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F1: Aussie hero Daniel Ricciardo Disqualified for fuel irregularity, has 2nd place erased

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Home favorite Daniel Ricciardo has been robbed of a dream start to his Red Bull career after being disqualified from today’s Australian Grand Prix. He had finished the race in second place behind race winner Nico Rosberg.

The result had marked the Australian driver’s first podium finish in Formula 1, but he was called to the FIA stewards’ office after the race because of a fuel irregularity.

Under the FIA regulations, drivers are not allowed to use more than 100kg of fuel every hour. According to an FIA statement though: “During the race, car number 3 (Ricciardo) has exceeded consistently the maximum allowed fuel flow of 100kg/h.”

After meeting with the stewards, it was decided that Ricciardo was to be stripped of his second place finish and excluded from the final classification.

It did transpire that the team had changed the fuel flow meter on Ricciardo’s car on Saturday night, but the fact that the team repeatedly broke the 100kg/h limit was critical in the FIA’s decision.

However, the stewards took over five hours to make their decision, by which time Red Bull had packed up and Ricciardo had left the circuit.

The result means that all drivers bar race winner Nico Rosberg are promoted by one position. Kevin Magnussen scores the best result for a rookie on debut since 1996 with second place, whilst teammate Jenson Button completes the podium in third place. Fernando Alonso finishes fourth with Bottas fifth, and the final point goes to Force India’s Sergio Perez, who had originally finished in 11th place on track.

This will come as a bitter blow to Ricciardo, who was very emotional on the podium after the race. Nevertheless, it comes as a stark reminder that the rules for 2014 are tighter than ever, and must be adhered to at all times.

The team released a statement soon after the decision confirming that it would appeal against the ruling.

“Following the decision of the FIA that Infiniti Red Bull Racing is in breach of Article 3.2 of the FIA Formula One Sporting Regulations and Article 5.1.4 of the FIA Formula One Technical Regulations with Car 3, the Team has notified the FIA of its intention to appeal with immediate effect,” a statement read.

“Inconsistencies with the FIA fuel flow meter have been prevalent all weekend up and down the pit lane. The team and Renault are confident the fuel supplied to the engine is in full compliance with the regulations.”

- Luke Smith, NBC Sports

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