Former F1 team owner and boss Paul Stoddart has tipped Red Bull to win its appeal against Daniel Ricciardo's Melbourne disqualification.
In a complex ruling, Ricciardo's car was excluded after the team rejected the accuracy of an FIA sensor and relied on its own measurements to comply with the rule governing the maximum allowed flow of fuel into the engine.
"We wouldn't be appealing if we weren't extremely confident we have a defendable case," said team boss Horner.
Stoddart, who sold his Minardi team to Toro Rosso owners Red Bull in 2005, tipped Red Bull to prove to the FIA that it didn't cheat.
"The Renault engineers would've known exactly how much fuel was going into that engine," the Australian told Melbourne radio 3AW on Monday.
"We're talking teams with budgets of $400, $500 million here -- they have far better equipment than the FIA."
The correspondent for the London newspaper The Times, Kevin Eason, wrote: "In the other corner (to Red Bull) is the FIA, essentially an amateur organisation with a budget a fraction of the F1 teams."
Stoddart tipped Red Bull to be able to prove that Ricciardo "did not gain any advantage" and that it decided to ignore the FIA because it was the "right" thing to do in the circumstances.
Horner explained: "We could see a significant discrepancy with what the sensor was reading and what our fuel flow was stated as.
"These (FIA) fuel flow sensors have proved problematic. So we relied on our own data, because otherwise we would have lost a lot of engine power," he is quoted by Speed Week.
The FIA's Charlie Whiting, however, said he advised Red Bull repeatedly throughout the race weekend to "take the necessary steps" to comply with the rules.
"If they had followed the advice we gave them at the time, we would not have had a problem and they would not have been penalised," he said.
"If their sensor was kaput, then things would have been different," Whiting added. "It is a human thing because they have the ability to do what was needed to comply."
Red Bull's case is further weakened by the words of Mercedes engine boss Andy Cowell, who said the way the fuel flow is measured is "accurate and reliable".
"All the teams have their own consumption measurements via the injection data," he is quoted by the German-language Spox.
"In the case of irregularities, the FIA will compare its values with those of the team. So we have a safety net."
Aus GP Unhappy With F1's Purring Engines
Organisers of the Australian grand prix are furious with F1's new low volume.
Even some of the sport's stalwarts were alarmed in Melbourne when the 22 cars purred towards the first corner in Melbourne on Sunday.
"At first I said 'Just take out your earplugs, it's the same as before'," triple world champion Lauda told the German broadcaster RTL.
"But I have to honestly say I was slightly disappointed today on television, especially at the start. Simply something was missing," he added.
"Before, it (the sound) was right down to the marrow. We need to get used to it but it has lost some of its attraction," said Lauda.
World champion Sebastian Vettel said driving in Melbourne felt more like being at the wheel of "a vacuum cleaner than a racing car".
F1's most experienced active driver Jenson Button is also worried, especially after a V10-equipped demonstration car did laps at Albert Park at the weekend.
"Oh my god I miss that," he said. "It sounded amazing. Those were great years for the sound of the engine, but that is no more."
Most in the F1 paddock are disappointed, but Australian Grand Prix corporation chief executive Andrew Westacott has revealed he is actually angry.
"We pay for a product, we've got contracts in place, we are looking at those very, very seriously because we reckon there has probably been some breaches," he told Fairfax Radio on Monday.
But Lauda, who is dominant Mercedes' F1 chairman, said it would be wrong to tinker with the engine rules just because the sport is now quieter.
"Everyone wants to do something about it, but you can't just change the exhaust pipe, you'd have to redevelop the whole engine and the mapping," he said. "That's just way too expensive.
"Please do not change the engines just to make a bit more noise," he exclaimed.
Rivals face struggle to catch Mercedes
Daniel Ricciardo's disqualification aside, the Red Bull 'crisis' appeared far less severe in Melbourne than it did over the winter.
Together with struggling engine supplier Renault, the reigning world champions have made a big step forward with the RB10, but boss Christian Horner warned that there is still a mountain to climb.
"We have one second per lap to catch up," he told Germany's Auto Motor und Sport, after Ricciardo finished behind Mercedes' Nico Rosberg on Sunday.
But Horner agreed that Red Bull has finally emerged from the dark and now has a base to build upon for the remaining 18 races of the season.
"Our season began here in Australia," he is quoted by Italy's La Stampa. "We basically skipped winter testing."
That winter season showed that the expected favourite, Mercedes, is currently on track for the 2014 title.
"We knew they would be in front when we got here," Williams' Felipe Massa is quoted by Brazil's Totalrace.
"But the race also showed a strong Red Bull. When they solve their problems with the engine, they will have a car to fight with.
"McLaren showed that they have a good car too, but the race also showed that we have a car to be fighting with them," added Massa, who was punted into retirement by Caterham's Kamui Kobayashi at the first corner.
Winner Rosberg, however, tipped Mercedes to only get stronger from now, revealing the Brackley team will use the two weeks before Malaysia to make the W05 "even faster and more reliable".
Niki Lauda said the German drove "like a god" in Melbourne, while the Welt newspaper said "Rosberg is the new Vettel".
World champion Vettel's Red Bull failed in Melbourne, and the team's Dr Helmut Marko pointed a clear finger of blame at Renault.
"They have underestimated some of the problems (in preparing for the 2014 rules)," he said, "and also not correctly calculated the necessary time frame".
Marko said he hopes the problems are all solved by "the summer", when Red Bull wants "to be close to Mercedes".
Indeed, Mercedes' Lauda said the German squad cannot relax in the face of Red Bull's problems, saying the RB10 is clearly already "really fast".
"That is why we need to develop our car quickly, so that what happened last year does not happen again," he told German television RTL, referring to how Red Bull recovered an early-season dip to utterly dominate in 2013.
Lauda said "thank god" when contemplating that Renault is still grappling with its turbo V6.
Also struggling to face up to Mercedes' current dominance is Ferrari, after Fernando Alonso finished just fifth on the road on Sunday.
"I would have liked to be closer to the podium," the Spaniard is quoted by El Confidencial, "but it was impossible.
"With the Mercedes engines ... it was almost like another category," said Alonso. "I was behind a Force India and it was impossible to overtake.
"Before the race, I could sense that we were behind Mercedes, but maybe not so far," he added.
Alonso 'very happy' to share Ferrari with Raikkonen
Fernando Alonso insists he is "very happy" to have a "strong opponent" to fight against at Ferrari this year.
Some believe the Spaniard cannot possibly have supported the team's decision to replace the subordinate Felipe Massa with the former Ferrari champion Kimi Raikkonen.
But Alonso insists Massa was no pushover.
"Sometimes he was even faster than Michael Schumacher when they were together," he told the Welt am Sonntag newspaper.
"But my four years were fantastic with Felipe, so I expect nothing other than my coming years with Kimi to be fantastic too."
Finn Raikkonen had a poor race return with Ferrari in Australia, but Alonso tipped him to get up to speed quickly.
"He's very, very fast, perhaps the fastest of us all, or at least he is considered as such by some," he said.
"Last year, he battled for the title with a Lotus, an achievement I rate highly because I do not think Lotus are so strong," Alonso added.
"I have a very strong opponent in the team and I am very happy about that, whether you believe me or not."
He said all the recent speculation about their relationship was "understandable", given the new season and a "winter in which nothing much happens".
"This has become a routine for me, especially since I've been with Ferrari, because it was also said it would be very difficult for me with Felipe," said Alonso.
Button vows to push for new McLaren contract
Jenson Button, the most experienced driver on the 2014 grid, must now prove to McLaren he is also a man for the future.
The 2009 world champion is out of contract at the end of this season, and in Australia he was out-qualified and out-raced by his new rookie teammate, Kevin Magnussen.
McLaren's new team boss Eric Boullier said Magnussen's was "one of the finest performances by a formula one rookie in living memory".
F1's oldest driver last year was Mark Webber, and although still competitive he explained in Melbourne at the weekend that he chose to retire as he realised his performance curve was dipping.
"I've had a great career," Button is quoted by the Telegraph, "but for me it's definitely not near the end.
"People have said 'Ah, he's 34, end of your contract, what are you going to do at the end of this year?' It's going to be the same as any other year," the Briton insisted.
"It doesn't matter if you've got a contract, if a team don't think you're doing a good enough job then they'll get rid of you, and if you're doing a great job they'll want you for 10 years more."
Button said he has not considered what he would do if his only option would be to leave McLaren and join a smaller team.
"I'm here at McLaren and that's where I'm happy to be. I'm not going to get worried either way," he insisted.
The situation could, however, ramp up the tension between Button and the 13 years younger Magnussen this year, but Boullier insisted he is not worried.
"I think you should ask that question to Mercedes or Ferrari," he is quoted by Germany's Auto Motor und Sport.
"For us there is no problem."
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