Horner predicts more radio rule infringements

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In the round-up: Christian Horner believes Nico Rosberg’s British Grand Prix penalty will lead more teams to break the radio rules because they will expect what they penalty will be.

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53 comments on “Horner predicts more radio rule infringements”

  1. I hope there is more radio rule infringements actually. I wish the teams would test the rules more. There’s two ways to go about changing rules, trying to have meetings and get all teams in agreement (which is ridiculous). Or just take a chance, stand up to them after the fact and challenge them on merit in official proceedings…

    There hasn’t been a real challenge to a rule since the fuel flow meter, and once it was (immediately) challenged, the guidelines were made a lot clearer and it wasn’t an issue after that.

    I really do think if these radio rules are challenged there will be change (or further clarification of circumstance and penalty) a lot quicker than the effectively limp “strategy group” meetings, which is more or less the problem in itself.

    Side-note: Vettel against Halo now, that’s a swing right? There’s still hope!

    1. The problem isn’t about clarification though. I think the engineers understand the meaning of the rules perfectly well. The problem is that they exist, as you suggest in your first paragraph.

      It’s ridiculous to have a situation where teams have to either not finish or suffer a penalty due to a (limited) car failure which is already costing time.

      1. duncan idaho
        12th July 2016, 4:58

        I don’t think there is clear understanding, not before the transmission or after the ambiguously worded ruling/penalty.

      2. I think you are wrong on that @strontium. Teams were not clear on what is allowed, why would FI otherwise let Perez crash out in Austria with brake failure.

        And from the stewards ruling its pretty clear NOW that a team can inform the driver about a serious issue (although the jury is still out on where the limit to how much they can give instructions how to cope with it after Meredes appealing).

        I think that we might not see infringements. But I sure hope that we will see teams informing drivers on time for serious issues from now on.

        1. ColdFly F1 (@)
          12th July 2016, 7:50

          No @bascb, it has ALWAYS been 100% clear that the teams can tell a driver a about a serious (critical) issue.
          The first allowed message is: “Indication of a critical problem with the car”.
          They can say what the problem is, but not how to correct it. Or simply said, they can use the radio as an additional ‘red warning light’.

          We are not hearing the whole story why FI didn’t tell Perez about his brake issue; probably they didnt deem it critical (so why all the fuss).

          1. From what Symonds said (I heard him say it twice on live feeds) @coldfly, he made it pretty clear that Williams felt they would tell but also felt that they would risk being penalised for that, so i don’t agree it was all that clear (because what is a critical issue, right).

            FI mentioned that they understood it to be that they could have phoned up Perez and told him to park the car then and there, nothing more. As they had no interest in that, and thought that it would work out to the finish they never even bothered asking Whiting for permission to tell Perez to stop the car!

            From what Symonds said (and FI the race before), it is clear that the teams feel very much in the dark as to what is allowed and they will be probably glad that Mercedes is now testing the limits of it.

          2. @coldfly If the definition of critical was the same from race to race, then we would have clarity. That a less severe problem was permitted to have a message about it in Britain than was forbidden from having a message about it in Austria says it isn’t, and therefore clarity is needed. (And Force India did deem the Pérez situation critical, but Race Control told them not send a message to Pérez about it, according to Autosport).

          3. ColdFly F1 (@)
            12th July 2016, 10:31

            The definition is pretty clear: “Indication of a critical problem with the car: Any message of this sort may only be used if failure of a component or system is imminent and potentially terminal.”

            Don’t blindly believe what Fernley allegedly said. Because if they really asked Charlie if they can tell Perez that his brakes are going to fail, then they are ignorant, stupid, and knowingly endangering the life of Perez (and I rate him higher than that).

          4. There is no confirmation in Autosport that Force India asked before being given the message from Race Control, even in their version of the incident. So either Force India asked about it, or they were pre-emptively told by race control (possible, given that Hulkenberg had already retired with the same problem).

            If you are suggesting that the message was not sent by race control at all, then that raises the question of why the FIA did not prosecute Force India for breach of Article 12.1.1f (“Any words, deeds or writings that have caused moral injury or loss to the FIA, its bodies, its members or its executive officers”), as the instruction, to me, causes obvious moral injury to the FIA and the fabrication of such an instruction would warrant a penalty.

        2. Again, Force India did ask and where denied permission to pass on information about their brakes.

          “Force India is demanding the FIA review Formula 1’s radio restrictions after being unable to inform Sergio Perez of the brake issue behind his penultimate-lap Austrian Grand Prix crash.

          Deputy team principal Bob Fernley claims he was informed by race control not to pass on information to both Perez and Nico Hulkenberg regarding their brakes.”


    2. ColdFly F1 (@)
      12th July 2016, 6:42

      Totally disagree Tristan,
      The ‘radio ban’ rules is one of the best rules IMO. It was absolutely ridiculous how much support the drivers were getting in driving their cars; luckily that is all gone.

      And as Symonds said the teams know perfectly well what they can and cannot say: “We know our rules pretty well – and normally when something happens, we know what to do”
      But sometimes they try to blame the rule for a car failure (Force India in Austria). Of course they can tell the driver when the brakes are critical; they actually have an obligation to do so. But FI did not understand how serious it was, or (even worse) they were asleep on the pit wall.
      Mercedes made a conscious decision to break the rule, and got a well deserved penalty for this. Nico probably could have found out for himself that 7 didn’t work and shift through it. It would have cost him a bit longer, and therefore it is the right penalty that he lost 2nd.

      The only criticism I have is that the rules could have been written a bit simpler and clearer. But that would not fit FIA.

      1. As far as I understand what the stewards ruled, Mercedes did NOT break the rule by telling Rosberg that the issue was with 7th gear @coldfly. The part where the stewards felt they overstepped were the confirmation to him about the shifting through.
        I do think the penalty was fine for that – and I agree that we will not suddenly see teams breaking the radio rules. A 10 second penalty can be pretty big if you are not facing a car potentially not finishing!

        And I see Symonds comments quite a bit differently than you. He mentioned that at Williams they would be prepared to test the rules like Mercedes did. That means that up till now it the FIA had probably NOT allowed such messages from being given, possibly explaining why FI did not even try to ask Whiting if they could.

        1. ColdFly F1 (@)
          12th July 2016, 8:02

          (from memory) Mercedes made 2 mistakes:
          NOT the specific settings advice (which is specifically allowed if a sensor fails);
          But 1. advice Rosberg ‘not to use 7th’
          And 2. confirming to him that he had to shift through it.

          It was pretty clear from the get go that they were in breach.
          If they wanted to test the rules and stay in the grey zone, they should have said:
          “Nico, 7th gear is terminal, if used you risk stopping car on track!”
          And when Nico asked “Should I shift through” they could have answered “Confirmed!” or “Understood!”. That’s a grey one; they can confirm that they received a message (driver can say anything) and even repeat the message, but they cannot advise on what to do.

          1. I guess that last aspect (what is a confirmation – it is quite usuall for teams to repeat the message from the driver to reaffirm that they clearly heard it) is large part of why Mercedes are appealing. Although they off course said that they thought everything was fine (but then they would say that before the stewards decided even if they knew 100% sure it was not).

          2. And this is why the radio rules don’t work. It’s very easy to have two ways of responding to a message. “Affirm” for yes, “Understood” for no… …and expand the coded repertoire from there, safe in the knowledge that only a blatant breach will be spotted, therefore investigated.

    3. The reason that the fuel flow meter nonsense ended right away was because it was demonstrated that Red Bulls own fuel flow calculations were faulty. To make matters worse, even with their incorrectly low fuel flow estimates, they were over the limit! The whole thing was embarrassing beyond belief.

      Plus the teams were no longer allowed to damage the fuel flow sensors to make them fit. Which helped the sensors not breaking down anymore for the one team that kept damaging them.

  2. Does anyone think that perhaps Max Verstappen was getting the number one car at Toro Rosso and now that Max is gone Carlos is now the one driving it. Just feels like he always had a less reliable package than Max while they were together and now Danil has arrived he has had the less reliable car at Toro Rosso.

    Just a thought that’s popped into my mind a few times.

    1. You think they deliver two sets of different quality parts from the factory, to give one guy an advantage? That last year Renault marked the engines as good and not so good on the shipping manifest? You can’t make nr1 and nr2 car. Also there is no point. When everything went well for both Carlos and max, they drove Lap times that were pretty close.

    2. Also Max had the lion’s share of the bad luck in the first part of last season.

    3. No. The team has no reason to even think about the hassle of having a no.1 car and a second one.

      1. @bascb

        There is no hassle in having an A and B team. If you want two top notch A teams however thats a big hassle. Keeping them both topped up and even aint easy at all.

        1. how are you going to keep track of A rated and B rated parts? It’s far simpler to just have “parts”. Remember you would also have to willingly buy/manufacture “bad/worse” parts to do that.

          Only with new bits (but given they have 2015 engine, the mechanic bits won’t change at STR during the year) there might be a phase when the team manages to build a first one and decides on what car it goes.

          1. Remember that Briatore admitted to giving Wurz the lesser car when he was unhappy with him and then giving it to Fisi when he fell out of favor. So it’s possible to have a car with the latest stuff and one without and manage who gets which car.

          2. They must have some sort of performance indication on the parts. Not purposefully done, but pehaps the tests show less rigidity in one part over another.

            Especially with engines there must be performance differences.

            Even if all these are small they could add up.

    4. Sainz has put in some strong performances, but he has had a lot fewer issues than Kvyat since they became team mates. Oddly enough Sainz was the one with the majority of the issues last season.

      1. @velocityboy Ah yes, the upstanding, highly ethical Briatore. A great example for all team principals.

    5. No way.

      Whilst we are on crazy theories why are Ferrari sabotaging Vettel car? Why are they favouring Raikkonen…..oh yeah they are not.

  3. Let’s just ignore part of the Horner interview, as it clearly give an oppinion BEFORE the stewards ruled about the incident (he speculates about a low penalty)

  4. As always, Pat Symonds makes an incredible amount of sense. I don’t think any of us care about the teams telling the drivers how to manage the systems on the car or that certain components are about to fail, but we do care about the drivers being told to brake 10m later into certain corners or to adjust their line through certain corners. The rules should be relaxed. Managing systems is fine, it is a team sport and the cars are tremendously complicated. Advice on things that should be differentiators between the drivers like their choice of braking point or their line through corners should be left to the drivers.

    1. @geemac I agree with what you are saying, but would add a few elements. Driver coaching has always existed at the very least back in the garages after sessions. That will never change. All drivers pour over their teammates’ data if said teammate is faster somewhere for some reason. That can be as innocent as simply being in the spirit of advancing the team. Also, it is the hand-selected playing of the radio comms to the public, which still goes on even with these restrictions, that feel, and are, very manipulative on F1’s part.

      F1 itself has created this issue, not the drivers, and it is because F1 is already too easy that they have decided on this bandage to mask their own poor direction they have taken the series. Give the drivers beasts to drive, and us the impression the drivers are performing great feats, and we’ll have a lot more patience and understanding for some sensible radio comm.

      1. I honestly don’t mind the drivers pouring over the data in the garage and realising that they are braking 10m earlier than their team mate. I suppose that is a skill in itself and if it improves that drover’s performance we all win in theory because the grid gets stronger.

    2. So do what the mobile phone companies do: have so many minutes of free RT messages and then start penalising them. If they want to spend that time telling the driver how to drive, so be it, and if they want to save it for important stuff, so be it. The choice is theirs.

  5. Here’s a simple solution, scrap the ban! No more debate about what is allowed as everything is allowed. F1 needs less stupid overly complex rules and I can think of any more stupid than the radio restrictions. F1 is a spectator sport (or meant to be), how are you meant to follow all this by the track side?

  6. Team radio always made boring races more interesting, because you got an extra dimension to the race. Now all we have is commentators having to “fill” while drivers are in a fuel/tyre saving part of a stint.

    Bring back more broadcast radio. Just leave the drivers to do the driving.

    1. Agreed. It seems very simple to me. Which produces better racing? Hamilton bumbling with engine maps or passing cars? Roseberg fumbling w the shifters or defending Versappen? Perez completing the race or crashing out, bringing yellow flag or worse?

      Let them talk, let us listen.

  7. geoffgroom44 (@)
    12th July 2016, 10:56

    It is my understanding that written comms can be made with the driver’s display, even the engine can be switched off with such comms.(so Tom Watson says).
    This therefore begs the question why any radio contact is necessary other than to warn of an impending catastrophic failure which endangers the driver and others.
    This does not appear to have been the case with Nico.
    So my question to all the more knowledgeable folk than me is: where would Nico have ended up if he had not been able to sort out that problem with pitradio assistance?
    Would he have slowed down that much that he would not have finished 2nd,3rd,4th,5th, what? His car was not, as I understand it, about to fail completely. Ergo, this was not a safety issue but a competition issue.
    I believe the stewards have made a grave error by issuing such a ‘light’ punishment.It is not likely to discourage further incidents.

    1. I am almost sure that this is not true @geoffgroom44

      t It is my understanding that written comms can be made with the driver’s display, even the engine can be switched off with such comms.(so Tom Watson says)


      The team CAN pre program messages to come up for the driver depending on things the sensors notice. And it certainly can give warnings for brake temperatures, or for sensors failing somewhere etc. They can NOT actively communicate by “text” to the car and absolutely not do things like remotely switch off the engine.

      Apart from the radio, teams can only receive information from the car, no 2 way communication is allowed.

      1. geoffgroom44 (@)
        12th July 2016, 13:47

        “In fact they could shut the engine down, shut the whole damn thing down from the pitwall.” source: Tom Watson article, https://www.theguardian.com/sport/2016/jul/11/formula-one-lewis-hamilton-nico-rosberg-silverstone

        1. Reading the article and not just the sentence you quoted he doesn’t sounds like he is saying they can do it now, but that they could implement that instead of having radio communications.

          1. geoffgroom44 (@)
            12th July 2016, 21:55

            Fair comment. Clearly I was not specific enough. Using the word ‘can’ in the context in which I used it was not meant to imply that, like, 10 seconds from now they could do it. Tomorrow they probably could, but they need to fit a little extra electronics. Out here in the Swedish forests I photographed a tree cutting machine 10 years ago that was equipped with GPS and Internet. Google, Tesla, etc. have self drive cars. Clearly F1 cars lag behind in this kind of technology,huh?
            Such a comms system would resolve this problem and issues of voice tone,expression and emphasis would be eliminated.

          2. “Clearly F1 cars lag behind in this kind of technology,huh?”

            Not lags behind no, it is specifically banned. No remote control of cars allowed. Anyway I don’t think the teams would be all too happy to install a technology that could allow other teams or the crowd to remotely shut down their car on track.

  8. They need to either completely scrap team radio during races (revert to pit boards, maybe), or just forget about any sort of ban. There is far too much ambiguity as it currently is, allowing teams to interpret (misintetpret) it in any way they chose.

    As we have already seen, this interpretation (misinterpretation) and its implementation can vary from team to team, as well as from one driver to another within the same team – deliberately or ootherwise – leading to all sorts of speculation.

    Also, as has been stated already, with the precedent that has now been set with the recently imposed penalty, it is almost certain that going forward teams will deliberately break this rule, knowing what the penalty is and how to compensate for it.

  9. Hamilton seems to be going through old racing driver quotes recently.
    Senna at Austria with the “If you don’t go for a gap”, that was covered by Keith in a great article the other week.
    Now he’s quoted James Hunt with the “Bigger Balls” when referring to how he was more superior over Rosberg.
    I wonder if we can find some other quotes for him to use? :D

    1. Those couple links about Hamilton above are sensationalist media, this has not been his best year and both ricciardo and verstappen have driven better overall races and season so far. Hamilton has maybe been voted driver of the race once?

  10. I’d like to make a point regarding the radio coaching that everyone was complaining about & bring up something that Anthony Davidson said on Sky over the weekend.

    Even when teams were able to tell a driver to brake later, try a different line, gear or get on the throttle sooner or whatever it was still upto the driver to actually go & try it & just been told the information doesn’t immediately mean that the driver been told to brake 5m later is actually going to be able to do it, Let alone find any time from doing it.

    My daughter likes playing these racing sims like iracing & she’s actually fairly good at it. Recently I decided to have a go & she was helping me out & telling me to try braking later & all of that yet I was still not able to beat her times because even though she was telling/showing me where best to brake & all that I wasn’t actually able to take an advantage from that data as I wasn’t quite as good as she is & the same is true of drivers in reality.

    They all have different driving styles & different levels of talent & while 1 driver may be able to brake 50m before Stowe & take it flat in 6th, Another even when told to copy that may not be able to actually do it & even if they are they may not get a time benefit from doing it as they may not be able to carry the same speed through the corner or get on the throttle as early or the line they take may see them scrub off more speed etc..

    And the thing that everyone always ignores is that they can be coached far more, have far more data & can learn far more from it all when there sitting in the pits anyway as they have access to all of the telemetry data from every lap there team mate has done & can look at all the in-car footage thats available to really study everything any driver is doing.

    That is far more beneficial than any coaching a driver could ever get over the radio & its something that nobody ever says anything negative about.

  11. On one side I can appreciate that the team radio can be entertaining. However we didn’t get to hear enough of it, and always too late. I think a ban for helping the driver is a good thing – the sport should also be about the drivers ability to learn all the details of the equipment and go through simulations of emergencies. The well prepared driver should in this way have an advantage above those, who hasn’t prepared.
    And a “punishment” which regulates the race result to what it would have become – in best case – for Mercedes and Nico, isn’t a punishment at all. There is absolutely no deterent in 10 sec added. He should have had a disqualification, despite the damage it would do to the total standings and competition at the top.

  12. “Bigger balls?” Really?
    It seems to me that it takes more courage to drive with washed out vision behind the leader in those early lap conditions, rather than being the only driver with a clear view. Maybe Lewis is out of decent quotes from dead drivers who can’t respond to his appropriation. I also thought that the Ali quote a few weeks ago was silly , but this Hunt quote was completely ridiculous. I hope that he will come up with his own memorable quote someday.

    1. stop being so pedantic.

      1. How exactly is my comment pedantic? Do you mean it is too precise, or that it is upsetting that I happen to know some incredibly famous quotes by world champion athletes?

    2. geoffgroom44 (@)
      13th July 2016, 14:03

      The benefit of being behind is that the leader shows the way. Of course, one has to allow for the fact that in such conditions LH does seem ‘to walk on water’ (Wolff) and you have to try and do the same magic.

      1. In a wet race the leader obscures the way by kicking up water.

  13. geoffgroom44 (@)
    13th July 2016, 14:00

    Martin : it was not really my suggestion that they should be able to shut down, I was merely attempting to emphase that the technology does exist for all manner of alternative methodologies of comms than the team radio approach which seems very open to ‘coded abuse’.

  14. All this nonsense about radio messages would be unnecessary if they pulled all the radios and went back to pit boards. Moto GP……… no radios. High tech bikes, just as much danger and the riders have to rely on experience, knowledge and awareness. They rely on pit boards to get information and it still works. If you want to leave the drivers to race on ability take away the apron strings and let them show their skills as a racing driver, not as a remotely operated puppet.

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