F1's radio restriction



“Try taking slightly less entry speed into turn six and getting on the power earlier.”

“We need to watch those left-rear temperatures.”

“Conserve your brakes please.”

“Clutch bite point 3 please.”

“More lift and coast at turns 3, 6 and 8.”

“The other car is carrying slightly more apex speed into turn two and is making time under braking at turn five.”

Simple – no new regulation required, no universal agreement from the teams needed. From the Singapore Grand Prix onwards such driver-assisting radio messages are not permitted. He has to rely on his own senses and judgement and has the basic data on his dash read-out to help inform him of the basics such as fuel usage. There will be no more requests from drivers to their teams about “feedback on my driving, please”.

This is a hugely positive move and is very much on-message with what Motor Sport and many of its readers have been requesting for a long time. As part of our blueprint in the magazine earlier this year, in our manifesto for a new F1, we called for a ban on all non-safety radio transmissions as an important part of returning more control to the drivers. This latest move is a start and a recognition of why the teamwork side of F1, while fundamental, is not its best-selling point – drivers are. At least if they are allowed to be more than corporately-controlled robots.

That notion was one keystone of our vision for the future of F1. Another was retaining its core within its traditional geographical fan base. We called it out as wrong that those venues that have to rely on gate money for their events – and not government money from regimes that don’t have to answer to their tax payers – should be charged such greedily expensive fees by the sport’s owners, which then get passed onto the fan as over-priced tickets.

Well, here’s the latest from Mercedes’ Toto Wolff on the recent conversation between the teams and Bernie Ecclestone at Monza: “We have dared to discuss ticket prices, and we discussed the impact and the importance of the traditional circuits like Spa, like Monza, like Hockenheim. Races like that need to be part of the race calendar. This is a global sport and we need to go abroad and to conquer new territories and new countries – this always has been the case – but I guess it is pretty clear what needs to be done to fill the grandstands in the traditional races such as Hockenheim and Monza.”

Now, let’s not hold our breath waiting for CVC to slash its prices to the circuits – it’s not as easily done as banning certain radio messages, impacts more heavily on the balance sheets of a rapacious entity – but having that notion out there being openly discussed and called for is necessary for the sort of tipping point that might eventually make it happen.


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