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Red Bull hearing kicks off in Paris

Red Bull driver Daniel Ricciardo was disqualified from the Australian Grand Prix.

Red Bull Formula One driver Daniel Ricciardo. Picture: Facebook.com

LONDON - Red Bull's appeal hearing against Daniel Ricciardo's Australian Grand Prix exclusion kicked off on Monday with opening statements from the main parties at the FIA headquarters.

Ricciardo finished second in his home race last month, his debut for the world champions, but was disqualified hours later when stewards ruled his car had breached new fuel flow regulations.

The case is seen as a critical test of the regulations accompanying the V6 turbo engines and energy recovery systems, with Red Bull arguing the sensors cannot be trusted, a version the FIA and other teams are disputing.

While Ricciardo was not present in Paris as he is preparing for this week's Chinese Grand Prix, team principal Christian Horner and head of car engineering Paul Monaghan were among the nine-man Red Bull delegation.

Rivals Mercedes, the championship leaders who have won all three races so far this year, McLaren, Lotus, Williams and Force India also had representatives at the hearing being heard by a five-judge panel.

Monaghan, the first of six witnesses, argued that the sensor measuring the fuel flow - limited at 100 kg per hour - was "faulty" and Red Bull had decided to use their own method of measurement in Melbourne.

The FIA, through barrister Jonathan Taylor, said the case was straightforward "and an important one because the essence of sport is the contest on a level playing field and you can't have that unless everyone abide by the rules."

Taylor also argued that the back up method used by Red Bull "is not the fuel flow model, it is the estimate.

"There is a difference between measurement of fuel flow and an estimate. You can't rely only on the estimate."

Mercedes, through their barrister Paul Harris, added that Red Bull could have used the sensor they had on their spare chassis.

"At any point you could have taken out a third sensor and have used it," Harris asked Monaghan, who replied: "Yes we could."

Mercedes also argued that the hearing could increase the sanction against Red Bull originally imposed by the stewards.