During the late stages of the British Grand Prix Nico Rosberg was all but secure in 2nd position in his Mercedes having taken on and beaten the threat posed to him by the less superior Red Bull driven by Max Verstappen. Then Rosberg’s Mercedes developed a gearbox issue not far from the end of the race. Mercedes then gave explicit instructions about how to resolve the issue. Mercedes
Such team instructions communicated to the driver over the radio during a race are not currently permitted in F1. The rules, no matter how over zealous, are the rules.
And the rules dictate that no team is able to give specific instructions to assist a driver in resolving a technical issue.
The other side of the argument is that a modern day F1 car is so advanced that it requires a kind ‘virtual co-pilot’.
When Rosberg radioed his engineer, Tony Ross replied “Driver default 1-0-1, chassis default 0-1, chassis default 0-1. Avoid seventh gear, Nico, avoid seventh gear.”
Rosberg responded: “What does that mean? I have to shift through it?”
Tony Ross: “Affirm Nico, you need to shift through it. Affirm, you need to shift through it.”
Mercedes subsequently launched an appeal however they have now decided not to pursue the matter and accept the decision made by the race stewards at the British Grand Prix.
Once the FIA and it’s representatives have made a decision to penalise a team for having broken whatever rule it very, very rarely overturns a decision.
Teams are only allowed to communicate instructions if the car has a critical problem such as a imminent or potentially terminal failure.
When Rosberg radioed to his team that he could not engage 7th gear he was instructed to change to a specific mode.
It seems that Mercedes knew this would get them into trouble, rolled the dice and played their hand in a determined effort to get a 1-2 podium finish. The gamble didn’t pay off.