I make no comment save it's internet derived no guarantee of total accuracy Red Bull hearing – a summary of the events Today sees a fascinating gathering at the FIA headquarters, as Red Bull and their lawyers, Mercedes represented by the enigmatic Paul (bulldog) Harris and the FIA and with legal team fight out the validity of the stewards decision to disqualify Red Bull’s Daniel Ricciardo from the season opening race in Melbourne. Lotus, Williams, McLaren, Force India attended but only as observers. The Court of Appeal in this case is composed of Harry Duijm (senior judge, Holland), Rui Botica Santos (Portugal), Philippe Narmino (Monaco), Antonio Rigozzi (Switzerland) and January Šťovíček (Czech Republic). Judge Duijm commenced proceedings and urged all parties not to waste time. “The facts are in the statements”, he states. The lawyers are asked to question the witnesses only to details that are not already listed in the files. This means we may not be party to everything the varies sides are saying, however the contentious matters should be cross-examined. Red Bull lawyer Ali Malek speaks first and questions whether the Stewards had the right to disqualify Daniel Ricciardo. He questions whether the FIA measurement was correct suggesting the FIA must prove that Ricciardo was at any time outside the required flow rate. Everything revolves around the sensor FF73 and Malek argues that Red Bull’s position is that it was not working correctly. He further argues that there is no rule which justifies the FIA sensor as the only usable measurement. FIA lawyer Sebastien Bernard interjects stating that there can be only one official measurement. “If everyone [each team] measures at will, because they are of the opinion, the official measurement is wrong, we have anarchy.” The FIA representative explains how the calibration of the FIA sensor works. In a test, the measurements are established and any errors are provided for with a correction factor. Only this creates equal conditions for all parties involved. Sebastian Bernard argues, the deviations on Sunday were exactly the same on the sensor which Red Bull had installed on Friday. Hence there was no reason for Red Bull to defy the instruction to operate the same correction factor. Further, with the exception of 5 laps, Ricciardo’s car was consistently above the 100 kgs/ph limit as evidenced by the Gill sensor. However, at times Red Bull increased the fuel flow rate, to around 104kgs/ph. Under the safety car the rate fell as low as 95% of the maximum. Interestingly, later in the proceeding Red Bull made a minimalist effort to argue the flow rate across the entire race was legal. The fact that it dropped during the safety car period would have assisted in making that possible whilst retaining 2nd place from Magnussen. Bernard for the FIA questions why Ricciardo’s car only ran to the correct fuel flow rate during the period behind the safety car, no satisfactory reply is forthcoming. The Mercedes attack dog enters the fray. He states Mercedes calculations indicate that by ignoring the FIA instruction, Red Bull had gained an advantage of 0.4 seconds per lap. Harris continues by dismissing Red Bull’s actions as arrogant. “Red Bull believe their measurement is better than that of the FIA?. It is not even a physical measurement, but a software model”. Harris suggests Red Bull are motivated by what suits them best and not what is proper and fair. Paul Harris observes that if Mercedes had applied Red Bull’s philosophy, “we could have gone even faster in these circumstances. And what happens next? Should everyone be allowed to use their own measurement model when they are not satisfied with the FIA measures?” Paul Monaghan, Red Bull engineer takes the stand and agrees with the previous statements, that by ignoring the FIA instructions, Ricciardo’s car ran around 0.4 seconds a lap quicker. He presents the argument that all the engine data in FP1 on 2 separate laps gave identical readings, yet the fuel flow sensor gave two different readings. One read 1.2% different from Red Bulls algorithmic calculations and the second time 1.3% difference. He argues this should not happen. Given the same engine data, the fuel flow rate should be the same. The Red Bull man then claims that the team did not need to ignore the FIA directives in Malaysia due to the temperature differences between there and at the Australian GP – hence the teams calculations in Sepang revealed there was no need to exceed the FIA regulated fuel flow rate. The FIA representative asks Monaghan whether Red Bull are in fact measuring the flow of fuel directly. Monaghan denies this stating “it is a calculation based on differing measurements which include the amount of time the fuel injectors are open, the injection quantity, fuel density, and fuel temperature.” Monaghan claims that this measurement has an accuracy range of plus and minus one percent. Mercedes lawyer Harris interjects. “So Red Bull present figures of a computing model and data – not a direct measurement. Nobody knows what or why data is entered into the model.” He summarises, to agree a process like this and all the underlying assumptions team by team would be impossible for the FIA. Horner sits apparently disinterestedly fiddling with his smart phone. Monaghan is asked why the team did not use the spare sensor they had available in Australia. He initially just restates the Red Bull position on sensors being temperamental. When pressed by Mercedes Paul Harris, he reveals that this sensor had been fitted to the spare chassis, which was flown back to the UK during the weekend. Harris acerbically asks, “and no one thought to remove it?” It then becomes apparent that on lap 37, Red Bull increased further the fuel flow rate into the engine. When questioned Monaghan replied that the conditions had changed and their calculations would now allow even more fuel to be used to stay within the 100kgs/ph for the entire race. David Mart, a Renault engineer who works with the Red Bull team is called. He explains it was not his decision to refuse the FIA request to reduce the fuel flow as the car is legally Red Bull’s. He also suggests the offset requested by the FIA was not applied to the fuel flow calculations. Newey interjects, taking responsibility for the team’s defiance, stating he made the decision. It also becomes apparent that prior to the race, Red Bull had been given an offset calculation to programme into the sensor. This was not done. In his defence, Newey states he told FIA representative, Fabrice Lom, prior to the race he had doubts over the calculations. Mercedes Paul Harris quizzes the Red Bull guru asking if any other team refused to run the FIA fuel flow rates, would that be reasonable. “If they have plausible evidence, yes”, was Newey’s response. Red Bull argue the sensor drifted during FP1 and hence cannot provide accurate measurements. The FIA say it did not drift – and indeed that the 13 failed sensors this year, when fail, stop operating completely. The vast majority of these failures have been on Renault engined cars. Witness Jeff Calam of Red Bull is called. No one has a question for him. He is excused amidst general chuckling. Fabrice Lom, the FIA expert takes the stand. He explains that even during the practice sessions, Red Bull had failed to run the correct offset value, and so their calculations were wrong. Further, the ‘dodgy’ sensor FF73 used by Ricciardo in Australia was replaced by sensor FF210 in Malaysia, and the exact same readings were produced, despite the temperature differences. Lom concludes this must mean that Renault and Red Bull’s algorithms were incorrect. Fabrice Lom then presents an interesting chart. It lists all 58 laps of Daniel Ricciardo’s car with the lap times and the corresponding flow rate. With the exception of laps 13, 14, 15, 16 and 17 Ricciardo drives consistently above 100 kg / h mark. In the first 12 laps before the safety car phase the value is 100.5 to 100.8 kg / h. Following the safety car it rises to 100.4 to 101.1 kg / h. In the last four laps when Ricciardo is fighting Kevin Magnussen for second place, interestingly the average fuel flow rate is at its highest for the race and increases again in range from to from 101.0 – 101.0 to between 101 0 and 101.1 kg / h. Lom produces another chart which shows the effect of Red Bull’s actions with the applied offset. This shows the corrected Red Bull model would have shown values ranged from 99.02 kg / h during the safety car phase to 103.37 kg / h in the race. Mercedes electronics engineer, Evan Short is called. He explains, “A sensor provides a direct measurement, the calculation of the team can be at best an approximation.” Evan Short reveals during qualifying in Melbourne, the FIA had informed them Rosberg was using too high a fuel flow rate. It was immediately brought in line with the correction as instructed, There was a huge argument over consumption peaks and averages, much of which was unintelligible unless one has a PhD in mathematics, yet herein may hang the key to the Judges decision. In conclusion, the FIA representative spins Red Bull’s arguments on their head. He demands, “they should indeed provide proof that the sensor fluctuated unnecessarily. If they decide not to follow the instructions of the referee, they must provide solid good evidence that the sensor has not been working properly. Their alleged evidence has convinced no one.” Mercedes Paul Harris clearly remembers being on the other side of the fence last summer over ‘testgate’ along with Red Bull’s demands for punitive punishment against the team from Brackley. In fact during the day, he was probably a more effective prosecutor of the issues than the FIA’s own legal representatives. He reminds the court that this is a violation of section 12.1.1 c as Red Bull denied the instructions of FIA officials and that this in fact harms the interest of fair competition. Harris recalls the case of the BAR fraudulent fuel case in 2005 where the team was banned for 2 races in Barcelona and Monaco and given a six month suspended ban with a disqualification from the race where their fuel irregularities were discovered. The Mercedes legal representative then argued Red Bull’s actions were indeed more serious than those of BAR, because they intentionally defied the FIA regulators and are attempting to protests a physical measurement with a mere calculation. “We are, frankly, and with great respect, concerned that Red Bull have shown such a flagrant and deliberate disregard for these rules that there is a real risk they will do it again,” said Harris. “We are here to seek to ensure that that does not happen, we must have a level playing field going forward for the remainder of the season. We apprehend that the other teams represented here today take the same view, which is why they are here today”. Harris pressed the court to make a statement to Red Bull about the severity of their behaviour with “further sanctions”, over and above the DQ already issued. He concede these may be suspended for the rest of the season “so that they [Red Bull] are acutely aware of their actions”. Red Bull’s decision to appeal is a high stakes gamble, as clearly Ricciardo’s DQ is no longer the maximum penalty they could suffer. The precedents are there for a ban or a further loss of constructor and driver points. Red Bull’s position is that technical directives are not binding and that the fuel sensor drifted. Ali Malek concluded, “The only evidence car three has exceeded that flow rate was the measurement supplied by the FFM [fuel-flow meter],” said Red Bull’s lead representative Ali Malek QC. We say that there was strong evidence before the stewards that this FFM was unreliable. You will recall that passage in the technical directive, if it is obviously unreliable then it is correct to use the secondary method or the backup measure. We say that it was unreliable and therefore we were entitled to use the secondary measurement.” The FIA are in direct opposition to this position. Jonathan Taylor concluded succinctly for the FIA. “The most important point of this appeal [is] the technical directives because that is how you are told to demonstrate compliance, Everyone follows those rules and if you do not follow those rules, you do not have a competition.” This is a completely different case from the Mercedes hearing in 2013, because then the Brackley team were deemed to have acted in good faith and with the co-operation of the FIA’s representative Charlie Whiting. “We will announce the decision tomorrow morning at the latest,” said Jean-Christophe Breillat at the end today’s six-hour hearing. A full explanation of the reasoning behind the decision will be published “by the end of the week”.