Wolff expecting controversy over F1 radio restrictions


Mercedes team boss Toto Wolff believes that the directive issued by the FIA which looks to clamp down on excessive radio contact between the driver and the pit wall in Formula 1 is too vague.

FIA race director Charlie Whiting issued the ruling to all of the teams earlier this week, which eliminates all radio calls that could aid the driver’s performance. It stresses the importance of Article 20.1 of the sporting regulations which states that “the driver must drive the car alone and unaided” during a grand prix.

The news has been met with a mixed reaction, with many believing that it will allow drivers to flourish on-track without relying on their engineers. Others think that it defeats the object of the ‘team game’, and issues such as coded messages have also been flagged up.

In Wolff’s opinion, the FIA needs to make clearer what is right and wrong following this ruling.

“This is a complex and controversial decision which will require a significant effort from the teams to understand how best we can work around it,” Wolff said.

“The directive is not yet fully clear and there will inevitably be some controversy, so it will need further clarification as to how much the essential on-track procedures will be affected – particularly before the start of the race.”

In the heat of the title battle, Wolff will be hoping that his drivers can continue to excel without the advantage of information from the pit wall. However, it is likely that Mercedes will come under some pressure at the front in Singapore next weekend, given that the nature of the circuit is set to play to the strengths of Red Bull and Ferrari.

For the time being, questions do still remain around what is and is not allowed to be said over the radio, and until a precedent is set in Singapore next weekend, it is likely that the uncertainty will linger.