“Ricciardo disqualified” is sure to be a popular search term in the coming hours, but why he was stripped of his 2nd place points may not be immediately clear. Here’s what happened: According to the official FIA stewards’ report, Red Bull Racing replaced an FIA-mandated fuel flow sensor in Daniel Ricciardo’s Renault-powered Formula 1 car before Saturday’s qualifying session. This new sensor was deemed unreliable by the FIA (Formula 1’s sanctioning body) and Red Bull were instructed to change back to the original “Friday” sensor Saturday night. Red Bull complied, but decided on their own (emphasis mine) that the FIA’s sensor was unreliable, and chose to rely on their own internal fuel flow model. That move, say the race stewards, was in violation of the official Formula 1 procedures outlined in the sport’s technical regulations.
Additionally, the Red Bull Racing team was warned by the FIA’s technical representative during the race (again, emphasis mine) that the fuel flow readings on Ricciardo’s car was was higher than the 100kg/h maximum fuel flow allowed by the regulations. The team were given an opportunity to correct the fuel flow rate for Ricciardo’s car during the race, but chose not to make the instructed changes.
As such, “Ricciardo disqualified” was pretty much the only possible outcome.
Red Bull has said that they plan to appeal the stewards’ decision, but the accusations- to me, at least- ring true. Ricciardo’s Red Bull was, by far, the fastest of the Renault power unit cars, and upping the fuel flow rate of a given engine has always been an easy way to boost power. Reigning and four-time World Champion Sebastian Vettel, in an identical car with a fuel flow sensor that (apparently) met the regulations, qualified in 12th- 10 spots behind his teammate in the 6th row. That 6th row run by the champion is, in all likelihood, the true pace of the RB10 racecar.
Source | Photos: FIA, via Formula 1.