Ricciardo disqualified over ‘one microsecond advantage’ says Renault

2019 Singapore Grand Prix

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Renault says it accepts the stewards’ decision to exclude Daniel Ricciardo from qualifying but stressed he did not gain a significant advantage from the infringement.

“Renault F1 Team acknowledges the decision from the FIA stewards to disqualify Daniel Ricciardo from the qualifying session of the Singapore Grand Prix,” it said in a statement.

The team said Ricciardo’s disqualification came about “after he benefitted from an advantage measured at one microsecond [0.000001s] due to a kerb hit that caused his MGU-K to over-rev on his slowest lap of Q1.”

“The decision will therefore not be appealed,” they added.

The over-rev occured on Ricciardo’s second lap in Q1 when he set a time of 1’39.411. His previous lap, 1’39.362, was quick enough for him to reach Q2.

The stewards ruled Ricciardo’s car “exceeded the MGU-K power flow limit permitted under Appendix 3, per Article 5.2.2 of the 2019 Formula One Technical Regulations.” They noted Renault argument that any advantage gained was negligible, but pointed out that “longstanding precedents regarding technical infringements” exist.

“The penalty which has been consistently applied is disqualification, and which does not consider when or if an advantage was gained,” they added.

Ricciardo was subsequently granted permission to start the race. He will line up at the back of the grid, while team mate Nico Hulkenberg has inherited his original starting position of eighth.

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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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66 comments on “Ricciardo disqualified over ‘one microsecond advantage’ says Renault”

  1. It seems the Renault engine did provide over 1000 hp after all.

    1. Why didn’t the stewards just cancel the time from the offending lap?

  2. Why couldn’t they raise the black and white flag?


    1. Or intervent 0.000001s tolerance like they intervened 5mm tolerance for Ferrari in 1999 Malaysia GP:
      “during the following week Bernie Ecclestone came forth with remarks about how it was “a nonsense” that the Ferraris had been disqualified, that the rules were too tight, that a showdown in Suzuka had been unnecessarily scuppered. Bargeboard, schmarge board… “

      1. I am sorry, I meant “invent”! I am really disappointed and even angry! If they could invent a 5000 euro “coffee” fine instead of penalty for usafe release in the pits then this was more obvious example when to invent 5000 euro fine!

  3. I’m not one of the naysayers over modern F1. But, I have to say that the prescriptiveness of the current regs is most irksome.

    There was a time where technical regulations were, essentially parameters – capacity, size, weight. Now so many elements are prescribed: revs, fuel flow, seconds of charge, dimensions of one part or another. No wonder they all look the same!

    I don’t know if there’s an answer – teams push and stretch and interpolate everything they can to gain an advantage, which, in turn, has to be contained by regulations. But I do think that some of these contradict the spirit of the sport. You could never come up with, say, a Lotus 25 or 79 or any other innovation these days. A tweak to the floor is now a major celebration. Can’t wait to admire that!

    OK, Grumpy Old Man – Off.

    1. @kcrossle, Hello grumpy old man, cynical old bsatard here. Yes I agree rules is rules, but the limit on generation and/or use of electricity in a series purposefully designed to promote “hybrid” efficiency does seem a nonsense. There’s no room in F1 for alternative ideas anymore, just endless refinement to maximise, but not exceed, the advantage allowed by the regulations.

  4. I support a penalty no matter how small the infringement, but I don’t get it. If it was only on one lap that the infringement occurred, and all his other laps were fine and still enabled him to finish in the grid position he qualified in, then why the DQ?

    To me it’s like someone exceeding track limits on one lap only but discounting all of their laps as a result.

    1. Remember 1989 Japanese GP… Senna was disqualified by race stewards for missing the chicane! No 5000 euro fine, not even 5 sec. penalty!

      1. @bulgarian Something that has been lost to time with that penalty (Because nobody ever mentions it as it wasn’t the story McLaren or Senna pushed after the race) is that he wasn’t disqualified simply for cutting the chicane. He was disqualified for not stopping at the stop marker at the end of the runoff road & waiting to be given the OK to rejoin the track by the marshal standing next to that stop marker.

        That was something all drivers had been told pre-race & if you watch Senna’s on-car camera you clearly see the stop marker at which Senna doesn’t stop at. Had he stopped & rejoined when OK’d to do so he wouldn’t have been disqualified.

      2. Plus the push start and running into another car on purpose. Senna committed about 10 infractions on that one corner.

        1. @darryn

          and no crashgate scandal!

        2. @darryn Push starts were allowed (if not still). He didn’t run into Prost, Prost ran into Senna.

      3. It would have been really weird if they’d fined Senna 5000 euros in Japan 89 – the currency didn’t exist till 99

    2. I’d guess the technical difference is that the rev limitation rules dictate that the car must designed so it’s impossible to exceed the limit, not just that it must be driven in a way that doesn’t break the rules. It’s a stupid standard to rule on, like the rule that imagines all car parts must have no flexibility whatsoever except where the FIA reluctantly accepts this is indeed physically impossible.

      1. I’m thankful they haven’t banned the car outright for having the capacity to infringe this technicallity.
        This occured through no fault of the driver. He ganned no advantage, he even finished that lap slower than he previous qualifying lap. There could have been some lee-way given.

        It seems Riccardo is to be this race’s ‘faster car at the back’ – placed there for entertainment value of a faster car overtaking the slower cars. Poor Riccardo he just can’t catch a break.

  5. The team said Ricciardo’s disqualification came about “after he benefitted from an advantage measured at one microsecond [0.000001s] due to a kerb hit that caused his MGU-K to over-rev on his slowest lap of Q1.

    If as stated is indeed the case, then the FIA is as guilty of wasting money and time on frivolity

    1. And Renault on not making sure that some parameter that isn’t bringing an advantage adheres to the rule

  6. This is karma. Didn’t they protest Haas over a technical infringement? You break the rules, you pay the price.

    1. Buck Magee, they did protest against the floor that Haas used at the Italian GP in 2018, but the situation was different as Haas were intentionally using a part that was illegal and which they knew was illegal.

      Haas had been explicitly instructed by the FIA that the floor that they were using had to be changed before the Italian GP and, if they did not, they would be open to protests and being disqualified because the floor would be deemed illegal. Haas therefore knew it would be illegal – and as it was a mid-season upgrade, they did have an older specification compliant floor they could have reverted back to – but chose not to revert back to their older floor and simply gambled that they wouldn’t be protested.

  7. Other engines don’t suddenly over-rev on kerbs, right?..

    Infringement. And punishment.
    Totally justified (not a sarcasm).

    1. Surely, some kind of penalty must have been given or invented on the spot like it has happened many times this season. But this was like an electric chair for pedestrian cross a street on a flashing green light.

    2. Of course other cars over-rev when going over kerbs. Engine revs are a result of a host of factors, not least fuel pressure, which will fluctuate under a high-g event like a kerb strike. Whether the ECU’s target revs at that moment are near the F1 limit, and by what precautionary margin, is another question, but no car on the grid is in 100% control of its precise engine revs 100% of the time. I doubt any of the engines are running a rev limiter any substantial amount below the F1 maximum, so the only reason every team doesn’t routinely break the rules is through careful engineering to control engine revs as tightly as possible, and a very fine margin subtracted from that maximum.

      No engine manufacturer is getting close enough to the limit to compete on an even footing without running some risk that they have got this calculation wrong, resulting in an accidental, nonadvantageous breach like this one. Renault have got it wrong, but risking mistakes is a part of becoming fast enough to win.

      1. I doubt any of the engines are running a rev limiter any substantial amount below the F1 maximum

        The FIA limit is 15,000rpm but most teams run a soft limit of around 12,000rpm because that is the optimum rev range of these engines for a few different reasons.

  8. I realise the infringement meant nothing for Riccardo’s performance in qualy. But rules are rules, if you start with tolerances, you create a grey area like those we see with track limits, and tyres that “may be in contact” with white lines.

    It has to be black and white. Otherwise it’s always open for discussion.

    Harsh, yes, very, but it is what it is.

    1. True. The black and white flag nonsense will come back to bite Mesi. Rules need to be rigidly and consistently applied otherwise no one knows where the limits are and so teams and drivers will push and push and create a dangerous racing environment and often unfair competitive advantage.

      1. Blury rules allow stewards to find an “escape” when they don’t want to penalise Ferrari.

        1. Or Mehstappen

  9. Unless they can prove it was intentional, I really can’t see a justification for removing him from Qualifying. Treat as any other “gained a lasting advantage” during qualifying and delete the time.

    I mean, given the leeway Sebastian Vettel received for his exceeding track limits during qualifying, you’d expect them to be a bit more reasonable.

    Apparently, however, Ferrari International Assistance is once again alive and well.

    1. I would say there are rules for Ferrari and rules for any other team. We have seen it a thousand times and many times this season alone. They would never disqualify Ferrari for 0.000001s benefit. I have followed F1 for almost 30 years and I have seen it all. On days like these I almost “hate” F1, because I love it too much.

    2. The intention is irrelevant, they broke the rules plain and simple. Perhaps they should have not pushed so close to the edge on the limit so this wouldn’t happen but then they’d be slower…
      I imagine this is similar to a fuel offense whereby once found you’re disqualified from the session regardless.
      You don’t make up for previous mistakes in stewarding by making more.

      1. Just remembered, didn’t Gasly get disqualified from qualifying in Baku due to a fuel flow issue which again likely had next to no advantage. You can’t just paper over offences and say they made no difference.
        On the Ferrari front they did lose a race this year due to a penalty that could have not been called. Obviously they made up for that at Monza with some awful stewarding.

        1. Gasly hit with Azerbaijan pit lane start for missing weighbridge summons. Gasly was driving into the pit lane at the end of FP2, having set the ninth fastest time of the session, when he appeared to fail to spot his #10 race number, ‘GAS’ driver identifier and a red light being signalled in the pit lane, indicating that race officials had summoned him to the FIA weighbridge area. He instead drove to his pit box, where Red Bull carried out a practice pit stop before wheeling him back into the garage. Gasly was duly summoned to see the stewards for missing the weigh-in, who subsequently announced that he would be required to start the race from the pit lane.

          1. Gasly would not have received a penalty if his team pushed him to the weigh-bridge, before changing his tyres. Just to clarify that was a case where the whole team was to blame.

  10. The punishment is totally disproportionate to the “crime”, and shows a complete lack of judgement by the stewards when you consider how they treated Vettel. No wonder A. Jones wants nothing more to do with them!
    F1 is becoming a laughingstock

  11. And then again… Vettel handed hefty fine for weighbridge incident during 2018 Brazilian GP qualifying.

    1. Jonathan Parkin
      22nd September 2019, 4:49

      But not a disqualification though which another driver may have received.

    2. @bulgarian He destroyed the scales!

  12. As a McLaren fan this is a welcoming gift.. but as a racing fan I must say this angers me. It’s absolute nonsense he gets penalised for an infringement which was not on purpose and didn’t give him any advantage.

    I wonder how you can objectively look at the situation and call this fair. It’s like being disqualified from the entire session because of track limits. Or being given a red card for offside while not even touching the ball. This is ridiculous in any way I look at it. Though I might would have a different opinion if it had happened on his fastest lap.

    Shame on the FIA.

  13. Move the accuracy up by a factor 10 and no infringement so no exclusion and still no time gain.. this rule is too strict and anyone in his/her right mind would have to agree. You cannot have rules messing with the results when the result of the infringement itself could never ever have changed the result of qualifying or a race. Cutting a corner after missing a breaking point matters more but we give drivers some leeway. So why this nonsense?

    1. “Cutting a corner after missing a breaking point matters more but we give drivers some leeway. So why this nonsense?”Well said! I would say, it is meant as a frightener to all the teams (9 teams out of 10) and to show how important and honest are F1 stewards. Pathetic!

      1. I agree. Leclerc should most p1 for this. Thus why I Am huge fan of gravel.

  14. Stupid ruling, for sure.
    Why not just delete the lap & give a warning….
    Second offence then perhaps DQ, but really…
    What happens if a Ferrari does this in Monza or Lewis at Silverstone,
    Lance in Canada…. The stewards/FIA are only digging a hole for themselves on this.All for playing the whistle,but I think this rule can be tweaked.

    1. If this would have happen in Monza with Ferrari? They would say that they had not had at their disposal the means to take sufficiently accurate measurements. Plain and simple “element of doubt” like with Vettel in 2019 Monza qualifying – “The Stewards reviewed multiple camera angles, some of which appeared to show that the tyres were not in contact with the white line of the track edge however other angles appeared to show that part of the front “wheel” (when viewed from above) may have been within the bounds of the white line. This cast an element of doubt which is considered significant enough to give the “benefit of doubt” to the driver in question.”

      1. @aaaa

        What happens if a Ferrari does this in Monza or Lewis at Silverstone,


        If this would have happen in Monza with Ferrari?

        It would have been the same because any infraction of the technical regulations during qualifying/race is an immediate disqualification. That’s something that is very clearly defined in the regulations with zero wriggle room.

        It’s as harsh as it is & as clearly defined as it is to act as a deterrent, If you know the penalty for getting caught is an instant DQ your less likely to try anything.
        It’s something thats been in place since the 80s when guys like Charlie Whiting & others who had been at teams in the 70s/80s when they would regular game the technical regs & therefore knew exactly how to word things & what penalties to have in place to stop teams doing so.

  15. …after he benefitted from an advantage measured at one microsecond [0.000001s] due to a kerb hit that caused his MGU-K to over-rev on his slowest lap of Q1.

    The MGU-K creates electrical energy from the wheels under braking, and this is sent to an energy store, probably a battery. The FIA’s requirement’s are the energy isn’t allowed to exceed 2 Mega Joules per lap when generating electricity from the wheels, and they aren’t allowed to discharge more than 4 MJ per lap to the wheels when using the MGU-K derived stored electricity. The total amount electricity charged or discharged via the MGU-K isn’t allowed to exceed 120 kilowatts. So there are three possible ways Ricciardo’s car could have broken the rules … but we don’t know which threshold was exceeded.

    1. Insightful . thanks !

      I can imagine cars launching themselves off the kerbs, in order to over rev and thus store more energy for the rest of the lap ;-)

    2. we can deduce that it must be the 120kw figure, as that is the only instantaneous figure.

  16. The technical regs penalties need a serious look at. The punishment should fit the crime. Who can agree that Kimi’s wrong tyres penalty was equal to Vettel’s dangerous driving at Monza.

  17. Seems crazy but I guess regulations are there for a purpose.

    Perhaps we can hope that stupid things like this are eradicated in the 2021 regulations.

  18. It was DQ because it was a technical infringement & any infringement of the technical regulations in qualifying (Or the race for that matter) is an immediate Disqualification. It’s something that’s been a clear part of the regulations with a clearly defined penalty for I think a few decades now.

    It’s the same reason you see drivers getting a DQ for tiny seemingly insignificant irregularities with bodywork dimensions & stuff. The sporting regulations have a more varied set of penalties with more leeway but the technical side is very strict in order to try & stop teams even thinking about trying something illegal. Theory been if you know it’s an instant DQ if you get caught your far less likely to try & remember a lot of that stuff was put together by guys like Charlie Whiting who skirted the rules quite a bit in the 70s/early 80s & therefore knew what teams would try & how best to deter them from trying it.

    1. Worth repeating @gt-racer, there are reasons for this, historically, and even now it is useful to have a clear rule and harsh penalties.

      Teams are very aware of the rule, so that nowadays infractions usually mean they made a mistake in assembly (aero bits), or failed in being too close to the limit, overestimating their control of the parameters to keep it on the legal side. Their mistake, sorry.

  19. Engineers will always push to the limits and in this case it caught them out. It would be very interesting to know how long that version of software that controls the MGU-K charge/discharge rates has been inplace for. Was this the result of a recent change or has it been in use for along time and it was just an unfortunate set of circumstances that caused the breach.

    Since Daniel has been allowed to start in the race have Renault done to ensure that the situation does not reoccur?

  20. roberto giacometti
    22nd September 2019, 4:19

    This is the cherry on top of the cake of the Farce that Formula 1 has become.
    Let alone that something occurred for 0.000001 of a second – there is a penalty for it !!!
    So does that mean that these “power units” are pumping out way less than what they could as a maximum?
    The technology , great that it is , being a result of human endeavour and engineering, is fantastic, but it does not belong in Formula 1. Leave Formula E for that stuff.
    Once upon a time , an engine used to rev to 12000 rpm , if that was its limit, and if it exceeded, it went pop. Simple!
    It is no wonder people are turning off – they cannot understand the convoluted technical stuff !!

    1. I wonder if this infringement falls within the margin for error of the recording / monitoring equipment?
      You surely couldn’t make this up, could you?

      As i’ve said, Riccardo is once again ‘the faster car at the back’ – and we, the spectors can be assured of some entertainment as he endevors to overtake the slower cars, on a track notorious for overtaking.

  21. I’ve always wondered if teams could use the mgu k as traction control. Obvious from the onset that they could smoothen the engine with it, however to have it unleash more by hitting a kerb showcases that the system was mapped to output a given amount at a given condition. It would not sound odd to hear that the mgu k over charged by hitting a kerb but over deliver? Also this type of ultra precision shouldn’t be possible to carry over to costumer teams, tune a system to this degree to any car.

    1. As far as I understand it the traction control effect can be created through engine mappings. The accelerator pedal is connected to a computer which decides how much power to generate depending on how much the pedal is depressed. If the pedal is 10% depressed it does not mean 10% power it could mean generate 5% power or even 100% power, they can decide with different maps what they want.

    2. I suspect you’re right in suspecting drivers can use the MGU-K as a form or traction control. That’s really a matter for the Stewards to police. For example at the start of a recent rain soaked track 20 cars (less those that came to the attention of the Stewards).
      Overall I’m disappointed with the Stewards ability to penalise drivers, e.g. Kimi and now Ricciardo without having to specify EXACTLY what the driver has done wrong. For example, Daniel Riccardo is disqualified for breaching a rule that relates to THREE different ways to measure power or energy consumption or use … but we don’t know which of the THREE ways applied.

  22. John Ballantyne
    22nd September 2019, 8:40

    Nonsense rules brought about by insane complexity have managed to de-motivate most of the drivers and almost all the fans at one time or another. What a way to run a zillion dollar entertainment business!

  23. Anyone complaining this is unfair: it is fair because it applies to everyone, and it is fair to racing.
    Let me explain why: assume they are going to build in tolerances. Then teams will just use tolerances, then they will overstep at one point those tolerances and we’ll be complaining how unfair it is they are being penalized for overstepping the boundaries by that little. You are basically opening up a case to continually move the goal post.

    Furthermore, it is very difficult to calculate the exact performance advantage you’ll get by overstepping the rules. For instance, a couple of mm overstepping it on the front wing in the Y250 area has a huuuugeee impact, while a couple of mm overstepping it on the shark fin might not be in the realm of relevancy. It is very difficult to quantify it, and teams might take advantage of that difficulty. It would be quite a big cost for either the FIA or the team itself to prove and/or counterprove what it brings.

    Therefore, a zero-tolerance and high penalty is the clearest and most transparent line in the sand you can draw. You are allowed to squeeze yourself as close as you possibly can onto the line, but the slightest sliver you overstep it, no matter if it brings something or not, you are out. That’s a good deterrent, and that is clear to everybody. There’s no possible discussion involved. And, it clears the sport of any discussion whether a car that slightly oversteps the border should have deserved the result it got. Such a discussion is always poisonous towards the sport.

    We don’t want 1999 outrage again. The sport took a huge credibility hit back then that took years to recover from.

  24. Renault have a tendency of lying about what they did wrong though. Or was it for instance solely Horner and Marko who lied about their fuel flow limit being over 100kg/h?

    Either way. All F1 teams maintain a safe limit to keep their output under the max for enough to make sure that they don’t go over the limit even in extreme cases. So if Renault exceeded the limit, it means they used margin that’s too narrow. That actually does give them a continuous advantage over the other teams. Until they get caught out of course.

  25. He’d probably have gained more advantage from a gust of wind behind the car yet that would be allowed.
    I suppose it’s the thin end of the wedge though. If you allow a one microsecond glitch advantage then how far will teams push that kind of thing?

  26. If it’s outside the rules then it’s outside the rules, regardless of level of advantage (or disadvantage). As we’ve seen so many times before if they gave any level of leeway then teams would quickly start taking the mick.

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