Red Bull to appeal Daniel Ricciardo’s disqualification
Australian debutant finished second in Melbourne but was later excluded due to fuel infringement
Red Bull will appeal Daniel Ricciardo’s disqualification from the Melbourne Grand Prix. Photograph: Jon Buckle/PA Wire
Red Bull have formally confirmed their intention to appeal against Daniel Ricciardo’s disqualification from Sunday’s Australian Grand Prix.
Ricciardo had initally thrilled his home crowd at Melbourne’s Albert Park in finishing runner-up to Mercedes’ Nico Rosberg, only for the stewards to later exclude him from the race classification due to a technical fuel infringement with his Red Bull.
After immediately serving notice of their intention to appeal, the team were then given 96 hours to process their application, doing so just ahead of Thursday’s deadline via the Austrian motor sport federation.
A hearing will now go before the FIA’s Court of Appeal at a date yet to be determined.
The latest set of regulations, to accommodate the introduction of the new 1.6-litre V6 turbo-charged power units and various accompanying energy-saving devices, have swiftly resulted in the first challenge.
Among them is the cars now start with a maximum 100 kilograms of fuel, as opposed to 140-150kg in previous seasons, and operate with a fuel-flow rate of no more than 100kg per hour.
Ricciardo’s car, however, was found to consistently exceed that rate during the race.
In layman’s terms, the fuel-flow rate is monitored by an FIA meter, manufactured by Gill Sensors, who are based in Lymington, Hampshire.
Following Ricciardo’s disqualification, on his debut for Red Bull after being promoted from Toro Rosso as replacement for Mark Webber, team principal Christian Horner claimed the sensors were “unreliable”.
Horner stated there was an issue with the sensor that changed its reading through Friday practice, which was replaced on Saturday but failed during qualifying.
Red Bull, of their own volition, chose to use their own sensor to determine the fuel-flow rate which had not been cleared by the FIA.
FIA technical director Charlie Whiting confirmed Red Bull were warned against doing so, both after qualifying and again five laps into the race, but chose to ignore the directive.
Addressing his team’s actions, Horner said on Sunday: “These fuel-flow sensors that have been fitted by the FIA have proved problematic throughout the pit lane since the start of testing.
“There have been discrepancies in them, even unreliable. We had a fuel-flow sensor fitted to the car that we believe to be in error. We wouldn’t be appealing if we weren’t extremely confident we have a defendable case.”
Red Bull will now have to prove the FIA sensor was defective and that their own device was not in error.
Earlier this week Gill Sensors issued a statement claiming the FIA had provided them “with positive feedback” about their equipment that is based on ultrasonic technology.
The statement added the FIA further confirmed “their confidence in the development” and the meters “meet the FIA’s accuracy specification”.
Horner, though, slated the system as “immature technology” and that it was “impossible to rely (on it) 100 per cent”.
Pending the outcome of the appeal, the race result, with McLaren duo Kevin Magnussen and Jenson Button promoted to second and third behind Rosberg, remains provisional.