Grand Prix 2014 Australian Grand Prix Practice, Qualifying & Race Discussion

24 years old. Apprenticeship fully served, and finally arrived in one of the two seats that you've been working towards sitting in for years; that of the quadruple reigning champions. And to start with, your home Grand Prix. All you need is for the car and engine combination to maintain its previous stratospheric standards...

At time of going to press, testing has shown little sign that Daniel Ricciardo's dream will be realised. Although, it has to be said, at time of going to press, testing has not been quite as indicative as it could have been. We don't know who is going to be fast and we won't know until the lights go out in Melbourne.

Ricciardo's team-mate, paradoxical pantomime villain and quadrakaiser Sebastian Vettel is going for his tenth race win in a row, although early suggestions are that his assault on double figures might not be as straightforward as some of the previous nine. At Jerez, getting to double figures in terms of laps was a struggle..

Ricciardo will have to make sure he performs well this season to make sure he keeps the dream seat ahead of Daniil Kvyat, presuming the young Russian puts Jean-Eric Vergne's F1 career to sleep in a dignified and respectful ceremony.

Lotus, meanwhile, have very little money, necessitating the parachuting in of Scrooge El Duck as their driver to back up 2012's other panel-beater Romain Grosjean. Their nose looks rather different to anything else out there, and is closest in design to Williams' 2004 walrus nose. Which doesn't save the fears.

McLaren and Mercedes will back up their silver cars with a British World Champion, a Mercedes engine and a plethora of team principals. Button is, of course, the Melbourne specialist. They've got some running in at Jerez; it is unknown whether either are quick, but neither are stationary.

Fernando Alonso's Ferrari hegemony is about to be challenged by Kimi Raikkonen's arrival. Raikkonen won in Australia last year, so he's got form, and this race will be the first to tell us if Ferrari team radio this year will be a story of two passionate racers abusing their engineers, or two old men moaning about their backs.

Sauber's driver line-up is the most boring thing in Formula One since the US Grand Prix of 2005.

Nico Hulkenburg gets ready for his third consecutive last year before he is signed by a big team. A poor Force India will lead to the Hulk crying himself to sleep, while team-mate Sergio Perez comforts him with stories about how McLaren isn't all it's cracked up to be.

Williams have an interesting partnership; Felipe Massa released from the suffocating stranglehold of the Alonso anaconda and partnered with an almost-ripe pretender in Valteri Bottas. They have a new old livery, a new sponsor and new hope. Williams-Mercedes still doesn't sound right.

And, hey, the 2014 Australian Grand Prix has to be the best chance for Marussia and Caterham to actually score a point; only 9 of the other teams' engines need fall apart and 6 of them are made by Renault! Race finishing expert Max Chilton could be the beneficiary. Although he could actually finish 11th if there are only 10 finishers.

So, all that's left to talk about is Melbourne itself. Despite the rugby and cricket last year, the Grand Prix itself has been quite Pommie friendly in the last several years! The yellow lines at the edge of the track bordered by green walls have been a sign of F1 starting for a number of years, and there has been good racing backed up by poor reliability. And, boy, do we expect poor reliability...

Blog Zbod

Podium Finisher
No, it's being caught failing to comply with the rules, apparently after being told that they were not complying with the rules.
How do you reconcile that claim with the fact that the sensors themselves fail to comply with TR 5.10.4? 5.10.4 requires the device meet homologation standards. Homologation for the FMFS prescribes a maximum accuracy error of +0%/-1%. Some if not all of the Gill sensors fail to meet that standard. Ferrari, McLaren and now Porsche's factory LMP team all agree that Red Bull's analysis is correct.

If this is about rules, let's enforce ALL OF THEM, including TR 5.10.4. De-certify the Gill sensors, then invoke the use of the alternate sensor standard, as is provided for in Technical Directive 016-14. Require that the teams supply to the FIA the raw homologation testing data from their fuel injector sensors (which, as prescribed by 5.10.3, also are a homolgated device), and let the teams use a device that actually is TR-compliant to measure fuel flow.

After all, that is precisely why the FIA created 016-14 to begin with, and now they're too dense to use it to their advantage.


Lance Stroll Fan. Alfa Romeo Fan.
I reconcile it this way:
Sequence of events
  • FIA Rule: Use max. 100kg/h of fuel at any time
  • FIA Enforcement: Use FIA sensors
  • Teams: Your sensors don't work
  • FIA: OK, fair enough, use these offsets, should give an accurate reading
  • Other Teams: We'll do that, and run a little under just to be safe
  • Red Bull Racing: Can we use our own readings?
  • No
  • Well, we're going to anyway
  • From your telemetry, it is clear you have breached the rules. Here's a chance to remedy that
  • No
  • We'll just make sure.
  • We've spent 3 hours testing, it is still clear you have breached the rules. You're disqualified.
  • That's not fair


Champion Elect
A few comments from me, particularly about these quotes that I'm not sure have been talked about much:

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.

"Following the Australian Grand Prix last weekend, the FIA have provided Gill Sensors with positive feedback on the performance of the fuel-flow meter, confirming their confidence in the development and stating the meters meet the FIA's accuracy specification," said the company in a statement.

"Meter calibration is handled by the FIA's third-party calibration company.

AUTOSPORT understands that calibration problems came to light during pre-season testing regarding their accuracy.

"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. (Charlie Whiting)

It sounds like the issue is the calibration of the sensors, which is carried out by a third party, and not the sensors themselves. 92% of the sensors are rated for 0.25% accuracy so if you extrapolate then it should be very rare for one of them to not be accurate within 1%, which according to Blog Zbod above is the required accuracy in the technical regulations. Also, surely the FIA are testing each of these things and throwing away the bad ones before sticking them in the race cars? Right? However, a one percent deficit is huge in F1. If you take 1% off the performance of a car that's about 1 second per lap! Ok, the cars won't be running near the fuel flow limit most the time (under braking, in corners etc.) so the difference will be much less but is 1% really accurate enough?

My second question is how are the FIA calculating the overall weight of fuel used by the teams during the race (to make sure it's within the 100kg)? The teams leave the pits with more than 100kg to be able to complete the warm up and cool down laps, and presumably different teams will leave different safety margins. That must mean that the FIA can't be weighing the amount of fuel in all the tanks before and after the race, because that only gives you what has been used including the warm up/cool down laps, they'd have no way of knowing if the 100kg limit had been adhered to in the race itself. This leads me to believe that the fuel sensors are also being used to calculate the total amount of fuel used in the race as well as the instantaneous rate of consumption. I'm not sure whether this is really important, but it seems like another potential can of worms. Using the sensor will always be less robust than, for example, giving the teams a pre-weighed 110kg of fuel with which they have to leave the pits, finish the race and then get back to the pits.

Force India also had a problem with the fuel sensor on Perez's car and this sensor was legitimately declared as faulty by the FIA during the race and they were allowed to use their backup system. This is the correct way to go about decisions relating to the fuel sensor and if Red Bull couldn't prove to the FIA that the sensor in Ricciardo's car was faulty during the race they should have kept using it. Another comment from Charlie Whiting that I've read suggested it's pretty obvious when a sensor isn't working as it should.

Finally, why have the instantaneous limit at all? Just the overall 100kg limit should be enough. I have heard people try to explain this but frankly I'm yet to hear anything like a convincing argument. The general argument for it seems to be to try to create a more level playing field. Without the limit we could have teams consuming fuel at wildly different rates at different points in the race. Overtaking could become just about turning the engine up, but then the person defending can turn theirs up too and anything extra used would have to be reclaimed later on. But these sort of arguments can also be applied to things like tyre strategy. The teams could 5 stop at every race if they wanted but they don't because it's not the quickest way. They normally all end up on very similar strategies. Let them use how much fuel they want so long as they keep to the overall 100kg limit and they will probably all converge to similar strategies. We may see some curveballs thrown in, but that could be bloody exciting to watch anyway! Most importantly they wouldn't have to rely on any fuel sensors!

This ended up being much longer than I was expecting so I'll stop there!
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Champion Elect
Oh all powerful people of CTA. Is there any way we could move the fuel flow related posts from the last few pages to a new thread, or the V6 engines/2014 technical regulations thread? Seems a shame to have them hidden in the archive here when it's probably going to be an ongoing story for at least the next month or so. FB Brogan
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