In 2014, Ed Bull Racing tested the resolve of the FIA to police the new fuel flow restrictions. Despite Charlie Whiting repeatedly telling the Milton Keynes team during the Australian GP that their fuel flow rates were too high – Red Bull declined to alter them.
The result? Daniel Ricciardo who finished the race P3 was kicked out of the event.
This year, the FIA has issued further technical directives which are aimed at clarifying regulations and how they will be policed. One of these was to ensure teams were not storing fuel the other side of the fuel flow measuring device to occasionally boost the engine performance with fuel flow rates higher than allowed.
The other was a new set of tests and measure to decide whether bodywork – particularly the front wings – were flexing illegally.
The FIA have now confirmed without prior notice, they performed a number of checks in Canada to see if teams were using illegal oils and lubricants.
Following free practice and qualifying at the Canadian Grand Prix, oil samples were taken from Lewis Hamilton and Sebastian Vettel’s and sent for forensic analysis.
A subsequent published FIA reports states: “The viscosity analysis showed a slight reduction in the viscosity of the oil in the main tank compared to that of the equivalent auxiliary tank in both cars and the differences can be attributed to fuel dilution, as expected under normal operating conditions.
“The Infra-Red analysis showed no significant difference between the oil in the main tank and the one in the equivalent auxiliary tank in both cars.
“Further the GC analysis showed no differences between the oil in the auxiliary tank and the one in the main tank for both cars. It also showed no difference between the oil in the main tank on Friday FP2 and Qualifying for both cars.
“Headspace analysis at 120°C confirmed the presence of fuel in the main tank oil samples (both FP2 and Qualifying), whereas none was detected in the auxiliary tank oil samples.
“This, again, is due to the expected fuel dilution of the used lube oils under normal operating conditions”
The thinking was that certain teams could be using the auxiliary oil tank to store a banned substance to occasionally boost the cars performance.
Shell provide Ferrari with a mobile laboratory at each F1 race weekend, where fuel samples are consistently checked.
The conclusion from the FIA is that they are satisfied there was no breach of the regulations.
“From these results, it can be concluded that the auxiliary oil tank is not being used to add performance-boosting components, either to the main oil tank or to the combustion chamber via the sump breather into the air intake,” the report added.
From time to time, the FIA does clamp down on F1 competitors pushing the boundaries of the regulations too far. Three years ago in Canada, Red Bull had to run their car with FIA tape over holes in the floor and of course both Newey RB10 designs were disqualified from qualifying in Abu Dhabi last year.