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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.”

Andretti United team names drivers for inaugural Extreme E season

Extreme E drivers Andretti
Extreme E
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The Extreme E team formed by Andretti Autosport and United Autosports named Catie Munnings and Timmy Hansen as its drivers Monday for the series’ inaugural 2021 season.

Munnings is a successful veteran of rally series. Hansen is a past winner and champion in the World Rallycross Championship.

They both will race in the environmentally conscious electric SUV series that will hold events in five areas around the world that are threatened by climate change. Chip Ganassi Racing and six-time Formula One champion Lewis Hamilton also are fielding cars in Extreme E, which will feature male and female co-drivers on every team.

Catie Munnings

“I’m so excited to join Andretti United Extreme E,” Munnings said in a release. ““I was really intrigued when I first heard about Extreme E, I just knew I had to be involved. The male / female racing partnership is a fantastic and exciting new concept. The season has incredible locations and the racing will be very exciting. It will be a new challenge for the teams and drivers, and I’m so thrilled to be working with such a strong team.

“The championship is a really innovative concept, it’s combining motorsport and science and will produce an important legacy in each race location. Bringing the platform that motorsport has in line with the awareness that the planet needs right now is awesome and a really important message.”

Timmy Hansen

Said Hansen: “Going into the Extreme E will be a new chapter in my career, one that I am extremely excited about. It is something brand new, not only for me, but the whole of motorsport. The format is something

we’ve never seen before. I’m also delighted to be able to carry the message of something bigger – talking about the environment and doing something good for the world – that’s something that really drives me. It’s going to be a big adventure in life to see these locations and I’m going to do my best in carrying this responsibility and hopefully making people aware of the challenges we have in the world, together with our passion for racing.”