Telemetry ban in F1 would be “a step backwards”

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Lotus technical director Nick Chester believes that a ban on telemetry being used in Formula 1 would be a big step backwards for the sport.

Ahead of the Singapore Grand Prix, the FIA confirmed that a ban on radio communications relating to the car’s setup would come into force with immediate effect, only to backtrack and limit this to messages regarding driver performance. The full ban is set to be introduced at the start of the 2015 F1 season.

The idea for the radio ban came from F1 supremo Bernie Ecclestone, and he has also said that there may be a ban on telemetry – the live data transmitted from the cars to the pit wall – in order to make the drivers less dependent on their teams.

However, Chester believes that this would be a step too far, and may even impact safety standards within the sport.

“I think telemetry won’t be banned,” Chester said. “It would be tricky to know if for example the car has a puncture or something is about to fail.

“You would have no way of telling if the car is safe or not. To make that move would be a step backwards.”

Chester has accepted the changes made to the radio regulations for 2015, and says that Lotus will be fitting a larger LED display on its steering wheels to try to make up for the change.

“In terms of the radio communications changes we will have to adapt to the FIA guidelines,” he said. “Next year we will likely go for a larger display steering wheel. You would be at a disadvantage if you stayed with the smaller display with the radio communications changes planned for 2015.”