Red Bull's Total fuel causing sensor failures - FIA

Saturday 19th April 2014, 12:52 by Ryan Wood 

Red Bull Racing, Getty Images

Red Bull's official fuel supplier, Total, might be to blame for the various fuel flow sensor failures which have hit Red Bull and even cost them second place in Australia.

The FIA's head of powertrain, Fabrice Lom, whilst giving evidence during the International Court of Appeal hearing, noted that a chemical used in Total's fuel, can damage a seal in the sensor, causing it to fail.

"We discovered and now we have identified the issue," said Lom. "It is an issue that is now understood well and we know that it only affects the reliability of the sensor.

"We discovered that there is a seam, an o-ring in the sensor, that doesn't support the Total fuel chemical composition so the seal is damaged by the fuel, which kills the sensor."

He also believes another issue could be affecting the sensors - which have hit Red Bull harder than any other team - which could be down to modifications the team have made when installing them.

"We identified the chemical composition issue of the Total fuel, but we also have another clue, which is the teams that are modifying the sensor," he added.

"If you take the picture of the sensor, you have two connections, and some teams, Red Bull for example, are removing these connections and putting in their own connections.

"If it [the replacement connection] is a bit too long inside, it can touch and tube where the measurement is done. This is the second cause we can have."

The FIA has issued a directive in effect from the Spanish Grand Prix which will ban teams from modifying the sensors. Should that not fix the problem, they will request that Total modifies its fuel.

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