FIA backtracks on F1 radio limits; driver coaching still banned

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The FIA has bowed to pressure from the eleven Formula 1 teams to backtrack on its planned restrictions on pit-to-car radio communications in Singapore this weekend.

Following the Italian Grand Prix, FIA race director Charlie Whiting issued a technical directive to the teams that said excessive instructions from the pits to the car would no longer be tolerated, stressing the importance of the regulation that states drivers must race “alone and unaided”.

A list of instructions that were not permitted was issued by the FIA, and although most of the drivers were in favor of the change, the teams did raise some safety concerns about being unable to inform drivers of an impending car failure or issue that could otherwise be resolved.

Following a meeting with the race stewards and Charlie Whiting in Singapore on Thursday, the sport’s governing body confirmed that some of the instructions that were originally forbidden had been relaxed. The new list largely concerns driver coaching instead of technical settings on the car.

Here’s the new list of radio instructions that are not permitted:

  • Driving lines on the circuit
  • Contact with kerbs
  • Car setup 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 compares with another driver
  • Use of any overtake button
  • Driving technique in general

Compared to the original list, the new directive is far less restrictive and does address the main problem – driver coaching – without making the change too seismic midway through the season.

The FIA plans to introduce the more restrictive radio regulations for the 2015 season, giving teams time during the off-season to adapt accordingly.