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F1 Australian GP: Radio restrictions a step back too far F1 – Horner

Christian Horner worries that F1 is devolving too much with the move to strictly limit communications between teams and drivers.
Christian Horner feels the decision to limit communications between teams and drivers is counter-productive to the technological age of Formula 1.

From this weekend's 2016 F1 opener, the Australian Grand Prix, teams will have strict guidelines on what they can and cannot communicate to drivers over the radio, with punishments to be levied to those that breach these rules by using codes.

However, a number of drivers and teams have reacted to the changes – which are intended to delegate more race control and influence to the driver – with a lukewarm reception, with many feeling it will ultimately change little for the teams.

Indeed, Red Bull team principal Horner says such a move is against the advanced technological reputation of F1 and robs viewers at home 'some x-rated' behind the scenes fun to listen into.

“Well I guess like modern technology these days and how people communicate, we're working by text – maybe to SMS the driver would be an easier way, because we're not allowed to say much these days,” he said. “I think it's going to be a voyage of discovery and I hope we haven't gone too far on the radio stuff.

“It's taking away an element of dialogue between the engineer and the driver and some of that from behind the scenes can be quite entertaining, some of it X-rated, but quite enthralling for the fans. We've got quite a few changes to take on board this year, let's see how it goes.”

“I think out of well intention, sometimes we don't think through the consequences,” he continued. “The intention of restricting the radio is that the drivers need to drive the car and I don't think anybody enjoys hearing a driver being told how to operate his car. I

“ think the problem that we have is that the complexity of these cars is so great now and the assistance that is required from the pit wall and behind the scenes is very different to Formula One of even three, four years ago. And it's finding that line: is it right to help a driver find a bit of clear space in traffic or to pit now and so on?

“I think it's going to be a bit of a voyage of discovery with this rule and I think applying it to the operation of the car is one thing; applying it to other sporting measures... we need to find that right balance and I'm not sure we're going to achieve that immediately in one weekend."
by Ollie Barstow



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