No sooner had Ferrari began biting into Lewis Hamilton and Mercedes lead in the championships, the Italian team scoring a run of five poles and three wins, than questions arose over the legality of its engine, in particular the fuel flow.
Despite the Maranello outfit’s insistence that all was above board, as the FIA issued directive after directive, so too the team began to drop back form the Silver Arrows and into the clutches of Red Bull.
In a bid to prevent a repeat of the situation, whilst also seeking to reduce costs, the FIA has invited companies to tender for the supply of a standard fuel flow meter for the 2021 – 2023 seasons, with the option to extend until 2025.
The tender relates to Article 5.11.3 of the 2021 regulations, which states that: “All cars must be fitted with a single fuel flow meter, wholly within the fuel tank, which has been manufactured by the single supplier appointed by the FIA World Motor Sport Council to a specification determined by the FIA.
“This sensor may only be used as specified by the FIA Technical Department. Furthermore, all fuel delivered to the power unit must pass through this homologated sensor, and must all be delivered to the combustion chambers by the fuel injectors described by Article 5.11.2.
“The FIA issued a Technical Directive (TD/042-19) in 2019 to improve policing regarding fuel flow measurement and has mandated a second fuel flow meter for the 2020 season.
“There are now two sensors fitted at the same time on the car and this will likely remain in place for 2021 and beyond, although this could be reviewed by the FIA at its sole discretion.”
With the deadline for submissions set at 13 March, the weekend of the 2020 season opener in Melbourne, the FIA says its decision will be announced in mid-April.
In terms of costs, the FIA says: “It shall not exceed £5000 with a warranty of 100 hours running time. The service cost for any 100 extra hours of running time shall not exceed £500. The lifetime of the fuel flow meter shall, in any circumstances, not be less than 400 hours”.
“Limits have been set for the 2020 season of the championship: (a) eight for the first sensor; (b) four for the second sensor. Those limits will likely remain for the 2021 season of the championship and may be reviewed by the FIA at its sole discretion,” adds the invitation to tender.
Stating that the maximum weight of the meter must be 400g, the winning supplier must also loan the FIA seven units free of charge for testing purposes.