Charles Leclerc, Ferrari, Yas Marina, 2019

Leclerc faces investigation over fuel load discrepancy

2019 F1 season

Posted on

| Written by

Charles Leclerc is facing an investigation over an alleged discrepancy in his car’s fuel load.

FIA Formula 1 technical delegate Jo Bauer revealed a “significant difference” had been discovered between the quantity of fuel in his car and the amount the team had declared.

“The fuel declaration of car number 16 was checked before the car left the pit-lane,” said Bauer. “There was a significant difference between the declaration of the team and the amount of fuel inside the car.

“As this is non in compliance with [technical directive] 12-19 I am referring this matter to the stewards for their consideration.”

The stewards will investigate the infringement after the race. Leclerc will start from third place on the grid.

The FIA introduced random checks of fuel weights at the beginning of the season to ensure teams do not exceed the maximum limit of 110kg of fuel during a race. Teams have to declare how much fuel is in their cars two hours before the pit lane opens ahead of the start of a race. If their car is selected at ransom before the race, the fuel is drained from it, weighed, checked against the declared quantity, and returned to the car.

Don't miss anything new from RaceFans

Follow RaceFans on social media:

Advert | Become a RaceFans supporter and go ad-free

2019 F1 season

Browse all 2019 F1 season articles

Author information

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...

Got a potential story, tip or enquiry? Find out more about RaceFans and contact us here.

Posted on Categories 2019 F1 season articles

Promoted content from around the web | Become a RaceFans Supporter to hide this ad and others

  • 25 comments on “Leclerc faces investigation over fuel load discrepancy”

    1. Hmmmm…

      Considering how sloppy Ferrari operates (especially in recent races) it easily can be an “honest” mistake.
      Or it can be something a bit more serious…

      Either way, I don’t see Charles starting 3rd.

      1. What a joke – they will investigate it “after the Race”.

        Apparently, because it can’t affect the outcome?
        *facepalm*

        1. @dallein Yep. I fully expect if it proven to be a breach of regulation (as pretty much confirmed it is), they should disqualified him from the race result. Any penalty other than disqualification should be handed before the race start.

        2. Are you so politically unaware? Abu Dhabi – home to ‘Ferrari World’. Disqualification BEFORE the race, seriously?

        3. Exactly! Didn’t the Stewards Disqualify both of a team’s cars because under some conditions there were microsecond power spikes, meaning the car was only 99.99%? Yet here, we have a car that is blatantly not complying with the rules (not that I necessarily agree with the rule), and the Stewards are saying “Oh, we’ll sort this out later”. I can see that if Charles finishes in the points then the Stewards will say something like “Well … it didn’t affect the race … so we’ll forget about this”.

        4. @dallein There’s a pretty good chance that the officials that needs to be interviewed and/or check data, has something more important to do for the race. The delay seems fair to me.

      2. Sure, but a “Significant difference” wouldn’t be just a rounding error or something, it would have to be writing maybe a kg or so different.

        Although, who knows, maybe they declared 101 instead of 110 kg or something, “a simple mistake of writing the 0 ahead of the 1 instead of behind it”. Guess we’ll see how much FIA still means Ferrari International Assistance then @sonicslv, @dallein.

        On the one hand, I guess it makes sense to investigate this after the race since it was discovered with little time ahead of the race and they can’t delay the start to wait for clearing this. And I guess now that FIA knows the real amount the risk of them using more than the allowed fuel amount without anyone noticing is gone (or starting with less? There is no penalty on that, is there)
        On the other hand, if it is significant, and it completely throws the results around, wouldn’t it be fairer to go with automatic DSQ or have him start in the pitlane with an amount of fuel all agree on?

        Also, does this have anything to do with the Ferrari fuel system/injection / whatever they use to have the amount of power available that they have.

        1. @bascb, they’re not exactly hurrying to start the investigation though – the Motorsport Network have reported that the investigation won’t even begin until 7.45pm local time, nearly an hour after the race has finished. https://www.motorsport.com/f1/news/ferrari-referred-stewards-abu-dhabi-gp-start/4605298/

          Also, although you say it “was discovered with little time ahead of the race”, the official notification from Bauer is dated at 16:22 local time, with the race starting at 17:10 local time.

          Now, as noted in the article, the notification has to be a minimum of two hours before the race, and although the notice is dated 16:22, you’d assume that Bauer must have needed a bit of time to write the notification, suggesting that they became aware of this issue about an hour before the start of the race.

          Dare I say it, but if this had involved a midfield team, I suspect this would have been resolved before the race, not after it. That said, I’m not necessarily sure that this is just because it is specifically Ferrari – I feel it’s more of a case of it involving a particularly popular and prominent driver at a front running team, with the stewards wanting to kick the issue down the road until after the race, and it just so happened to be Leclerc this time around.

    2. Ferrari being Ferrari, so sad to see my favorite team behaving like amateurs.

    3. This late after quali session is quite odd. Stewards will find a new way of not penalising this goon even if there is a breach of regulation.

      1. This is not for qualy. This is on race preparation, i.e. when the car leave the garage and head to the grid.

        1. That is even more wierd mess up from this incompetant team.

    4. This just about sums-up Ferrari season…

    5. I imagine this will be brushed under the carpet since the FIA managed to turn their eyes from the breach of regulations that gave the Ferrari’s a clear illegal advantage through most of the second half of the season. Everyone in the paddock, the FIA & fans know it, so why hasn’t that been punished. Oh yea, because it’s Ferrari. If they do punish this, it’ll be a way to make the FIA look less biased.

    6. Sadly, I don’t think we’re even surprised. Ferrari do seem to get up to this sort of thing very often these days. Given the frequency with which other teams have half-accused ferrari of cheating in recent seasons, and the number of FIA ‘clarifications’ as a result, perhaps we should expect this from the team…?

    7. The report doesn’t specify under- or over-declared – would he still get excluded if he has more fuel in than declared?
      For clarity, if they declared 100kg and it contained 110kg?
      Or would it not get referred if that was the case?

      1. it might enable them to run a bit faster, using more fuel over the race distance than what is allowed @gumbidave. Off course now that it was found out, he wouldn’t be able to use it that way though – that might be what they mean about there not being a risk of breaking more rules and allowing him to start as is.

        Declaring less would probably just be very embaressing, they wouldn’t get any advantage from that, I’d think.

    8. Poor LeClerc!
      Red has robbed him of so many points – it’s looking like some of the screwups were intentional.
      Hopefully next year they can improve their cockups to say, every third race instead of every other race!

    9. I don’t really understand the reasoning behind this rule? Why must they declare it 2 hr before race, why declare at all?
      We know 110kg is a limit, shouldn’t that be what they check for. Who cares if they declare 110 but put only 105?

      Typical F1 trying to overcomplicate for no good reason or is there a good reason that I’m just not seeing?

      1. Some engines get better fuel efficiency, and depending on amount of drag on a car’s setup, or where they start the race and the gaps they anticipate they may hold against their rivals in the race, teams usually put as little fuel as needed to make their strategy work so that their cars are lighter than other cars. There is a minimum weight limit only. There isn’t a set threshhold all teams must fall within to make them weigh exactly the same within a small range.

      2. @ivan-vinitskyy Say a team finds a way to burn more fuel than allowed by the fuel flow limit. ie they are disrupting or circumventing the fuel flow sensor somehow.

        If the stewards then add up all the fuel flow throughout the race they could see how much fuel was supposedly burned. They can’t then report the actual fuel load since it would be obvious something shady is going on.

    10. I hear Netflix are doing a spin off series from “Drive to Survive”, based solely on all the Ferrari footage available to them, rumour has it, it is going to be called “Ferrari Overload” :-)

    11. If they fill with 200kg and can only use 110kg, it’s to their disadvantage. The cars have a fuel flow meter installed, it is unnecessary paperwork.

      1. The fuel flow meter only checks the fuel flow (max 100kg/hour). Not the fuel amount (110kg).

      2. Last race of the season, not so concerned with engine damage. They could take more chances with higher engine settings for longer as long as they don’t exceed the 100 kg/hr limit.

    Comments are closed.