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Are F1 radio regulations to restrictive?

Following the inaugural Formula One race in Baku, Azerbaijan, there were two main questions.

Why did the race not live up to the hype?

And why are Formula One regulation quite so tight on team radio?

The first question is probably simple, everyone had seen the carnage in the GP2 races and wanted to avoid looking quite so 'amateur' as Sky Sports Ted Kravitz described.

This led to less incidents and as safety cars tend to breed safety cars on street circuits, as everyone had been so cautious early on, this led for a less eventful Grand Prix.

The second question was one that both Mercedes and Ferrari were asking themselves after the race.

Three-time Formula One World Champion Lewis Hamilton and 2007 Formula One World Champion Kimi Raikkonen were both victims of the radio ban.

Neither had terminal issues with the car, or safety issues, but both were unable to race to their abilities as they were stuck with engine problems due to the particular settings they found themselves in.

But due to Formula One wanting to cut down on 'driver coaching', where some drivers were being told how best to take corners, or change their breaking zone's etc, the plain and simple instruction to resolve the issue was unable to be given to the drivers.

This prevented Kimi from fairly racing Force India's Sergio Perez for the final spot on the podium and prevented Lewis Hamilton potentially joining them.

Instead, both drivers had to fiddle around with settings, whilst trying to keep their cars out of the concrete barrier's at 200+mph.

It prevented the watching public from seeing a potential battle in an otherwise quiet race and as such became a talking point.

“I have no idea what happened out there today. I just had no power. I was in an engine mode which made it feel like I was driving without ERS for a long time. We have hundreds of different combinations of switch position on the wheel and, no matter how much you study, there's no way to remember them all. I was driving around looking at my screen trying to work out what was wrong - but I couldn't see anything I'd done differently. It's such a complicated, technical formula we have now and I don't really see the benefit in preventing us from being able to fix these things out on track. Hamilton told formula1.com.

He continued: 'It was just a real shame that I couldn't race. If I'd been able to resolve it, I might have at least been able to be a part of the show and fight with the guys ahead of me.

Head of Mercedes-Benz Motorsport Toto Wolff said: '[Hamilton] reported some electrical de-rates quite early on but it only became clear around his pit-stop that he was suffering from quite a big performance deficit with the car. Once we had identified the problem, it could have been changed with a single radio message - but the rules, which are of course the same for everybody, prevented us from doing so, and we were only authorised by the FIA to use very specific phrasing. It was an unusual and counter-intuitive problem with an engine mode so there was no way Lewis could know what to change to solve it.








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The Journalist

Writer: Red5 Mail feedback, articles or suggestions

Date:Tuesday June 21 2016

Time: 11:00AM

 

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