Following the controversy of Mercedes driver Nico Rosberg’s 10-second penalty at the British Formula One Grand Prix, the FIA have tightened the radio communication rules between drivers and the team.
During the British GP, the Mercedes F1 team breached the 2016 radio communication rules by instructing Rosberg with a solution to his gearbox failure. The Stewards were satisfied with the team informing the driver of the failure without any further issue.
However, race director Charlie Whiting made it clear that the “honeymoon period was over” regarding punishment for breaking the rules, the FIA have tightened the rules up.
New Rules, Effective Immediately
The FIA have now stated that teams are required to immediately either pit the car to rectify the issue or retire the car.
In a statement, the FIA said that with any indication of a problem with the car, any message of this sort must include an irreversible instruction to enter the pits to rectify the issue or retire the car.
With the instance of Rosberg, the team could have told him to “shift through” the gearbox to avoid the seventh gear. This could have been done, with him either pitting or stopping straight after the radio message was transmitted.
During the Austrian GP, is was apparent that the Force India team did not inform their drivers of a brake failure in fear of breaching the radio communication rules.
The FIA has come out to say that teams are permitted to instruct drivers about settings in the car, on the condition it is a critical issue and not to enhance performance. Furthermore, teams are also permitted to instruct drivers about any broken bodywork. However, this instruction may only be transmitted when drivers are out of the pit-lane.