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  1. #1
    PA Expert ego's Avatar
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    2014 Formula 1 Rolex Australian Grand Prix

    Well the F1 season is back and under way with completely new rule and regulations and a fair slice of controversy already served alongside. This will be a long wrap up by the way so make yourself a cup of tea.

    With 6cyl turbo charged engines now the standard many people are up in arms about the change in noise from the screaming V8s at 150Db to these growling and fluttering V6s that are under 100Db. Personally i like the new sound, not to say i'd be averse to it being a little louder, but progress bring change and change doesn't sit well with everyone.

    The race was not quite the field of hand grenades most were expecting, however both Marussias caused a failed start by stalling on the grid. After getting underway on the second attempt all seemed okay apart from Kobayashi having a brake failure into turn 1 and taking out Massa in a rejuvenated Williams. Not long after Vettel was out with loss of boost and possibly dropping cyliders with a software issue, as was Hamilton out with a dropped cylinder.

    Rosberg quickly established a healthy lead but with a saftey car brought out after Bottas clipped the wall and lost a wheel on track, he would continue however and claim a 6th positing brillaintly. On the restarted Rosberg again took to the lead with Ricciardo unable to follow and Magnussen trailing him cosistently.

    Big movers were Button with the help of some strong pit stop tactics (11th to 4th) and Bottas (15th to 6th) with a Williams that seemed to be the only car on the same pace as the Mercedes.

    Stand out efforts are Bottas with one of the best come-back drives i have witnessed, Magnussen for his first race in F1 gettting 3rd on the line and 2nd after Ricciardo's DSQ, Kvyat for a points finish first race in F1, both Torro Rosso's for first time in 2 years both cars have finished in the top ten and Ricciardo for driving a very measured race despite his team costing him the podium

    The big controversy was Ricciardo who after taking the best position ever by an Australian at the Australian GP was found to have exceeded the maximum fuel flow allowable under the regulations and has been disqualified from the results. Red Bull say they are launching a protest but as i understand they felt that the FIA approved fuel flow sensor was not accurate enough and used their own one (no FIA approved) despite being told they must use the FIA one.

    I quote from the F1 website

    "Red Bull’s Daniel Ricciardo has lost his second-place finish in Sunday's Australian Grand Prix after stewards decided his car had run with too high a fuel flow rate during the race. The team are to appeal the decision.

    Ricciardo crossed the line behind winner Nico Rosberg to claim his maiden F1 podium. His exclusion elevates McLaren's Kevin Magnussen to P2 and team mate Jenson Button to third.

    Under article 5.1.4 of the new 2014 technical regulations, cars are limited to a fuel flow rate of 100kg/hour, as measured by an FIA-homologated sensor on the car.

    According to the stewards’ report, Red Bull used a different fuel sensor on Saturday after they found the one used on Friday had produced unreliable readings. However, when the sensor used on Saturday failed to provide results that were satisfactory to them or the FIA, they were instructed to change back to the original sensor within parc ferme on Saturday night.

    Considering this sensor unreliable, Red Bull chose to rely on their own internal fuel flow model, something that the stewards say is in violation of the procedure outlined in the technical regulations.

    Furthermore, Red Bull were warned by the FIA’s technical representative during the race that the fuel flow on Ricciardo’s car was too high. The team were given the opportunity to correct this, but according to the stewards’ report, they chose not to make any changes.

    Announcing their intention to appeal the stewards’ decision, Red Bull said: “Inconsistencies with the FIA fuel flow meter have been prevalent all weekend up and down the pit lane. The Team and Renault are confident the fuel supplied to the engine is in full compliance with the regulations.”

    The stewards' decision in full:

    The Stewards, having received a report from the Technical Delegate, heard from the team representatives, have considered the following matter and determine a breach of the regulations has been committed by the competitor named below and impose the penalty referred to.

    No/Driver: 3, Daniel Ricciardo
    Competitor: Infiniti Red Bull Racing
    Time: 20:17
    Session: Race
    Facts: Car #3 was not in compliance with article 5.1.4 of the FIA Formula 1 technical tegulations.
    Offence: Breach of article 3.2 of the FIA Formula 1 sporting regulations and Article 5.1.4 of the FIA Formula 1 technical regulations.
    Decision: Car #3 is excluded from the race results.
    1) The technical delegate reported to the stewards that car #3 exceeded the required fuel mass flow of 100kg/h. (article 5.1.4 of the Formula 1 technical regulations)

    2) This parameter is outside of the control of the driver, Daniel Ricciardo.

    3) The fuel flow is measured using the fuel flow sensor (Art. 5.10.3 & 5.10.4 of the technical regulations) which is homologated by the FIA and owned and operated by the team.

    4) The stewards considered the history of the fitted fuel flow sensor, as described by the team and the technical delegate's representative who administers the programme. Their description of the history of the sensor matches.

    a. During practice one a difference in reading between the first three and run four was detected. The same readings as Run 4 were observed throughout practice two.

    b. The team used a different sensor on Saturday but did not get readings that were satisfactory to them or the FIA, so they were instructed to change the sensor within parc ferme on Saturday night.

    c. They operated the original sensor during the race, which provided the same readings as run four of practice one, and practice two.

    5) The stewards heard from the technical representative that when the sensor was installed on Saturday night, he instructed the team to apply an offset to their fuel flow such that the fuel flow would have been legal. He presented an email to the stewards that verified his instruction.

    6) The technical representative stated to the stewards that there is variation in the sensors. However, the sensors fall within a known range, and are individually calibrated. They then become the standard which the teams must use for their fuel flow.

    7) The team stated that based on the difference observed between the two readings in P1, they considered the fuel flow sensor to be unreliable. Therefore, for the start of the race they chose to use their internal fuel flow model, rather than the values provided by the sensor, with the required offset.

    8) Technical directive 01614 (1 March 2014) provides the methodology by which the sensor will be used, and, should the sensor fail, the method by which the alternate model could be used.

    a. The technical directive starts by stating: "The homologated fuel flow sensor will be the primary measurement of the fuel flow and will be used to check compliance with articles 5.1.4 and 5.1.5 of the F1 technical regulations..." This is in conformity with articles 5.10.3 and 5.10.4 of the technical regulations.

    b. The technical directive goes on to state: "If at any time WE consider that the sensor has an issue which has not been detected by the system WE will communicate this to the team concerned and switch to a back-up system."
    (emphasis added.)

    c. The back-up system is the calculated fuel flow model with a correction factor decided by the FIA.

    9) The FIA technical representative observed thought the telemetry during the race that the fuel flow was too high and contacted the team, giving them the opportunity to follow his previous instruction, and reduce the fuel flow such that it was within the limit, as measured by the homologated sensor - and thus gave the team the opportunity to be within compliance. The team chose not to make this correction.

    10) Under Art. 3.2 of the sporting regulations it is the duty of the team to ensure compliance with the technical regulations throughout the event.

    Thus the stewards find that:

    A) The team chose to run the car using their fuel flow model, without direction from the FIA. This is a violation of the procedure within TD/01614.

    B) That although the sensor showed a difference in readings between runs in P1, it remains the homologated and required sensor against which the team is obliged to measure their fuel flow, unless given permission by the FIA to do otherwise.

    C) The stewards were satisfied by the explanation of the technical representative that by making an adjustment as instructed, the team could have run within the allowable fuel flow.

    D) That regardless of the team's assertion that the sensor was fault, it is not within their discretion to run a different fuel flow measurement method without the permission of the FIA.

    The stewards find that car #3 was out of compliance with the technical regulations and is therefore excluded from the results of the race.

    Quoted from

    The final standings look like this

    1. Nico Rosberg Mercedes AMG
    2. Kevin Magnussen McLaren Mercedes
    3. Jenson Button McLaren Mercedes
    4. Fernando Alonso Scuderia Ferrari
    5. Valtteri Bottas Williams Mercedes
    6. Nico Hulkenberg Force India Mercedes
    7. Kimi Raikkonen Scuderia Ferrari
    8. Jean-Eric Vergne STR Renault
    9. Daniil Kvyat STR Renault
    10. Sergio Perez Force India Mercedes
    11. Adrian Sutil Sauber Ferrari
    12. Esteban Gutierrez Sauber Ferrari
    13. Max Chilton Marussia Ferrari
    14 Jules Bianchi Marussia Ferrari
    DNF Romain Grosjean Lotus Renault
    DNF Pastor Maldonado Lotus Renault
    DNF Marcus Ericsson Caterham Renault
    DNF Sebastian Vettel Red Bull Racing Renault
    DNF Lewis Hamilton Mercedes AMG
    DNF Felipe Massa Williams Mercedes
    DNF Kamui Kobayashi Caterham Renault
    DSQ Daniel Ricciardo Red Bull Racing Renault

    So McLaren leads the Constructors, 8 points clear of Mercedes who are 7 clear of Ferrari.

    2 weeks until Malyasia!
    Last edited by ego; 17th March 2014 at 05:55 PM.

  2. #2
    PA Janitor Bob's Avatar
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    Screw RBR. Arrogant pricks. That is all.

  3. #3
    Regular Member tassie_bb1's Avatar
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    Great write up man.

    It all seems to be turning into a pissing contest between the FIA and RBR though. Despite having much more accurate fuel measurement systems in place than the FIA approved flow sensor required, and even if RBR can prove that the flow rates remained within specifications for the whole race, the FIA will still disqualify them for not playing by a very specific rule. I'd like to give RBR the benefit of the doubt and think that they circumvented the normal process since the sensor was shown to be faulty after the start of the race, and that the only options open to them were to either withdraw (when they had already lost Vettel) or proceed using their best judgement. It's easy to see Red Bull as being arrogant though since their lead driver is king arrogance himself, I want to be on team Ricciardo this year though. Surely if Ricciardo was grossly in excess of the maximum flow rate for most of the race then he would have either a) run out of fuel or b) won. Maybe I'm just being naive.

    In any case Ricciardo should not have been disqualified since all of this happened completely outside his influence. RBR should have been stripped of the constructors points and Ricciardo should keep his second place.

  4. #4
    PA Expert ego's Avatar
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    Formula 1 is politics wrapped in very strict rules and regulations which for the last 4 years Red Bull has understood better than anyone else. It is really their own fault, during testing various teams were having issues getting the fuel flow correct and were all warned by the FIA and Formula 1 governing bodies that there would be a zero tolerance to teams breaching this rule yet Red Bull pressed on.

    I think it is arrogance teamed with a need to improve dramatically in a short period of time that has lead them to this situation so only themselves to blame.

    As far as punishment goes it should stand no matter who the driver is or what the occasion, otherwise they will set a precedent that if it is a significant occasion the rules should not apply. I feel sorry for Ricciardo but rules are rules and just because your team has won 4 driver's and constructors championships on the trot does not mean they don't apply to you.

    That's my opinon anyway.

    As far as where teams stand this year i would rank them like this currently:

    1. Mercedes - Rosberg dominated never being under any pressure. Hamilton had a failure but expect Mercedes to be on top of that given how much money and time they have invested into this season, effectively sacrificing the last few seasons for this moment.

    2. Williams Mercedes - Pace wise no one else is close to Mercedes in race terms other than Williams which is nice to see them back at the top again. Unfortunate for Massa being taken out but you can see when he is interviewed how excited he is for this and how strong the position he and his team are in are. For the first time he isn't playing second fiddle to team mates included Alonso, Schumacher, Raikkonen and Fisichella. Bottas showed he is properly quick and in sync with the new car

    3. McLaren Mercedes - While down on pace of the Mercedes factory team and i would argue Williams too, both Magnussen and Button were consistent with no failures. How long that continues i am not sure but solid pace and what looks like a reliable car is a mixture few teams can boast at the moment.

    4. Ferrari - Hard to call between Ferrari and Red Bull for pace after watching trackside, i would argue Ferrari, while slower than Ricciardo, didn't have the failure Vettel did and have done far more testing to give themselves more data to fall back on. Long term, currently i put Ferrari ahead of Red Bull, but only just and i'm sure many millions are being spent as you read to change that.

    5. Red Bull - For the first time in 4 years it is Sebastian Vettel who seems to have the car with technical gremlins. In testing Ricciardo managed more laps, and in the race he ran trouble free with the above mentioned technical breach the only blot and was not anything to do with him. He had no control over it. I'm sure before long Red Bull will be catching up, but for now the car seems a bit under-cooked and slap dash. Vettel is not happy with the car and was completely trounced by Ricciardo which puts him in a position he is unfamiliar with and could cause some dummy spits if he doesn't keep a cool head.

    6. Force India Mercedes - While having the benefit of the Mercedes engine that is clearly the one to have this year, the FIM does not look like a balanced car. It was a straight out battle between Force India and STR over who had the more undriveable car. In the end i think STR won that with Vergne exploring all aspects of the track, but nor did the Force India look like it inspired confidence. They keep threatening to build a car to put some top-tier noses out of join but they never quiet manage it.

    7. Sauber - I didn't get much of an impression from this team over the weekend, they were on track but never seemed to be doing particularly well or badly so i think this area is fair. A few off track excusions but no real reliability issues to speak of. Consistency is key so they might finish higher than some of their other competitors in the long run.

    8. STR - I honestly think the result of STR was shown in a much better light than it had any right to be. Helped along by a few big name retirements, some crashes and a few other technical breakdowns both cars hit the top 10 for the first time since Korea 2 years ago i think. Balance was clearly not discussed in any meetings because i'm not sure there was an inch of track, grass or gravel trap the STR cars didn't discover over the 4 days. Watching the drivers i just seemed like they had no confidence at all in the front end, or in the rear putting the power down either. As reliability becomes stronger i think STR will fade back to their usual stamping ground of 18-15th place.

    9. Marussia - Yes i know what you think, there is no reason to think these guys are up this high but aside from both stalling on the grid, which i suspect various people will do this season, they ran strongly (if not quickly) and had relatively few off track excursions. They are certainly better placed than Caterham and Lotus.

    10 Caterham - Well i struggled to find a reason to put Caterham above Lotus but in the end Lotus gave me the reason, they just are not ready. Caterham have reliability issues galore but seem to have at least nailed an occasionally functioning car together, even if they had issues at Melbourne. For now in my opinion they stay ahead of Lotus but who knows for how long.

    11. Lotus - Wow. Just wow. I know Kimi is struggling at Ferrari getting used to how the new car goes but in terms of a team switching master-stroke his is only matched by Felipe Massa. Lotus themselves say they are 6 weeks behind, at best Melbourne came 4 weeks to early and their goal was just to finish.....and it shows. Reliability is horrific, pace is lackluster and the handling of the cars is abysmal. With 2 weeks until Malaysia they have a lot of work to even finish.
    Last edited by ego; 17th March 2014 at 05:06 PM.

  5. #5
    PA Expert ego's Avatar
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    Update, the hearing of Red Bull's appeal is set for the 14th of April. Not really sure how they can fight it since

    a) They were not using an FIA approved fuel flow sensor -> car is not legal.

    b) Car consistently flowing over 100l/h max as per FIA rules -> fuel flow is not legal

    c) Were warned prior to the race their car did not meet FIA regulations and were told to address the issue by installing FIA approved sensor, yet didn't -> Arrogant and illegal.

    d) Were given another opportunity during the race to address the issue before action was taken yet ignored FIA -> really arrogant and still illegal.

    Their only arguement is that the FIA sensor is not accurate, so they used their own. Even if it is found that is the case, the car is still not legal for not having an FIA approved sensor and and their car still exceeded the legal fuel flow limit with what they claim is a MORE accurate sensor.

    Hard to see what they are trying to achieve.

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