Whiting: Team coaching at intolerable level

Date published: March 18 2016 - Editor

The FIA have informed the teams of what is permitted under the new radio communication clampdown with Charlie Whiting adamant the restrictions are necessary.

This season Formula 1 has imposed stricter guidelines on what teams are permitted to say to their drivers over the radio.

FIA race director Whiting has backed the restrictions, saying it was necessary to reduce the amount of coaching that went on in the past.

"We started off last year by restricting what teams could say to the drivers," he said in an FIA video.

"We said they couldn't give them any coaching, that was kind of 'don't cut this kerb', 'try and take a slightly different line through that corner'.

"Now we've gone one step further because we think the driver should be driving the car alone and shouldn't have as much help from the engineers.

"The main thing is they can't be told about their own strategy, for example. They can't be told about power unit settings, can't be told about the state of charge, mixtures. Anything like that is forbidden.

"There is a list of things they can say, but there are not many things on that list."

Whiting refuted suggestions that the new clamp down would have bring an end to teams swapping strategy mid-race.

"They [the teams] can tell the driver to come in, as long as he comes in on that lap that they say come in," he said.

"Then they can put on what tyres they like on the car. They will be the ones knowing what they feel is a good change of strategy, so they will put what tyres they feel is right on the car. 

"So I doubt it will change much to be honest in that respect."

He added: "The main point is that the driver should be doing things. He should be driving the car and he should be doing the things a driver is normally expected to do.

"But over the last few years there has been so much information given to the driver by the engineers to manage every aspect of the car, we really honestly felt it had got to an intolerable level."

The Restricted List

These restrictions will apply:

– To all communications to the driver including, but not limited to, radio and pit boards.

– At all times the car is out of the garage with the engine running and the driver on board (with the exception of any time the car is in the pit lane on the day of the race prior to or between reconnaissance laps).

The following is a list of the permitted messages. Any other message, including any of those below which we suspect has been used as a coded message for a different purpose (including a prompt to a driver) is likely to be considered a breach of Article 27.1 of the Sporting Regulations and will be reported to the stewards accordingly.

1. Acknowledgement that a driver’s message has been heard, this may include repeating the message back to the driver for the sole purpose of confirmation.

2. Indication of a critical problem with the car. Any message of this sort may only be used if failure of a component or system is imminent and potentially terminal.

3. Information concerning damage to the car.

4. Instructions to select driver defaults for the sole purpose of mitigating loss of function of a sensor, actuator or controller whose degradation or failure was not detected and handled by the on-board software. In accordance with Article 8.2.4, any new setting chosen in this way must not enhance the performance of the car beyond that prior to the loss of function.

5. Instruction to enter the pit lane in order to fix or retire the car.

6. Indication of a problem with a competitor’s car.

7. Marshalling information (yellow %uFB02ag, red flag, blue %uFB02ag, Safety Car, Virtual Safety Car, race start aborted or other similar instructions or information from race control). This would include a reminder to switch off the SC ‘delta time’ function after crossing the first safety car line twice from the time the SC was deployed.

8. Passing on messages from race control (this would include a countdown to the start of the formation lap and telling a driver that the last car has taken up position on the grid at the end of the formation lap).

9. Wet track, oil or debris in certain corners.

10. Weather information.

11. Information concerning the driver’s own lap time or sector times.

12. Lap time of a competitor.

13. Helping with warning of traffic and gaps to other competitors during a practice session or race.

14. Instructions to swap position with other drivers.

15. Number of laps or time remaining during a practice session or race.

16. Position during a practice session or race.

17. ‘Push hard’, ‘push now’, ‘you will be racing xx’, ‘take it easy’ or similar (you are reminded about suspected use of coded messages when giving these messages or any words of encouragement).

18. When to enter the pits (or go to the grid during reconnaissance laps), any message of this sort may only be used if the driver is to enter the pits on that lap. Having been told when to enter the pits drivers may also be told to stay out if there has been a change of circumstances.

19. Reminders to use the pit speed limiter, change tyre settings to match the tyres fitted to the car orto check for white lines, bollards, weighbridge lights when entering or leaving the pits.

20. Driving breaches by team driver or competitor, e.g. missing chicanes, running off track, time penalty will be applied etc.

21. Noti%uFB01cation that DRS is enabled or disabled.

22. Dealing with a DRS system failure.

23. Oil transfer.

24. Test sequence information during practice sessions (P1 and P2 only), e.g. aero-mapping.