Whiting adamant no loophole in fuel flow rules

The FIA’s Charlie Whiting is confident that the rules regarding the measurement of fuel flow are clear, despite Red Bull’s assertion to the contrary.

In Australia Daniel Ricciardo was found guilty of breaching Article 5.1.4 of the 2014 Technical Regulations, which says simply: “Fuel mass flow must not exceed 100kg/h.”

It does not say how that figure is to be measured, and Red Bull sees that as a key element of its case. The team also says that technical directives issued by Whiting, and which refer to the sensors, have no regulatory value.

However, later in the Technical Regulations there is a clear reference to the FIA sensor. Article 5.10.3 reads: “Homologated sensors must be fitted which directly measure the pressure, the temperature and the flow of the fuel supplied to the injectors, these signals must be supplied to the FIA data logger.”

The following 5.10.4 adds: “Only one homologated FIA fuel flow sensor may be fitted to the car which must be placed wholly within the fuel tank.”

Both rules were referenced by the Australian GP stewards in their judgement on Ricciardo.

Asked by this writer in a media briefing whether he felt that 5.10.3 compensates for the fact that the actual 100kg/h rule makes no specific reference to measurement, Whiting was adamant.

“Absolutely,” he said. “Article 5.10 makes it quite clear in my view that the only way that the fuel flow will be measured is with the homologated sensor. As you probably know Gill is the only sensor that is homologated by the FIA. So for me it’s perfectly clear.”

Earlier this writer had asked Christian Horner about the reference to the sensor. He said: “There isn’t [one]. Which rule is that? There’s nothing that makes reference to the FIA sensor, it’s purely technical directives. There a regulation 8.2.4 that I think you are referring to, that is a sensor is anyway invalid it’s the team’s responsibility to run within the regulations.”

For the record 8.2.4 reads: “If sensor faults or errors are detected by the driver or by the on-board software, back-up sensors may be used and different settings may be manually or automatically selected. However, any back-up sensor or new setting chosen in this way must not enhance the performance of the car. Any driver default turned on during the start lockout period may not be turned off before the end of that period.”


Filed under F1 News, Grand Prix News

8 responses to “Whiting adamant no loophole in fuel flow rules

  1. **Paul**

    So Red Bulls argument is simple then. As per 8.2.4 they detected that the sensors readings were inconsistently fluctuating, thus they reverted to the FIA agreed back-up sensor (which I believe is fuel rail data).

    Hard to see how the FIA can win this battle. The moment Red Bull provide evidence that the sensor in Daniels car was inaccurate they can by the rules of the sport utilise 8.2.4 and measure via the method they used.

    I think from a legal standpoint Red Bull will successfully win this argument. I believe it’s in the best interests of the sport that the sensors used are consistent across the field, otherwise it’s like lucky dip as to who gets a good one and who doesn’t, even between team mates. Just imagine the outcry if a certain British driver or perhaps the well regarded Spanish competitor didn’t get one that was as favourable as their team mate? I think the stories by certain media outlets (not you Adam, you report what’s said without spin, which I really do like!) would be very very different on the subject.

  2. I’d suggest the @fia have a good read of W Edwards Demming book, the aptly entitled ‘Out of the Crisis’ before issuing rules on measurement systems.

  3. Richard K

    The more I read about this, the more I think RB could actually win the argument!

  4. I’ve read elsewhere RB should have officially logged their backup sensor calibration. It seems they didn’t. If this is so then RB would be well advised to drop their appeal.

  5. Lars

    I’m not a lawyer but my interpretation 8.2.4. Is that the FIA will say a) only Gill sensors according to 5.10. And if it fails another sensor can be used but as stipulated in 5.10. It MUST be a Gill sensor.

    Red Bull will lose this challenge. They are hanging their hat on sensor not being qualified in 8.2.4. Which won’t fly given 5.10. precedes it.

  6. Dale

    Article 5.1.4 The wording of the DQ stipulated “for consistently breaking the rule”. There is no mention of any requirement for the number of times the rule must be broken for action to be taken. Therefore, just a single case should be cause for DQ. The FIA has openly admitted notifying other teams they had exceeded the limit. Why was RBR the only team DQ’d?

    Article 5.10.3 RBR have complied in every way. This rule make no mention of how that data will be measured or used, as long as it is supplied to the data logger. No 1%, 5% or 25% tolerances for errors are given.

    Article 5.10.4 RBR have complied in every way. This rule does not outlaw the use of any number of additional unhomologated measurement systems run in parallel, however they are fitted … as long as the homologated one is used in the specified manner.

    Article 8.2.4 Sensor Faults were detected. RBR followed the procedure stipulated.

    • The point is that there is a reference to the FIA homologated sensor in the rules, albeit not immediately attached to the 100kg reference. If they were printed consecutively I don’t think there would be any doubt, even in the minds of RBR. As for tolerances etc there are hundreds of examples where things are not specified, both sporting and technical. However they are understood and there is precedent etc. If every possible eventuality was written down – for example precise details of how pit lane speed limit is measured – the rules would be somewhat unwieldy…

  7. So nice to see proper use of “this writer” to refer to oneself in reporting the news.

    Cheers, Adam.

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