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Teams worried that radio ban will make starts difficult
The F1 teams are still coming to terms with the full meaning of the FIA clampdown on radio transmissions, after Charlie Whiting issued more details today (see previous story).
The subject will be discussed further at a meeting of the semi-formal sporting regulations committee – the 11 team managers and the FIA – in Singapore on Thursday. That has been scheduled in addition to the regular Thursday team managers’ meeting, where topical issues are usually discussed.
One area which has given teams particular cause for concern is that the ban covers complex pre-race procedures. The FIA has specifically targeted discussion of such areas as “start maps related to clutch position, for race start and pit stops,” “information on clutch maps or settings, eg bite point,”, and “burn-outs prior to race starts.” Usually there is a lot of radio traffic as the drivers head to the grid.
“The really big headache is the parade lap,” one insider told this writer. “Engine, tyres, brakes and clutch management during this lap require a lot of engineering input if the car is going to arrive on the grid in optimal condition.
“The driver workload during this time is huge. Driver intelligence doesn’t even come into play, as the settings are all ‘calculated’ live during the lap. At best we will end up with some seriously botched starts, and at worst a stall on the grid. It potentially mixes it up a bit if it’s the former. But the latter has the potential for things to go really seriously wrong.
“I think we are all happy to stop ‘coaching’ the driver but this is a much bigger step.”