Formula 1 set for team radio clampdown

Formula 1 chiefs are considering a team radio clampdown as part of a push to make the sport more challenging for drivers again, AUTOSPORT can reveal

Formula 1 set for team radio clampdown

Following discussions at an F1 Strategy Group meeting at the Italian Grand Prix, it is understood a number of teams have asked the FIA to find a way of banning certain types of radio communications because they are considered a turn-off for fans.

OPINION: Radio has destroyed F1 stars' mystique

The radical push has been prompted by the theory that a perception that drivers are 'puppets' who simply follow instructions from the pits is one of the factors in F1's popularity decline.

There is also particular concern that drivers are relying more and more on information from the pits about where they can gain laptime, especially in comparison with their team-mates.

This is especially true of championship contenders Nico Rosberg and Lewis Hamilton, who have both been fed constant information by Mercedes this season.

'ALONE AND UNAIDED' RULE

Although there is little desire for a total ban on team radio, it is understood that efforts will be made to outlaw specific communications from the pits that help drivers with their performance.

This is likely to come from a strict enforcement of Article 20.1 of F1's Sporting Regulations that states: "The driver must drive the car alone and unaided."

The FIA could make it clear that any communication from the pits that helps the drivers with their performance - rather than being for procedural or safety reasons - is a breach of the rules.

The secrets of in-race radio chat

Radio conversations from drivers - especially the more entertaining ones popular among fans - will still continue unchanged.

Discussions between the teams and the FIA on the matter are ongoing, and a clarification is expected before the Singapore GP.

BETTER FOR FANS

McLaren racing director Eric Boullier told AUTOSPORT that the ramping up of radio messages this year was a legacy of the new fuel efficiency rules - but conceded that the situation could be better for fans.

"The constraint we have this year is less fuel, and harder tyres, and I understand it may be a confusing message for the fans that the drivers have to save tyres and they have to save fuel, whatever," he said.

"Radio messages and instructions have always been done since the radio was first in place. It [the issue] is something new now because it has been broadcast for the past three years.

"FOM could switch it off, or filter it. But at the end, why not go with another rule that is going to make it simpler and let the driver express himself a bit more on track? It is better, of course."

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