Ferrari F1 team cleared of using coded pitboard message

The Ferrari Formula 1 team has been cleared by the FIA of any wrongdoing regarding a potential coded message it displayed during the Australian Grand Prix, Autosport can reveal

Ferrari F1 team cleared of using coded pitboard message

This season the FIA has severely tightened up article 27.1 of the sporting regulations, which states "the driver shall drive the car alone and unaided".

The ruling has led to a clampdown not only on radio transmissions between the pitwall and driver, but also on messages displayed on a pitboard.

During the season-opening race at Melbourne's Albert Park, Ferrari displayed what appeared to be an obscure pitboard message to four-time champion Sebastian Vettel.

The message read '-3.2 LFS6 P1'. It was spotted by a rival team and reported to FIA F1 race director Charlie Whiting, prompting an investigation.

Whiting made clear during a press briefing held in Melbourne prior to the race that all messages would either be heard or seen, and anything deemed to be coded would certainly be looked into.

Under normal circumstances the message would not be one the FIA would allow, but Autosport can confirm Ferrari has provided the FIA with an entirely satisfactory explanation.

During the race a number of teams had problems with fuel recalculations in the wake of the 20-minute red flag stoppage following McLaren driver Fernando Alonso's violent accident on lap 17.

Whiting confirmed to Autosport after the race the red flag and restart raised "a number of glitches" that needed to be solved.

For Ferrari, and Vettel in particular, it led to a problem with how the SECU (standard electronics control unit) software handled the stoppage, necessitating the pitboard message at the time.

The FIA therefore concluded the message was permissible and will not take any action.

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