Todt says ‘meh’ to calls for radio ban tweak

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The radio ban that was instituted last year and expanded upon this season is now under fire after Lewis Hamilton struggled to get the correct setting on his car during the European Grand Prix in Baku last weekend. Ferrari’s Kimi Raikkonen had an issue that he was seeking clarification on and due to the ban, the team could not help.

While the press immediately jumped on the radio ban as a draconian piece of regulatory oversight and the trend toward a hyper-democracy where the immediate and visceral will of the outraged turns almost instantaneously toward the creation or abolishing of rules, the FIA have turned a bit of a deaf ear to the issue according to an article over at AUTOSPORT.

When asked (most likely pounced upon) by the press about this much-called-for but now disdained radio ban, FIA president Jean Todt said:

“We’ve always believed that we had to remove the so-called driver aids because it’s fine, we can help drivers, we can do it on the road.

“But this was requested unanimously, it was asked to reduce all aids, all assistance given to drivers for the race and this is part of this approach.”

On our European GP review podcast, we suggest that it isn’t the radio ban that is the issue, it’s the amount of choices and settings that teams have installed on their cars that is creating the issue. Want to stop the need for silly radio conversations about which menu to select, which button to press and which drive mode to engage? Simply remove those option or build a better GUI or electronic package. Don’t use a Blackberry or Palm Treo when you should be using an iPhone.

The teams have all of these complex settings because it’s part of their performance advantage with the hybrid power units and the software technology is high but clearly with a radio ban, you may be offering too many complexities on the wheel. Is it too complex? Todt says:

“We can say maybe that the cars are too complicated but we have just concluded a 24-hour race [at Le Mans, which Todt attended] with cars that are more and more complicated.

“So it’s up to the teams and the pilots to work so that there is a chance to offer the best possible performance.”

Do we get barbarian over the response because Lewis had an issue? I say no, we view this as an established and called-for radio ban but ultimately, why not put the best setting on the car you can and let the driver manage the wheel spin, clutch bite point, harvesting etc? If you don’t do that, then look at this as a real innovation block in F1 where code writers and engineers need to create much better interfaces and ways that drivers can interact with their machine.

Why not put Siri in the system and then the driver can just say what he wants? On second thought, maybe that’s not a good idea for Kimi.



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In the voice of your favorite GPS system: “In 300 meters, turn left, then turn right, then turn right, then turn left…”

Kimi: “Leave me alone, I know what I’m doing!”

Paul KieferJr

Nicely done. ;-)


love it :D


Personally, I don’t know why the restrictions needed to be tightened for this year – last year’s rules got rid of the blatant driver coaching just fine. But even so, this year’s rules were asked for, and Todt’s response comes as no surprise. So are the radio restrictions dangerous? Of course not. Going 200+ mph down the straight while fiddling with knobs and switches is, though… so it would seem that simplifying the user interface would be first on the list of things to do. And it is something the teams could do right away, without having to wait for… Read more »

the Late Idi Armin

on another note Filipe Nasr’s fastest lap 1’47.708 on lap 48, Marcus Ericson 1’48.898 also on lap 48

charlie white

Like Pandora, the technology demon is out of the box and it can’t be contained.

Just Another Tranny

I love Sky coverage but they are a bunch of Lewis sycophants, enough already, spend time at home with your family and do some studying in stead of hanging with Beiber, lost a lot of respect for Lewis in one fell swoop.

Men in F1 nowadays are borderline effeminate, and I’m a freakin’ tranny……geez!


Agree with you 100%. Lewis at the beginning of the season said that he was excited by the new radio ban rules because it would be up to the drivers to deal with the issues, but since the new rules made it difficult for him, now the radio ban rules are dangerous. And this is crying came after the day after Lewis said to the rest of the drivers to stop moaning about how dangerous the layout of Baku is, maybe he needs to follow his own advice.

the Late Idi Armin

On another note Filipe Nasr’s fastest lap 1’47.708 on lap 48, Marcus Ericson 1’48.898 also on lap 48

News Play F1

It is under fire from british media … for her spoiled, arogant offspring.


This picture from the Williams collection shows the beginning of the complexity of the controls on the steering wheel: On the left is the 1978 wheel, in the middle the 1997 wheel and on the right the 2001 wheel. Now they are much more complicated. Back in 1978, drivers had three pedals, an H pattern gearbox, a switch for a rain light and a brake bias control. The latter control was used to adjust the brake bias as the fuel load came down, and the brakes and tyre wore. By 1997, gearboxes were semi-automatic, and certain drivers had more… Read more »

Matthew Cronin

Who cares really. Lewis race is screwed because he couldn’t figure out to dial in the right settings and somebody else might win because of it? The horror of it all. That would be horrible…?
Kind of like missing a shift and packing a car into a barrier and throwing away a race right?
I tell you what take all that crap off the cars and go back to pit boards. That will spice things up.
What a bunch of spoiled punks. Shut up and drive.

João Jorge

“Want to stop the need for silly radio conversations about which menu to select, which button to press and which drive mode to engage? Simply remove those option”

YES! This is the answer. Fewer options on engine mapping (ideally none at all).

It’s Over-complex technology that doesn’t really add to the show and, in the end, doesn’t really make a difference in the racing because all cars become equally suited to the conditions they’re in. Less options would create more randomness and greater oportunities for competitive reshuffling from race to race.


It’s not draconian enough IMO. The realtime telemetry which feeds the radio chatter and “Multi 21” instructions is what should be banned, at least down to the minimal limits of safety monitoring. When you have several hundred telemetry outputs being shuttled back to the UK HQ for off-circuit big data processing and analysis by offsite engineers, then fed back to the paddock and pit for radio delivery of instructions to the driver, you are clearly and flagrantly making use of driver aids. If a setting can’t be adjusted by the driver, pit-in and get an engineer to set it for… Read more »

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