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.”