FIA widens scope of Formula 1 radio clampdown

Formula 1 drivers are to face even tougher restrictions on radio messages from the first race of the season, following confirmation that the FIA will further limit team influence.

FIA widens scope of Formula 1 radio clampdown
Radios
Radio Headsets
McLaren team radio detail
Fernando Alonso, McLaren on the pit wall with engineer Andrea Stella
Red Bull Racing Team Principal Christian Horner looks on from the pit wall
The pit wall
Pit board is hung out for Lewis Hamilton, Mercedes AMG F1 W06
Pit board for Sebastian Vettel, Ferrari SF15-T
Pit board for Kimi Raikkonen, Ferrari

Although the FIA has long planned to restrict team communication to drivers, the latest list of limitations goes dramatically further than original outlined.

In a document sent to teams before they travelled to Australia for the season-opening grand prix, it was made clear that the FIA will adopt a more hardline approach to the matter.

In the note, the FIA said it plans to limit messages: “to all communication to the driver including, but not limited to, radio and pit boards.”

And it will count for whenever the car is out of the garage with the driver on aboard – apart from shortly before the race between reconnaissance laps.

Tougher limits

In amendments to the original list of restrictions, the FIA has said that teams can only warn drivers of a critical car problem if: “failure of a component or system is imminent and potentially terminal.”

Furthermore:

  • Regarding lap times and sector details, drivers can only be told about their own performance – not that of competitors.
  • Information regarding pit stops can only be made on the lap that the driver is supposed to be coming in – not before.

Removing information

Following outline proposals from December, the FIA has also removed a number of messages that were previously allowed. These include:

  • Giving gaps between cars in qualifying so as to better position the car for a clear lap.
  • Tyre choice at the next pit stop.
  • Number of laps a competitor has done on a set of tyres during a race.
  • Tyre specification of a competitors.
  • Information concerning a competitors' likely race strategy.
  • Safety Car window.
  • Change of front wing position at the next pit stop.
  • Reminder about track limits.

Coded messages banned

The FIA has also made it clear that it will not allow teams to try to get around the restrictions by using coded messages.

It says any message: “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 20.1 of the Sporting Regulations and will be reported to the stewards accordingly.”

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