Formula One has seen many rules come and sometimes go, they are often introduced as a result of media scrutiny and some by Bernie Ecclestone, new rules are never introduced off the back of public pressure.
Last week the FIA, Formula One’s commander in chief, issued a directive banning or rather limiting all teams from making pit-to-car radio transmissions relating to car and driver performance.
The FIA uses its sporting regulation of Article 20.1 to justify the intervention which states “the driver must drive the car alone and unaided” – must be respected at all times.
The FIA also reminded teams that data transmission’s, such as engine map settings, are also prohibited by the Technical Regulations as set out in Article 8.5.2.
The FIA have also stated to F1 team’s that it has forbidden the use of pit-to-driver coaching/advice over the radio which instructs the driver where and how to go faster in a corner.
Now the FIA has also banned the use of coded messages, there appears to be no Article in the Sporting Regulation’s that covers this particular aspect and it will be interesting to see how the teams stretch the boundaries at this weeks Singapore Grand Prix when the FIA’s new directives come into effect.
It isn’t particularly clear how the FIA will measure any team breaking these rules nor is it clear what exactly constitutes “driver coaching”. Toto Wolff, the Mercedes team principle, stated;
“It has been confirmed that we will now see less radio traffic,” Wolff stated.
“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.”
The FIA did provide a to-do and not to-do list;Message types allowed
– Acknowledgement that a driver message has been heard.
– Lap or sector time detail.
– Lap time detail of a competitor.
– Gaps to a competitor during a practice session or race.
– “Push hard”, “push now”, “you will be racing xx” or similar.
– Helping with warning of traffic during a practice session or race.
– Giving the gaps between cars in qualifying so as to better position the car for a clear lap.
– Puncture warning.
– Tyre choice at the next pit stop.
– Number of laps a competitor has done on a set of tyres during a race.
– Tyre specification of a competitor.
– Indication of a potential problem with a competitor’s car during a race.
– Information concerning a competitors likely race strategy.
– Yellow flags, blue flags, Safety Car deployment or other cautions.
Message types not allowed
– Sector time detail of a competitor and where a competitor is faster or slower.
– Adjustment of power unit settings.
– Adjustment of power unit setting to de-rate the systems.
– Adjustment of gearbox settings.
– Learning of gears of the gearbox (will only be enforced from the Japanese Grand Prix onwards).
– Balancing the SOC [state-of-charge of batteries] or adjusting for performance.
– Information on fuel flow settings (except if requested to do so by race control).
– Information on level of fuel saving needed.
– Information on tyre pressures or temperatures (will only be enforced from the Japanese Grand Prix onwards).
– Information on differential settings.
– Start maps related to clutch position, for race start and pit stops.
– Information on clutch maps or settings, e.g. bite point.
– Burn-outs prior to race starts.
– Information on brake balance or BBW (brake-by-wire) settings.
– Warning on brake wear or temperatures (will only be enforced from the Japanese Grand Prix onwards).
– Selection of driver default settings (other than in the case of a clearly identified problem with the car).
– Answering a direct question from a driver, e.g. “Am I using the right torque map”?
– Any message that appears to be coded.