It was revealed on Thursday that Red Bull has lodged an appeal to the FIA over Daniel Ricciardo’s disqualification from the Australian Grand Prix.
Hours after crossing the finishing line to take second place in his home grand prix, Ricciardo learned that he had been excluded from the results for exceeding the maximum 100kg per hour fuel flow rate.
Red Bull’s contention is that the sensor that checks the fuel flow rate was faulty and that the one fitted to the car during Sunday’s race had an error. The FIA had informed the team during the race that their flow rate was too high and to adjust it, but team boss Christian Horner decided to ignore the directive because he believed the sensor was producing the wrong data.
“They informed us [to turn the flow down], and we informed them that we had serious concerns over their sensors," Horner is quoted on Autosport.
"We believed in our reading, otherwise there was a situation where you are reducing significant amounts of power in the engine at a time when we believe we fully comply within the regulations.”
Although I argued in a recent article that the decision to disqualify Ricciardo was the wrong one, there appears little chance now that the ruling will be overturned.
The FIA has proved over and over that their way is the right way and there are few instances over the years of appeals being successful. Whether there should be such a strict fuel flow rate in place alongside a maximum fuel allowance is another matter entirely, but once the rules are in place, all teams must abide by them equally.
Should Red Bull’s appeal be upheld, it would set a dangerous precedent for other teams to follow if they are deemed to have breached regulations.
As reported by Autosport’s Jonathan Noble only a day after the ruling, rival teams also doubted the accuracy of the fuel flow sensors but followed the readings of the equipment nonetheless and put their faith in the FIA regulations.
And as Ferrari team principal Stefano Domenicali explained, it is a futile exercise to do otherwise.
"We need to rely on the fact that it is a situation that is well managed by the FIA, and that is it to be honest. We have the FIA that will do their job and I am sure there will not be a problem at all."
Having lodged their appeal, the outcome will now be decided by a court hearing with the date yet to be finalised.
Whilst it’s clear to see why Red Bull has gone down this route, it appears to be one borne more of hope than expectation, and one that will, rightly, be rejected.
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