Formula One's season-opening race ended in controversy as initial second-place finisher Daniel Ricciardo of Red Bull was disqualified for a breach of fuel regulations, five hours after Mercedes driver Nico Rosberg took the checkered flag.

Inconsistencies with the FIA fuel flow meter have been prevalent all weekend up and down the pit lane.

Red Bull, official statement

Ricciardo's exclusion from the results tarnished what had been a day of celebration for local fans, who were jubilant that the Red Bull driver had apparently become the first Australian to finish on the podium at his home race.

However just before midnight, stewards ruled that Ricciardo's car had "exceeded consistently the maximum allowed fuel flow''. 

The team refused an instruction from the race's technical delegate Charlie Whiting to change the fuel-flow sensor before the race and a further request during the race to reduce the fuel flow.

Red Bull immediately announced it would appeal the decision.

"Inconsistencies with the FIA fuel flow meter have been prevalent all weekend up and down the pit lane,'' a Red Bull statement said.

"The team and (engine supplier) Renault are confident the fuel supplied to the engine is in full compliance with the regulations.''

The exclusion capped a day of shocks at the Albert Park street circuit.

Source: AP