2016 British Grand Prix

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Horner: F1 radio instructions now ‘fair game’ after lenient Rosberg penalty

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Red Bull Racing team principal has questioned the viability of Formula 1’s rules restricting radio instructions following Nico Rosberg’s penalty in Sunday’s British Grand Prix.

In the closing stages of the race at Silverstone, Rosberg reported an issue with his gearbox that Mercedes helped him to fix by issuing instructions over its team radio.

The messages were deemed to have breached article 27.1 of the F1 sporting regulations that state drivers must drive “alone and unaided” in the car.

Rosberg was hit with a 10-second penalty after the race, dropping him to third behind Red Bull’s Max Verstappen.

Despite seeing his driver gain from the penalty, Horner believes that the lenient action taken may open the floodgates for similar messages through the rest of the season.

“If it’s just a five-second penalty or a reprimand, it’s fair game for the rest of the year,” Horner told reporters, including Reuters, before the stewards confirmed Rosberg’s 10-second penalty.

“There will be loads of messages that will take into account whether it’s worth five seconds or not.

“There’s loads of information that we would like to give the drivers but we can’t.

“The question going forward is ‘are these rules right for Formula 1?'”

The rules restricting radio communications were introduced at the beginning of the 2016 season with the intention of placing a greater onus on drivers in races.

Despite calling the rule “rubbish”, Horner believes it was evident that Mercedes broke the regulations through its messages.

“The rules are the rules, and on two counts it sounds like instructions were given that breached that protocol,” Horner said.

“One was the switch change that was made and the second was the instruction how to drive the car with the seventh gear issue that they had.”

Mercedes has stated its intention to appeal the penalty given by the stewards, and has until Thursday afternoon to ratify the appeal before it is taken any further.