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.”

Sergio Perez wins rain-delayed race in Singapore over Leclerc; Verstappen seventh

Sergio Perez Singapore
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SINGAPORE — Max Verstappen’s Formula One title celebrations were put on hold after the Red Bull driver placed seventh at a chaotic Singapore Grand Prix, won by his teammate Sergio Perez on Sunday.

Perez’s second win of the season saw him finish 7.6 seconds ahead of Ferrari’s Charles Leclerc, with Leclerc’s teammate Carlos Sainz Jr. in third place.

Perez was investigated for a potential safety car infringement but still kept the win after a 5-second time penalty for dropping too far back after being warned.

Verstappen had won the past five races but needed to win here and finish 22 points ahead of Leclerc to be crowned champion for a second straight season. That could happen next weekend at the Japanese GP.

Verstappen made a mistake after the second safety car restart, following AlphaTauri driver Yuki Tsunoda’s crash on Lap 36. When Verstappen tried to overtake Lando Norris’ McLaren, he locked his tires and needed to pit again.

Leclerc started from pole position with Verstappen going from eighth after a team blunder in qualifying.

The race start was delayed by more than an hour to clear water off the Marina Bay Circuit track following heavy rainfall. Drivers had to finish the 61-lap race within a two-hour window; 59 laps were completed.

Tricky conditions saw the virtual safety car deployed three times and DRS was allowed with about 30 minutes remaining.

Perez made a good start and jumped past Leclerc while Verstappen dropped several places. The first safety car was on Lap 8 when Zhou Guanyu’s Alfa Romeo was cut off by Nicholas Latifi’s Williams.

Perez got away cleanly at the restart, while Verstappen climbed into seventh behind Fernando Alonso – whose 350th F1 race ended disappointingly when his engine failed on Lap 21, bringing out the first VSC.

With the track still damp, drivers decided against changing to quicker tires – apart from Mercedes’ George Russell, who struggled for grip.

Hamilton made a rare mistake on Lap 33 and thudded into the crash barrier. Soon after, the leading drivers changed tires in a flurry of stops. They did so just before the safety car was deployed again following Tsunoda’s error.

Verstappen overtook Sebastian Vettel’s Aston Martin right at the end for seventh place.