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F1 teams speak out against controversial radio ban

2016-07-12 11:42

DEMOTED: British Grand Prix stewards said Nico Rosberg received instructions from Mercedes during the race at Silverstone which breached the sport' rules. Image: AP / Lucas Bruno

London - Formula 1's controversial ban on radio instructions is making waves again, as world champion Lewis Hamilton moved to within a single point of the title lead on Sunday (July 10) after winning the British Grand Prix.

Actually, Nico Rosberg was still 4 points ahead after the chequer at Silverstone, but a post-race stewards decision demoted him from second to third.

Although team instructions to drivers are now banned, Mercedes told the German driver how to fix a gearbox problem that would have seen him stuck in seventh gear.

'Rules need a rethink' 

But Mercedes argued that the call was legal.

Rosberg said: "It was a very critical problem, I was about to stop on track, so they told me 'change default' to try and fix it."

Rosberg duly finished second but the stewards ruled that he had not driven the car "alone and unaided" and a penalty dropped him behind Max Verstappen.

Mercedes signalled its intention to appeal whilst team boss Toto Wolff argued: "These rules maybe need a rethink. It needs to be discussed."

More: Mercedes won't appeal Rosberg's radio penalty

Team chairman Niki Lauda told German RTL television: "I am sure that we interpreted the rules correctly."

But Red Bull's Christian Horner, whose Verstappen benefitted from Rosberg's penalty, said Mercedes "know all too well" that the radio message was illegal.

Force India team manager Andy Stevenson agrees, saying it was no different to Austria a week ago when Sergio Perez could not be told his brakes were failing.

'No one understands' 

Williams' Pat Symonds told Auto Motor und Sport: "How absurd is that? How many tens of thousands of pounds did that accident cost the team?"

There is also an issue of consistency, after Williams was allowed to warn Felipe Massa about a similar brake problem.

Stevenson said: "No one understands why they were (allowed to tell the driver) and we weren't." 

Horner added: "We need to address this issue at the next strategy group meeting and modify the rule.

"I understand what the FIA wanted to achieve with driver coaching, but in the case of technical problems, we must be able to support the drivers."


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