Hippo’s View From The Waterhole: Focus on Red Bull

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Speculating about the Red Bull Miracle

It’s your decision – either Red Bull staged the biggest comeback since Lazarus or they are blatant cheats. The answer to that will be a good indicator of peoples level of pain in the rear end. Well it will certainly be more accurate than the FIA’s shambolic fuel flow sensors. Those who were jealous of Red Bull’s success over the last few years will come out with tar and feathers declaring that they’ve known all along that Red Bull were nefarious cheats, while those, who care for more than just who wins the race, will be forced to question the FIA’s wisdom, or lack thereof.

But let’s start at the beginning. Shortly after the last Bahrain test, which ‘culminated’ in Sebastian Vettel not even managing a single lap, the news broke that Red Bull was dispatching a crack team to Viry to fix Renault’s buggy software. If Friday was anything to go by, the operation had been a spectacular success with Daniel Ricciardo and Sebastian Vettel running lap after lap. Both of them did more laps in the 90 minute sessions than they managed on any testing day within the allotted 8 hours.

It was rather obvious that there were two very different stories to be witnessed in the Red Bull camp. While Red Bull and their sister team, Toro Rosso, were racking up the miles, Caterham and Lotus were practically no-shows. Was there some villanous trickery at work? Did Red Bull – heaven forbid – keep their shiny new software to themselves? I spent a 3 hour/6 beer train ride on Friday cackling over hilarious posts in the Autosport forums where people were condemning Red Bull for not sharing their hot-fix with Lotus and Caterham. And I thought I was the one who grew up in a communist country!

Now, lets start with the fact that we don’t know which software Caterham and Lotus were running. They just might be crap at developing their cars. Both have no money and Lotus lost just about everyone, who could write his own name, to other teams. But let’s pretend it is as the conspiracy theorists say and Renault was not allowed to upload the hot-fix made by the Red Bull crack team to any car that sported a forklift nose or enormous barn door sized side pods. So bleedin’ what? Do they really expect Red Bull to share their own work with the only team that could routinely challenge them last year?

Lotus and Caterham have an engine supply contract with Renault – not Red Bull – so if Red Bull fixes a broken product for themselves they are not required to fix it for Lotus also. They shared it with their baby sister, but not with the jock from across the street – shocking!

It all became academic anyway as not too far into FP3 Vettel’s ‘Suzie’ seemed to develop a bad case of PMS, while Danny boy’s car seemed perfectly fine. It took about 0.5 seconds for the first forum troll posting that RB had accidentally mixed up the cars and Vettel had gotten the one meant for Danny, but that’s just their way of relieving pain in a nether region. The truth is probably much more mundane. The software had failed, so RB’s code monkeys were not so brilliant after all?

That’s where speculation meets my experiences in this area. I once had to rewrite the firmware for a moisture sensor in an acetylene production line and it took me 6 weeks to do it. Now, I’m probably a pitiful script kid in comparison to the sort of talent RB has on their payroll, but nobody – short of Jesus Christ – could have come up with a final software solution for Renault in 2 weeks. What RB have done is provided what geeks like me call a ‘quick and dirty hack’.

A ‘QDH’ is a piece of software in which you take deliberate short cuts, relying on parameters always being in a reasonable range. Let me give you an example: If you write software that takes date values as an input, you have to check, if the date entered is actually valid. If you don’t some user will make your carefully crafted program go bluescreen, because he entered the 41st March 1793 as the birth date of your latest new recruit. To avoid that, you have to build in a lot of checks.

You need to check the plausibility of the year, to make sure that your system doesn’t think your new secretary is 465 years old. Then you check that the month is one of the twelve known to man and then you have to write a whole host of code to check how many days are allowed for the entered month, which gets a tad messy for February as you need to calculate whether the year in question was a leap year, so you need to allow for the 29th Feb.

As you can see, just asking the user or an automated interface for a date value can soon turn into quite some work, which is a bit impractical if you have to come up with a solution on an insane schedule. So the first thing you drop is all the messy malarkey to check February dates, as there are only 2 in some cases 3 values that could break your program. You drop the year plausibility check and probably only test if 0<month<13 and 0<day<32. That way you finish a routine in a fraction of the time it would have taken to do it absolutely perfectly. You still catch a lot of wrong inputs, but not all of them.

That’s what I suspect has happened with the software the Red Bull guys came up with. It was hurriedly produced and sorted out a lot of problems, but it also has pitfalls because they took some short cuts. A final solution will likely take a lot more time. If the RB crack team does it anywhere close to how we went about things, there is already part of the team working on a more elaborate version of the software that won’t be blown up by the 31st February, but that solution will need time and until then they’ll have to use the one that works reasonably well, but might go medieval on you for a simple wrong date.

Why the FIA are Blithering Idiots

Of course a discussion about Red Bull’s weekend cannot be complete without having a look at Daniel Ricciardo being DSQ’ed for allegedly running more than 100kg/h consistently.

Now call me mathematically inept, but doesn’t ‘consistently’ imply that he did it with some sort of regularity. And wouldn’t that imply that running at the upper end of the scale consistently would have drained the tank prematurely? They only have 100kg to begin with. And why do we need that limit in the first place? They have 100kg of fuel, let them decide how fast they use it.

There have been reports all through winter testing – and the Melbourne free practices – that the FIA homologated sensors were delivering faulty, or at least unreliable, data as the sensor units turned out to have a rather unacceptable range of error. You could run 98 kg/h or 102 kg/h and still be legal, depending on how wonky your fuel flow meter is.

The FIA reacted by softening measurement from 10Hz to 5Hz and told teams to run significantly below 100 kg/h (by offset) because they couldn’t measure and govern their own limits as prescribed by the rules. But here’s the kicker – they would still decide the legality of a car by equipment proven to be unreliable.

Unless I’ve missed a news item that said that the FIA HQ has been moved from France to North Korea, such an approach is utterly unacceptable. Their own rules say that fuel flow is limited to 100kg/h and the teams have sensors in place to make sure they stay below that limit. But according to the rules, only the reading of the FIA sensor counts, whether it is accurate or not. What that means is – in everyday terms – the police can fine the raw stuffing out of you, if their wonky speed camera said you were speeding – even if your accurately measuring speedo says you weren’t.

I may be weird, but am I alone in thinking you can’t enforce a limit if you have no reliable way to measure it? Mercedes and other teams did what all blithering idiots tend to do – they blindly followed the fatwa from the authorities and ran lobotomised cars. Mercedes ran their cars to a limit of 96 kg/h, to avoid going over the limit, even if the sensor had a Mรผnchhausen moment again.

Why? The rules say you are allowed 100kg/h and Red Bull insisted on doing what the rules say (minus the relying on a dodgy sensor bit). They were told during the race by Charlie Whiting that they should apply an offset that would effectively neuter their engine, because the FIA sensor said they had a flow above 100 kg/h, even though their own – calibrated – equipment said they were below, so they ignored that.

The fact that they didn’t black-flag the #3 car despite seeing that Red Bull igored their friendly warnings, could mean Whiting and co weren’t so sure about their own measurements either. As the gavel man said in his news item – this whole shebang seems about something bigger. Red Bull already ‘enjoy’ the same popularity like Muhammar Al-Gaddhafi for winning a wee bit to much in the past, so they know there’s a sh*tstorm heading their way, yet they took the risk of further alienating the masses. I doubt they did it for a 2nd place.

Formally the FIA are right. The rules say that only the FIA sensor reading counts, so in essence if yours delivers wrong data, you have to be an obedient peasant and accept being bent over the proverbial barrel but in terms of common sense their reasoning is ridiculous. They fatwa’ed a rule allowing a certain fuel flow limit, but the equipment to monitor it is faulty. A team might be forced to run at 95 kg/h because the sensor adds 5 imaginary kilos, while another runs 105 kg/h, because the sensor says only 100. So basically a 3rd party piece of equipment decides how much of your cars potential you’re allowed to use. Now I know why India disappeared from the calendar. They would’ve imposed a gambling tax.

In any scenario decided by common sense, the FIA would have acknowledged the problems with the sensors and waived the fuel flow rule, especially since it is completely unnecessary. The fuel is limited to 100kg for the race. Running at 100kg/h would drain the tank mucho prematurely and even the shortest race on the calendar is longer than 75 minutes, so on average you have to stay significantly below 100 kg/h anyway. So why in the name of all that’s holy did they introduce an arbitrary, non-enforceable rule on fuel flow? As if double points, hideous cars and ridiculously wussy sound wasn’t enough to ruin F1, they’ve added another layer of ridiculous brain-fade to it.

46 responses to “Hippo’s View From The Waterhole: Focus on Red Bull

  1. Excellent article, Tubs, and one that I mostly agree with…

    Just a couple of points:
    “Consistenly” does indeed mean with some kind of regularity – but that could just be “every time you go above 90% of max revs in 8th gear”, whereas the rest of the time, logically, all engines need less fuel. Thus, no it doesn’t mean they’d run out of fuel early – especially with the aborted start and safety car.

    Second, the rule (whether smart or stupid IS enforceable – just not by the FIA’s meters yet!! (Yes, I know that’s what you meant) When (if?) the flow meters become sufficiently accurate, they can enforce it. In the meantime, maybe the FIA should be looking at homologating the team’s own devices – after all, there’s only 3 engine suppliers so it can’t be hard…

    All a bit of a dog’s breakfast, if you ask me.

    Oh, btw – I fall on the side of Lazarus – but I also think that RB were being extremely foolish in their approach to the FIA and, effectively, knew full well they were breaking the rules. If they hadn’t been advised several times during the race, they might have an argument. As it is, I can’t see them winning the appeal. But then this is F1 and anything can happen, as we’ve already seen with the flow-o-meters. ๐Ÿ™‚

    • Agree 100% with you Tim Burgess

      I think most people let their “feeling sorry for Ricciardo” (I do also) cloud their “JUDGE”ment (pun intented lol) it is about the rule as it stands being broken on a number of accosions after they have been warned a number of times.

      The fuel flow rule is there for a valid reason…
      The new rule has been drafted into the technical regulations as the FIA looks to make Formula One more fuel efficient. Not having it will NOT force teams to be more efficient … in the end we will benefit from these new technologies developed in F1.

      Regarding the accuracy of the sensors, yes there seemed to be a problem across the board with sensors and the FIA instructed teams to compensate for this. All the other teams adhered to this instruction… it was just Red Bull said “piss off”. That to me is arrogant and they full of it. No other team went down the Red Bull route and deliberately ignored the sensor reading.

      Instead, the teams have accepted that when they were alerted to the possibility the sensor could exceed the 100kg per hour rate at peak flow, irrespective of what their own data says, they had to peg back their rate “slightly” to ensure there is no breach of the rules.

      The rules whether we agree (understand) it or not is the rules, who is RBR to decide bugger the FIA we will do as we like? It was a stupid move from them end of it. I doubt that the variance was as big as some believe it to be… if we go by the suppliers stats on accuracy the tolerances is minute … I also don’t believe the unit was completely “buggered”.

      Sensor supplier Gill Sensors claims that 52 per cent of its meters are with a 0.1 per cent accuracy reading, with 92 per cent within 0.25 per cent.

      Red Bull’s rivals are adamant that teams have to put their faith in the governing body.

      Ferrari team principal Stefano Domenicali said: “We need to rely on the fact that it is a situation that is well managed by the FIA, and that is it to be honest.
      “We have the FIA that will do their job and I am sure there will not be a problem at all.”
      Mercedes motorsport boss Toto Wolff said: “I think it is just all the systems have to work together.
      “The FIA is obviously controlling fuel flow and checking with all the teams, and it is a question of learning by doing it between the FIA and the teams.
      “The fuel flow meter is an FIA system, and this needs to be integrated in the cars.

  2. Well, I think it all comes down not to the accuracy of the sensor, but rather whether it’s consistent within all cars. It doesn’t matter if it reads 100kg/h, but rather if it is actually 95kg/h, all teams should be bound to that limit.

    In finding the consistency between all 22 sensors spread throughout the grid, then a penalty for someone running over the limit is a straightforward issue.

    To me, that’s why they took so long to issue the penalty.

    The speed sensor analogy you brought up is perfect, because it doesn’t matter if my speedometer says 55 and yours 65. If the radar catches us over ITS limit, then we will be fined no matter what.

    Now, you can discuss whether the nominal value (100kg/h) indicated by the sensor is actually 100kg/h in real time, but that to me doesn’t nullify the penalty.

    • “The speed sensor analogy you brought up is perfect, because it doesnโ€™t matter if my speedometer says 55 and yours 65. If the radar catches us over ITS limit, then we will be fined no matter what. ”

      I have to disagree. In Germany, if you get a speeding fine and appeal it, the police has to prove that the speed camera provided an accurate measurement. If they can’t, the fine will be nullified. The same should apply here. FIA should prove that the readings >100kg/h mean that the fuel flow was actually >100 kg/h. If they can’t prove that, they don’t have a case.

      • I hear you.

        Well. Then I think all speed cameras are dodgy, at least in Brazil. Or rather, my speedometers are.

        I constantly drive cars which speedometers does not match the speed showing in the radars, sometimes over 10%.

        But then again, I’m talking about street cars, not F1-pinnacle-of-motorsports-cars. Let alone the speed camera sensors. What I am sure though is that, unless the speed is read way over or under a 10% margin (a notably discrepant reading), I don’t stand a chance in appealing the fine.

        I suppose I should blame the car manufacturers then.

  3. The engines are direct injection so as long as you have correctly calibrated things you can precisely control the amount of fuel going into the engine pretty much on the fly, so in theory the engine part of the power train is not using a massive amount of fuel, hence better fuel efficiency is achieved. The 100kg/h limit is probably to stop teams from burning more fuel to create hotter exhaust gasses which the turbo and energy recovery systems can harvest more energy from, thus gaining a power advantage over other teams. What they might do is save fuel in the early stages and then boost the fuel rate to 100kg/h in the later stages.

    Cheating (or the PC term sailing close to the wind where the rules are concerned) is a traditional part of F1, Red Bull have just been better at it than the other teams, probably down to Newey and the team he’s built around him. What we are probably seeing here (as I think the judge pointed out) is Red Bull attempting to create a controversy over the fuel flow monitoring in order to get them scrapped so they can boost the power in the Renault power train given Renault can’t really do much in the way of power train development for the time being. I doubt that Mercedes and Ferrari will want that to happen, so we might be in for a classic F1 bun fight with the so far inept Todt caught in the middle with Bernie stirring the pot (unless he’s removed from the picture due to his woes in Germany).

    I don’t have much in the way of hate towards Red Bull, other than Vettel lacking in the humility department at times, but you can say the same about Alonso etc. Red Bull are on the back foot so the natural inclination is to pile pressure onto the FIA to change the rules so they get an advantage aka the tyre change last year that suited Red Bull. Only this time I don’t think it’s going to work as well as they hope. If Mercedes and Ferrari team up to nobble Red Bull.

    If Todt wants to send a message of intent at the next race i.e. Red Bull ignore warnings about fuel flow rates again, then the black flag should be used. But I doubt he’s going to do that. He’s been far too hands off in terms of F1. I miss Mad Max sometimes.

    • “Cheating (or the PC term sailing close to the wind where the rules are concerned) is a traditional part of F1.”
      Are you suggesting this as something of which we should all be proud…?

      • Nope, just the reality of F1. View F1 in a cynical light and things tend to slot into place while some of the traditional journalists spin yarns to keep their access to the F1 circus.

    • Only 70% of fuel is directly injected. The other 30% is introduced with the charge air, I belive this is due to it being difficult the inject the whole 100% of fuel into the cylinder in a way that allows it create a fuel/air mix which is even throughout the space in the cylinder, this in turn causes an uneven burn, which can cause problems with some parts geting hotter than others and thermal damage/burning to the piston head.
      So its not that easy to measure the fuel being supplied to the engine at the cylinder head. Plus, as we all know, teams will do pretty much what ever it takes (even to the point of stepping over the line of the regs) to gain a performance advantage, so why on earth would the FIA want to use a ‘team specific’ mechanism for flow measurement, it would be incredibly hard to accept they are being 100% honest, especially as the FIA believed them to be over the limit with their own equipment. Had RedBull been able to prove categorically that their flow reading had tied in with the FIA’s on previous occasions, showing that when the sensor worked correctly it gave the same reading as the internal model, but I guess they couldn’t and then we fall to the bit about not doing what the FIA instructed, when possibly as many as 10 of the other 11 teams did. This is RedBull doing what they do best – propaganda – the head line space that would have been used on Monday morning by the papers and internet services must be priceless, I mean, how much would it cost to have your company name in 3cm high letters on the front page of a newspaper? A lot I should imagine, yet RedBull got it for free! Now that is how make the most for the marketing opportunities Formula 1 can offer.

  4. Its a bit like the umpire giving you the finger, out lbw when you know that you had a massive inside edge! But the umpire’s decision is final, unless you have DRS ๐Ÿ˜›

    On the one hand, when the FIA says you’re not complying, reduce your flow to comply and you don’t, you will get the book thrown at you. On the other hand, it is arbitrary and creates an unequal playing field thus robbing you of a fair chance at a race win. Typical F1, where everyone underachieves and bumbles along and fans have to sigh and wonder how long they have to put up with this nonsense.

  5. Am I missing something here? Why not just limit the cars to 100kg of fuel, plus extra for getting to the grid, the formation lap and the lap back to the paddock after the race? Then it is equal for everyone. How the teams use that fuel is up to them. Isn’t this sport supposed to be about innovation?
    Isn’t this rule just an added complication, especially as it appears the fuel flow cannot easily be checked?

    • This is about max fuel flow, not total fuel. By turning up max fuel you increase horsepower. FIA are concerned about that so they limit max fuel flow.

    • Already the Red Bull propaganda is working. It is checked within and accurate within a small tolerance and is the same for everyone. Red Bull were significantly over the sensors reading of what was the limit….

      • That’s not what MST is reporting – they had already flagged their sensor as faulty after FP3, but were forced to reinstall it.

        • OK, I understand that. But why didn’t they run under protest? That way it would obvious to all there was disagreement about the unit’s accuracy.

  6. It smacks of FIA BS if you ask me, just jin the bloody 100kg/h and leave it as a flat 100kg. RB are quite lucky it was Ricciardo, they will tend to have more public support against the FIA, if it had been Vettel, we’d all be cackling our hands and muttering cummupence conspiritorially and condeming them irregardless.

    I will add: “Mercedes and other teams did what all blithering idiots tend to do โ€“ they blindly followed the fatwa from the authorities and ran lobotomised cars” I suspect this had far more to do with Mercedes confidence in their car, and desire to make hay whilst the sun shines, if they had been uncompetative, it may have been different. As it was, they could have run at 95 and all the teams at 100 and still been a country mile ahead.

  7. First off, great article and examples!

    I am all for removing that artificial power limit. Without the fuel flow restrictions, we could see serious 1000 Hp monsters in qualifying. However, as things stand, I’m curious about the actual magnitude of the disadvantage, and here’s why:

    The manufacturer, Gill, claims that half of the sensors are accurate within ยฑ0.1%. At worst, the loss of power from the loss of 0.1% fuel flow adds 0.090 sec to a 90 second lap. In fact, it has to be less than 0.090 sec because nobody can use 100% power 100% of the time.

    I understand that 0.090 sec is huge, and teams spend millions to achieve that improvement. Could they purchase 10 of these sensors and pick the most favorable ones? How good are the sensors in the real-world application on a hot, vibrating F1 car undergoing 4G accelerations?

    On another note – how does FIA monitor the power supplied by the MGU-K? Electrical power is Current * Voltage, and those sensors have their own tolerances. Are they more accurate than 0.1%?

  8. OK, I’ll play. W/R/T tickets the analogy is you get pulled over by an officer and given a ticket for speeding. You can then go to court and dispute the ticket. What Red Bull did was refuse to pull over. BIG difference.

    The regulations allow for an appeal to the FIA and for the substitution of different methods of monitoring should the sensor be shown to be faulty. AFAIK that appeal didn’t happen.

    OK, you’re a genius at programming but mathematically inept. For example, 3 laps in a row down the front straight your car can read 106 kg/sec but be fine in every other sector. That would be consistent and the TD would tell you to adjust your fuel flow accordingly.

    Although it was said upthread, I will say it again: What matters is that these devices are consistent among themselves. IF that is so, then the playing field is level and RB have no case whatsoever. IF not, then the FIA have a problem.

    • What would have been the use of complying with the TD decision even though you are 100% sure that the sensor is faulty? Ricciardo would have fallen back and finished at least 2 probably more places down. Had they be able to prove afterwards that the sensor was faulty, what would have been the point? They would have lost a 2nd place, one that they need with Merc so far ahead and one of them DNF’ed.

        • Not neccessarily. They can still appeal within 96 hours. If they were to prove that they’ve been at all times below the limit, FIA could still uphold the DSQ, but bout hand them every argument to fight the sensors and it would be a PR desaster as they would have told a team in contention for a posium to reduce fuel use despite them being perfectly within the limits. Dr. Marko would have a field-day with this.

          Check your email. I’ve sent some translated bit from MST. Those sensors look a wee bit less accurate and not everyone would be unhappy to see the sensors go ๐Ÿ˜‰

    • Another way of looking at the analogy is that the police in one state say their guns are only accurate to within 10% so the courts there rule that everybody must drive at least 10% under the speed limit to ensure they are compliant with them. And anyone exceeding this AS MEASURED BY THE POLICE GUNS will be prosecuted for speeding.

      Red Bull are currently the arrogant motorist who ignored these well-posted warnings and the right of that state to make its own laws, and so drove exactly at the speed limit relying on the accuracy of their own speedometer. And are now grumbling because they have received the ticket they were repeatedly warned that doing that speed would earn.

      • “Another way of looking at the analogy is that the police in one state say their guns are only accurate to within 10% so the courts there rule that everybody must drive at least 10% under the speed limit to ensure they are compliant with them. And anyone exceeding this AS MEASURED BY THE POLICE GUNS will be prosecuted for speeding.”

        And frankly, I’d say you’re idiots for accepting something like that. German speed guns also are only accurate to within 10%, which is why they have to subtract 10% from the measured value. Only when they can prove beyond doubt that you’ve been over the limit, including the devices maximum error, you can be fined. That’s called the difference between the people being in power and the authorities being in power ๐Ÿ˜‰
        It’s a cultural thing – we would never accept one man being able to overturn parliament decisions and we wouldn’t ever accept the authorities delegating their inaccuracies to the detriment of their subjects. I mean what’s the point of setting a limit and then strictly enforcing knowing that your devices are inherently inaccurate?

        • This isn’t real law; this is a small, carefully managed club. RB were told, they ignored. Oops! They are hoping that they will be supported by the popular argument of “natural justice”.

          If that prevailed, we’d have no double points……dream on… ๐Ÿ˜‰

          • In Germany it is real law. The police speed guns have a 10% tolerance, so that’s exactly what they have to subtract.

  9. Sorry, but your logic is all over the shop here. Firstly there’s the strawman notion that everyone falls into the Red Bull or FIA camps, thus by showing the FIA are idiots proving that Red Bull must have been right. Well, it’s not that simple. Red Bull could have – definitely have – pulled off a miracle AND they could be blatant cheats. And that I fear is the case. As indeed the FIA can have been morons without its putting Red Bull in the right.

    And note RB are not cheating in exceeding the peak flow rate (though all the nonsense about running out of fuel is another smokescreen – the times you need peak flow rate at high rpm are only a small fraction of each lap). Nobody is claiming that (another strawman). I have no doubt they stayed well within the legal rate and that will be their specious excuse for appealing. But as pointed out elsewhere they are not being disqualified for exceeding the legal flow rate – they are being disqualified for willfully disobeying the legal instructions of the supervising authority on the day – or “blatant cheating” as sportsmen usually call it. They were told what measured flow rate to limit themselves too and they chose to disobey.

    Yes, the FIA have been idiots. But Red Bull have been bigger ones. Referees make mistakes, but however unfair the penalty kick awarded, you can’t disobey the instruction to let the other team take one; however unfair the sending off, you have to leave the field; however blatantly the catch was taken, if the referee rules it not so, you have to play the game their way. The rules and authorities are there to be obeyed during the game. Bitch about them afterwards by all means; but don’t imagine you are above having to obey them.

    • If the disobedience would have been the reason they would have been blackflagged. A driver, who ignores a drive-through isn’t left in the race until the end – he’s blackflagged. If them ignoring the TD’s warning would be the reason, FIA would have breached their own rules by not having RICs car meatballed or blackflagged.

      • There’s no argument other than your (and others – perhaps including my) wishful thinking that the black flag would apply.

        I call “smoke screen” on the wallowing one!

    • “Flow meters? We ain’t got no flow meters! We don’t need no flow meters! I don’t have to show you any stinking flow meters!” ๐Ÿ˜‰

  10. Anyone know the difference in horsepower between 96kg/hr and 100kg/hr?

    And, yes, these regulations are a huge overcomplicated mess that truly does a disservice to the sport.

    True fans are angry, casual followers are turned off, and people seeing F1 for the first time aren’t impressed by the machinery.

  11. While I don’t usually read this guy’s articles – this one does require a response because it’s nonsense.

    The fuel sensor issue has nothing to do with software. The maximum fuel flow specifications are absolute based on two criteria: kg/hr above 10500 RPM, and an RPM based formula below 10500 RPM.

    Above 10500 RPM the formula is 100 kg/hr. That number is set. There’s no variance whether you are at 12000 RPM or 14000 RPM

    Below 10500 RPM the formula is 0.009 x RPM + 5.5. So if you were running at 9000 RPM it would be – 0.009 x 9000 = 81 +5.5 = 86.5 KGS/HR max

    8000 RPM would be 0.009 x 8000 =72 + 5.5 = 79.5 KGS/HR max

    The only thing that alters these numbers is the variance that the FIA allows in their sensor performance. Other than that the numbers are fixed. There’s no way to fiddle the numbers.

    The only thing Red Bull can argue is that the sensor was faulty. Nothing else.

    • And because you usually don’t read this guy’s articles and only come here to treat us to your cynic rants, you failed to notice that the first part about the software deals with Red Bull’s miraculous performance and reliability increase since the Bahrain test, which is completely unrealated to the sensor debacle ๐Ÿ˜‰

      • Your first paragraph, in fact the first line, links the two issues.

    • Thanks for the explanation on the max fuel flow formula. I knew it was variable by revs but didn’t know how it was calculated.

      • it was just posted on james allen’s website by Mark Gillian. This is very important because the cars don’t run at max speed or full throttle at all time, which is how they WOULD of eaten all the fuel if they did.

  12. First, my opinion is in F1 nothing happens by coincidence.

    So, I have wondered for a few days now. More fuel injection equals more cooling for the engine. Red Bulls pre season testing was dominated with cooling problems. Maybe Red Bull is required to use more than 100kg/hr above a certain rpm otherwise the engine would overheat. Using more fuel flow would allow Red Bull to cool the engine more on the straights and still allow the team to achieve the finish line within the fuel limt of 100 kg.

    For the conspiracy theorist amongst us: this might explain the performance difference between Vettel and Riccardo. May be Vettel’s car used the legal fuel flow limit and therefore started to overheat, which was prevented by safety checks causing loss of power/speed.

  13. I suspect that what Red Bull did, or attempted to do with the sensor, was to introduce harmonic distortion into the ultrasound wave, which is the method that Gill uses to measure fuel flow rates.

  14. I was impressed that RB improved as well as they did in Australia. But I still fail to understand what part of zero tolerance do people not understand that a car has to run in a way prescribed by the regulations (or Charlie).

    Common sense and the FIA โ€“ not two phrases that naturally go together!

  15. Earlier cases like the double diffuser don’t bode well for RB.
    I think the difference between this situation and speedcamera’s is that here we are at a closed circuit – and everybody knew about the speedcamera – and RB got a warning already during the race, but they chose to wait for their ticket. Hmmm.

    For the rest: disaster in more then one way.

  16. OK Fat Hippo, fair and well reasoned enough, would you care to comment on why the Working Group (They were still active) and all of the teams unanimously approved the fuel sensor rule in the first place?

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