Drivers racing the 2015 season will still be subject to the same radio message restrictions imposed by the FIA last year, with the governing body adding that a “a few more” may be included before the start of the season.
Last year, in response to a belief that information being relayed to drivers by engineers concerning performance was against the spirit of article 20.1 of the Sporting Regulations, which state that “the driver must drive the car alone and unaided”, the FIA contemplated a blanket ban on radio traffic between teams and drivers concerning car and driver performance.
However, following consultation with teams, officials modified their position, saying, at the Singapore Grand Prix, that it would delay restricting car performance messages until this season due to the complexity of introducing the ban at short notice and the potential for differing effects among teams. The FIA issued a revised advisory specifying a range of messages that would no longer be permitted.
According to an FIA spokesman the F1 Strategy Group has now ruled that the current restrictions are sufficient and that race officials will expect teams to continue to respect the technical directive issued in Singapore.
“The Strategy Group, from whom the original request to limit what messages could be delivered to the drivers, now feel that the balance is right by only limiting messages that can be considered driver “coaching”,” said the FIA spokesman. “Therefore, the only messages we will not permit are those listed in TD/041-14 from last year.”
He added, however, that there is still scope for further message types to be prohibited.
“We may add a few to this before the start of the season and re-issue the TD,” he said.
The issue of driver coaching is of particular relevance this year to teams such as Toro Rosso, who are fielding two rookies, including F1’s youngest driver, 17-year-old Max Verstappen.
Toro Rosso’s Franz Tost was strong opponent of the coaching ban, with the team boss saying last September that the changes contained in the technical directive.
“The changes are absolutely not necessary,” he said during the FIA’s press conference in Singapore.
“All the information the drivers get is also entertainment for the people in front of the TV to hear,” he added.
“For us of course it’s a big disadvantage because the more un-experienced the driver is there’s more information you have to give him.
“For me it’s absolutely nonsense what we are discussing here because in all the other kinds of sports a coach gives some informations, instructions to a football player, for example, on the sideline or wherever.
“This does not mean that the sportsman is not able to do his job, he can do his job, he does do his job, but maybe he can do it in a better way, it’s just a performance improvement. Therefore I don’t understand it.”
Under FIA technical directive TD/041 messages concerning the following are not permitted (either by radio or pit board)
– Driving lines on the circuit.
– Contact with kerbs.
– Car set up parameters for specific corners.
– Comparative or absolute sector time detail of another driver.
– Speeds in corners compared to another driver.
– Gear selection compared with another driver.
– Gear selection in general.
– Braking points.
– Rate of braking compared to another driver.
– Rate of braking or application of brakes in general.
– Car stability under braking.
– Throttle application compared to another driver.
– Throttle application in general.
– Use of DRS compared with another driver.
– Use of any overtake button.
– Driving technique in general.
What do you think? Is this the right level of coaching or should it go further? Leave your comments below