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Wolff: 'Nightmare radio ban must go'

2014-09-25 08:52

DON'T KILL THE RADIO: Mercedes team boss Toto Wolff says the 2015 radio ban need some more thought. Image: AFP

MARANELLO, Italy - Mercedes Formula 1 boss Toto Wolff thinks the 2014 Singapore F1 GP (Sept 21) proved F1 needs to re-think its clamp on pit/car radio communications.

A last-minute compromise for Singapore meant only driver "coaching" was banned for the rest of the 2014 season but the governing International Automobile Federation is still planning to outlaw all "performance"-related messages from the start of 2015.

That, the federation said, included any radio call that helped the driver to manage his car's technical systems.

MATTER OF SAFETY

Mercedes chief Wolff, however, said former championship leader Nico Rosberg's electronic and steering-wheel problems in Singapore proved that F1 needed to re-think the planned 2015 clamp. A post-race controversy involving McLaren accusing Red Bull of sending coding messages to Daniel Ricciardo in Singapore has emerged but, Wolff said, Mercedes was also nearly caught out on Sunday.

"We had several moments during which we discussed whether what we were saying was within what was allowed," Wolff explained, "so I think there are some messages that will require more calibration."

But it was the 2015 clampdown that really worried him: "If it had been enforced as originally suggested it would have been a nightmare. Can you imagine not being able to give any messages to the drivers in our situation (with Rosberg)?

"How do you want to communicate with a driver whose steering-wheel is not showing him anything? It's also a matter of safety," Wolff insisted. "Maybe the Singapore race, with all of its ingredients, needs to flow into any future decisions on radio messages.

"I think Charlie (Whiting) and the federation have realised that this needs another look and I'm sure good will come out of it at the end."

Stay with Wheels24 for the 2014 F1 season – fresh reports every day.

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