Nico Rosberg, Mercedes, Silverstone, 2016

Rosberg expects no penalty after “critical” fault

2016 British Grand Prix

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Nico Rosberg is confident he will avoid a penalty for being given radio assistance during the British Grand Prix.

The Mercedes driver faces an investigation for not driving his car “alone and unaided” after being told how to address a gearbox problem in the closing stages of the race.

Lewis Hamilton, Mercedes, Silverstone, 2016
The 2016 British Grand Prix in pictures
However Rosberg told reporters the problem he had was serious and the team knew what they told him was within the rules.

“The gearbox issue was a major, critical problem that nearly ended my race,” he said. “With some advice on some switches they managed to sort it out and continue and get to the end of the race, thankfully. So I’m happy about that.”

Asked whether the fault was critical from a point of view of safety Rosberg answered: “That’s going into too much detail, I’m not an expert on those things.”

“It was definitely a very critical problem. I would have surely stopped there, that’s the main point.”

Rosberg isn’t concerned about the possibility of losing his points for second place. “No I’m not worried because the team have studied that in and out, the rules,” he said. “They know exactly what they can and can’t say.”

2016 British Grand Prix

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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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  • 65 comments on “Rosberg expects no penalty after “critical” fault”

    1. Well, I’m disagreed with you Nico. It’s pretty much a violation of the rules if we are using the same standard as other races. The only thing I don’t know is what the proper penalty to apply…

      1. Yeh but Rosberg would be utterly stupid to say that.

      2. Finish last of course

    2. Karthik Mohan
      10th July 2016, 16:13

      I don’t understand what Nico says! yes the problem was critical, yes he would have probably ended up without finishing the race, but was it a safety issue? it wasn’t! If the gearbox failed, he could have driven to the side of the track and stopped! Where is the safety issue here?

      1. I don’t think the fans pay to watch stationary cars

        1. So teams can break the rules as long as fans pay for it?

          Actually, that sounds about right! How much will Bernie need to redact the radio rules, kickstarter anyone?

        2. I don’t think that’s relevant to the issue at hand. At all

        3. They didn’t pay to watch Hamilton drive around slowly in Baku looking for switches or in Austria for Perez’s brakes to fail either.

    3. Perez brakes where critical in Austria, and he got sent into a wall after his team were actually denied permission to tell him how critical they where.

      If there is ever one thing you should be able to tell a driver about being critical, its brakes.

    4. Just remember Baku and the famous sentence : I’m afraid I can’t say, Lewis.

      1. @vik Baku where Hamilton was offpace not even 1sec due to wrong enginemode?

        What does that have to do with this incident?

        1. @rethla
          Wow! You don’t see what that has to do with this incident?

          I know the Stewards don’t want to punish Rosberg, but they are forced to set a precedence.

          1. Precisely. If the issue in Rosberg’s case is in no way connected with the safety of the driver in the car and with the safety of other drivers racing against the driver of the car ( and the answer to all those questions is quite clearly an absolute negative ! ) then it’s a slam dunk ! Rosberg received radio assistance to enable him to continue to race and finish in the British Grand Prix.
            That assistance had no connection with Rosberg’s physical safety, or the safety of anyone else. Hamilton was denied any assistance to solve the mechanical problems he suffered in the race at Baku for similar ( and thoroughly, though cruelly and brutally correct ) reasons.

            The massively glaring difference between the two verdicts is damning. Either there are clear
            rules which must be obeyed at all times, or there are no such clear rules.

            If any contributor to this blog can find any evidence to contradict my summation of the two
            events, I would very much like to read them.

            1. @loen Well why dont you read the article.

              Rosberg – “The gearbox issue was a major, critical problem that nearly ended my race”

              Thats why Mercedes told him how to solve it and they didnt tell Hamilton a thing becouse nothing was critical for Hamilton. One issue is 100% clear cut and one isnt.

            2. I completely agree

        2. So Rosberg’s gearbox was problem, if he didnt know how to reset it, he should have read the damn manual (es per everyone was saying to hamilton on baku) if he didnt reset the gearbox, he was gonna retire or finish quite down the order until he figured out the settings to do it: He was given two many specific info some of which was to divert attention like the “critical” 7th gear avoidance which he used a few times if it was really problem he should have gearbox dead…

          after he reset the car, he didnt really drop down on the performance much and kept health distance to MAX… with broken gearbox, sounds too lucky? he was also given some message before he entered for checks in the paddock by his race engineer over the ear… if you caught it… if he doesnt get a good enough deterrent penalty (as per Lauda’s comments in Baku regarding Ham’s car) this will be damn disgraceful to hamilton perez and others for the same reason…

          If he doesnt get a penalty, everyone will dive to the limits of what is good message and whats not by just saying: Perez your brakes are “critical” dont use strat 1 or 2 before the corners and brake early as it is too “critical” for safety reasons…

          Ham, use multi 21 as your ERS is too “critical” at harvesting energy and it is too “critical” at corners 1-2-3…

          Vettel your tyres are too critical they may explode, so dont use curbs at turn 3-4-5 and dont use your strat mode 3-4 on straights as debris are too “critical” for tyres

          Who will prevent them passing this kind of info to drivers? His gearbox didnt fail completely, he should have known how to reset it as i m sure it is part of the 900 pages manual everyone was so keen on throwing at hamilton… last time around…

          1. But it was NOT a safety problem ‘rethla’……as your own words have correctly stated
            it was ‘critical’…critical, in the sense that without aid from his team his race would
            have ended prematurely. But ‘critical’ does not mean ‘dangerous’ ! It means that there
            was a problem which, if not solved, would have ended his race. And that is what the
            rules of F1 state. They state that only issues concerning driver safety take precedence.
            Rosberg was NOT in danger of anything more threatening than being forced to retire
            from the British GP, and his team gave him radio assistance to prevent that happening.
            Such assistance is clearly against the rules. And that is why, in similar circumstances
            ( but a completely different technical issue ) Hamilton was denied any help.

            The two cases are a glaring example of inconsistency in judging and awarding penalties.

        3. Because Rosberg should have known how to reset the gearbox himself (and not been out partying with rappers, etc.)?

          Isn’t it quite related? I think we all agree it’s a silly rule, but as far as I know the drivers can’t be told how to fix a gearbox problem by changing a setting on their steering wheel.

        4. LH wasn’t off pace in Baku. Engine mode setting was wrong setup by team. There was no way to know which one to change it to. In Nick’s case he changed it himself and had to just switch back

          1. He was clearly off pace and if there was no way for Hamilton to know how to setup his car its either a poor driver or a poorly buidlt car, nothing more to say about that. Also he did get it right eventually didnt he, i remember him shouting over the radio “Now i got full power” or something like that and doing purple times.

            1. @rethla Poor driver winning 3 British GPs in a row ?

            2. He can always blame the car if he wants although the team has done more than him for those wins.

            3. Or he could you know… trash an drivers room or something…

          2. Lewis was s second off the pace in Baku

    5. If it is the case that will be the worst FIA joke I’ve ever heard.

    6. “Rosberg expects no penalty..”. Let us hope he gets a big surprise.

    7. If that happens, I will be gutted for Max, Ricciardo and the rest who drove fantastically today and whose finishing positions are one place behind where they ought to be if Rosberg had not received the race helping and advantageous call by the engineer.
      Point is without the call Max would have overtaken Nico and Silverstone being as long as it is, some other drivers would also have caught up and overtaken Nico.

      1. Why? Because he got assistance from his team for a gearbox problem that could have possibly been the end of his race? Or for the additional information to not use 7th gear too much, which could also have been race ending?
        Both critical pieces of information to prevent a gearbox failure

        1. @gdewilde, It could be argued that Perez’s brake problems in the Austrian GP were far more dangerous than Rosberg’s gearbox issues, since in his case it lead to him crashing into the barriers when the brakes failed. I think the feeling is that, if Force India couldn’t give instructions to Perez to prevent a brake issue which ultimately did result in a complete failure and a heavy crash, why should Rosberg then be given instructions on how to manage a gearbox issue?

          1. Does anybody know for sure if Force India couldn’t give the information too Perez by race control-orders (something I doubt) or that they didn’t give the information because they presumed it was illegal under the current regulations?

            1. Autosport reported at the time that Force India asked race control to be allowed to tell Perez about the imminent failure and were told that they were not to inform him.

              Rosberg must be given a penalty if the rules are to be applied consistently.

            2. As per FIA’s defence: Drivers have some info on brakes/tyres eg temps… so the drivers supposed to check it themselves and aware of it… Rosberg’s problem if it was safety issue, he should have pulled over to the side… he was right in the middle of the track! His problem solved by changing exact settings to reset it… after which his gap to Max stabilized not dropped further… And i think his 7th gear message was to divert attention and justify the “critical” message…

            3. Is that really true about Perez? If so it is outrageous. A brake failure is a serious safety issue and should be told. Gearbox issue and changing settings? Silly rule but a current rule. Penalty for me.

        2. – a gearbox problem that could have possibly been the end of his race?

          Yes of course that is the aim of the ban in the first place. If your race ends, it ends.
          What is with the idea of some fans that Nico’s race should not end due to his gear box problem and for that reason he should be helped? A person’s race ending is advantageous to other drivers.

        3. Joao Pitol (@)
          10th July 2016, 17:13

          They are allowed to inform him about the problem but not how to fix it.

        4. Sounds simple to me say nothing end of race zero points. Say something finish race with penalty but some points

      2. I don’t understand how you can say the call was advantageous? Unless you think being able to complete the race is an advantage?

        1. Of course it is advantageous because with the information he received, he was able to remedy the situation he was in bearing in mind that he had lost a load of time before he received the help. Add that to the possibility that he was able to finish the race as a result of the help.
          All of this made it possible for others who would have caught up and passed him, not to have.

        2. Because he received information that, if some others had received, would have also been able to complete their races. Perez in Austria crashed out because of brake failure. He risked injury too. And that was not allowed to be transmit.

          People say if he wasn’t told the axle would have locked. Not if he’d braked and pulled over. Mercedes wanted to win, they told him what to do. I’m okay with that. But if FIA show leniency to this they’ll have to question their own integrity.

        3. how can you not call 18 points an advantage? or the 3 that Max didn’t get and on down the line if the problem would have ended his race

    8. I don’t like the radio rule but the think a punishment is only fair. There’s no way Rosberg would have finished in the top 10 without guidance and there’s no safety issue at all as he knew the problem so could have just pulled off track. If he gets away with it then the rule is worthless as there is no safety issue at all.

    9. He might get a penalty for a gearbox replacement, tho, if they find damage. And at Hungary, a very bad place to have a grid penalty.

    10. Thats the Nico who still doesnt seethat by not turning right in a corner with a car on the outside causes a collision….which is his fault???
      So we believe him this time…..

    11. Let them drive the cars, let the engineers help them. F1 needs more racing, not retired cars.

      1. Exactly!! Let’s get rid of these stupid radio rules. It was brilliant listening in to the whole conversation like we used to.

    12. He should have been penalised. They were allowed to inform him of a criticial problem but they weren’t allowed to give him the settings to fix it. And they did gave him the settings. But now what penalty? I have no idea.

    13. This case will surely set the precedent on what can and can’t be said. Based on how the teams have interpreted the rule up until now I would say Nico will be penalized. If he’s not, I’d imagine the teams will demand clarification of the rule and there will be quite a lot of grumbling about how the Mercedes driver received special treatment. Should be an interesting next few days.

    14. I think this one has to be looked at very carefully – and it has to take into account the situation. If Rosberg hadn’t been given the information and his gerabox had let go, what would have been the consequences? If ithad gone and he’d dumped oil all over the dry line, with the off line being wet, could that have been a safety issue?

      All posturing and nonsense between fans aside, as @velocityboy said it sets a precedent, so there needs to be a thorough look into things.

      1. Joao Pitol (@)
        10th July 2016, 17:11

        Yeah they are allowed to inform him per rule:
        1. Indication of a critical problem with the car, e.g. puncture warning or damage.*

        But rules does not allow them to instruct the driver how to work around the issue, they can instruct him to pit for repairs.

        1. Well, its the perpetual situation where we’re extrapolating from incomplete data. Without seeing what the telemetry showed, we’ve got no way of knowing exactly what was wrong with the gearbox and what would have happened.

          1. Incomplete data is irrelevant. If complete failure was imminent, they could have told him to pull off at nearest exit, if not, pit for retirement or hope he manages it himself.

            That was the situation for Perez (where it was an actual safety issue, not just an “otherwise we would have to retire” issue) and that should be the way for all, as long as this utterly stupid rule exists.

    15. I think he just expects the universe to finish before the FIA stewards come to a decision.

    16. As i’ve been saying all year, these radio rules are absurd & do nothing but make F1 look utterly stupid.

    17. It’s not good for the stewards credibility by taking so long to make a decision, the longer it takes, the greater the chance of outside influence being a factor.

    18. Lol, seems like he got direct switch advice, to prevent being stuck in 7th gear… Then driver coaching to bypass 7th…

      Sounds like driving the car alone and aided by the engineer.

      I guess.. The can claim driving in 7th gear would lead to hasty retirement..?

      1. So they should have said “there is an issue with 7th gear.” When Nico asked how to fix it, they should have said “I’m afraid Nico, I cannot say” just like they did with Hamilton in Baku.

      2. Joao Pitol (@)
        10th July 2016, 18:26

        Didn’t see the trancscript yet, but theytold him Default chassis 01 or something like that ?

    19. Ridiculous rule. But they need to apply consistency. If Force India can’t tell Perez his brakes are gone, Mercedes should not get away with this one.

    20. Lawrence rice
      10th July 2016, 17:44

      While It is understandable that Rosberg is competitive and wants to win, it is clear that he doesn’t like (for what ever reason) his “team mate”, Hamilton and will do whatever it takes to beat him! Rosberg’s comments, mannerisms and behaviors on the race track, do not always help “the team” nor himself. Hamilton, however,
      Is also very competitive, but must compete against the “field” and apparently some members of his own “team” ——- is that fair?? Establishing new protocols
      Will not change human beings’ attitudes, biases or predudices but they can regulate behaviors. The Mercedes’ owners and senior managers have an opportunity to do what they know they must to continue to lead and remain on top!!

    21. Rosberg just received a 10s penalty

    22. So the initial instruction of “chassis default zero one” was fine, but the subsequent message to “shift through 7th gear” was deemed as driver coaching and has resulted in a penalty.

      I think that’s fair, and 10 seconds seems reasonable for the offence. Good precedent to set.

      1. @sparkyamg Mercedes powaaaaa :)

      2. Joao Pitol (@)
        10th July 2016, 18:47

        Reading the rules it is hard to find any of them permitting instructions on how to reset the electronics…but if stewards say so they are probably right :-)

    23. What detterent is a ten sec penalty when not finishing would have cost rosberg 25points on hamilton meaning he would now be 11 points behind not 4 points ahead.An outcome he will be more than happy with.Lose all points and grid penalty would nip this cheating in the bud instantly?

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