Ros­berg penalty raises con­cern over ra­dio ban

F1 Racing - - INSIDER -

Teams are wor­ried by the ten-sec­ond penalty handed to the Mercedes driver for ra­dio com­mu­ni­ca­tions at the Bri­tish GP

Se­nior gures in F1 have ques­tioned the heavy re­stric­tions on ra­dio com­mu­ni­ca­tion be­tween teams and driv­ers in the wake of Nico Ros­berg’s penalty at the Bri­tish Grand Prix.

Ros­berg was pe­nalised ten sec­onds, drop­ping him from sec­ond to third, af­ter Mercedes were found to have bro­ken the rules on per­mit­ted mes­sages, when they in­structed him on how to solve a gear­box prob­lem late in the race.

They were held to be at fault for telling Ros­berg what he needed to do in terms of driv­ing the car af­ter the prob­lem had been solved by a set­ting change on the steer­ing wheel – not for the in­struc­tion on the change it­self.

Af­ter be­ing told the cor­rect pro­ce­dure to ad­just on the steer­ing wheel, Ros­berg was told to “avoid sev­enth gear.”

He asked: “What does that mean, I have to shift through it?” And was told: “Afrm Nico, you need to shift through it.”

This com­mu­ni­ca­tion was con­sid­ered to have bro­ken ar­ti­cle 27.1 of the sport­ing reg­u­la­tions, which dic­tates that “the driver must drive the car alone and un­aided”, as well as specic clauses of the re­stric­tions on ra­dio mes­sages that were out­lined in a tech­ni­cal di­rec­tive to all teams at the start of the sea­son.

But the is­sue has re-ig­nited con­cerns about the wis­dom of the ban it­self, which has been the sub­ject of com­plaints from teams and driv­ers through­out the sea­son.

Mercedes F1 boss Toto Wolff said he thought se­nior gures should take another look at the ra­dio ban. “Those rules maybe need a re-think be­tween the FIA and the teams to go more into de­tail on what is al­lowed or not,” he said, “be­cause by not com­mu­ni­cat­ing at all, you might as well un­plug the ra­dio and throw it out of the car. It is part of driv­ing since a long time, but it needs to be dis­cussed.”

Red Bull team prin­ci­pal Chris­tian Horner went even fur­ther, de­scrib­ing the ra­dio ban as ‘rub­bish’, and say­ing: “It doesn’t make a great deal of sense.

“The cars are tech­ni­cally very com­plex and you can un­der­stand why Mercedes would want to give that mes­sage to keep their driver run­ning,” he said. “It’s a team sport at the end of the day and the cars are a lot more com­pli­cated than they were even four years ago for the driv­ers to work out what they should and shouldn’t be do­ing. The ques­tion go­ing for­ward is: ‘Are th­ese rules right for F1?’”

How­ever, there seems lit­tle chance of any­thing chang­ing. The ra­dio ban is a pet project of FIA pres­i­dent Jean Todt, and he has so far shown no in­cli­na­tion to back down.

Red Bull’s Chris­tian Horner: “The ques­tion go­ing for­ward is: ‘Are th­ese rules right for F1?’”

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