YET ANOTHER MERC DUEL: Mercedes’ dueling drivers, Nico Rosberg (left) and Lewis Hamilton, could be largely on their own during the 2014 Singapore GP courtesy of a FIA radio clampdown. Image: AP/ Luca Bruno
SINGAPORE - The recently imposed radio communications ban during Formula 1 races could be eased for this weekend's (Sept 21) Singapore grand prix, according to the FIA.
It was the hot topic of controversial conversation in Singapore on Thursday (Sept 18) as the teams and drivers prepared for the rest of 2014 with tight restrictions on what they can and cannot say over the pit-to-car radio.
Then the team managers headed for their usual pre-race briefing with Charlie Whiting. "It might be a long one," said Lotus' Alan Permane, according to Auto Motor and Sport.
MERITS OF THE BAN
Some chiefs had prepared to go into the meeting with the message that, irrespective of the merits of the ban, the haste in which it is being imposed is unreasonable.
Williams' Pat Symonds said: "In every sport, some coaching is allowed. In football, the coach is constantly giving his players instructions and nobody gets upset about it.
"We might have to at least wait until 2015 to give everyone sufficient time to prepare."
Others had a safety argument. Sauber's Beat Zehnder suggested: "The drivers will suddenly be playing with much more information on their screens, which could distract them, overwhelm them and they end up in the wall."
The struggling team's manager added: "We had also warned the drivers to look after the differential - they forget that they can ruin the transmission."
Zehnder also said the ban disadvantaged F1's minnows because the rich teams could afford to respond quickly, for example at the controls of their sophisticated simulators. And some teams did not even use the new McLaren-supplied LCD steering wheel display in 2014, which would mean the mid-season ban unfairly punished some drivers who would have less information at their disposal.
In the end, the team managers' meeting with the federation representatives was the longest of the season - three hours and 40 minutes. An unnamed F1 chief reportedly said: "There were more questions than answers."
Auto Motor and Sport reported that Whiting promised to consider the teams' concerns amid speculation that the federation might agree at least to wind back the severity of the clampdown.
A decision was expected early on Friday before the first practice session in Singapore.
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