F1 pit lane tales: Red Bull appeal is first test of F1's new era
The first big technical controversy of Formula One's new engine era has its day in court on Monday with champions Red Bull confident they have a strong case in appealing Daniel Ricciardo's Australian Grand Prix exclusion.
Ricciardo finished second in his home race last month, his debut for Red Bull, but was disqualified hours later when stewards ruled his car had breached the new fuel flow regulations.
In what is seen as a critical test of the regulations accompanying the V6 turbo engines and energy recovery systems, Red Bull will say the fuel flow sensors cannot be trusted.
"We have got a very strong case," principal Christian Horner, whose team needs every point they can get after a troubled start to the season, said after last weekend's Bahrain Grand Prix.
"As more races have progressed, issues have become more evident - new evidence has come to light, or understanding has come to light - so hopefully we can present our case fairly and get the second place back that Daniel deserves."
Exactly what that evidence might be remains unclear, although Red Bull have experienced further problems with the fuel flow sensors since Melbourne and other teams - such as sister team Toro Rosso - have also found them unreliable.
The appeal hearing at the Paris headquarters of the International Automobile Federation (FIA) is due to announce the verdict as soon as possible and certainly before Sunday's Chinese Grand Prix.
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Image: Grid girls clap as Red Bull Formula One driver Sebastian Vettel of Germany walks
Photographs: Ahmad Masood/Reuters
McLaren will be among those following events closely, having benefited from Ricciardo's exclusion with Danish rookie Kevin Magnussen promoted to second and Jenson Button to third.
Red Bull are sure to argue that a technical directive relating to the issue, and sent out by the governing body before the start of the season to all teams, had no regulatory value.
"We are very confident that we can demonstrate that we complied with the rules at all times," Horner said after Melbourne.
"If you look at the facts, it's a very simple case. The rules are very clear. Technical directives are not rules. Did we break the rules or not? It's as simple as that.
"Technical directives are opinions, they are not regulations. And that's what the confusion is with this. I think people are not understanding that the rules within the technical regulations are explicitly clear. We did not break those."
The FIA has expressed confidence that the sensors it provides to all teams are accurate.
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Image: Infiniti Red Bull Racing Team Principal Christian Horner
Photographs: Mark Thompson/Getty Images
Haas Formula One entry accepted by FIA
Formula One could have an American constructor on the starting grid next year after the governing FIA approved an entry for NASCAR team owner Gene Haas on Friday.
The International Automobile Federation said it was also considering another application made by former F1 team principal Colin Kolles.
"In close consultation with the CRH (commercial rights holder), the FIA has accepted the candidature of Haas Formula LLC and are in the process of conducting further investigations for Forza Rossa," the FIA said.
No further details were given but an FIA spokesman confirmed that former Jordan, Midland, Spyker, Force India and HRT principal Kolles was behind Forza Rossa with Romanian partners.
"Obviously, we're extremely pleased to have been granted a Formula One license by the FIA," Haas said in a separate statement.
"It's an exciting time for me, Haas Automation and anyone who wanted to see an American team return to Formula One.
"Now, the really hard work begins. It's a challenge we embrace as we work to put cars on the grid."
The FIA also announced after a meeting of its world motor sports council in Marrakech, Morocco that there would be a meeting of all the teams on May 1 to "clarify the means to achieve a substantial F1 team cost reduction".
Image: Tony Stewart (right), co-owner of Stewart-Haas Racing and Gene Haas, co-owner of Stewart-Haas Racing
Photographs: Jared C Tilton/Getty Images