22 September 2014
F1 Singapore Grand Prix: Boullier questions Red Bull radio calls
McLaren's Eric Boullier has suggested that Red Bull used 'coded' radio messages to help Daniel Ricciardo make it to the podium in the Singapore F1 Grand Prix.
McLaren racing director Eric Boullier has questioned a series of radio messages from the Red Bull pit wall, suggesting that they contravened the new ban implemented before the Singapore race weekend.
Although the messages did not significantly affect the results achieved by his team – Kevin Magnussen salvaged tenth spot after Jenson Button retired – Boullier remained convinced that RBR had used oblique communications to ensure that Daniel Ricciardo was able to carry his hobbled RB10 to a podium finish.
Asked whether the ban on radio traffic – which was leaned off during the weekend after teams complained the initial version was too harsh – had made a difference to how McLaren went about the race, Boullier's revealed that it had only meant more snooping on rivals.
“It just made us more busy listening to the others to hear they are not doing any f*ck up like Red Bull,” he exclaimed, “Twice on Ricciardo, I think it was coded, but it is up to the FIA to investigate, not up to me to say.”
Pressed for specifics, the Frenchman revealed that, in his opinion, the reigning world champions had told its protégé 'do this to avoid car problems'.
“It was a strange message,” he confirmed, “Once is okay, but twice or three times and you can start to doubt what car problem he has…”
Red Bull team boss Christian Horner, however, insisted that the instructions to Ricciardo had been above board.
“We spoke to Charlie [Whiting]," he revealed, "We told him that [Ricciardo]'s got some reliability issues and that was why he was told to keep off the kerbs, because that was causing damage to the battery, for instance. It's finding that balance with this radio stuff.
“These cars are so bloody complicated - there is an awful lot going on. I totally support getting rid of driver coaching through the radio. It's not the engineers job to tell him to brake ten metres later, or turn in earlier, but [in terms of] managing the actual power unit they're so complicated that, just from a reliability and safety point of view, that's so important.”
Despite the difficulties that the new rule brings to the teams, Boullier still insisted that he was in favour of it.
“The first proposal was too extreme, so it is better to be the way we are today, but let's close everything for next year,” he concluded.
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