Date: 15th September 2014 at 8:53am
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Formula One heads into the Singapore Grand Prix with a change in regulations regarding the use of team radio.

Formula One is not opposed to changed the rules during a season.

In 2014 we’ve already had a ban on FRIC [Front-and-Rear Interconnected Suspension systems] and now we have a ban on some team to driver radio messages.

The team radio is used for everything, from giving information about the gap to another driver, when to make a pit-stop, team orders, right through to detailed telemetry information regarding how another driver is faster in a particular sector of a lap and even drivers given detailed instructions on how to drive the car better.

Just one example of this was Felipe Massa in Monza, with Williams telling the Brazilian that at some points of the lap he was pressing both the accelerator and brake pedals.

Whilst some will argue that Formula One is a team sport and so the technology within the team should be transferred to the driver, others argue that they do not want to see the supposed elite drivers in the world have their hand held around the lap.

The telemetry information has enabled a drivers race engineer to tell them what settings to change in the car, when to brake, when to accelerate, what line to take in a corner, all the things that the traditionalist racers would argue should come naturally to a racing driver.

So a ban has been put in place, or at least a racing directive thanks to article 20.1 which states ?the driver must drive the car alone and unaided’ and this has come straight from FIA Race Director Charlie Whiting so the teams will have to take notice.

The problem that Mercedes’ Executive Director Toto Wolff has is that it’s not the clearest directive.

‘On track, it has been confirmed that we will now see less radio traffic,’

?This is a complex and controversial decision which will require a significant effort from the teams to understand how best we can work around it.’

?The directive is not yet fully clear and there will inevitably be some controversy, so it will need further clarification as to how much the essential on-track procedures will be affected – particularly before the start of the race.?
Wolff was quoted by Sky Sports.

It is thought that information on pit-stop strategies or safety will not be affected, but other points appear to be in a grey area.

What happens to important information such as altering engine modes to reduce fuel consumption?

Drivers often ramp up their fuel mode in certain parts of the race to enable them to race for track position and then save fuel in less competitive sections of the Grand Prix. How will the driver know when to do this?

Or a change to the brake balance? The latter could be a safety switch or a performance switch for the car, but who is to know other than the team and under what point does a performance switch to prevent a safety concern become viable?

 

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