With the race in Melbourne a little over a week away, Mercedes-Benz Motorsport chief Toto Wolff said he expects competition between his two drivers to be tighter than ever, especially in the wake of the new radio ban.
According to Article 27.1 of the Formula 1 2016 Sporting Regulations, “The driver must drive the car alone and unaided.” This year, the motorsport is taking the said rule seriously as it works on making the drivers play a more significant role in affecting the outcome of every Grands Prix.
For Wolff, that means expecting a more heated competition between teammates Lewis Hamilton and Nico Rosberg. In the past two years, the two have had an intense rivalry, with Hamilton going on to win championship titles and Rosberg left to settle for second place. This year, Wolff believes that with the radio ban, “the direct competition between the two is guaranteed and will be more intense.”
According to Motorsport.com, F1 Race Director Charlie Whiting had sent a note to teams last December to give them an extensive brief of the full extent of the ban. Here, he said that only certain messages on team radio or the pit boards would be allowed.
“Any other message is likely to be considered a breach of Article 20.1 of the Sporting Regulation,” Whiting added.
And as the first race day of the season nears, it seems the only issues that can be communicated between teams and drivers include:
-Indication of a critical problem regarding the car
-Indication of a problem regarding a competitor’s car
-Instructions to pit in or retire the car
-Instructions to swap positions with other drivers
-Instructions to select driver defaults for the sole purpose of mitigating loss of function of a sensor, actuator or controller whose degradation or failure was not detected and handled by the on-board software.
-Wet track and/or the presence of oil and debris in certain corners
It is said that discussion remains ongoing regarding the extent of the radio ban for this season.