Runner-up Ricciardo disqualified
1:18pm Sunday 16th March 2014 in © Press Association 2014
Daniel Ricciardo has been disqualified from the Australian Grand Prix over five hours after delighting his home crowd by finishing runner-up.
Ricciardo produced a composed drive on his Red Bull debut to claim second spot at Melbourne's Albert Park behind Mercedes' Nico Rosberg.
However, in scrutineering after the event, Ricciardo's car was found to have breached one of the new regulations for this year regarding fuel.
Cars for 2014 start with a maximum 100 kilograms of fuel on board, as opposed to 140-150kg in previous seasons, and operate with a fuel flow rate of no more than 100kg per hour.
But Ricciardo's car was found to consistently exceed that rate, and as a clear breach of the FIA regulations, he has been excluded from the race result.
Red Bull immediately announced their intention to appeal against the decision to disqualify their driver.
A statement from the team read: "Following the decision of the FIA that Red Bull Racing is in breach of Article 3.2 of the FIA Formula One sporting regulations and Article 5.1.4 of the FIA Formula One technical regulations with Car 3, the team has notified the FIA of its intention to appeal with immediate effect.
"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."
In layman's terms, the fuel-flow rate is monitored by an FIA sensor.
There have been accusations, however, that the sensors are faulty and have been providing misleading readings.
Red Bull, of their own volition, chose to use their own sensor to determine the fuel-flow rate which had not been cleared by the FIA.
FIA race director Charlie Whiting has confirmed Red Bull were warned twice about the matter after qualifying, and again five laps into the race, but chose to ignore it.
As an FIA statement read: "Regardless of the team's assertion that the sensor was at fault, it is not within their discretion to run a different fuel-flow measurement model without the permission of the FIA."
Red Bull team principal Christian Horner, though, has described himself as "extremely disappointed" and " quite surprised" with the stewards' decision.
Horner added: "Through the appeal process it will be quite clear the car has conformed at all times with the regulations and we've fully complied with the technical regulations."
Horner added: "These fuel-flow sensors that have been fitted by the FIA have proved problematic throughout the pitlane since the start of testing.
"There have been discrepancies in them, even unreliable, and I think some cars may well have run without them during the race itself, or even failed during the race itself.
"We had a fuel-flow sensor fitted to the car that we believe to be in error.
"We wouldn't be appealing if we weren't extremely confident we have a defendable case.
"It's just extremely disappointing this has happened. It's certainly no fault of Daniel's. I don't believe it's the fault of the team.
"I believe we have been compliant with the rules and the documents and investigation that will be submitted within the appeal will demonstrate that."
Horner claims there was an issue with the sensor that changed its reading through Friday practice, which was replaced on Saturday, but failed during qualifying.
Horner added: "We were then asked to put the sensor from Friday back in the car and apply an offset which we didn't feel was correct.
"As we got into the race we could see a significant discrepancy between what the sensor was reading and what our fuel flow, which is the actual injection of fuel into the engine, was stating.
"That is where there is a difference of opinion."
Whiting claims Red Bull had the opportunity to avoid the furore that has since unfolded.
"We advised them after qualifying and five laps into the race to take the necessary steps to comply with the regulations," said Whiting.
"They chose to use their own calculations to show they complied. If they had followed the advice we gave them at the time, we would not have had a problem and they would not have been penalised.
"If their sensor was kaput then things would have been different. That happened with (Sergio) Perez's (Force India) car - the sensor broke - and they used their injection model with an offset and that was fine.
"It is a human thing because they (Red Bull) had the ability to do what was needed to comply."
Criticising the FIA's equipment, Horner said: "It is immature technology, so it's impossible to rely 100 per cent on that sensor which has proven to be problematic in almost every session we have run in.
"So it's surprising this stance has been taken."
Asked as to Whiting's statement that the team was informed they were running an illegal fuel flow, Horner said: "They informed us, but we informed them we had serious concerns over their sensor.
"We believed in our readings, otherwise we faced a situation where we would have been reducing significant amounts of power into the engine when we believed we fully complied with the regulations."
For now, the result of the race, won by Rosberg by 24.5secs, remains provisional until after the appeal is heard.
As Red Bull have notified of their intention to appeal, it is up to the Austrian motorsport federation, under whose auspices the team operate, to confirm within the next 48 hours they will appeal.
Joining Rosberg and Ricciardo on the podium was Kevin Magnussen on his F1 debut with McLaren, the 21-year-old becoming the first Dane to finish in the top three, and followed closely home by team-mate Jenson Button who had started 10th.
The race, however, was less successful for Rosberg and Ricciardo's more illustrious team-mates as both Lewis Hamilton and reigning champion Sebastian Vettel retired due to technical issues after three and six laps.