teams). Maybe a Merc driver on his seventh race with that PU might not want to push his luck, and maybe RBR might feel adventurous with a rather fresh PU in one of their cars.

          5. ColdFly (@)
            3rd May 2019, 13:35

            Good point @frood19.
            Maybe limit fuel flow to quali.

          6. @coldfly that’s way too simple and clever!

          7. I would go a step further and state that the car must start the race with x kg of fuel to stop this under-filling and fuel saving nonsense.

          8. @frood19

            without a limit on flow you could run an extremely rich engine map in qualifying (providing you have enough fuel in the car) and then revert to something leaner that gets you to the end of the race.

            Does that really matter? To burn more fuel you have to carry more fuel and there are disadvantages to carrying more fuel such as weight. I want to see and hear these engines revving to their 15000rpm limit, not being strangled at 12500rpm because of fuel flow. A side bonus is that we may get the better sounding and louder engines so many crave.

          9. Agree. Fuel flow is immaterial when you have a total fuel limit. It just spoils things.

        2. I never liked the fuel flow limitation; max kg of fuel in itself should do it.

          @coldfly – seconded. Or, thirded, after ruliemaulana.

        3. as they can exceed this for 4s and then ‘adjust’ in the 5th second.

          And, whu is that a problem?
          If every team can do that there is no problem. I could spice things up.
          Btw, i do not think the teams can place the sensors. Probably FIA stuff.

        4. F1oSaurus (@)
          4th May 2019, 17:58


          I never liked the fuel flow limitation; max kg of fuel in itself should do it.

          There is a very good reason why that limit exists.

          1. ColdFly (@)
            4th May 2019, 18:05

            I still don’t like it, and as discussed above, others and I don’t think it’s such a good reason.
            Or maybe you’re thinking of something else, @f1osaurus

      2. DAllein (@)
        4th May 2019, 0:28

        Are accusing Mercedes of cheating?
        Is there any proof of the the wrongdoing?

        Problems with fuel flow sensors before 2014 season are well known, no wonder big teams tested as much as they could.
        If you think RBR and Ferrari didn’t do the same, then you are mistaken.

        To me it looks like the subject is tainted for you by your own wrong assumptions ans fears.

  6. Villenueve is just making too much sense. We need him to be more controversial.

    1. Maybe Villenueve was taken out of context ? :)

  7. Villeneuve is to be taken with a grain (0.02 g) of salt.

  8. Speaking of Formula W (literally no one is doing that in the comments, but I needed a strawman): I can hear the ladies making a lot of noise through closed windows in my office right now. However, I can’t find a live stream of the action anywhere on the web. Looks like the series will have to fight for even the most basic level of attention.

    1. Don’t worry, they’ll complain about the pesky patriarchy and the series will immediately replace F1…

      1. Kindly go screw yourself. In silence.

    2. W Series is currently shown in the UK, the Nordics (which I think is Denmark, Sweden and Norway in this context) and some Asian/African countries (not sure how many, because although a figure of 30 nations was announced, one of the countries I was led to believe did have it – Indonesia – ended up not broadcasting it).

  9. Plus and minus …..
    Williams getting the contract for the battery and power systems for the new E-Touring car power train. Big PLUS and congrats to them.
    As for another effectively spec E-Series, this is NUTS. A sane person would expect that if the E-Folks really want to foster competition, technical development, road relevance and engage with the manufacturers, that they would let it be a development racing series. Why would a manufacturer want to go racing in the public domain when they can’t even use their own power-train to run the car. This is a big MINUS.
    Just going to be an E-NASCAR.

  10. Villeneuve’s comments are just so right. Seb does not like inter-team competition (Webber, Ricciardo), and now he’s got it.

    The other thought, regarding the Ferrari situation, I perceive echoes of 2007. How dare he!

  11. F1oSaurus (@)
    4th May 2019, 18:08

    I have a very hard time believeing what Horner says. I must admit that that is the case in general, but in this case specifically so.

    These sensors will have a certain accuracy. FIA demands a tolerance lower than 0.5% Which means that the same tolerance would have to exist on the rules. ie the fuel flow will not get penalized unless it’s over 100.25kg. Then in reality it would have been 100.25002.

    Or alternatively, if the FIA penalizes above 100kg, then the tolerance means that Red Bull have to run at 99.75kg/hr uel flow to prevent being caught out by the accuracy.

    So either way, they will have been 0.25kg over the flow limit already before that 0.02g.

    1. @f1osaurus None of the FIA’s regulations take that measurement % error into account, hence Mercedes going to such elaborate efforts to find the most over-reading ones (to prevent disqualification). So all it would have taken is for Gasly’s meter to over-read a little more than usual for a penalty to ensue – since whatever error is believed to be in the meter is the level to which the team will work towards. This is especially true given the difficulties of producing timely evidence that a given meter was outside the FIA measurement tolerrances.

      1. F1oSaurus (@)
        6th May 2019, 17:34

        @alianora-la-canta Yes, that’s what I added as the alternative.

        It doesn’t matter which it is either. It’s Red Bull that takes the risk. If they get it wrong then who’s to blame?

        1. @f1osaurus If it’s over-read by more than the margin, the FIA, because they told the teams what error rate the component would have.

          If the read rate was within tolerances, Red Bull is to blame.

  12. Typically the sensor part of the process will have an operating tolerance, in this case the FIA has mandated that this be (presumably) less than +/- 0.5%, This will be the variation in fuel mass flow with an indication of 100.00 kg/hr flow rate. If it is mass flow based, then a direct reading will suffice. If it is flow velocity or an acoustic based instrument, there will be some density corrections to impose on the raw data to wind up with a mass flow rate. Relatively easy to program in.
    This would mean that out of a set of sensors that all read 100.00 kg/hr, some will flow slightly low by as much as 0.5% and some could read high by the same amount. Which one do you want.?
    Early on in the implementation of the 100 kg/Hr flow rate rule, there was some whining from the teams that they wound up buying a truck load of sensors just to find the best. Seems this limit is 100 units. Why bother you ask….
    The effective tolerance on a sensor works out to +/- 4 BHP for an 800 HP IC engine. Might actually be more than that.
    If you were the team manager and someone came to you and said, we could be loosing as much as 8 BHP by not making sure we have the best sensor in the car, darn right you would work on it.
    There should be quite a stock of low flow, high reading sensors out in the market. Either that or the’re in a box under someone’s bench.
    Personally I hate the whole concept of the fuel flow rate limit, but I commend the genius that came up with the idea. It eliminates the hyper-boost 1,500 BHP engine problem (reference here to the Turbo era) and it has promoted the push for increased thermal efficiency. The only avenue available to the engine developers for more power. Expensive beyond reason, but that is what it is.
    Rules is rules, that is unless yer in politics, then they are really just guidelines.

    1. @rekibsn It’s mass-flow based.

      1. Nice.
        Any info on the distribution of operating tolerance.?
        With the FIA having a hard spec on +/-, the expectation would be that the (normal) distribution would have the tails cut off making it even more beneficial for the teams to test multiple sensors to find a best of bunch.

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