Esteban Ocon has been disqualified from his eighth-place finish in the United States Grand Prix after his car was found to have breached Formula 1’s fuel flow limits.
Immediately after Ocon crossed the finish line in Austin, the FIA announced that his Force India car had been found to have broken the rules.
The FIA’s telemetry data had pointed to it breaching the 100kg/hr fuel flow limit during the opening lap of the race.
Following a stewards investigation, the rules breach was confirmed and Ocon was disqualified. His Force India team was reminded of its right to appeal.
Force India team principal Otmar Szafnauer explained that his team’s data had shown that Ocon’s car had briefly encountered an unprecedented surge of fuel, but had corrected itself before the lap was done.
“What happened was that there was a spike of flow and then a trough – so if you look at it over a lap it was neutral,” he said, speaking before the stewards’ decision.
“If you look at it over the lap there is no infringement, but it depends how you chop up the lap. This is the first time it has happened.”
Szafnauer was adamant that Force India had not gained any benefit from what had happened, as the engine systems had automatically corrected for what had happened.
“We didn’t get an advantage,” he said. “There are track limits but if you go outside track limits, which you shouldn’t do, then if you haven’t gained an advantage they don’t do anything. If you have gained an advantage then they do something.
“This is another limit where we haven’t gained an advantage. I think it is unprecedented.”
In addition to that, Haas Formula 1 driver Kevin Magnussen was also disqualified from the United States Grand Prix.
Magnussen was the sole Haas driver to finish in the points in the team’s home race, after Romain Grosjean collided with Charles Leclerc on the opening lap and retired.
The Dane took the chequered flag in ninth after fending off Force India’s Sergio Perez, and was due to inherit eighth after Esteban Ocon’s exclusion for a fuel infringement.
However, shortly after the Ocon decision was announced, Magnussen was disqualified for a fuel infringement of his own, as his VF-18 had exceeded the allowed fuel limit for the race, breaching Article 30.5 of the sporting regulations.
“The stewards find that the amount of fuel consumed exceeded 105 kg during the race,” the verdict read.
Magnussen’s disqualification promotes Toro Rosso driver Brendon Hartley to his best Formula 1 finish yet in ninth place.
It also hands a point to Sauber’s Marcus Ericsson, who crucially held off McLaren’s Stoffel Vandoorne late in the race for what was then 12th overall.
The decision marks the Haas team’s second recent exclusion for a technical matter, after Grosjean was stripped of his sixth-place finish in Italy following a Renault protest into the legality of the Haas car’s floor.
While the Grosjean case remains under appeal, Haas now sits 22 points behind fourth-placed Renault in the constructors’ standings with three races to go.