Red Bull Racing team principal Christian Horner has warned that the team risks a repeat of the fate they suffered last time out at the Australian Grand Prix, after Daniel Ricciardo suffered more issues with his fuel flow rate sensor in practice for this weekend’s Malaysian Grand Prix.
Ricciardo was stripped of his second-placed finish at the season opener a fortnight ago after exceeding the FIA’s prescribed fuel flow rate limit. The team announced it would appeal the Australian’s disqualification, having opted to use its own reading after alleged faults reported with the FIA-sanctioned sensor.
More worrying still was another sensor issue on Ricciardo’s car during the morning’s practice session at the Sepang International Circuit.
“We had a signal failure on Daniel’s car this morning immediately, so we obviously have replaced that for this afternoon’s session,” Horner told reporters in the Sepang paddock today.
“Hopefully [the replacement sensor] is reading as per the fuel rail and will behave for the rest of the weekend. If it doesn’t then we find ourselves in an awkward situation but it’s one we obviously will try and work with the FIA with, but again you’re then faced with the same dilemma as Australia a couple of weeks ago.”
When asked if the team would opt to go their own way in the race and further risk more penalties from the FIA stewards, Horner hinted that this was a possibility, but only if the new sensor’s readings were wildly inaccurate.
“Firstly we need a sensor that is consistent with the fuel rail; that’s the most important factor” he said. “Thereafter we will have to make the judgement in the race depending on what the sensor is saying. If it’s 0.25%, you can live with it, if it’s 2% then you can’t live with it. It depends on what the value is.
“I think we’ll have the conversation with Charlie [Whiting, Formula 1 race director] before so that it will be clear if we do see a variance: ‘Right, what are we going to do?’ Hopefully we can agree something that is sensible.”
Red Bull Racing’s appeal will be heard by the FIA’s International Court of Appeal on April 14.