FIA eases Formula 1 radio limits with immediate effect

The FIA will open up radio communications to allow strategy calls to be made between Formula 1 teams and their drivers, Autosport has learned

FIA eases Formula 1 radio limits with immediate effect

The decision was confirmed by the FIA in the hour before the start of the season-opening Australian Grand Prix and will apply with immediate effect.

It follows complaints the new rules introduced for this season were too draconian.

The FIA has opted to rigorously enforce article 27.1 of the sporting regulations that state "the driver must drive the car alone and unaided".

It has resulted in a severe clampdown on radio traffic as FIA race director Charlie Whiting felt the messages and coaching from the pitwall had reached "an "intolerable level".

The likes of Red Bull team principal Christian Horner argued the FIA had potentially gone too far given there is often "entertainment through the radio".

After listening to the teams, the FIA has confirmed strategy calls will now be permissible.

Item 19 of the permitted messages issued in a new technical directive from Whiting to the teams shortly before the race, and seen by Autosport, now reads: "The driver's own race pitstop strategy as well as those of his competitors, this is limited to the timing of pitstops 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."

It now allows teams and drivers to discuss options throughout the race rather than the latter simply relying on the former to plot a course without being able to offer any input.

It means conversations such as those in last year's Mexican Grand Prix when Lewis Hamilton questioned his Mercedes team's decision for him to pit as he felt his tyres were in good shape could potentially be heard.

There is also an addition to item 18 that is now allowed for free practice and qualifying that reads: "Drivers may also be told what to do once they have entered the pits, e.g. 'drive through', 'stop in the box', 'practice pitstop', 'into the garage' or similar."

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