Radio ban not a safety risk – Whiting

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In the round-up: FIA race director Charlie Whiting says new restrictions on radio communications to drivers do not pose a safety risk.

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Why 2017 may be the wrong time to overhaul F1’s rules:

a major rule overhaul doesn’t guarantee any improvement. 2005–2008 were great seasons yet they were nearing the end of their era. 2009 was the start of an era, which received mixed views, and 2010 – 2012 were supposedly the best years of said V8 era, yet they were in the middle / near the end. Even 2013 wasn’t a totally dreadful season.

Yet 2014 came and within a year F1 bosses were whingeing about this crisis, despite the regulation changes previously being said to ‘shake the order up’ and make it more exciting. It’s only now, as we slowly approach the middle of the era, that it’s becoming a lot more exciting.

So why does Bernie and co seem to think (again) a major regulation change will help?? Is it not clear that dominance comes and goes at different times throughout all eras, so why try to reset it now when it’s slowly improving?

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On this day 20 years ago Damon Hill won the second round of the season at a very wet Interlagos ahead of Jean Alesi and Michael Schumacher.

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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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59 comments on “Radio ban not a safety risk – Whiting”

  1. That sun article is the biggest load of rubbishy they’ve ever come out with regarding F1. First of all, near-death accident? He didn’t come anywhere close to death. Okay, it could have been a bad crash, but it wasn’t near death. Secondly, as I believe the article says, it’s a routine check after a big crash. There have been no reports of him being in a bad condition since so I don’t see him missing this for one moment.

    1. Now Stoffel slides in Fernando retires on health grounds – sick of slow car… And we never look back.

    2. @strontium I read yesterday that Alonso has suffered from headache after the accident. He has also had problems to fall asleep and he hasn’t been able to train normally.

      So yeah, I think he might very well miss Bahrain GP just as The Sun article suggests

      1. I sincerely hope Fernando’s crash did not aggravate that nasty concussion/injury he took last year.

      2. @strontium Told you! ;)

        @xsavior Yeah, I’m totally not an Alonso supporter, but of course I hope him fast recovery. Hopefully this isn’t escalating to career-ending injuries.

    3. knoxploration
      31st March 2016, 2:13

      It’s almost as nonsensical as the Comment of the Day telling us that we should stick with a format which is producing “racing” that’s almost universally derided, on the offchance that said “racing” might gradually get just slightly better if we sit and twiddle our thumbs.

      A comment that was posted by… Oh, you. Well, can’t be right all of the time! ;)

      1. 2014 was relatively good for overtaking and all of the sudden 2015 is quite poor, Melbourne points for an improvement on overtaking. You want to change the formula for overtaking but all signs shout the opposite. Honestly, I just want DRS gone, less wing area to work with, refuelling back to make the cars beautiful again and one more thing, don’t force cars to run 2 different compounds per race, the soft tyre’s grip offsets aero, so keep them fast, avoid bringing medium and hard which are going to ruin 2016 because of the 3 compounds new rule, which will see Merc picking a set of medium or hard for pretty much every track bar the slow and street circuits.

        1. @Pennyroyal tea Refuelling was detrimental to on-track overtaking.

      2. petebaldwin (@)
        31st March 2016, 10:38

        It’s down to perception I guess. The logic behind it is correct – get the regs right and then stick with them for a while rather than constantly changing them..

        The issue I’d have with it is the line “it’s only now, as we slowly approach the middle of the era, that it’s becoming a lot more exciting.”

        What is becoming more exciting? The tyre preservation? The engine mapping? DRS? Qualifying? The tracks? The racing? The constant political fighting? The sound?

        For me, last year wasn’t as good as 2014 and we’re only one race into 2016…

    4. Don’t worry about the mood hoovers @strontium , I get your point. In my view I don’t even bother clicking on a link that says ‘The Sun’ as 9 times out of 10 it will include tabloid sensationalism, and therfore not wasting my time on.

    5. Close to death is a bit extreme, but they were right about him being ruled out.

  2. Well I haven’t said this for a while: great piece from Andrew Benson! I really hope Button and Vettel (and the rest) don’t hold their tongues this weekend, but that might be wishful thinking. I agree it’s great having Wurz on the GPDA seeing as he is not an active driver and can speak without worrying about annoying his team, unlike the other drivers. I love seeing the drivers getting their teeth out.

    1. That would be me – drivers taking..sorry GETTING their teeth out…:-)

      1. @baron that’s what I thought as soon as I’d posted that, too late! Funny image.

  3. Lawl 5.5 G in Barcelona turn 3.. Oh yeah… Now that sounds like F1 I would like… Can you imagine skiny F1 drivers taking that force? That kind of g-s would seperate big boys from the boys…

    1. That’s not the kind of F1 I want to see. Faster in the corners and slower on the straights means fewer passing opportunities. Add in the increased aero wash and you’ve got a procession, not a race. Every time I hear someone ask for higher cornering speeds, I wonder if they just like watching hot lapping or actual racing? I like racing. I can go on YouTube and watch people lap by themselves easily enough.

      1. all cars will be slower on straights compared to today, relative speed differential shouldn’t be different tho, so overtaking on straights shouldn’t change.

        1. While the top speed will be lower, the average speed in the straight will be considerably higher. They’ll spend less time in the straights, which gives less time to draft and get close enough to the car in front to overtake it under the brakes.

          And that’s also another consequence that will make overtaking harder. Braking zones will get shorter (the cars get to the braking zone while they are slower, they have more grip so they can brake harder, they have more drag that will help stop them, and they have to stop to a higher cornering speed), which again, makes a braking overtake a lot harder.

          1. So you want overtakes to be easier?

            Another pro DRS fan.

          2. Not easier.


            DRS goes against the excitement of a pass happening. But if you can’t stay within 1 second of the car in front because you literally have absolutely no grip, if you can’t get close enough in a straight to make an attempt, if the braking zone is so short the only way you’re going to overtake is if the other guy falls asleep, then there’s no excitement either.

            It’s a balance, and the 2017 rules will probably tip it way too far into the “impossible” side. But no worries, they’ll just make DRS stronger (because it isn’t going away anyway) and there will be overtakes.

      2. You have zero evidence to suggest less aero means better racing.

        This topic has been well researched on f1t and other technical forums.

        People claiming less aero is better always lose the argument.

        It sounds good on paper (or a screen) but hasn’t been proven in real life.

        Add to that 2014-2015 were both seasons with scaled back aero and performance skewed towards mechanical and power unit and look how many passes for the lead in the last 3 years.

        You can count them on your hands.

        Great racing!

        1. Clarkie sounds like Mr. X. Please support your argument then, that more aero is better, other than saying it has been proven. Define ‘scaled back aero.’ 2014 and 2015 did not emphasize mechanical grip other than for a couple of laps per stint, which is well short of anything sustainable that drivers can work with. They have been held to conservation mode for the majority of their time on any given tires. And obviously passes for the lead have been minimal with one team dominating and the likes of LH et al complaining not just at the end of last year but already this year, that they are handcuffed in dirty air. I know, now you’ll say they ‘just’ need better tires to deal with the dirty air, but that is a false argument since the guy in front is on better tires too, and the more the emphasis on aero dependency the more bothered the car behind is, while they both have the same tires good or bad. So many F1 drivers and insiders are saying this. Less aero, but not just a token tiny amount less, and much more sustainable mechanical grip is needed badly. We’ve already seen processions in the past when they had better tires and more aero…see MS/Ferrari era for example.

        2. Less aero is better. NASCAR proved that last year. The had 4 trial races with different aero packages. 2 with low downforce and 2 with high. The 2 low downforce races were good, while the 2 high down force races were snoozers. This year, they went low down force for all the races and the drivers love it.

    2. @jureo yep the cars does everything on it’s own which is why you believe that’s a way to reward good driving?

      1. 5.5g is not car doing it on its own.

    3. As the debate suggests, some people think this is good. Others not so much. I tend to think it will be good if it pushes drivers harder, but really, I have no idea. Just speculation. Which seems to put me on the same level as the FIA which is worrying!

      How can you lock down rules for next year when you don’t know what the results are going to be. The article alludes to a safety risk for the drivers. If that came true, it would make a farce of the entire next season with knee jerks coming from everywhere. Forget exploding tyres, how about feinting drivers at 300km/h.

      Seriously, F1 is a $1b+/year company. Don’t try and tell me they don’t he the resources to research this stuff properly. Why does the FIA and FOM seem to keep making rule changes without researching them properly. The most recent example (1.5 weeks ago) is the new qualifying rules. The teams ran the simulations and knew it would fail. How can a $1b not have the resources to run those same simulations? I bet Codemasters and their F1 game could have done a better job at understanding next years rules than the FIA has done.

      What they need is competition. F1 has no competitors and is fat and lazy. As a result, they make fat and lazy decisions.

      1. “I bet Codemasters and their F1 game could have done a better job at understanding next years rules than the FIA has done.”

        LOL. From the frying pan to the flames. CM has often released the game without a proper implementation of the rules (both from plain lack of implementation and also from totally bug-ridden implementation). I will gladly take that bet.

        1. I am sure you are right, but the fact that we could even debate this point is worrying for F1. Codemasters don’t have anywhere near the budget of F1 and aren’t in the business of designing F1 cars or the rules governing them.

          However if you had asked them to take the changes proposed for next years F1 cars and incorporate them into their game, I bet they could have done it given better feedback than the advice F1 seems to be operating off. Do the F1 big wigs actually get advice? Or do they just not listen to it?

          Hey, I am not advocating for getting Codemasters involved here, that would be silly. I just think F1 should get some proper advice from someone. If you are reading this Bernie, I am not asking you to go and get Flavio Briatore to help you. I mean real advice.

          1. It is not as simple has having more or less aero or more or less mechanical grip.

            There is a need for equilibrium between the two.

            There are a lot of ways to increase aero “power”, and some of those are less susceptible to dirty air than others (under-body aerodynamics for example)

            Obviously we won’t be able to get an idea until the rules finally come out, but from the information that we have so far, both mechanical grip (wider cars generate more mechanical grip) and aerodynamics will be improved.

            I’m hoping that the areo dependency comes from the under-body of the car, and that the wings decrease its complexity, this will allow cars to follow each other more closely. If we take the added mechanical grip from the wider cars and proper tyres I think the formula could be quite good.

            Sometimes people forget that for now we have humans driving the cars, if trough corners they are pushed harder expect some to get better lines than other, and mistakes under pressure, and ultimately that will be the factor creating more overtakes.

          2. ups sorry @mickharrold. It was not intended to answer your comment

  4. Surely the 2017 regs (if and when ever finalized) will be just as well thought out, sensible and beneficial to the sport as elimination qualifying.

    1. I can’t wait until they decide to revert the car regulations right after the 2017 Australian GP ends.

      That would be fun. Not so much for the teams but who cares, right?

  5. The thing about safety issues Charlie is that they are very rarely apparent until there is one.

    Can’t say I’m a big fan of “it’s displayed in the digital screen on their steering wheel” when there is such a huge issue globally with drivers using smartphones causing road carnage.

    All drivers (including F1 drivers), should be focussed on the road not on their screens. What sort of message are you sending Charlie?

    1. With respect I think you have it a*s about face @dbradock. TALKING on a mobile phone is undoubtedly dangerous but observing and assimilating information from a screen is what everyone does every minute of normal driving on public roads, so for our highly trained pilots it should be a breeze. How many times did you hear F1 drivers complain “don’t talk to me in the braking zone – I can’t concentrate?”

      1. You’re kidding right? High percentage of crashes occurring these days are as a result of drivers texting, using facebook etc while they are driving.

        Sure our highly skilled drivers might be capable of scrolling through their menus and data but the average driver is simply not capable of reading their smartphone while driving. Been proved over and over again. I get to see it daily on our roads dodging drivers weaving all over their lanes while looking at their laps.


          (anyway, scrolling through menus and data? Do drivers actually do that other than have info fed to the on the screen they only need to see rather than manually access?)

        2. Those crashes are because the drivers aren’t focusing on what they’re supposed to be doing– maintaining control of the vehicle.

          There is no “distracted” driving, there is only BAD driving.

          But it is true that one of the biggest benefits of the radio chatter the FIA is desperate to eliminate is reducing (usually) the information overload on the drivers.

        3. Yeah i can’t play with my smartphone and drive decently at the same time but i do check my speedometer, my revs, the clock, the temperature, the engine temperature, my fuel etc with no problem. And i drive manual where i need to remember the clutch and gear changing. So obviously even we are capable of checking our car data etc while driving to a certain degree.

  6. OmarRoncal - Go Seb!!! (@)
    31st March 2016, 1:52

    After reading the article about how liveries are designed, it may be just my inexperienced opinion, but the guy says that one of the main reasons for F1 liveries to be so dull (and remember, I consider this year’s Renault as dull too, that yellow papaya shade, uuuuugh) is that sponsors request it, in order to have their logos stand out?
    I don’t know if that is the case, but if the whole car doesn’t stand out, how are the sponsors going to be noticed? Add to that the fact that F1 teams still believe their square space is gold-worthy, and you end up seeing dull liveries with microscopic logos set in dark spots of the cars nobody can barely see.
    I would love to see Camille De Bastiani or Tim Holmes being hired to see how sponsors would be actually spotted.

    1. it’s not only in F1, this happens a lot in graphic design: it’s called the ‘make-my-logo-bigger’ paradox… =)

      however, I didn’t get this form the article. what I got was that Reanult’s designer started sidestepping and didn’t really answer the question!!

    2. The sponsors pay the bills so it is only right they get what they want so far as the liveries are concerned.

      The liveries aren’t actually that bad this season, sure they play it a bit safe but on the whole I like them. 9 times out of 10 when I see “fantasy” liveries made by fans I think they are horrible, a dazzling mess of nostalgia and jagged lines. The teams know what they are doing and nearly always manage to put something good on the cars.

  7. Would be disappointing to see Fernando miss Bahrain. He didn’t seem that bad after the crash, and I would be surprised if the doctors didn’t give him the go ahead for the race. Anyways, if Stoffel steps in for a race, I don’t see F1 fans complaining too much.

  8. ColdFly F1 (@)
    31st March 2016, 6:31

    It was the failure of the FIA, motorsport’s governing body, to allow the teams to vote on a return to 2015’s qualifying format which broke the consensus.
    The lack of leadership by the FIA fits a worrying trend.

  9. I can’t agree more with COTD. I know that they need to change the rules up every now and then to keep pace with the times and keep interest, but as COTD says, it is always followed by a period of poor racing. However as everyone gets a handle of the rules, the racing gets better. This year is shaping up to be the best in a while for that reason. Fights right across the field.

    It’s not the tyres, engines, too much aero reliance, aero wake blah blah that are the problem right now. In every year ever, one or all of these issues have been a problem and they will always be a problem that will never be solved to everyone’s satisfaction.

    Today I read that there may be problems about the G forces next year. Cue more knee jerk reactions and late rule changes. And then more dominance from one or more of the power teams. There will always be problems, but they get sorted out in time. So long as we don’t change the rules again.

    For good racing, we need to keep the same rules for a reasonable period. All I ever read on the forums is people advocating for change. I for one am hoping that there is none for a while. I want close racing because that is way more exciting than loud engines or records tumbling.

    1. After one race I don’t see how there is evidence that things are shaping up for this to be a better season. If anything we have already seen more evidence of drivers handcuffed in dirty air. Stability in the rules helps, sure, but not if that means a locking in of the dirty air effect taking away from close racing, on tires that still suck. The other teams might get closer to Mercedes, but that is not closer racing if they are still held back once they do reel the guy in front in more often due to rules stability. It can just become a Trulli train all over again, until they stabilize rules that emphasize more mechanical grip to aero in the ratio.

      1. Yeah I know what you mean @robbie tho there was some great racing in Oz. The state of play seems to be that similar cars can’t pass, they need an edge like new tyres or being a faster car out of position.

        That last front wing change did the damage really. I don’t see why they can’t fix it, even within the need to stop the wing riding up the rear wheel when they touch.

        1. @lockup Agreed. And they CAN fix it…they just don’t wanna. The wing could have a neutral zone to it in the middle where it is attached under the nose, which I know I read somewhere last year was one thought for 2017. They could also be restricted to Monza style slim wings for all tracks. They just don’t wanna. Oh ya I already said that.

  10. Much as I hate to say it, Bernie’s reverse grid may be the way to get more overtaking. The present system starts the fastest cars in front of the slower ones. The slower cars are not going to overtake the faster ones in front of them on the circuit, so changes of position only come about because of strategy (or qualifying mistakes).

    Why not have start position the reverse of finish position in the previous race? Since there would be no need for qualifying there could be two races each weekend.

    It would also be good to remove the financial inequality. E.g. distribute the money equally between teams instead of FOM giving Ferrari five times as much as Sauber.

    1. No, because then the teams will time themselves to be the slowest in Q3.

      Reverse grids, penalty times, penalty weight, “victory ballast” (now there’s a crock)– these are all rules made against the spirit of qualifying: “Who’s fastest?”

  11. Autosport radio ban: “Toto Wolff to suggest the lack of communication “is definitely going to lead to situations which are beyond the engineers’ control”.”

    Good. Controlling the car and the driver from the pit is not in the spirit of motorsport. I’d also suggest banning the use of *realtime* telemetry from the car to the pits, which will give the teams no impetus to find loopholes and covert methods to instruct the driver remotely.

    1. The car isn’t controlled from the pits. Hasn’t been since the 1990’s. The driver is advised from the pits. This rabid insanity about telemetry, and technology, and actual “teams” competing in F1…. is the pits.

  12. Yay they’ve worked out the fatter, draggier cars will have less amazing top speed. Progress! Any day now they’ll discover the 5.5G cars have less awesome speed change.

    Michael Schmidt at AMuS seems to think eventually they might drop the 2017 redesign altogether.

    1. Yeah God forbid they accept fatter draggier cars which would then force them to run less wing which would help in the mechanical to aero grip ratio by making them less dependent on wings.

      1. Less wing @robbie? I thought they’re wider, and lower at the rear to hook up with the diffuser again, for more lovely wake. The front is inset a bit more, making it more dependent on inwash.

  13. Completely agree with Webber on quali, though that exact format wouldn’t quite work these days due to commercial contracts (for tv adverts) between Q1, Q2 and Q3 with certain broadcasters (as he says).

    No matter though. We can still have 4 sets of qualifying tyres and one hour, but just have that one hour broken down into 4 mini-sessions of Q1, Q2, Q3 plus a new Q4. Every driver does a single-lap in every mini-session.

    Obviously this old format didn’t have knock-outs, so rather than bring them back with the Q1, Q2 etc, let’s have something new, let’s have each drivers hot-lap time added together on a rolling-basis throughout the sessions, to give a final, overall lap-time. Whether they end up being fast or slow, they all count, and as it’s a single-lap per session, there’s always a good opportunity for mistakes and for those mistakes to really count :).

    To make sure teams do go out, a simple rule which says, “any driver who fails to complete a hot-lap in each mini-session, will be allocated a lap-time 107% of the fastest lap-time in that mini-session,” would really do the trick :).

  14. Formula 1 needs to be slower in the corners and faster on the straights, not the other way around :S. That’s 1 of the fundamentals for a car you can actually race with, rather than purely lap as quickly as possible.

    Qualifying and the race are 2 very different disciplines, hence why we used to build qualifying cars.

    Even something as simple as a reduction in brake pressures (from qualifying to the race) would extend the braking zones and make overtakes a bit easier.

    Relying on the mechanical grip of your tyre in a corner preceding a straight is where an overtake starts, which in turn leads to the anticipation of an overtake, which is just as if not even more important than the actual overtake itself.

  15. Just placed a £10 spot on Kimi @15/1.. Not bad.

  16. I am by no means in favor of the qualifying format they used in Australia and will use again this weekend. At all. I thought it was horrible to watch and I really cannot see it improving on its best day. However, I think it might appear slightly less horrible this weekend because of the nature of the track as the sun sets. With temps falling, teams might want to be out sooner anyway to take advantage of relatively higher track temps (though I’m not familiar with what temps the teams want with what tires/tyres).

    If they are planning their fastest runs early anyway, that aligns with the format, so it should be crowded. What I imagine will be abundantly clear though is that the ends of sessions will likely be dead air, lots of crowd shots. With a presumably slowing track and most teams “fighting” to get in the next qualifying period already relegated, it should be damningly quiet and seems like it would have to force their hand to revert for China. Though I’m sure we thought that in Melbourne as well.

  17. F1 has some big decisions to make.

    Is it a team competition or a driver competition? Historically it has been a constructor competition. The prize money is awarded to constructors. But now it is banning instructions from teams to their drivers, even in practice sessions. It is stopping teams from building cars which educe the chance of driver errors because it wants the drivers to demonstrate their skills.

    Should it be the pinnacle of car design or should all cars be built to the same tight specification? Whenever a team comes up with a good design initiative it seems to be banned by a hasty rule change to stop them benefiting. The current engines have the same power for half the fuel of two years ago and key figures in FOM and the FIA say they want to go back to the old ones.

    Does F1 want overtaking or does it want quick lap times? If qualifying always puts the fastest cars in front at the start then it stands to reason there will be less overtaking. If 2017 cars will go faster through the corners there will be less braking into corners and less accelerating out of them, which is where overtaking happens. If it is happy to achieve higher cornering speeds though aero downforce, it will ensure that cars can not follow closely through corners because of aero turbulence.

    Does F1 want to go on helping the leading teams and penalising the others? The current distribution of money from FOM (which is contractual until 2020) gives Ferrari & Red Bull four times what it gives teams like Sauber. This, combined with the very proscriptive formula, makes it impossible for low budget teams to catch up.

    These are not easy choices, but be careful what you wish for – you might get it, and regret it!

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