The Stewards at Interlagos decided not to penalise Williams and BWM Sauber because of ‘inconclusive’ evidence, but Williams have decided to appeal the decision at the FIA’s International Court of Appeal.
Fuel samples taken from the four cars of Williams and BMW were 12-14 degrees C below ambient temperature. Article 6.5.5 of the Formula 1 technical regulations states: “No fuel on board the car may be more than 10 degrees centigrade below ambient temperature.” Now, there seems to be some confusion on this. As far as I know, there’s no way to take fuel from a car during a pit stop so I assume it’s fuel from the fuel rigs, but that doesn’t seem to be the problem at hand.
Quoting direct from the ITV-F1.com website:
FIA technical delegate Jo Bauer reported that the fuel samples from all four cars showed temperatures 12-14C lower than the ambient at the time.
But the stewards said they could not be certain the temperatures were outside the 10C limit due to conflicting evidence.
They pointed to a discrepancy between the ambient temperature recorded on the Formula One Management timing monitors and that provided by the FIA and team-contracted meteorologists Meteo France and said there was no “regulation stating in clear terms that for the purposes of Article 6.5.5 the definitive ambient temperature shall be indicated on the FOM timing monitors alone”.
They also said they lacked “a precise reading of the temperature of ‘fuel on board the car’ which shows fuel at more than 10 degrees centigrade below ambient temperature”.
Their statement concluded: “In view of the matters referred to above, the stewards consider that there must be sufficient doubt as to both the temperature of the fuel actually ‘on board the car’ and also as to the true ambient temperature as to render it inappropriate to impose a penalty”.
Once again, the FIA show their incompetence. What on earth are they measuring the fuel temperature against? The fact that they measured the fuel and initially decided that it was outside permitted limits must mean they are measuring the fuel against some pre-defined benchmark, probably the FOM timing monitor thermometer device. It’s ludicrous to have a regulation stating “no more than 10 degrees C below ambient temperature” without adding “as measured by ….”. Not stating unequivocally what readings are used is like having a pit lane speed limit regulation “Cars may not travel in the pit lane at speeds greater than 100KPH”, then having some bloke from the FIA sitting in the Stewards office deciding whether or not the cars ‘looked like’ they were going too fast.
Let me make this clear, I don’t want Lewis Hamilton’s first World Championship a result of another team’s disqualification post-race. I hate to see Kimi’s title in doubt like this, but it does give Ferrari a taste of their own medicine.
I’ll keep an eye on the situation and post updates as soon as I see them. That way you can come back to this site for news, or why not subscribe via your RSS/news reader.