Daniel Ricciardo says a rejected appeal against his Australian Grand Prix disqualification has made him hungrier to get back on the podium.
Red Bull on Tuesday failed in their bid to overturn a decision to strip the rising Australian driver of his second placing in Melbourne because the team breached fuel flow regulations.
The Formula One team pleaded their case against the ruling in a six-hour hearing in Paris on Monday but ruling motorsport body FIA stood firm, announcing on Tuesday it had decided to uphold the decision.
The finding means Ricciardo misses out on 18 points for finishing second in the Melbourne season opener, leaving him in 10th place in the championship with 12 points – 49 behind Mercedes’ pacesetter Nico Rosberg.
It also robs the 24-year-old of the honour of officially being the first Australian to finish top three at a home grand prix since the event joined the F1 world championship in 1985, but he’s using it as motivation.
“It’s disappointing not to get the 18 points from Australia but if anything it gives me more motivation to get back on the podium as soon as possible,” Ricciardo said in a statement.
“I’m still really happy with my performance in Australia and for having had the experience of being on the podium in front of the home crowd.
“I said that week, I’d rather have a great race, finish on the podium and then be excluded than to have had a rubbish race and then retire with a car problem half way through.”
Australian Grand Prix Corporation chairman Ron Walker said the result of the appeal was disappointing.
“But we must look forward and the future is bright,” he said in a statement.
Red Bull said in a statement on Tuesday it had accepted the decision.
Ricciardo did not attend the hearing in Paris as he focused on preparations for Sunday’s Chinese Grand Prix.
At the appeal, Red Bull came under fire from rivals Mercedes, who claimed the team deliberately flouted the rules.
The case represented the first major challenge to this season’s sweeping rule changes, in which F1 ditched 2.4 litre V8 engines for smaller 1.6 litre V6 turbo hybrid engines.
The rules are forcing teams to be more fuel efficient, restricting the rate at which fuel is burned to no more than 100kgs per hour at any time.
Red Bull was accused of consistently overstepping that mark with Ricciardo’s car in Melbourne but argued the FIA-approved sensor used to measure the delivery of fuel to Ricciardo’s car was faulty and so the team relied instead on its own fuel-flow measurements.
Mercedes lawyer Paul Harris argued that Red Bull was in “flagrant breach” of F1 rules.
“We are frankly, and with great respect, concerned that Red Bull have shown such a flagrant and deliberate disregard for these rules,” Harris said.
Ricciardo’s first season for Red Bull has already been a turbulent one.
His Melbourne disqualification was followed by a retirement in Malaysia where he also copped a 10-place grid penalty for the third round in Bahrain.
At the Middle East track, he qualified third, started in 13th spot due to his Malaysia rap before storming to a fourth-place finish, just missing out on a podium place.
“I’ve had a few set-backs in the first couple of races this year, but in Bahrain I demonstrated that, if anything, I’m stronger for it and hungrier than ever to get back on the podium,” Ricciardo said.
“Not that I need any more motivation, I’m pumped.”