Nico Rosberg, Mercedes, Silverstone, 2016

Radio rules toughened up ahead of Hungarian GP

2016 Hungarian Grand Prix

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The FIA has issued tougher restrictions on the use of team radios during races ahead of this weekend’s Hungarian Grand Prix.

Following Nico Rosberg’s penalty for receiving assistance via his radio during the British Grand Prix, teams have now been told any message to their drivers indicating a problem with their car must include an instruction to enter the pits.

While teams are still allowed to give an “indication of a problem with the car” the revised rules states “any message of this sort must include an irreversible instruction to enter the pits to rectify the problem or to retire the car”.

Teams can still notify drivers of a problem involving their car’s bodywork without telling them to come into the pits.

The team were made aware of the change on Wednesday via a technical directive, numbered TD/038-16.

Permitted radio messages from the 2016 Hungarian Grand Prix

The technical directive lists the permitted radio messages from this weekend’s Hungarian Grand Prix as follows:

The following is a list of the permitted messages. Any other message, including any of those below which we suspect has been used as a coded message for a different purpose (including a prompt to a driver), is likely to be considered a breach of Article 27.1 of the Sporting Regulations and will be reported to the stewards accordingly.

1. Acknowledgement that a driver’s message has been heard, this may include repeating the message back to the driver for the sole purpose of confirmation.
2. Indication of a problem with the car, any message of this sort must include an irreversible instruction to enter the pits to rectify the problem or to retire the car.
3. Information concerning damage to the bodywork of the car.
4. Instructions to select driver defaults, this must be for the sole purpose of mitigating loss of function of a sensor, actuator or controller whose degradation or failure was not detected and handled by the on-board software.
It will be the responsibility of any team giving any such instruction to satisfy the FIA technical delegate that this was the case and that any new setting chosen in this way did not enhance the performance of the car beyond that prior to the loss of function (see Article 8.2.4 of the Technical Regulations).
5. Indication of a problem with a competitor’s car.
6. Marshalling information (yellow flag, red flag, blue flag, safety car, virtual safety car, race start aborted or other similar instructions or information from race control). This would include a reminder to switch off the SC “delta time” function after crossing the first safety car line twice from the time the SC was deployed.
7. Passing on messages from race control (this would include a countdown to the start of the formation lap and telling a driver that the last car has taken up position on the grid at the end of the formation lap).
8. Wet track, oil or debris in certain corners.
9. Weather information.
10. Information concerning the driver’s own lap time or sector times.
11. Lap time of a competitor.
12. Helping with warning of traffic and gaps to other competitors during a practice session or race.
13. Instructions to swap position with other drivers.
14. Number of laps or time remaining during a practice session or race.
15. Position during a practice session or race.
16. “Push hard”, “push now”, “you will be racing xx”, “take it easy” or similar (you are reminded about suspected use of coded messages when giving these messages or any words of encouragement).
17. When to enter the pits (or go to the grid during reconnaissance laps), any message of this sort may only be used if the driver is to enter the pits on that lap. Having been told when to enter the pits drivers may also be told to stay out if there has been a change of circumstances. Drivers may also be told what to do once they have entered the pits, e.g. “drive through”, “stop in the box”, “practice pit stop”, “into the garage” or similar information related to the pit stop.
18. The driver’s own race pit stop strategy as well as those of his competitors, this is limited to the timing of pit stops and which tyres will be (or have been) used. For the avoidance of doubt, no car or power unit set up may be included in any such strategy discussion.
19. Reminders to use the pit speed limiter, change tyre settings to match the tyres fitted to the car or to check for white lines, bollards, weighbridge lights when entering or leaving the pits.
20. Driving breaches by team driver or competitor, e.g. missing chicanes, running off track, time penalty will be applied etc.
21. Notification that DRS is enabled or disabled
22. Dealing with a DRS system failure.
23. Oil transfer.

2016 Hungarian 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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100 comments on “Radio rules toughened up ahead of Hungarian GP”

  1. What a complete joke/farce/mess/whatever. Why am I not even surprised that the powers that be would go further into the wrong direction on this?

    1. @craig-o Although I dislike the ever-growing mountain of F1 rules, I like the new radio restrictions because I believe it should be down to the drivers to control their cars.

      I think it’s important to remember the teams design and build their cars and it’s down to them to decide how complicated to make them and ultimately how much a problem it is if they can’t help their drivers out on the radio. The FIA’s stance gives a clear and strong incentive to make their cars less complicated so that the drivers can handle problems like this by themselves – as their predecessors always did.

      Granted, a big part of the reason for the complexity is the V6 hybrid turbos introduced largely at the FIA’s behest. But these weren’t the cause of Rosberg’s problem two weeks ago and it’s not as if drivers weren’t getting help like this pre-2014.

      1. @keithcollantine I believe that the drivers should do the driving, and the engineers should do the engineering. I agree that some radio messages being sent were simply silly and had to be stopped. However it simply went too far for my liking, especially when it comes to reliability.

        I really couldn’t care less about a driver being told to put his car into a different setting, or not to use seventh gear because the car will fail if he does. What I do care about is a driver being told if his brakes are about to fail, and a driver being told to use less throttle into Pouhon or somewhere like that.

        1. Shouldn’t the engineers therefore design controls that are simple to use? We still hear “chassis default 01” or “gold mix 15” – these were put in place to hide what the settings were but without radio, why do we still need them?

          The more settings you have, the better the performance but they’ll have to find a balance. If a driver decides to learn everything about his car, he’ll be able to operate more settings. If they choose not to, they’ll have to keep things simple.

          I’m 50/50 on the radio rules but I prefer the rules as they will be going forward to how they were this season. If you can’t fix a problem, come into the pits and the team can fix it. That applies to engine settings, gearbox settings, broken front wings and so on…..

          1. Maybe they should. But surely they are not going to be able to do so overnight from Thursday to friday this weekend, are they @petebaldwin?

        2. By the sounds of it the car has sensors to tell the engineers there is a problem with the brakes, so why not have some sort of dashboard indication to tell the driver as well?

          1. According to Rosberg that’s the case for the Mercedes @drycrust.

          2. @x303 So one could argue the problem was actually the team’s fault, not Perez’s fault because they didn’t install the right warning lights into the car.

          3. If there was no warning, then it’s a valid point @drycrust.

      2. The issue here is that they are fantastically complicated devices now and any attempt to make them simpler for the driver could be protested as “a driver aid”. We all saw what happened the last time they got rid of such things.

      3. Agreed. My analogy is:
        Why is an iPhone generally considered the best phone? Its not that it does anything more than most other phones, its just easier to use. If a car is technically the best, but you cant extract that performance because its too complicated to use, then its not the best car.

        1. @snowman-john – I like your “Why is an iPhone generally considered the best phone?” example. The answer is “Because of brilliant marketing.” It’s analogous to Ferrari – it may not always actually BE the best but it’s always up there; and the brand remains super-strong.

          1. COTD right there, TribalTalker, if only you had the iMarketing chops to sell it. ;-)

      4. I don’t think that you actually know in situations like this, where quite probably the options that are on screen, and there will be a lot of screens, can change between Thursday evening and the start of the race on Sunday. And that’s not counting all the changes that have taken place since the last race.

        The screens I am sure are meant to be engineering options for the engineers at the track. In some cases, having been in similar situations, I as one of the on-site engineers have had to call back and ask the s/ware people, who speak in strange languages, what the heel they mean.

        For the drivers to do this I think is a step too far. Lets have engineers engineering and drivers driving.

      5. I think I am more with @craig-o on this one @keithcollantine.

        Yes, the driver coaching was getting ridiculous and it is perfectly fine that they cannot longer do so. But I think with tech issues there are better solutions.
        This will just lead to more “we let Sergio drive on while his brakes were failing, it was only one more lap and we hoped he would make it, rather than giving up his points by calling him into the pitlane”.

        If one want’s to do so, then the teams should get the opportunity to put bells and whistles on the systems in the car that warn the driver about issues and help solve them while out there. That would need time, say from next year onward.

        But still, I think that if a driver asks for some instruction on solving such a tech issue, they should be able to give support. Otherwise you might get pretty dangerous situations. Or will the FIA start handing penalties to drivers because there team did not call them in with an imminent isue, hoping to salvage a point?

        1. @bascb

          This will just lead to more “we let Sergio drive on while his brakes were failing, it was only one more lap and we hoped he would make it, rather than giving up his points by calling him into the pit lane”.

          I think it should be down to the teams’ judgement whether their cars are in a safe condition or not. I think the FIA has shown in the past, such as with Williams’ fines in 2013, that it will take a dim view of teams who put an unsafe car on the track.

          And again I think there’s an element of changing the teams’ and drivers’ behaviour here which could be positive. It’s one more reason for them not to cut things quite so fine when it comes to brake wear – a problem we’ve seen over and over in recent seasons.

          1. While i get most of that Keith, I still think that it should be instated well ahead of a season. Now is the time to make such rules clear for next year. That way a team still has the option of designing their brakes, their systems etc. in such a way that either they have more reseverse, or they are easier for the driver to cope with.

            I really dislike the FIA blurting out a new rule every other week like it seems to be doing. And if they do, let them please explain the rationale and purpose of it to the fans so that we can support it. Otherwise it will just lead to Sky + their tweets dumping on it during live TV even more.

          2. @keithcollantine “I think it should be down to the teams’ judgement whether their cars are in a safe condition or not”

            …How long before that’s back down to the drivers too?

            In all seriousness, having read the responses to this article I’m rapidly coming to the conclusion that it’s no wonder the powers-that-be don’t listen to the fans, we’ve got absolutely no idea what we want!

      6. 100% agree @keithcollantine , I too like the radio restrictions and you are right that it is up to the teams to decide how complicated to make the car controls. In reality, I think that the cars should only need somewhere between 5 and 10 pre-set engine modes, not the hundreds of variables currently available. If the current radio restrictions doesn’t encourage the teams to simplify the car controls then perhaps the FIA will step in and mandate a limited number of ‘modes’ available and we can scrap a lot of the radio restrictions or at least some may become redundant.

      7. I agree with restricting technical information to the drivers, but some of these bans seem outright dangerous by modern standards.

        “3. Information concerning damage to the bodywork of the car.”
        Part of a rear wing just flew off on the main straight at Baku. Driver will certainly notice himself. Once he hit the wall.

        “5. Indication of a problem with a competitor’s car.”
        Guy infront of you has already lost several parts of his vehicle. Definitely approach with top speed to check yourself.

        “8. Wet track, oil or debris in certain corners.”
        There’s half a car parked in the middle of the road after Radillon… All is well.

        “22. Dealing with a DRS system failure.”
        Are they for real!?

        How can we have this huge discussion about Halos and other safety aspects and then ban radio messages about topics that obviously concern the safety of everyone involved?

        1. They are allowed to say those, the list was approved messages so those that you list would fall under the messages allowed.

          1. Sorry… Brainfart. Re-read the bit again. Thanks for clearing that up.

      8. I think the problem here is that the engineers were allowed to go too far in the first place. Now that control has to be wound back. The angst comes from 2 places in my opinion.

        Firstly it is hard to wind that control back that the engineers had and to make it the drivers problem. In the short term, there is a gap in performance and some errors will be made while the teams figure out how to manage the situation properly. That doesn’t make the FIA’s decision wrong in the long run though. It is just like the drivers aids ban in the past. Who wants to see F1 cars with traction control and ABS. This was just another version of drivers aids.

        Secondly, the bigger problem that I have seen recently isn’t the winding back of the rules. The major problem has been that the rules were a little bit too grey. At Silverstone, Merc obviously didn’t think they were breaking the rules, or at least suspected they would get away with it. For them, it was obviously a 50/50 or at least a 60/40 decision to tell Nico the problem. The penalty for Nico and the following clarification of the rules is a good thing. It tidies the mess up. When the rules are clear for the teams, they are also clear for us watching as well. I do feel for Nico though as he became the test case that forced the FIA to clarify the rules. It should have been done earlier and then Nico might have finished second.
        At the end of the day, I do agree with the FIA when they say “Drivers should drive the car unaided”. I think in the long run this is better for the sport. The teams will adapt in a very short time now that the rules are clear.

      9. @keithcollantine can they freely use pit boards to instruct/coach drivers?

        1. No. The rules regarding what can be communicated to the driver by the pits affects all forms of communication, be that radio, pit boards, handwaving, telepathy, moaning on a loudspeaker or any other form that has been or ever could be invented.

          Just as well, otherwise pitboards would now be about half the width of the front straights by now…

      10. There is no incentive whatsoever to make the teams make their cars less complicated.

        For that matter, do we really want less complicated cars? I really don’t understand the Luddite F1 fans who are apparently against all forms of progress, because they want more noise. If you want F1 classic, go to a vintage car race.

        If we’re serious about driving “alone and unaided”, the drivers should have to do their own tire changes, start the cars themselves, and not be told when to pull back out into the pit lane. Nor should they be told when to come in for tire changes, or anything about the weather, or their opponents.

        In short, if we’re serious about this, fire the race engineers, and get rid of the pit crews. Then real race fans can go watch WEC or IndyCar, because they’re not run by reactionary morons.

        Otherwise, it’s just a half-assed set of rules designed to make racing more complicated.

        If the FIA can’t tell the difference between “assisting the driver with the vehicle systems” and “coaching the driver”, they don’t have the necessary brain cells to understand racing, let alone it’s governance.

        1. There is no incentive whatsoever to make the teams make their cars less complicated.

          I think it’s clear there is, for the reason I gave. Why do you believe otherwise?

        2. It is possible to make cars more ergonomic without making them one iota less complicated. It’s the difference between a steering wheel where everything can be done seamlessly without thinking much about it and a steering wheel so complex that a typical left turn can lead to turning the engine off, for someone insufficiently accustomed to its workings.

        3. I agree with you and I don’t understand why some fans are crying for simpler cars. Be it about their handling, their engines, or whatever… Isn’t this supposed to be F1: the technologicaly cutting edge racing series?

      11. The answer to that is not the ridiculous mess we have now, but to make it so that all team-to-driver communication is informational, not instructional, with the exception of certain instructions deemed necessary.

        In other words, the team can say “Your brakes are failing” or “You will probably lose fifth gear soon” or whatever, but not anything telling them what to do prevent or delay the failure, work around it, etc. Only instructions such as “box now”, “do not box this lap”, etc. that are deemed allowable can be used.

        That’s how the rule would be done, if we were truly interested in making a watertight, transparent rule. But we’re not; as usual we’re interested in trying to “spice up the show” by trying to make the dominant team stumble. As-is, this rule simply means the driver will not be told about potential failures unless there is zero chance of the car reaching the end of the race, which when you think about it is a tremendous safety issue.

      12. @keithcollantine +1

        Couldn’t have said it better myself.

      13. @keithcollantine
        It’s a team sport, the team should be able to assist the driver, even, I’m loathed to write, coaching how to drive. If they carry on this way They May as well just ban the pit board and pit wall operations so the only comms can be when the car pits and the driver talks face to face.
        Without comms the team element ends at the start if the race and is then only briefly seen at a pit stop.
        I actually enjoyed the minutiae we used to hear. Really emphasised the team element of the sport and made relevant the ongoing contributions of the rest if the team at circuit and back at factory.

  2. Im really glad, finally the drivers will be driving unaided. Time for the engineers to make all the cars control interface useable!!!

    1. Yes it is a ok to an extent to force drivers to pilot their machines without so much of the clearly ridiculous coaching they were receiving but I continue to maintain that drivers need relevant info on the state of their cars and must not retire or forced into the pits for receiving that message.

      But the most important revelation of this ruling is the joke that the stewards have become with their blatant excuses to wriggle Nico Rosberg out of duly earned penalties.
      AS many fans noted and commented after Silverstone, there were precedents with Mercedes and Hamilton in Baku and with Perez and Force India in Austria which led many to understand even further how the regulations are. So many were indeed surprised and thus doubted the sincerity of the stewards when they let Nico and Mercedes off with a convoluted and rather ridiculous excuse of an explanation as to why he should be given the light pat-on-the-back-penalty of losing one finishing position after that race.
      The stewards’ “technical directive” brain twister of a reply where they said in Nico’s particular state, which is a very minor case compared to that of Perez, that it was ok to tell him the problem but not ok to tell him how to limit the collateral damage of that problem led many to point out the obvious contradictions.
      Therefore it is not surprising to see them revert back, based on these statements ahead of Hungary, to what many understood their prohibitions were before they devised and released the incredulous statement after hours of deliberations on the Silverstone incident that many saw as an open and shut one which ultimately let Nico off the hook yet again.

      I think having made the farce they already did of their own rules in Silverstone, they should not have published these rules again. By doing so, they are simply indicting themselves. Well done stewards.

  3. It seems overwhelmingly likely that, were these rules in effect for Silverstone, Rosberg would have not finished third. So which is it?
    – Rosberg/Mercedes time penalty was far too lenient
    – These new rules are ridiculously harsh

    Personally I don’t like this new rule. I’d rather see on track battles than drivers being sidelined by extra pitstops or retirements that could have been avoided by a bit of radio talk (which I miss anyway).

    1. a bit of radio talk (which I miss anyway)

      I think this is a separate issue. There is still a huge amount of radio communication going on, FOM are just broadcasting far less of it this year than they used to.

      1. Yeah I totally get that (and it bugs me too but as you said that is a separate issue) but I meant I liked the engineer radio talk we used to get as the engineering side of F1 is something that continually fascinates me. I hated all the “carry 5mph more into turn 7” stuff and I am glad it was banned but I feel like they have went far too far already on the restrictions and just seem intent on going further not dialing it back :(

      2. No. Kill the radios. There should be zero communication to the driver once the checkered flag drops, otherwise, the driver is receiving assistance.

        1. “There should be zero communication to the driver once the checkered flag drops”

          I assume you mean once the start lights go out? Otherwise I have no idea what problem you are trying to solve by saying you want zero communication after the end of the race.

  4. Oh joy.

    Really not sure how much longer i’m going to carry on watching this sinking ship!

  5. I suppose the logical end point to this is that the driver will have a limited number of options they can change (with fewer ways to mess everything up so the car stops working properly), and more complex changes can be done in the pits if required. Of course, with 2 second pit stops it will mean that teams will have to weigh up whether making those changes is worthwhile.

    I wonder what the best way to make changes in the pits will be? I know that making changes by radio is banned so they can’t be done on track, but is short range Bluetooth OK? I really don’t want to see the pit engineers trying to work out which way round the USB plug fits into the port on the car…

    1. Use type USB TYPE C connector on both ends, problem solved…

    2. @squaregoldfish: USB-C, or if you’ve got an Apple car a Lightning port ;-)

      Would NFC count as radio?

      1. Pretty sure it would be allowed while in the pitbox @jimg. Didn’t Mercedes announce a deal with someone that helps them start to upload data as soon as the car gets into the garage wirelessly, even before the driver gets out or anyone can plug in any cable?

    3. Just pre-programme a new steering wheel, and do a steering wheel change when doing a pit-stop.

      1. @ijw1 – can a car have non-faulty parts replaced? Because that may be a genius idea. Surely banned already. All we need now is a way to change the steering wheel without the costly pit stop…

        1. Once the race is underway, Parc Ferme rules no longer apply (i.e. anything can be changed).

  6. Robert McKay
    21st July 2016, 12:04

    I remember in the Mosely era there was a plan to do away with radios entirely. That increasingly looks like a much more efficient solution to get to largely the same place.

    1. I think that would be a terrible idea. The radios add so much about the drivers’ character we wouldn’t see otherwise, not to mention insight into what the teams are doing.

      1. Adrian Taylor
        21st July 2016, 21:21

        It’s for this reason that I wish they would just leave the radio rules alone…
        More radio messages = more insight into what teams are doing & into drivers character = more interesting for fans (at least for this fan anyway)

        I would much rather hear the radio exchange between Rosberg and the pits from Silverstone, than the radio exchange between Hamilton and the pits in Baku. Coded messages about what modes to be in etc might not reveal much about a team or a driver, but at least they lead to intrigue and speculation.

        Actually come to think of it, once the teams and drivers get used to these new rules, you won’t even get messages like Hamilton’s in Baku, a driver will simply think ‘Somethings wrong but I won’t ask because they can’t tell me anyway’

      2. Robert McKay
        21st July 2016, 22:52

        Don’t get me wrong Keith, I want team radio to continue as we (used to) know it.

        But we don’t get anything like as much insight into the driver’s thoughts any more and we definitely don’t get insight into what the teams are doing any more, so what’s the point in keeping it with these restrictions?

        It’s the usual F1 extremely-overconvoluted-solution-to-get-to-simple-answer scenario, much like trying to get everyone to build their own unique engine and then trying to regulate it such that they all deliver the same power output.

      3. Leave the FIA alone. They know what they’re doing.

        /Kimi voice

  7. The size of the FIA’s first aid box astounds me, do they have their own branch of plaster manufacturing? Once again, they’ve identified a near non issue and added a large, complicated bit of gaffer tape to “fix” the problem. Plenty of other racing series’ have pit to car radio and yet we don’t seem to hear about any problems because the sport, in general, is good to watch.

    While i’m not a fan of removing radio communication, it would make much more sense to just reduce radio comms to one way (which way is down to debate) and reduce this constant cycle of patching up badly thought out rules. I’d be much happier however, if the FIA looked at major problems within the sport (dirty air effect, tyres, fuel, circuits, you know the drill) because who debates radio rules when you have a race like Canada 2011, or Bahrain 2014?

  8. F1 is technology oriented. Good luck to 20th century folks trying to stop it’s progress and then selling these contrivances to the new generation.
    Talk about whistling a happy tune while heading for the cliff.

    1. jayteeniftb, the contrast with the attitude of the WEC is rather stark – whilst these sorts of radio calls are considered something of a shame in F1, the WEC considers them to be entirely normal.

      If anything, Audi are proud of the way in which they communicate technical information to the driver, such as advice on engine settings. Their ultimate goal is to maximise the performance of the car and of the driver to achieve the ultimate performance they can in all conditions for the greatest possible benefit to the driver and to the team – they actively took pride in how they were able to continuously monitor and advise their drivers around every corner of the Circuit de la Sarthe for every lap of the 24 Hours of Le Mans as it fitted into their mindset of the continuous improvement of man and machine.

      I honestly think that, if you were to tell them that they should not give their drivers that sort of information because it ruined the purity of the sport, I think they’d be actively insulted by what they would consider to be an antiquated mindset.

      1. It helps that WEC teams trust their drivers not to need Driving 101 classes while on track (how else would they make time for all those technical messages?). Had F1 not gone through such a phase in an attempt to prevent imperfections developing, F1 probably wouldn’t be attempting to control radio messages in the first place (just censoring them as necessary to comply with various nations’ watershed rules).

      2. And we are back to our favourite subjective: so much negativity in F1. The FIA should be pride about the level of excellence of its teams. Sure, the driving coaching had to go, but then everything was fine.

  9. OK so the FOM would have us believe that all the radio chatter before the new rules was “driver coaching” because that was all they broadcast when clearly there were a lot of legitimate messages we never heard.

    Now they barely broadcast anything in the hope that we’ll all believe that because of the new rules, no one talks on the radio.

    As far as I can tell – nothing needed to be done about radio – just the selection of what was broadcast needed to be changed so that a a more balanced range of messages was heard.

    1. Michael Brown (@)
      21st July 2016, 15:41

      +1 Like they had us believe that all drivers were changing their helmets every single race

    2. Correction: Bernie doesn’t broadcast most of what is said in the hope that it pushes people onto pay platforms that might one day offer (some) of the missing messages in exchange for paying Bernie more money.

  10. I’m fed up with this attitude that F1 must be the pinnacle of vehicle development and the use of technology therein cannot and should not be controlled.

    F1 is by definition a sport and a competition. There are technical and business elements yes, but these would not be there if not for the sporting element and the human instinct to compete.

    Horse racing, boxing the 100m sprint. These are sports outwardly untouched by 21st technology from a competitive point of view, but they are great and popular sports.

    F1 rules should be about progressing the fairness, closeness of competition, entertainment and spectacle of the sport. Not slavishly believing that new technology improves everything.

    I want to see cars driven by drivers and not engineers, strategists or committees!

  11. ColdFly F1 (@)
    21st July 2016, 13:15

    Is it still allowed to indicate the location of Pokémons?

    1. COTD right there:)

    2. There shouldn’t be any Pokémons on track – none of them are 16 yet and therefore can’t possibly have the necessary passes…

  12. Looking at the 3 incident concerning pit radio with current (my) interpretation of the rules: Hamilton in Baku, Perez in Austria, and Rosberg in Silverstone:

    2. Indication of a problem with the car, any message of this sort must include an irreversible instruction to enter the pits to rectify the problem or to retire the car.

    So this means FI still can’t tell Perez if he has brake problem unless that also serves as call to pit or retire the car. Assuming the problem is rectifiable, and the penalty is only 10s, seems still better to just break the rules.

    4. Instructions to select driver defaults, this must be for the sole purpose of mitigating loss of function of a sensor, actuator or controller whose degradation or failure was not detected and handled by the on-board software.

    So it’s legal now to for Mercedes to tell Hamilton to change the mode (the unknown part is if engine / car mode is treated as driver default equal) because it’s sensor problem/failure.
    Rosberg switch to mode zero call is also legal (gearbox is actuator problem), but the skip 7th gear is not legal.

    Still, using 10s penalty as the precedence of breaking radio rules, looks better to just break it if the problem is rectifiable. Even if someone get penalized twice (for giving 2 different message that count as separate incident for instance) it’s only 20s penalty which still better than driving into the pits.

    Funny thing is the most critical situation from those 3 example, which is Perez impeding brake failure that has the biggest safety risk, is actually the one that really banned.

  13. Absurd, just absurd.

  14. I think everyone is looking at this the wrong way. The purpose is to force the teams to simplify and get the drivers back to driving a car rather than programming a computer. If the cars are not drivable without detailed monitoring from the pits and switching of engine modes, the driver is not driving the car unaided.

    I want the drivers to be focused on driving the wheels off the thing, not twiddling buttons for 1/2 a lap.

  15. So on the one hand we’ve got this push to make the sport safer, such as trying to introduce cockpit protection. Then on the other hand we’re going to have teams playing chicken with their driver’s lives…

    If we tell him he’s got a brake problem, he’ll have to pit and we’ll lose those points VS. If we don’t say anything he might just make it, or spread himself across the nearest wall…

    Seriously, F1 is a team sport. These cars are complex beasts. If the team knows the car has a problem they should be allowed to tell the driver how to rectify it. This all still helps “the show”. I’d rather have a driver who’s been told how to fix a problem so he can get back to actually racing, which is why I switch on every weekend, rather than watch him cruise around randomly mashing buttons on his steering wheel…

    If they want to ban radio altogether, make the cars simpler. Do it with a rule change between seasons, not a bodge halfway through a season! Mid season rule changes or “directives” always seem like a sticky plaster that highlights a flaw in the current rules and makes the rule makers look foolish.

    1. “If we tell him he’s got a brake problem, he’ll have to pit and we’ll lose those points VS. If we don’t say anything he might just make it, or spread himself across the nearest wall…”

      No, they have the choice get in to the pit tell him and take the pit time as penalty.
      get into the pit and retire (brake problems are probably unsafe and result in a non finish)
      or take the change that the driver will finish or drive in to a wall.

      It is up to the team what they deem the safe option.

      Or redesign the car that tyre and brake are changed in one go.

      As long as the driver drives the car unaided i am fine with it.

      1. Mid-race brake changes would be difficult because unless they could be perfectly isolated from the KERS, changing them would be a mid-race change of engine component, thus possibly triggering a penalty in itself. (It’s not such an issue when they are changed in the garage, since it’s easier to separate the two with the assistance of tools and plenty of space to work in).

  16. My greatest complaint about this rule(I don’t like it overall) is the punishment. The FIA set a bad precedent with its judgement and punishment on Nico Rosberg. The team should had been punished, not just the driver. Ding them a substantial financial penalty or remove a constructor point for the infraction, the teams will all comply afterwards and there would be no need for further clarification on the rules.

  17. Restrict each team to say, 10 (or less) engine modes, which can be played with throughout practice, but are locked down in Parc Ferme like the car set up. The driver then has 1 dial, and the necessary other buttons (pit, DRS, radio etc). Maybe also restrict any communication about the positioning of that dial (maybe).

    Simplification done! Let’s get on with bigger issues.

    1. Teams are already restricted to 12 engine maps, which are set at the start of the season (so in practise no track will use all 12 maps). All those dials are part of the “necessary other buttons” to convert these into speed.

      1. Sorry it was late when I wrote that, but my intention was about having fixed settings for all the other switches on the wheels. Upgrade the software to detect issues and resolve themselves and let the driver get on with racing.

        1. @alionora-la-canta, Rhys L, having software in the car to resolve settings issues will surely,and rightly so, lead to accusations of using driving aids to optimise performance; isn’t that why it currently is all manual?

          1. I’m not in favour of using software in the car to resolve settings without driver input, @bosyber – in that we are in total agreement.

        2. Wouldn’t work, as that would take a lot out of the hands of the drivers, and software has a habit of breaking at awkward times. It was annoying enough when traction control failures caused retirements…

  18. They can talk freely in the pit lane now? If so, this is good!

    “These restrictions will apply :

    – To all communications to the driver including, but not limited to, radio and pit boards.

    – At all times the car is out of the pit lane with the engine running and the driver on board (with the exception of the slowing down lap once the driver has crossed the Line at the end of the race).”

  19. The cockpit of an aircraft is vastly more complex than an F1 steering wheel, and many more things can go disastrously wrong, yet they can’t get on the radio to someone and ask how to fly the plane whenenver there’s a situation. They learn how and prepare for every contingency. I don’t see why F1 drivers can’t learn how to manage the car on their own. If the teams need to work on user interface design to provide the driver the information they need at any given moment and make the controls easier to learn, that sounds like a worthy engineering challenge for them. It’s the 21st century.

    1. Bad example, as; a) there is always a co-pilot, and b) an on-board engineer (on long haul flights).

      1. @ijw1, I believe that, on long haul flights, it is normal to have at least two pilots present (i.e. the pilots work in rotation) alongside the co-pilot and the engineer.

        The comparison with the aviation industry is also pretty terrible given it overlooks the fact that the aviation industry has spent several decades focussing on reducing the workload of the pilot by automating the vast bulk of the process of flying a plane.

        If anything, the major worry in recent years has been that most pilots spend so little time actually flying the plane. There are worries that an increasingly large proportion of pilots actually don’t know what procedures to follow in an emergency situation, partly because major failures are now extremely rare and partly because they have become so reliant on the onboard computers automating most of their workload.

    2. Also, the cockpit of an aircraft doesn’t change every season without fail (nor are there occasions where it might occur more often, if an engineer gets a better idea about the wheel mid-season).

      A suitably ergonomic car could indeed be completely learned by a driver. The trouble is in finding a way of making the current complexity of car capable of having such a simplified interface and still work.

    3. This is wrong @eiridescent. Boeing and Airbus have engineers on duty ready to help any crew in need of advice.
      Add to that the written check list that contains procedures to apply in case of problem. Planes pilots have actually access to more help on a flight than F1 drivers.

  20. Duncan Snowden
    21st July 2016, 16:18

    How about this: all pit-to-car radio incurs a penalty on a rising scale starting at 0 seconds and increasing by 1 second for each subsequent message (i.e., the first message is free; the 2nd incurs 1s; the 3rd an additional 2s; the 4th adds another 3s…). No exceptions. The scale is reset at a pitstop, when any outstanding penalty is served. The system doesn’t apply during safety car periods.

    Teams can still call their drivers in without penalty. They can freely discuss track conditions behind the safety car. They might gamble on taking a 1, 3, or even 6 second hit for something they deem important, especially regarding safety. If there’s debris on the track, for example, that drivers need to know about, it’s the same for everyone and they all take the 1-second hit. No problem. (Although perhaps the system could be tweaked to allow two “free” messages, just in case. I’m trying to avoid lists of exceptions here.) But routine driver coaching, which is what we’re trying to avoid here, would become prohibitively expensive.

    Thoughts? As I said, the scale might have to be tweaked a bit (and on reflection, maybe acknowledgement should be the one exception) but the more I think about it, the more I like this.

    1. In my opinion, Safety messages should NEVER be restricted, otherwise it seems an interesting idea.

    2. As soon as there is any penalty at all for a safety message, the FIA is in trouble of breaching its mandate. It would soon be forced to rescind that penalty, and then it would be straightforward for teams to sneak in other messages in the safety messages (not that the current regime is immune to this problem).

  21. So, do I understand it right that with the change to the communication ban being everywhere except the pitLANE (changing from previously the pit BOX) it actually means that a team now has a clear instruction to sort of “self impose” a drive through penalty if they want to give an otherwise forbidden instruction?

    Now that actually starts to make sense – it gives a clear idea about how much time you are going to lose and they can actually plan/calculate for it and decide on whether it makes sense.

    I also get that the FIA instructed the teams that penalties will be far stricter than what Mercedes/Rosberg got (including DSQ).

  22. Given how complicated the cars are now I personally never had any problems with a driver being told about different settings on the car, what I did have a problem with was drivers being told how to drive the car such as “brake 10m later at turn 3”.

    If the FIA want the cars to be less complicated they will have to legislate for that directly not just hope that the radio restrictions will force teams to make the cars simpler to drive.

    I have seen it reported that under the new rules the radio restrictions only apply when the car is out of the pit lane, the other main change seems to be that if a team informs the driver of a problem with the car then the driver must also come in to the pits.

    I think these are two good changes to the rules as it allows the teams to get around the restrictions by bringing the car into the pits, so they will have to decide if the problem is worth the loss of time and track position that would they would incur, just like we see now sometimes when they have to decide if a front wing is damaged enough to merit a change or not.

    If we look at two of the recent examples of radio rules restrictions in action and how they would have been different.

    Hamilton at Baku, the team could have either told him during his regular pit stop what settings to change on the car, possibly adding a few seconds, or if the problem had arisen later they could have decided if it was worthwhile to make an additional pit stop so they could tell him the correct settings to use.

    Rosberg at Silverstone, as Mercedes thought the problem was critical they would have called Rosberg into the pits and they could have told him what to do nurse his car to the finish with his gearbox problem. He would have lost second but he probably would have still finished third.

  23. Perhaps teams will start to convey more information to drivers via the pit boards?

    1. Pit boards are under the same restriction as radios, as they all fall under the heading of pit-to-car communication.

  24. I’m with Keith’s view on this: we should be thinking about the long view. I’m hoping these radio restrictions will be part of a movement over time to simplify the cars and the options that are available to the drivers while they’re racing. IMO, the constructors have gone way overboard re: thing like have a nearly a dozen modes, over complicated launch procedures, etc. (I’m sure there are many more that I’m not even aware of).

  25. Dumb question maybe but i feel by reading the rule that “push hard” is ok but “ok Lewis, it’s hammer time” is possibly litigious as a non explicit or coded message. If so, it would be a real shame.

    1. Provided there’s no coded message involved, and Mercedes consistently tells Lewis that it’s hammer time when they want him to go fast, there’s no more problem with “OK Lewis, it’s hammer time” than there is with a consistent “push hard”. (And “push hard” would in theory be illegal if that was meant to mean something different from “push”, “push hard now” and/or “get going, you lazybones”).

  26. It seems that we are now back to where we were pre-Baku, except that the penalty for breaking the rules is a drive-through for the first offence. The small hole is patched but the larger hole of unenforceable regulations remains.

  27. i think it goes too far, especially with the default mode exception farce. This is an engineering competition too and I want to see the engineers working hand in hand with the driver to optimize the car performance, whether that means directing the right harvesting mode for race stage, telling him of systems performance, fuel issues, solving software issues on the fly. I love to hear about it. It reveals things about the design and performance of the cars you can’t see. telling a guy where to brake or how far out to lift and coast is too much, but you could address that in a few lines of text.

    1. I’m of the same opinion @dmw; and I also think that any simplification to the interface will either need software behind the scenes that could become a driver aid; or it will slow cars in general as they will be running further from the optimum. Neither seem a good path to take to me.

      1. So, the help Rosberg received in Silverstone is illegal and worth at least a drive through (if not an outright DSQ) but the one Hamilton did not receive in Baku is legal.
        This shows how the rule writters have little clue of what they are doing. No conspiracy here, just incompetence.

        1. Oops, this was supposed to be an independant comment.

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