Hamilton: Radio ban will make races “a lot harder”

2016 F1 season

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Lewis Hamilton expects tighter restrictions on what drivers can be told via team radio to make a significant difference to the competition this year.

Teams will not be able to give drivers information on how to optimise and increase the performance of their cars. That will place give drivers greater decision-making power but also make their task more complicated.

Speaking at a Mercedes press conference Hamilton said the team devoted some of their testing time to being ready for the new restrictions. “The time we’ve spent at the factory and at the track was really trying to understand what the ban would mean in terms of what they can and cannot say to us,” he said.

“It is a big change. Whether or not I agree with all the implications, I think it’s definitely going to make it a lot harder.”

“We have to memorise a lot more things, there’s so many different processes we have to go through, sequences we have to go through in the car, so we’re just trying to figure out ways in which we can try to remember them. So sometimes you’ll see stickers on the car, you’ll see stickers on the steering wheel, because there is literally so much.”

Hamilton also questioned whether the extent of the ban was justified. “Some of it is of no benefit in terms of improving our pace or anything like that,” he said, “it’s just to keep the car going because it is so technical.”

“So that’s why I was saying some of them I don’t agree with because it’s irrelevant to the pace of the car or to the spectators. But I think the idea is probably a good thing and I think you’ll see it evolve over the races. We’re all going to struggle probably in the first race in some way at some form but we’ll try to prepare the best way we can.”

Hamilton appeared at the press conference wearing glasses but said they were non-corrective.

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Keith Collantine
Lifelong motor sport fan Keith set up RaceFans in 2005 - when it was originally called F1 Fanatic. Having previously worked as a motoring...

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43 comments on “Hamilton: Radio ban will make races “a lot harder””

  1. Wow. He’s turning into JV.

    1. looks so similar, a short childish-immature looking man, with round face and round glasses, an annoying voice, and a distorted view of reality..

    2. RaceProUK (@)
      13th March 2016, 15:56

      Because he’s answering questions at a press conference?

      1. I think @yoshif8tures is referring to the glasses.

        1. And those are actual prescription glasses as well, you can notice the light refraction or whatever it’s called.
          He’s a stylish dude, he picked them well and they look good on him.
          Besides, he hasn’t used them since he was a child, so he should have absolutely zero problems getting badge.

          1. You’re wrong, that glass is very thin and very flat. Unless he is wearing them to correct 20/30 ……

          2. Did you read the article?

            “Hamilton appeared at the press conference wearing glasses but said they were non-corrective.

            He is wearing it as a fashion statement.

        2. RaceProUK (@)
          13th March 2016, 23:31

          Oh. In that case, carry on :)

  2. Has there been an article on F1F yet that goes into the details of the new radio restrictions? Is there a link to them somewhere? It sounds as if there are even more restrictions than the past couple seasons

    1. @pastaman It’ll be covered in the guide to the new season’s rules coming up this week. It would have been up sooner but, of course, they spent so long messing around with them…

      1. @keithcollantine thanks and totally understandable :)

    2. The new radio rules are quite restrictive. I think it’s quite likely that the lack of detailed coaching from the pits to the drivers will have a noticeable effect on the races. Drivers will have to learn how to analyze and adjust many things for themselves now and those that can’t make the that transition will be losing a LOT of lap time.

      For all of my frustration (and anger and disgust and head shaking) over most of the rules changes in recent years, I think the radio restrictions are a VERY positive step. My back ground concern is that the teams may find ways to cheat

  3. Like many new things in F1, they work for a few races, then they find a way around them, sadly.

    Still, enjoy it while it lasts! Just get used to hearing some whackily worded slang!

  4. OmarRoncal - Go Seb!!! (@)
    13th March 2016, 13:53

    Next time he wears glasses FIA will ban them because fans can be confused and not recognize him.
    PS: Helmet ban is so stupid.

    1. Agreed. Helmet ban is nuts.

      And this article just means there’s going to be plenty more covert or coded radio conversations. Won’t have the impact they’re looking for.

    2. I’d support a ban on changing glasses during the season ;)

  5. Interesting that you point out that that Lewis is wearing non-corrective glasses, Keith. Pretty keen of you.
    I have some Afro-Caribbean friends doing their post-graduate degrees in Europe; and they say they have to wear non-corrective glasses in order to be taken seriously by their lecturers and their peers. Looking more subdued and nerdy when you are black helps to dissolve preconceptions it seems. Sad that a man of Lewis’ status has to resort to this though, but it might be necessary for him to be treated with more respect in the F1 world and beyond.

    1. @david-beau On the other hand my cousins, for some time, wore non-corrective glasses (pre-university) for style – one of them’s in university now but both don’t wear said non-corrective glasses anymore so one can always hope Lewis just finds non-corrective glasses more stylish.

    2. For Lewis, I think it’s a fashion statement more than anything.

    3. @david-beau As they could be seen in the picture I thought it should be cleared up!

    4. RaceProUK (@)
      13th March 2016, 23:34

      Sad that a man of Lewis’ status has to resort to this though, but it might be necessary for him to be treated with more respect in the F1 world and beyond.

      Or he’s simply wearing them because he feels like it. Let’s be honest, he’s a triple world champion; that counts for a lot more than something you get from Specsavers on a two-for-£100 deal.

  6. radio bans will make races harder for drivers like Hamilton, ie less intelligent drivers, they cant rely on the team driving him anymore, and he will have to think about tyre wear more seriously. thinking drivers like vettel or Alonso will benefit from these radio bans. Mercedes were cunning, they say they have let their drivers battle it out this year more without team orders, but it all just correlates to the ban of radio messages! – so yes they are more free to race, but it is because of the rules, not because of team Mercedes, but team Mercedes have played it nicely at the start of the season to make it look likethey are the good guys in the intra team battle.

    1. Are you serious or what?

    2. @kpcart
      Do you have any evidence Hamilton isn’t as smart? I certainly don’t see it.

      He picked teams better than Alonso. At least two championships better.

    3. I wouldn’t put it in smart / not-smart terms. More like it will benefit the drivers that take a lot of time to study the car and talk to the engineers, keep a cool head during the race and play the long game, etc. And it will be harder for those drivers that come, drive, leave, and party the rest of the week. It will require more dedication and intellect, not just pure talent. Let’s just say that it would be easier for Prost than for Hunt ;)

    4. You have been saying for years LH will never amount to anything KP

      How is that working out for you?

    5. I wish I could be a less intelligent 3 times F1 World Champion worth over 60 million pounds and could retire by the age of 30 and chill out for the rest of my life. In what possible way is Hamilton less intelligent anyway? I am far from his biggest fan but come on.

  7. “Hamilton appeared at the press conference wearing glasses but said they were non-corrective.”

    His cap was also not actually to shield his eyes from sunlight and his watch was not worn for the purpose of duplicating the time telling function of his phone.

    1. ColdFly F1 (@)
      13th March 2016, 16:11

      It would explain his earrings though, @philipgb, as pirates wore them believing it would cure bad eye-sight!

    2. Did he drink any of the non-hydrating water at any point?
      What happens if somebody says a naughty word? Grid penalty?

  8. Just got me thinking of the reliance on radio instructions has potentially made the cars too hard to drive to full efficiency without the radio? Maybe the radio ban will lead to cars with fewer buttons and dials in the future…

    Either that, or way more information sent to the driver via some electronic means like a HUD or steering wheel screen.

  9. Hud will be redesigned… Procedures will be learned… But mistakes will be made and better operators will profit from it.

    Recently i was gifted noncorrective glasses.. So much fun. Maybe he has some anti reflection layer on them, to ease eye strain from all the cameras… Maybe he wears them for eye practice… Or maybe he is trying to get a honorary motosport doctorate…

    1. HAM’s glasses are the HUD.

      Sneaky Mercedes ;-)

      1. @juan-fanger Best conspiracy theory so far this year!

      2. RaceProUK (@)
        13th March 2016, 23:35

        I know you’re joking, but Google Glass is a thing, so… :)

    2. Also some people with sensitive eyes also use them just for the UV protection they offer, useful if you’re outside for long periods of time and don’t want the distorted colours of a normal pair of polarised glasses.

  10. I like the radio restrictions. Do they extend so far that if 1 Merc driver turns their settings up the team cannot tell them to turn it back down? Or the other driver to turn theirs up? Hilarious if they cannot and to beat the other they turn the settings up, the team cannot warn them and they blow an engine or 2.

    1. It would be great – if we knew the settings! But we won’t know, is the problem. All this will be going on – tyres getting too hot, brakes too cold, using too much fuel then having to wind it down, an engine goes as you say – and we won’t have any idea why the cars are going faster or slower. It might be driving skill, or it might not.

      1. Will the driver know as they do not have as detailed telemetry as the pits and if they did would they understand it? The pit wall will be watching on thinking I hope he realises as the car will blow in a few laps. I guess pit boards will be back in use or are there restrictions on this as well?

  11. Change the DATA transmission rules.

    Impose restrictions on the amount of information that can travel from the car to the garage and greatly reduce the amount of data that can be transmitted offsite during the race weekend.

    The WCC should be a reflection of actual team work, rehearsal, practice and imagination. The way it works now, smaller teams are at a disadvantage because they can’t afford to have staff (hired, trained and equipped) assisting their managers in the same way the bigger teams do. The sport is made unfair not by the things said to a driver over the radio, but by how easy the decision-making process has become for race day operations directors once their assistants have crunched all the numbers and radioed them the results.

    In the past, they had to rely on the driver’s perceptions to make decisions, that was a in itself limited source of information, so there was no point to radio to the drivers “Drive your hands off, mate!” or “Make sure we finish the race”; but now they have access to huge amounts of sensor activity that they can anticipate small changes and start telling the driver how to drive.

  12. Kimi – “I think it will be okay, it’s the same for everyone. And anyway, I know what I’m doing.”

    1. Kimi ‘Why do I get all the blue flags?’ Engineer ‘They are for lapped traffic Kimi, lapped traffic, not for you’ :-)

  13. I don’t agree with this. This is few.

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