The FIA says it has measures in place that will carefully monitor communications between drivers and teams during F1 race weekends as it looks to prevent 'coded' messages from getting around the restrictions.
From this weekend's Australian Grand Prix, the FIA has implemented a number of restrictions on messages being communicated to drivers, covering a wide area from strategy to car tweaks to traffic information.
FIA direction Charlie Whiting says the ban will be policed via a 'permitted' list of messages, which detail what can
be communicated between team and driver. If messages are found to deviate from this, the FIA will investigate with any subsequent reprimands to range from a warning to time penalties depending on the seriousness of the offence.
With this in mind, the FIA says it will pay close attention to coded messages and clampdown hard on teams that attempt to illegally distribute information, with four people in race control and five software engineers listening to messages to ensure legality.
“I can't tell you how a coded message is defined because it depends entirely upon what the message is and what the explanation for that message is. By putting down exactly what you can say, if you go outside of that it is fairly obvious. I've had some very strange questions about people saying things like 'The birds flying high in the sky today' and stuff like that, but I just say 'It's not on the list'.
“Seriously, even by using some of these things on the list there probably is a way of getting a message across which we weren't intending them to, but we will have to deal with that on a case-by-case basis.
“We will hear every single message, I am absolutely sure of that,” he continued. “Going back to the coded messages, we've got to be a little careful about that. If we had some suspicion that a message is rather odd, we could look at the data from the car and see if anything has changed in response to that message. Then at the next race if we hear the same message we will look for the same switch change or something like that. We will build up a little knowledge.”
Whiting also said that messages on pit-boards will be monitored with cameras on the pit-straight after suggestion teams could colour-code certain messages.