Daniel Ricciardo has been excluded from the result of qualifying at the Singapore Grand Prix after his car was found in contravention of the Formula One rulebook.
Ricciardo qualified eighth on Saturday evening but after the session it was discovered the MGU-K component in his Renault had delivered more electrical energy to the car than is allowed under the regulations, 120kW. The spike of power occured during a lap in the opening segment of qualifying.
The result will be a blow to Renault, who had delivered both cars through to Q3 and qualified alongside its main midfield rival McLaren. Renault is trying to close the deficit to McLaren in its fight for fourth position in the championship.
Ricciardo had qualified in ahead of teammate Nico Hulkenberg — McLaren pair Carlos Sainz and Lando Norris finished either side of them in seventh and tenth respectively.
Ricciardo has been granted permission to start the race by the stewards — a formality, given that the Australian has set times well inside the 107 percent requirement all week so far. He will start from the back of the grid unless Renault decides to make changes to the car which would prompt a pit-lane start.
Renault did not deny the stewards’ findings and will not appeal the decision, although pointed out the spike was measured at “one microsecond due to a kerb hit that caused his MGU-K to overrev on his slowest lap of Q1”.
The full verdict said: “The Stewards heard from the FIA Technical Delegate and team representatives including the team manager and two of the engineers responsible. It was established in the hearing, beyond any doubt in the opinion of the Stewards, that the competitor exceeded the MGU-K power flow limit permitted under Appendix 3, per Article 5.2.2 of the 2019 Formula One Technical Regulations.
“The method by which this limit is regulated is well known and understood by the teams. Neither the fact that the car had exceeded the limit nor the methodology by which it is policed was disputed by the team. The team’s defense rested on two points.
“First, that the excess was very small and offered no measurable benefit. Second, that the excess occurred during the second fastest lap during Q1. The team explained to the Stewards how they believe the excess occurred, however the Stewards consider this information to be confidential to the team, and not relevant to this decision.
“Notwithstanding the team’s arguments, the Stewards take note of the very clear wording of Article 1.2.2 ISC, which states that “If an Automobile is found not to comply with the applicable technical regulations, it shall be no defense to claim that no performance advantage was obtained”. In coming to this decision the Stewards referred to longstanding precedents regarding technical infringements and the penalty which has been consistently applied is disqualification, and which does not consider when or if an advantage was gained.
“This principle has been very clearly affirmed by the International Court of Appeal. The Stewards therefore order Car 3 disqualified from the results of Qualifying.”