Daniel Ricciardo may have finished a strong P8 for Renault in qualifying for the Singapore Grand Prix – but he was later disqualified from the results of the session after it was discovered that the Australian had exceeded his MGU-K power limit in the Q1 segment of qualifying.
The MGU-K is part of an F1 car’s energy recovery system which converts energy generated under braking into electrical power, which can then be deployed directly to the drivetrain. Teams are limited to deploying 120kW of this electrical power – equivalent to around 160bhp – out on track.
But after it was ruled that Ricciardo and Renault had exceeded that limit – after a Renault representative was called to the stewards to argue the team’s case – Ricciardo found himself kicked out of qualifying. The stewards have granted Ricciardo permission to start the race, though whether that is from the pit lane or from the back of the grid has not been confirmed.
“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,” said the stewards’ report.
“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 Stewards therefore order Car 3 disqualified from the results of Qualifying.”
A statement from Renault after the decision was issued gave their side of events, although the team confirmed that they didn’t plan to appeal the ruling: “Renault F1 Team acknowledges the decision from the FIA Stewards to disqualify Daniel Ricciardo from the qualifying session of the Singapore Grand Prix after he benefitted from an advantage measured at one-microsecond due to a kerb hit that caused his MGU-K to overrev on his slowest lap of Q1. The decision will therefore not be appealed.”
At a Marina Bay Street Circuit were track position is crucial, the penalty could mean a long, hard Singapore Grand Prix for Ricciardo, while Renault too will have been disappointed with the outcome, as they seek to chase down rivals McLaren’s 18-point advantage in the constructors’ standings.