New radio limits set ahead of Hungarian Grand Prix

The FIA has issued new radio communication restrictions for the teams at the Hungarian Grand Prix, following the controversy of Mercedes’ Nico Rosberg being penalised at the British Grand Prix.

The German was moved down to third place following the team’s breaching of the radio restrictions set in place at the beginning of the season as they helped him with a gearbox problem on his car, leading Rosberg to receive a ten-second time penalty, moving Red Bull’s Max Verstappen up to second place. Following this, the stewards were happy that this punishment was adequate enough for Rosberg; he is now only one point ahead of teammate Lewis Hamilton in the Drivers’ Championship.

However, it has been announced that the FIA have revised these rules, after race director Charlie Whiting was claimed to have stated that the “honeymoon period was over” over the somewhat lax severity of breaking the rules.

This follows concerns that the 10-second penalty that was issued to Rosberg was not severe enough, with the teams contacting the driver about the problem if they felt that they were going to loose more time if the driver did not know about the problem or if it was not rectified.

From the Hungarian Grand Prix onwards, the rules have been changed so that if a team chooses to warn their driver about a problem with their car, the driver must then immediately pit in order to solve the issue or retire the car.

With the indication of a problem with the car, any message of this sort must include an irreversible instruction to enter the pits to rectify the problem or to retire the car,” part of the statement said.

Using Rosberg’s situation at Silverstone as an example, the team would have been allowed to tell him to “shift through” his gearbox, but he must’ve pitted straight after, or retired from the race.

In addition to this, the FIA has also stated that teams are only able to help drivers with the settings in their cars if it helps solve a problem, and not to enhance performance.

Instructions to select driver defaults, this must be 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 onboard software,” they announced.

It will be the responsibility of any team giving such instruction to satisfy the FIA technical delegate that this was the case and that any new setting chosen in this way did not enhance the performance of the car beyond that prior to the loss of function.


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