F1: Christian Horner believes Red Bull will triumph with 'strong case' as appeal over Daniel Ricciardo disqualification begins

The Red Bull chief believes Ricciardo's disqualification will be overturned after the Australian had his third-place finish at his home grand prix taken away

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The Independent Online

Team principal Christian Horner believes Red Bull have “a very strong case” as they seek to overturn the FIA's disqualification of Daniel Ricciardo from the season-opening grand prix in Australia.

Ricciardo thrilled his home fans at Melbourne's Albert Park by finishing runner-up on debut for Red Bull. He was promoted from sister team Toro Rosso in the close season as a replacement for the retired Mark Webber.

Over five hours after the chequered flag had fallen however, the best result of Ricciardo's near three-year career was stripped from him after the race stewards found the team guilty of a fuel irregularity.

Under new rules this year, Ricciardo's car was found to consistently exceed the maximum allowed fuel flow rate of 100 kilograms per hour.

Red Bull cited persistent issues with the sensors - manufactured by UK company Gill Sensors - over the course of the weekend that forced them to take their own readings.

The FIA claims no other instrument, other than the permitted sensor, is allowed to measure the fuel flow, with Red Bull warned both after qualifying and five laps into the race with regard to the matter.

After being removed from the race classification, Red Bull opted to appeal, with a hearing scheduled for Monday at the FIA's headquarters in Paris.

Determined to reclaim the 18 points lost for Ricciardo's second place, Horner said: "Those points are vital, every point is vital.

"We believe we've a very strong case. As more races have progressed issues have become more evident, new evidence has come to light, new understandings have come to light.

"Hopefully we can present our case fairly and get the second place Daniel deserves from Melbourne."

Red Bull then encountered further issues at the following grand prix in Malaysia, while Toro Rosso had problems at that race and again in Bahrain last weekend.

One of the key points of the case centres around an FIA technical directive issued over the course of the Australian Grand Prix weekend with regard to Red Bull's apparent illegal use of their own data.

Horner claims the regulation relating to the fuel sensor is unclear, and that the directive does not form part of the regulations once issued.

It is a point FIA technical director Charlie Whiting cannot dispute, but has always believed the teams have taken it as read such directives should be followed.

Whiting said: "Technical directives are opinions - and always have been - given by the technical department to the teams.

"Normally they have been happy to follow them, although it's always been clear they can be contested in front of the stewards.

"For years it's been like that. They've been contested probably five times.

"It's right to say they are not regulations, but they are there as the opinion of the technical department, and that is how most teams feel the sport is run."