Date: 22nd July 2016 at 6:38am
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In the wake of 2016 Formula One World Championship leader Nico Rosberg’s penalty at the British Grand Prix, the FIA have clarified the rules on radio communication.

During the final stages of the race at Silverstone, Rosberg had an issue with his gearbox. Mercedes told the German driver the problem and explained that he had to avoid a certain gear.

The race stewards had no problem with this as the problem was a critical one for the car.

The problem came when Rosberg asked ‘what does that mean?’ and the team told him he had to push through the gear.

This instruction broke the regulations and Rosberg was handed a 10-second time penalty post race, dropping him from second to third, costing him three world championship points.

It was the second weekend where teams were left wondering what would happen if they were to break the new radio communications with both Lewis Hamilton and Kimi Raikkonen struggling to get their cars to perform to their optimum at Baku, as the teams could not relay which setting they needed to change for fear of a penalty.

Now the FIA have clarified the regulations, with a clear revision of what the teams are allowed to do.

In the wake of the recent controversies and the FIA convinced that some teams were using coded messages to get around the rules,the FIA have now said: ‘Indication of a problem with the car, any message of this sort must include an irreversible instruction to enter the pits to rectify the problem or to retire the car.’

The FIA added in a statement on motorsport.com: ‘Instructions to select driver defaults, this must be for the sole purpose of mitigating loss of function of a sensor, actuator or controller whose degradation or failure was not detected and handled by the onboard software.

‘It will be the responsibility of any team giving any such instruction to satisfy the FIA technical delegate that this was the case and that any new setting chosen in this way did not enhance the performance of the car beyond that prior to the loss of function (see Article 8.2.4 of the Technical Regulations).’


The final tweak, which is a very clever one by the FIA, now means that the radio restrictions will now only apply when a car has left the pitlane rather than the garage.

This theoretically means that if the teams need to relay a message to the driver over the radio they can do whilst the driver enters the pitlane and doesn’t require the need to be put back in the garage.

It isn’t clear if the new rules will keep the teams happy, but it certainly hasn’t done much to appease four-time Formula One World Champion Sebastian Vettel.

He told motorsport.com: ‘[It’s] complete bullsh**. I think all the radio issues we had are a joke,’

‘I looked at the race [at Silverstone] after and I found, as a spectator, it was quite entertaining to hear the driver [Rosberg] a little bit panicking on the radio and the [Mercedes] team panicking at the same time.

‘I think it was an element of human being in our sport, which arguably is very complicated and technical.

‘I think it’s the wrong way. There’s a lot of boring stuff on the radio that got banned – so I don’t see the point.’

 

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