F1 radio ban in focus after Hamilton and Raikkonen rants


Formula One's restrictions on radio communications were brought into sharp focus by Lewis Hamilton and Kimi Raikkonen's respective struggles at Sunday's European Grand Prix.

Hamilton spent a large chunk of the race trying to figure out how to change a power setting on his Mercedes, with his team unable to advise him on a fix, while Raikkonen was similarly unable to get guidance on a problem with his Ferrari.

Both drivers' chances of a podium evaporated with their struggles - Raikkonen and Hamilton finishing fourth and fifth respectively - and both added their voice to a hot debate about teams' inability to communicate technical details with drivers.

Unsurprisingly Hamilton was far from impressed.

He said: "I don't see the benefit. The FIA have made Formula 1 so technical, to have 100 or 200 different switch positions and there's no way for me to know what the problem is.

But Raikkonen was less concerned: "You would think they are allowed to say 'yes' or 'no' but that's not the way it was."

Mercedes non-executive chairman Niki Lauda revealed that Nico Rosberg had suffered the same issue as Hamilton on his way to victory in Baku. A veteran of F1's more gritty days in the 1970s, the Austrian great sat on the fence.

"It is difficult for the drivers. In this case it was a discussion about engine modes, and we can't tell them. The drivers have to decide themselves."

Williams head of vehicle performance, and former Ferrari race engineer, Rob Smedley believes tweaks to the regulations could be made.

"It's very difficult when you need to pass on non-performance messages or general messages, critical messages about reliability. It makes everyone's life a little more difficult."

And Red Bull star Daniel Ricciardo believes teams should be able to intervene when the kind of issues that Hamilton suffered rear their head.

"In terms of 'try a different brake map for that corner', I'm happy to figure that out for myself. If it's more mechanical stuff or 'engine's doing this what do I do here?' then I think we should be allowed to get instructions because I don't even know what the engine looks like!"

Fernando Alonso has stated his displeasure with F1's modern-day "spaceships" before. Guess which side of the argument he came down on...

"I think from the beginning, this rule was not making much sense because they gave us a spaceship to drive with all the technology and now we have no information. It's difficult to know what is happening to the car and the situation, hopefully in the future we can address this."

But Sebastian Vettel was a current star who does not see too much of an issue with drivers having to figure things out for themselves.

"I think it's a joke because it doesn't change much. There's lots of stuff you want to ask and can't and there's a lot of things the team want to tell you. I don't think the car goes any quicker, the way some people see it they have a different view. I don't think it changes anything."

European Grand Prix

European Grand Prix