Red Bull’s A to Z of Formula One

Watch as Red Bull drivers Sebastian Vettel and Daniel Ricciardo, reserve driver Sebastian Buemi, Team Principal Christian Horner and Aerodynamics guru Adrian Newey talk you through the A to Z of Formula One. This is part one, A to D.

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Singapore Airlines New Title Sponsor Of Singapore Grand Prix

The Singapore Grand Prix has named Singapore Airlines as their new title sponsor, taking over from Singtel.

Singtel, a Singapore based telecommunications company, was the title sponsor for the inaugural running of the Singapore Grand Prix in 2008 and held the position until 2013. This year, the race will be called the 2014 Formula 1 Singapore Airlines Singapore Grand Prix.

“We are thrilled to be taking up the title sponsorship of one of the most exciting races on the F1 calendar, and we are especially pleased to be doing so in the lead-up to Singapore’s 50th birthday next year,”  Singapore Airlines CEO, Mr Goh Choon Phong said today.

“Singapore Airlines has always supported the development of both sports and tourism. Through our involvement with the world’s first F1 night race we will be able to enhance both for the benefit of Singaporeans and visitors alike.”

Said Mr Ong Beng Seng, head of the Singapore GP, said: “We are delighted to welcome Singapore Airlines as Title Sponsor for the Formula One Singapore Grand Prix. Given the iconic brand’s phenomenal global reach, this synergistic partnership will provide the widest exposure and fantastic opportunities in the promotion of both Singapore and Formula 1 around the world.”

The race will be held between the 19th and 21st of September this year at the Marina Bay Circuit.

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Red Bull Appeal Unsuccessful – Ricciardo Disqualified

Photo (c) Red Bull/Getty Images

Photo (c) Red Bull/Getty Images

Red Bull have lost an appeal against the FIA’s decision to disqualify Daniel Ricciardo from the Australian Grand Prix.

The Aussie finished second at his home Grand Prix last March but was disqualified five hours after the Grand Prix when it was discovered that he exceeded the fuel flow limit of 100kg/h throughout the race.

Red Bull initially argued that the FIA sensor, which had been faulty over the weekend, had broken and was giving incorrect readings, which forced them to use their own calculations to determine the true flow rate on Ricciardo’s car. The rules allow for a team to use a back up system (i.e. their own calculations) if they believe that a sensor has failed, but they must be able to definitely prove that the sensor failed if they do so.

The court of appeal met at the FIA headquarters yesterday. Click here to read my report of the proceedings.

This morning the judgement was announced. In a statement, the court said: “The court, after having heard the parties and examined their submissions, decided to uphold the decision No.56 of the Stewards by which they decided to exclude Infiniti Red Bull Racing’s car (No.3) from the result of the 2014 Australian Grand Prix.”

A lawyer for Mercedes referenced BAR’s two race ban in 2005 when they were found to be running with illegal issues. In that case the team had blamed a software issue, like Red Bull have done in this case. The lawyer suggested a stricter punishment for Red Bull, remembering how Red Bull had called for harsher treatment of Mercedes at the FIA International Tribunal last year following the Tyre-Gate scandal. Judge Harry Duijm did not extend Red Bull’s penalty.

Red Bull Statement:

“Infiniti Red Bull Racing accepts the ruling of the International Court of Appeal today. We are of course disappointed by the outcome and would not have appealed if we didn’t think we had a very strong case. We always believed we adhered to the technical regulations throughout the 2014 Australian Grand Prix. We are sorry for Daniel (Ricciardo) that he will not be awarded the 18 points from the event, which we think he deserved. We will continue to work very hard to amass as many points as possible for the team, Daniel and Sebastian (Vettel) throughout the season.
 
We will now move on from this and concentrate on this weekend’s Chinese Grand Prix.”

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The Red Bull Appeal – What Happened Today

Red Bull were in Paris today to appeal Daniel Ricciardo’s disqualification from the Australian Grand Prix in March. He was disqualified due to his car exceeding the 100kg/h fuel flow limit, but Red Bull claim that the FIA’s sensor failed and that they needed to revert to their own measurements as a result. The FIA says that Red Bull’s calculations were incorrect and led to Ricciardo exceeding the limits, in breach of the rules.

After Ricciardo was disqualified, Red Bull announced that they would appeal the decision. Today was the day of the appeal and here’s what happened:

Under Judge Harry Duijm, Red Bull lawyer Ali Malek opened Red Bull’s argument, questioning the FIA’s right to disqualify Ricciardo. He argued, as Red Bull have done since the initial Stewards investigation after the Australian GP, that the FIA sensor was not working properly. Malek also pointed out that there is no rule which says that the fuel flow measurement must be done through FIA apparatus – which would mean that Red Bull can use their own measuring equipment.

Sebastian Bernard, a lawyer for the FIA, responded to this by saying that there can only be one official measurement. “If each one measures at will, because he is of the opinion that the official measurement is wrong, we have anarchy,” Bernard said. He then pointed out that the faulty readings from the FIA sensor was during the first two practice sessions on the Friday. After the faulty readings, the team knew what margin of error the equipment had. So, when the sensor failed on the Sunday they should have calculated the margin of error and used this as the true flow rate, rather than reverting to their own measurement.

An FIA representative then stated that Ricciardo was only complying with the regulations for five laps – four of which were behind a Safety Car. He believes that Red Bull used their own readings in order to gain an advantage.

Mercedes’ lawyer Paul Harris stood next and stated that the new evidence showed that Red Bull broke the rules in order to gain an advantage. He said that using the Red Bull’s sensor had benefited Ricciardo by 0.4 seconds per lap. He asked Red Bull if they would allow Mercedes to measure their own fuel flow, believing that they could have gone even faster if they had done so. He also asked if everyone should use their own scales in case the FIA’s scales are unsatisfactory.

Red Bull’s chief engineer Paul Monaghan then took to the floor and referenced an FIA statement which pointed out how Red Bull had used the FIA sensor in Malaysia, and how the margin of error was the same in Malaysia. Monaghan said that the two races are completely different as they were run in different weather conditions and temperatures.

The FIA asked Monaghan if his team directly measured the flow rate. He said that Red Bull do not directly measure the flow, but use the opening time of the injectors, injection quantity, fuel density and fuel temperature to calculate the flow, which Monaghan says leaves a margin for error of one percent.

The FIA then asked Monaghan why Red Bull accepted the reading from the FIA sensor during the Safety Car period but not before or after said period. Monaghan said that the inconsistencies of the sensor led to the replacement of the first sensor with a second one on Saturday – which then failed to emit a signal. This prompted the team to then start taking their own measurements. He said that on the Sunday they fitted the first faulty sensor and that they then noticed that it was giving incorrect readings, which is why they used their own measurements again during the race. Monaghan says that the team is allowed to use their own data if the sensor fails, in accordance with FIA rules. He also returned to the topic of using the FIA flow rate sensor in Malaysia, and said that a 20 degrees difference in water temperature greatly affected the temperature of the injected fuel and subsequently the flow rate.

Mercedes’ Lawyer, Paul Harris, stood to cross-examine Monaghan and asked him why Red Bull didn’t use their third flow rate sensor, the one they fitted in the replacement chassis. Monaghan blamed the margin of error on the FIA sensors, or the “correction factor” as he referred to it.

“Suppose that the sensor provides incorrect values that are adjusted by the correction factor,” he says. “Then the delta would still have been the same between the FIA measurement and our measurements over the entire race. On lap 37 we made a significant step in this delta. Though the engine data, such as exhaust temperature, lambda value, ignition timing and fuel temperature are the same.” This, Monaghan says, proves that the FIA data from the race was incorrect.

Renault’s David Mart is called to give evidence. He said that Renault thrice calculated the margin for error, using different temperatures each time, and the margin for error was 0.4%. However, he did follow this up by saying that in extreme conditions, the margin for error could have reached 1.5%.

Mercedes’ Paul Harris reminded Mart that the FIA told teams to use a correction factor of 1.015% and that doing so would get rid of any incorrect readings. The FIA then asked Mart why he had not used the correction factor, to which he replied that the legality of the car lay with Red Bull. When asked if he had his doubts, Mart replied that he did, but added that everyone had doubts as they were using brand new regulations.

The Red Bull lawyer stood up and asked Mart if anyone in the team had changed the input parameters in order to affect the fuel flow reading, to which Mart said no one had done so. Newey then stood in and explained that he doubted the reading on the FIA meter, and had he used the meter, the team would have been severely affected performance wise.

Adrian Newey gave evidence today. Photo (c) Red Bull/Getty Images

Adrian Newey gave evidence today. Photo (c) Red Bull/Getty Images

Paul Harris then quizzed Newey, putting a hypothetical scenario where a rival team ignored the reading of the FIA meter and used their own readings. Newey responded by saying that if that team had sufficient evidence to prove that the FIA meter was faulty, then that would be acceptable in his eyes. Harris then asked if Newey would believe it if they challenged the FIA scales, to which Newey said he would if the measurement error was big enough.

The FIA’s engine expert, Fabrice Lom, then took to the stand. He explained the differences between the FIA fuel sensor and how the teams measure the fuel flow using their own calculations. He explained why there might sometimes be deviations between the FIA reading and the measurement by teams. Then he stated that his opinion was that the Red Bull third sensor worked flawlessly.

Lom then explained that the sensor in Malaysia and the sensor from Melbourne gave the similar readings, the only difference due to the different weather conditions. He argued that if the two sensors gave almost the same readings, then it could be assumed that the one in Melbourne worked too. The Red Bull lawyers disagreed with this assumption. They asked Lom how the FIA sensor changed it’s deviation from 1.3% to 1.8% on lap 37 of the Australian GP, to which he said a sensor could deviate slightly but will inevitably return to the correct reading.

Lom presented the court with a chart showing Ricciardo’s lap-by-lap fuel flow. He, again, points out that Ricciardo was only within the limits between laps 13 and 17, and that in the 12 laps beforehand, he was using between 100.5kg and 100.8kg per hour (above the 100kg per hour limit). This increased to 101.1kg while he defended against McLaren’s Kevin Magnussen in the final four laps. He then showed the figures if the correction factor was not applied, and these figures spanned from 99.02kg to 103.37kg.

The Red Bull lawyer stood to ask Lom how many sensors have failed. Lom replies with three in Melbourne, four in Sepang and five or six in Bahrain, adding that the reasons for the failures in Bahrain have been diagnosed and fixed. He further explained that the sensors either transmitted correctly or did not transmit at all. Lom was asked about the number of false correction factors. He said that they were 5 percent in Melbourne and 1.5 percent in Sepang. He went on to mention that – in some cases – while installing the sensors, the threads for the fuel feed lines was drilled so deep that the measurement section was damaged.

Ali Malek brings up an issue in Bahrain where Toro Rosso were forced to reduce the flow rate by 2.9% to stay within the rules due to a sensor alarm in qualifying. This incident was subsequently made redundant as an argument as the FIA remind him that they have fixed the issues from Bahrain, which, in turn, were unrelated to the issues seen in other races.

After this, time was wasted as the two sides disagreed over the value of a technical directive and the possible errors in measurements of the FIA sensor. Red Bull then returned to the issue with the sudden increase of flow rate. Red Bull Team Principal Christian Horner presented Lom with diagrams of same, and Lom said that he could only see a short-term increase, not a general increase. Keeping with the tradition of arguing the same argument, the topic of discussion returned, again, to the sensor in Malaysia. The FIA argue that this proves that the fuel sensor worked fine in Australia while Red Bull disagree and point their finger at the warmer weather in Malaysia corrupting data to support that argument.

Christian Horner was there for Red Bull. Photo (c) Red Bull/Getty Images.

Christian Horner was there for Red Bull. Photo (c) Red Bull/Getty Images

Red Bull’s lawyer, Lazarus, then points out that although they exceeded the limit at times, overall they stayed below the required limit. Lom argued that this cannot be used as an acceptable justification, and that the teams must remain below 100kg/h at all times.

Evan Short then took to the stand for Mercedes. He immediately pointed out that a fuel sensor can measure fuel flow accurately while a team calculation can be, at best, an approximation. Red Bull accused Nico Rosberg of exceeding the fuel flow limit temporarily during Qualifying, which Short admitted had happened, but also said that the issue was rectified immediately.

Red Bull subsequently accused Short of doubting the expertise of their witness, Paul Monaghan, which Short denied. He clarified that he disagreed with Monaghan’s argument due to a personal experience which would contradict Monaghan’s viewpoint, but he did not doubt his expertise.

After a thirty minute lunch break, the court resumed and Malek once again gave Red Bull’s stance on the matter – that they did not cheat. He wished to express that his clients did not mean to undermine the authority of the FIA. He continued that they would only be doing so if the technical directive was a binding rule, but that this is not the case. Therefore, one can argue with the directive. Malek reminds the court that the rules allow the teams to put into use a back-up (i.e. the calculations done by themselves), should they feel that the FIA sensor has failed. He believes that the team has proven the failure of the sensor and the validity of their calculations. Malek also contested the accusation that Red Bull were simply doing what they wanted to, despite the rules. Red Bull’s other lawyer, Lazarus, pointed out that the FIA have failed to prove that the FIA sensor was working correctly.

Lazarus then criticised Lom for being unable to explain the reason for the sudden increase of flow rate on lap 37, putting it to Lom that he has only offered speculation. Furthermore, he revealed that Red Bull hold reservations over the accuracy of the FIA calculations, saying that they have only used the fuel flow peaks, and not the averages. This, Red Bull believe, would naturally increase the apparent flow rate, rather than the true flow rate, especially given the Safety Car period.

Sebastian Bernard, a lawyer for the FIA, took over from Red Bull. He opened by addressing Red Bull’s belief that technical directives are not rules. While he accepted that they are not rules, he pointed out that they are there to clarify the rules for everyone so that everyone is on a level playing field. He jokingly pointed out that if everyone was to interpret the technical directions in different ways, they would be in the wild west. He asked why Red Bull have the right to go against the FIA while the other teams stay within the rules. Bernard continueed to say that if they wish to contest the FIA rules, they must bring absolute proof. He said that Red Bull’s argument so far has not convinced them. He closed his argument by saying that teams cannot pick and choose what rules to play by. If the FIA feel the need to issue a directive, he says, then it must be important and must apply to everyone.

Mercedes’ Lawyer, Paul Harris, again accused Red Bull of defying the instructions of the officials. This, they claim, has defied the idea of fair competition. They remind Red Bull that they called for severe punishment for Mercedes at the FIA International Tribunal over the tyre-gate scandal last June. He mentioned the BAR two-race ban for running with illegal cars in 2005. In that case, BAR blamed a software issue, as Red Bull are doing now. For this reason, Harris called for a stricter penalty, especially if Red Bull are to break the rules again.

This brings the hearing to a close as FIA Secretary General Jean-Christophe Breillat announces that the judgement may not be delivered until tomorrow evening. Here is the verdict.

Additional reporting by Michael Schmidt and Bild.

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Domenicali Resigns As Ferrari Team Principal

(c) Scuderia Ferrari

(c) Scuderia Ferrari

Stefano Domenicali has resigned from his role at Ferrari Team Principal today after a poor start to the 2014 season.

Domenicali, who has been the team principal at the Scuderia since 2008, has only one World Constructors’ Championship (2008, due to the fact that McLaren had their points stripped) to the team, and has never had a driver win the Drivers’ Championship.

When Fernando Alonso was brought in for the 2010 season, he was expected to bring Ferrari back to winning ways, but has yet to do so. This left huge pressure on Domenicali to boost the team’s results. Even drafting in Pat Fry in 2010 and James Allison in 2013 had no effect and Ferrari endured an uncompetitive start to their 2014 campaign.

The unexpected appearance of Ferrari Chairman Luca di Montezemolo at the Bahrain Grand Prix hinted towards change in the team and Domenicali subsequently resigned from his role.

“There are special moments that come along in everyone’s professional life, when one needs courage to take difficult and very agonising decisions,” Domenicali said. “It is time for a significant change.

“As the boss, I take responsibility – as I have always done – for our current situation. This decision [to leave] has been taken with the aim of doing something to shake things up and for the good of this group of people that I feel very close to.

“With all my heart, I thank all the man and women in the team, the drivers and the partners for the wonderful relationship we have enjoyed over all these years. I hope that very soon, Ferrari will be back where it deserves to be.

“I only regret that we have been unable to harvest what we worked so hard to sow in recent years.”

Marco Mattiacci  has been announced as the new Team Principal and will be at the Chinese Grand Prix with the team this weekend.

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VIDEO: Kamui Kobayashi Drives The Caterham 620R At Silverstone

This is definitely one of the perks of being a Formula One driver. In this video, Caterham driver Kamui Kobayashi drives the incredible Caterham 620R at Silverstone. I hope, for Kamui’s sake, that this is the company car.

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American F1 Team Given Green Light For 2015

An American Formula One team has been given the green light by the FIA today.

The team will be owned by Gene Haas who co-owns the Stewart-Haas team in Nascar, alongside Tony Stewart.

Following HRT’s demise at the end of 2012, the Formula One grid was reduced to eleven teams. The FIA subsequently reopened the slot for a twelfth team, with Haas jumping at the opportunity.

Today Haas’ application was officially accepted into the 2015 Championship.

“Obviously, we’re extremely pleased to have been granted a Formula 1 licence by the FIA,” Haas said today. “It’s an exciting time for me, Haas Automation and anyone who wanted to see an American team return to Formula 1.

“Now, the really hard work begins. It’s a challenge we embrace as we work to put cars on the grid. I want to thank the FIA for this opportunity and the diligence everyone put forth to see our licence application come to fruition.”

An American F1 team, USF1, was accepted by the FIA for the 2010 season when HRT, Caterham and Marussia also made their debuts, but ran out of money and failed to make take their place on the grid.

There are two American drivers currently in F1′s primary feeder series, GP2. Alexander Rossi drives with Caterham Racing and works as a reserve driver with the F1 team of the same name. Conor Daly, son of Irish driver Derek Daly, also competes in GP2 for Hilmer Motorsport.

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