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‘FIA satisfied with fuel flow meter’

Daniel Ricciardo

London: Formula One’s governing body is satisfied with the fuel flow meter whose accuracy was questioned by champions Red Bull after Daniel Ricciardo was disqualified from the season-opening Australian Grand Prix, the makers said on Tuesday.

Gill Sensors said in a statement that the governing international automobile federation (FIA) had provided it with “positive feedback” since Sunday’s controversial race in Melbourne. The company added that the FIA had stated that the meters, which the governing body provides to all teams, met the specification for accuracy.

Red Bull have appealed against their Australian driver’s disqualification, arguing that the flow meter was inaccurate and unreliable, with the matter now set to be resolved by lawyers in an FIA court.

The first big technical controversy of the year is unlikely to be the only one as the sport grapples with complex regulations governing the new V6 turbo engines and energy recovery systems.

Ricciardo finished second at Albert Park but was disqualified more than five hours later after stewards ruled his car had broken new regulations that limit the flow of fuel to the new V6 turbocharged engines.

A Melbourne-based newspaper on Monday branded it a “Grand Farce”.

The FIA said Ricciardo’s car “exceeded constantly” the rules limiting fuel flow to 100kg per hour.

Allowing the fuel to flow faster than allowed in the regulations would give a team that did so a power advantage over others. The FIA said on Sunday that Red Bull had been told during the race that telemetry readings showed the fuel flow on Ricciardo’s car was too high but the team had failed to correct the situation.

Red Bull team principal Christian Horner argued that inconsistencies with the meters had “been prevalent all weekend up and down the pitlane”.

The stewards ruled 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.”

Gill Sensors said their meter, which uses an ultrasonic sensor, had been tested extensively by many of the teams, who had provided feedback on design and functionality.

After differences between the sensor’s readings and the team’s readings during Friday practice, Red Bull fitted a new sensor on Saturday, which failed during qualifying. For the race the FIA technical representative instructed the team to revert to the original sensor from Friday and apply an offset to make up for the discrepancies in the readings.

Red Bull considered the original fuel flow sensor to be unreliable and for the start of the race chose to use its “internal fuel flow model ... with the required offset” instead.