Daniel Ricciardo has been excluded from Singapore Grand Prix qualifying after his Renault Formula 1 car was found to be in breach of MGU-K technical regulations.

Ricciardo was due to line up from eighth on the Singapore grid after a strong qualifying for the French manufacturer but he was called before the stewards after a post-session inspection found that his RS.19 car had been had “exceeded the MGU-K power limit” during Q1.

The stewards later confirmed that Ricciardo’s car had infringed the rules, resulting in the Australian driver being disqualified from qualifying and leaving him facing the prospect of a back-of-the-grid start at the Marina Bay Street Circuit.

An FIA statement read: "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.

"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 team’s defense rested on two points. First, that the excess was very small and offered no measurable benefit. Second, that the excess occurred during the second fastest lap during Q1.

"The team explained to the Stewards how they believe the excess occurred, however the Stewards consider this information to be confidential to the team, and not relevant to this decision.

"Notwithstanding the team’s arguments, the Stewards take note of the very clear wording of Article 1.2.2 ISC, which states that “If an Automobile is found not to comply with the applicable technical regulations, it shall be no defense to claim that no performance advantage was obtained”.

"In coming to this decision the Stewards referred to longstanding precedents regarding technical infringements and the penalty which has been consistently applied is disqualification, and which does not consider when or if an advantage was gained.

"This principle has been very clearly affirmed by the International Court of Appeal. The Stewards therefore order Car 3 disqualified from the results of Qualifying."

Teammate Nico Hulkenberg qualified ninth quickest behind Ricciardo as Renault sandwiched its cars between midfield rivals and engine customer team McLaren.

After gaining on McLaren in the constructors’ championship in recent races, Ricciardo’s exclusion acts as a blow to Renault, which currently sits 18 points behind the midfield leaders.

Speaking about his session prior to the investigation, Ricciardo believes his and Renault’s recent resurgence has been in part down to better understanding its 2019 challenger.

“I now know a bit more the sweet spots; at the start of the year I was still trying to figure out what works for the car and me - so now I feel more comfortable,” he explained.

“I have given my engineer a lot more confidence in what we bring to the track. We kind of know between each other what is my preferred set up now.

“So we are not changing too much on a race weekend. We are able to work in that window. Across cars as well – Nico has taken some of that with some set up.

“We don’t always run the same but I feel across both cars we’ve learned a little bit. It is more me and my experience with the car now. I look back at the first few races and it was still new to me.

“I’d think back to Red Bull and say that this worked there, but is it actually working here? Do I have to forget all that? So a bit of trial and error got us to this point. And it does become a bit easier."

 

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