Charles Coates/Getty Images
Toto Wolff, the Mercedes team boss, has urged the FIA and team to tweak the restrictions on pit-to-car radio messages after Nico Rosberg was demoted to third following the British GP.
After passing Red Bull’s Max Verstappen, Rosberg was closing in on race leader Lewis Hamilton in the latter stages at Silverstone when his gearbox developed a problem.
With his driver staring at the prospect of retiring from the race, race engineer Tony Ross breached the 2016-style restrictions by telling Rosberg how to fix the issue and instructing the German to avoid seventh gear.
Despite finishing second on the track, Rosberg dropped to third after receiving a 10-second time penalty, with his championship lead over Hamilton sliced to just one point.
Having seen Hamilton compromised by the radio restrictions during June’s European GP, Wolff has pleaded with the rulemakers to alter the current limitations on team radio.
Per Autosport (h/t Eurosport), he said:
The rules maybe need a rethink, between the FIA and the teams, to maybe go more into detail about what’s allowed.
Not communicating at all, you can just turn the radio off and throw it out of the car.
It’s been part of driving since a long time. It needs to be discussed.
Although Verstappen benefited from Rosberg’s punishment to earn his second successive second-place finish, Red Bull team principal Christian Horner aired his concerns over the radio ban, questioning whether the “rubbish” rules are “right for F1.”
Per the same source, Williams’ technical boss Pat Symonds went a step further, suggesting the imprecise technical directive provided by FIA race director Charlie Whiting has resulted in much confusion among teams, who are unsure what is allowed under the current restrictions.
I don’t like it. To me it’s a team sport, you should work together.
A technical directive is not a rule, it’s an opinion.
Charlie has written that technical directive and said, “this is what you can say everything else is illegal.”
Well, that’s his interpretation of a very, very vague rule about the driver driving the car alone and unaided.
There are a couple of things we heard on the radio that we asked Charlie, “are you sure you are happy with that?” and he said “yeah.”
Every single race there’s a debate going on on the pitwall.
During Friday practice, Symonds told Sky Sports’ television coverage how Whiting declared “the honeymoon is over” regarding pit-to-car messages, suggesting the FIA would become even tougher when it came to penalising radio communications.