Marko wants rule change after Hamilton radio message

Sam Cooper
Mercedes driver Lewis Hamilton and Helmut Marko on the podium. Austria June 2021

Mercedes driver Lewis Hamilton and Red Bull advisor Helmut Marko on the podium. Austria June 2021

Helmut Marko has complained Lewis Hamilton receiving information over the team radio is making life too easy for him.

The 79-year-old has proposed a rule change after growing frustrated with the amount of technical information Hamilton receives from his race engineer Peter Bonnington over the radio.

Hamilton is not alone in receiving this kind of information, indeed Red Bull’s Max Verstappen and Gianpiero Lambiase have been praised as one of the best driver-engineer duos on the grid, but Marko has taken exception to the radio chat Hamilton is privy to.

The Red Bull advisor has petitioned for a rule change which would limit the radio so that only the driver can speak and said at the moment it is too easy for the drivers.

“It’s partly like being in driving school,” Marko told ServusTV. “You could limit it so that it only goes in one direction, that you only let the driver do it, but don’t let him get technical support.

“It’s like: ‘You lose five meters in turn ten when braking and in turn three the other driver takes it a little more slowly.’

“So a driver gets all this information and that makes it easier for him.”

Radios play a hugely important role in the team’s operations during a race. It is also not just the driver and the engineer that are talking to each other at any given moment.


Mercedes’ season starts now

Mercedes showed improved performance at Silverstone. Can they challenge at the front moving forward?

A glance at the array of radios available to the likes of Christian Horner on the pit wall shows just how many channels each team is operating in. This is designed to keep communication clear and allows different parts of the team, such as the strategists, mechanics and bodywork technicians, to all be able to communicate effectively with each other.

Red Bull detail on their website just how many radios are in operation during a race weekend.

“The first and most obvious channel is the Car 33 Radio channel, on which Max Verstappen is in contact with his race engineer, Gianpiero Lambiase.

“GP in turn is plugged into the Car33Pit channel to speak with Max’s mechanics, and the Car33Eng channel which is shared by the engineers working on Max’s car.

“In the wider group there’s the Garage channel informing everyone on both sides of the garage (or neither) what needs to be done, the Race Radio Channel which covers both car groups on the track, and the Pit Wall channel where the senior staff can discuss what they’re planning to do.

“While the people on 33Eng are discussing what needs to be inspected and the protocols for affecting a repair, the mechanics on 33Pit are talking to the garage asking for various parts to be delivered to the grid slot.

“Very few people – though sporting director Jonathan Wheatley would be one – are hearing the all the conversations, everyone is just hearing the things they need to complete their part of the puzzle with the minimum distraction.”