The FIA has issued a technical directive to clamp down on in-car instructions in Formula 1, intending to make the drivers less dependent on information from the pit wall.
2014 has seen a sharp increase in the amount of pit-to-driver information about what modes and settings to use on the car, as well as advice on where to find more time when out on track.
However, in order to make the racing more about driver skill and management, FIA race director Charlie Whiting has issued a technical directive telling teams that such information will put them in breach of the regulations – particularly Article 20.1 of the sporting regulations which states: “The driver must drive the car alone and unaided.”
Whiting’s directive reads as follows:
“In order to ensure that the requirements of Article 20.1 of the F1 sporting regulations are respected at all times, the FIA intends to rigorously enforce this regulation with immediate effect.
“Therefore, no radio conversation from pit to driver may include any information that is related to the performance of the car or driver. The FIA should also remind you that data transmission from pit to car is specifically prohibited by Article 8.5.2 of the F1 technical regulations.”
As of the Singapore Grand Prix next weekend, drivers will be left largely alone in their cars. Instead of the constant radio chatter that we have become accustom to in recent years, they will now be largely reliant on the data on their steering wheels and on the pit boards.
The team will still be able to issue driver orders and tell them when to pit, but we will no longer hear drivers asking for where improvements on track can be made. This has been particularly rife at Mercedes in 2014, with championship rivals Nico Rosberg and Lewis Hamilton asking where they can find more time compared to their teammate.
The FIA has also said that coded messages will not be allowed, and it will be policing the radio transmissions at the teams to make sure that this is the case.
This move should have the desired effect, as drivers will now have to depend on their own natural pace and skill more than before. With this directive coming into place for the next race, it could quickly become clear which drivers have been more dependent on the pit wall for much of the season.