FIA tightens team radio rules ahead of the Hungarian GP

FIA Formula One World Championship, Turkish Grand Prix, Istanbul

The FIA has issued a clarification of what is allowed under the team radio restrictions following Nico Rosberg’s penalty at the British Grand Prix.

Rosberg and Mercedes were penalised after he was informed of how to work around a gearbox issue towards the end of the race. Extensive restrictions on team radio were introduced this year to enforce Article 27.1 of the Sporting Regulations, which states drivers must drive the car “alone and unaided”, and Mercedes’ message was deemed to be in breach.

Rosberg’s penalty reignited the debate over what should and should not be allowed under the radio restrictions, leading the FIA to release a further technical directive to the teams listing what is not allowed to be said.

Significantly, point two on the list (see below) requires an indication of a problem on the car to also include an “irreversible instruction to enter the pits”. As a result, a problem such as Rosberg’s would require a pit stop if the team decided to inform the driver of the issue. Under the revised radio restrictions, the team could then talk the driver through the problem once he is in the pit lane.

The full list of banned messages can be found below :

Driver aids in 2016: Stricter enforcement of Article 27.1
A. Restrictions on team-to-driver communications applicable with immediate effect
These restrictions will apply:
– To all communications to the driver including, but not limited to, radio and pit boards.
– At all times the car is out of the pit lane with the engine running and the driver on board (with the exception of the slowing down lap once the driver has crossed the Line at the end of the race).
The following is a list of the permitted messages. Any other message, including any of those below which we suspect has been used as a coded message for a different purpose (including a prompt to a driver), is likely to be considered a breach of Article 27.1 of the Sporting Regulations and will be reported to the stewards accordingly.
1. Acknowledgement that a driver’s message has been heard, this may include repeating the message back to the driver for the sole purpose of confirmation.
2. Indication of a problem with the car, any message of this sort must include an irreversible instruction to enter the pits to rectify the problem or to retire the car.
3. Information concerning damage to the bodywork of the car.
4. Instructions to select driver defaults, this must be for the sole purpose of mitigating loss of function of a sensor, actuator or controller whose degradation or failure was not detected and handled by the on-board software.
It will be the responsibility of any team giving any such instruction to satisfy the FIA technical delegate that this was the case and that any new setting chosen in this way did not enhance the performance of the car beyond that prior to the loss of function (see Article 8.2.4 of the Technical Regulations).
5. Indication of a problem with a competitor’s car.
6. Marshalling information (yellow flag, red flag, blue flag, safety car, virtual safety car, race start aborted or other similar instructions or information from race control). This would include a reminder to switch off the SC “delta time” function after crossing the first safety car line twice from the time the SC was deployed.
7. Passing on messages from race control (this would include a countdown to the start of the formation lap and telling a driver that the last car has taken up position on the grid at the end of the formation lap).
8. Wet track, oil or debris in certain corners.
9. Weather information.
10. Information concerning the driver’s own lap time or sector times.
11. Lap time of a competitor.
12. Helping with warning of traffic and gaps to other competitors during a practice session or race.
13. Instructions to swap position with other drivers.
14. Number of laps or time remaining during a practice session or race.
15. Position during a practice session or race.
16. “Push hard”, “push now”, “you will be racing xx”, “take it easy” or similar (you are reminded about suspected use of coded messages when giving these messages or any words of encouragement).
17. When to enter the pits (or go to the grid during reconnaissance laps), any message of this sort may only be used if the driver is to enter the pits on that lap. Having been told when to enter the pits drivers may also be told to stay out if there has been a change of circumstances.
Drivers may also be told what to do once they have entered the pits, e.g. “drive through”, “stop in the box”, “practice pit stop”, “into the garage” or similar information related to the pit stop.
18. The driver’s own race pit stop strategy as well as those of his competitors, this is limited to the timing of pit stops 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.
19. Reminders to use the pit speed limiter, change tyre settings to match the tyres fitted to the car or to check for white lines, bollards, weighbridge lights when entering or leaving the pits.
20. Driving breaches by team driver or competitor, e.g. missing chicanes, running off track, time penalty will be applied etc.
21. Notification that DRS is enabled or disabled.
22. Dealing with a DRS system failure.
23. Oil transfer.

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