Pit-to-car radio use to be limited from Spa onwards
Clampdown on driver aids will start to take effect at the Belgian Grand Prix, to make drivers more responsible for their own racing
The push to reduce driver aids in Formula 1 will begin in earnest at the Belgian Grand Prix, with restrictions on assisted starts and pit-to-car radio communications. Further limits will be introduced for the 2016 season.
The move comes after the F1 Strategy Group decided to reduce the impression that drivers were ‘managed’ from the pits too much at races.
Mercedes boss Toto Wolff explained: “Racing drivers are the main cast of the show, so let’s put more responsibility back to them. We want more variability and less predictability. In order to achieve that, maybe there should be a less scientic approach to racing, and the race driver be responsible for his racing.”
To enforce this, the FIA has turned to Article 20.1 of the Sporting Regulations, which dictates that the “driver must drive the car alone and unaided”. This catch-all regulation was rst introduced by former FIA president Max Mosley in 1993, and has proved useful to the governing body over the years as they have sought to restrict use of electronic systems.
Two main areas of car operations will be affected from the Belgian Grand Prix onwards. On start procedure: • The clutch bite point must not be changed from the time the driver leaves the garage until after the start of the race. • The driver is not to use any bite-point finder electronics, and the system itself.
This is to prevent the current practice of modifying the clutch bite in the lead-up to the race, often using data from reconnaissance laps.
Pit-to-car radio during the formation laps will be limited to: • Indication of a critical problem with their own car, or a problem with a competitor’s car; instruction to pit to fix or retire the car; marshalling information; notification of a slippery track; requirement to swap position with other driver.