MELBOURNE – Daniel Ricciardo’s runner-up finish in Sunday’s season-opening Australian Grand Prix is under threat after his Red Bull car was found to have “exceeded consistently the maximum allowed fuel flow”, officials said.
Federation Internationale de l’Automobile’s (FIA) technical delegate Jo Bauer referred the matter to the race stewards in Melbourne, who were deliberating late Sunday whether to take action against the Australian.
Ricciardo’s podium finish was the first of his career, and in his first race with Red Bull, and was also the first achieved by an Australian driver in his home grand prix.
This year Formula One has introduced a fuel limit as well as a maximum fuel flow, which refers to the rate of use. Teams have been warned that violations will be punished by disqualification.
“During the race, car number three (Ricciardo) has exceeded consistently the maximum allowed fuel flow of 100kg/h,” Bauer said in a statement.
“As this is not in compliance with… Formula One regulations, I am referring this matter to the stewards for their consideration.”
Ricciardo’s Red Bull team refused to comment on the matter and stewards gave no indication about when a decision would be announced.
Race director Charlie Whiting said ahead of the season-opener that there would be a zero tolerance policy towards violations of the fuel limits, which are among a number of innovations this year.
“The 100kg is the maximum and, if they go over, they have exceeded the limit and there is no tolerance,” Whiting told reporters on Thursday.
He said the FIA was confident in the accuracy of the fuel flow measuring meters.
“It will always be correlated with data we have from injectors to make sure there is not a wide divergence, but from what we have seen so far that will not be the case,” he said.
Ricciardo replaced Mark Webber at Red Bull this year and achieved what his high-profile compatriot could not with a podium finish at his home GP, in his first drive with the world constructors champions.