Todt shrugs off F1 radio ban complaints

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TURIN, Italy – FIA president Jean Todt is unconcerned about complaints regarding the limits placed on radio communications in Formula 1 after the issue emerged over the European Grand Prix weekend in Baku.

Mercedes driver Lewis Hamilton was left frustrated when his car entered an incorrect setting and his engineer was not allowed to tell him how to resolve the issue.

In a bid to place a greater onus on the drivers in 2016, F1’s rule-makers agreed to bring in a ban on driver assistance over the radio, with obvious exceptions in the event of a safety risk.

After the race, Hamilton bemoaned the rules, while McLaren’s Fernando Alonso called the ban “pointless”.

Speaking at the FIA Sport Conference in Turin, Todt defended the decision.

“We’ve always believed that we had to remove the so-called driver aid because it’s fine, we can help the drivers on the road, but this was requested unanimously,” Todt said.

“It was decided to reduce all aids and assistance given to drivers during the race. This is part of this approach.

“You can say that maybe the cars are too complicated etc., but we’ve just concluded a 24-hour race with cars which are more and more complicated.

“I think it’s then over to the team and the drivers to work so there is a chance to offer the best possible performance.”

When asked for his thoughts on the current F1 season, Todt said he was pleased to see the variety and competition throughout the field, citing Sergio Perez’s two podium finishes as an example of the unpredictability in F1 this year.

“This year we are really witnessing a really great season,” Todt said.

“If you look at what happened in recent years, there is not one big dominant. It is a fiercely fought one, it is really good that there’s someone like Perez in the team which has lower vehicles. It’s not just Mercedes or Ferrari or Red Bull.

“It’s good that he was ranked third, and I would be even happier to see him maybe in first on the podium.

“It’s good there is this fierce fight between cars that come from smaller teams, it’s very good for the sport.”