sport

Grid penalty for Ricciardo

Red Bull team principal Christian Horner felt the punishment did not fit the crime after Daniel Ricciardo endured another grand prix to forget.

Just two weeks after being disqualified from the season-opening race in his homeland of Australia, Ricciardo suffered a tale of woe during the second event of the year in Malaysia.

Prior to the start of the race at the Sepang International Circuit the fuel-flow sensor on Ricciardo's car, and the cause of such controversy at Melbourne's Albert Park, again failed.

Despite that, and with Red Bull taking direction from the FIA in order to manage their fuel to avoid another disqualification, the 24-year-old was on course for fourth come his final pit stop on lap 40.

Ricciardo, however, was released with the front-left wheel loose, forcing him to stop halfway down the pitlane from where he was collected by his mechanics and pushed back to the pitbox.

After eventually returning to the track a lap down, the front wing on his car then failed, necessitating another trip into the pits.

It was soon after that the FIA handed him a 10-second stop-go penalty for the team's unsafe release prior to his eventual retirement five laps from the end.

To add insult to injury, Ricciardo will also serve a 10-place grid penalty as per the FIA's new beefed-up rules for this season following an incident last year when a wheel worked loose off Mark Webber's Red Bull in the pitlane and hit a cameraman.

Horner, though, was far from happy with the sanction as he said: "The rules are pretty clear - for an unsafe release it's a stop-go penalty of 10 seconds and a 10-place grid penalty at the next race.

"The punishment is harsh for the crime, but unfortunately it is the rules, and that's what it will be.

"Sadly, the wheel wasn't located correctly. It went on okay and was done up, but the gunman (who fits the wheel) felt something was not quite right in going to check and put in an extra couple of turns, the latch on the gun flicked back across, so he effectively undid it.

"It's one of those things. This pit crew has the fastest pit stop in the pitlane, and today a mistake was made, but that's how it goes sometimes."

As for the fuel sensor, which initially failed in Australia and is at the heart of an appeal due to be heard in Paris on April 14, Horner again expressed his dissatisfaction.

"It didn't work the whole race," said Horner, who earlier this weekend called for their abolition.

"And it's not been the only problem with the sensor this weekend on our cars. It clearly demonstrates there are issues with them.

"I know that Toro Rosso had two failures earlier in the weekend, and there have been other issues up and down the pitlane."