• Red Bull disqualification

Mercedes called for a suspended ban for Red Bull

ESPN Staff
April 19, 2014 « Massa confident of taking fight to Red Bull and Ferrari | McLaren plans legal action over Red Bull's Fallows »

Mercedes called for Red Bull to be given a suspended three-race ban and six month disqualification as punishment for not adhering to the fuel flow regulations at the Australian Grand Prix.

On Tuesday the FIA's court of appeal judged that the steward's decision to exclude Daniel Ricciardo from the Australian Grand Prix was correct, rejecting the team's appeal. However, Mercedes, who sent QC Paul Harris and several members of its team to act as a third party at the appeal, called for greater punishment.

In the FIA's findings from the appeal hearing, published on Friday, Mercedes was noted as requesting "that the court not only confirms the penalty imposed on the appellant [Red Bull] but that a more severe sanction of a ban of no less than three races, plus a disqualification for a further six months, suspended for a year, be imposed on Red Bull."

However, the court of appeal judged that Red Bull had not set out to cheat during the Australian Grand Prix.

"Considering the technical issues at stake and the fact that this was the first official race under this new technology, the court does not find that the appellant's attitude in Australia was fraudulent," the findings read. "The court finds that the penalty imposed on the appellant by the stewards is proportionate and that the decision must be upheld."

Fundamentally, Red Bull was not able to prove that it remained under the maximum fuel flow rate, despite providing evidence from its own measurements. Red Bull produced graphs from its fuel flow model to attempt to prove it had not exceeded 100kg/h, but the court said it was not a reliable means of proving the fuel flow and that the team should have stuck with the readings from the FIA-homologated fuel flow sensor.

"A [team's] fuel flow model does not measure, but rather estimates, the rate at which fuel flows into the injectors based on how the engine is expected to perform. It is, therefore, based purely on a software calculation."

Evidence provided by Mercedes' electronics head, Evan Short, helped the court come to the decision that Red Bull's evidence was not permissible.

"The court also noted with interest the remark made by Mr Short, race team electronics leader for Mercedes AMG, regarding the impossibility of reading some of the data shown on the graph, because they were hidden by the 'noisy signal' emitted by the vibrations of the engine during the runs."

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