Radio rules change is ‘unnecessary nonsense’ – Tost

2014 Singapore Grand Prix

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Franz Tost, Toro Rosso, Valencia, 2009Toro Rosso team principal Franz Tost has criticised the FIA’s drive to reduce the extent of radio communication between teams and their drivers.

An extensive list of messages the FIA intended to ban was trimmed back shortly before practice began in Singapore. However Tost does not believe it is a change for the better.

“The changes are absolutely not necessary,” he said during today’s press conference in Singapore.

Tost said he didn’t understand why some had complained about the radio messages “because all the information the drivers get is also entertainment for the people in front of the TV to hear”.

“For us of course it’s a big disadvantage because the more un-experienced the driver is there’s more information you have to give him,” he added. “It took us a lot of work during the week to work out a programme that we still have a possibility, within the regulations, to communicate in a proper way.”

“But for me it’s absolutely nonsense what we are discussing here because in all the other kinds of sports a coach gives some informations, instructions to a football player, for example, on the sideline or wherever.

“This does not mean that the sportsman is not able to do his job, he can do his job, he does do his job, but maybe he can do it in a better way, it’s just a performance improvement. Therefore I don’t understand it.”

“This is not PlayStation”

However other team principals were more welcoming of the change after the FIA reduced its scope earlier today.

“The FIA rule has always existed that a driver should drive unaided,” said Force India owner Vijay Mallya. “But despite that rule being in existence teams have taken pitwall-to-car communication to a certain level. And now we’ve been asked to pull back. It almost suggests that we have been abusing the regulation in one form or another.”

“But this is not PlayStation. Whatever you may say about the pit wall the amount of influence it actually has on the driver and the excitement of the race and the race result is something that is highly debatable.

“But then the FIA makes the rules and it’s the obligation of every team to abide by those rules. So I guess we will abide by the rules which were fortunately clarified to a more practical extent this morning.”

McLaren’s Eric Boullier said the team had still been debating what they could and couldn’t say during today’s track activity.

“Obviously we had some different messages internally during the first free practice – like ‘shall we say this?’ or ‘shall we not say that?’ So we had to police a little bit or monitor what we had to say.”

“The only thing I think was a little bit worrying was to change hte regulation during the course of the season which is never a nice thing to do,” he added. “Even if we obviously listen [to] the fans and obviously respect the position of the FIA.”

Boullier said he was pleased with the most recent alteration to the rules which ensures they can still “deliver some messages about safety and reliability for the cars”.

2014 Singapore Grand Prix

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Keith Collantine
Lifelong motor sport fan Keith set up RaceFans in 2005 - when it was originally called F1 Fanatic. Having previously worked as a motoring...

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13 comments on “Radio rules change is ‘unnecessary nonsense’ – Tost”

  1. The suspense is killing me!
    Will the FIA, in all of its wisdom, change the radio rules again when the cars are on the grid?
    All in the name of entertainment! Sheesh!

  2. Just waiting for the introduction of TLCs to liven up the grid. The FIA make these stupid changes to justify their meaningless jobs. The sooner Formula 1 hits the bottom the sooner it will bounce back. The ‘show’ is so senseless now that I can’t be bothered watching most weeks. I just hear the results and that’s good enough. I ‘m sure I’m not alone.

  3. I agree with Tost that ‘coaching’ athletes is normal in every other sport. Heck, practicing your sport is normal in every other sports while testing in F1 is banned too….

    If F1 drivers getting coached on how to be a little faster here or a little softer on the tires there, makes them look like incapable amatuers or like children being teached something , then how should we judge a coach like Van Gaal yelling at a bunch of sheepish looking ManU players during half-time or a caddy suggesting Tiger Woods to take a 9 iron instead or a boxing coach yelling to keep your hands up and move your feet?

    Apart from that, the way these new rules were implemented is extremely unprofessional. Basically it wasn’t thought through very well at all and just put out there. The conversations they had today should have been held PRIOR to installing the rule. This makes the governing body look very reactionary instead of progressive visionaries. Same thing with Bernie not being sure if double points works until after the fact he says… i.e. waiting for the public reaction then, as if that has anything to do with whether it ‘worked’ not. That’s just poor governance imho.

    1. Just because it happens in other sports (especially TEAM sports) doesn’t mean we want it in F1. And other sports don’t have radios in the athletes’ ears giving them a steady stream of information. Especially other sports don’t have teammates competing against each other and relaying competitive information via the team engineers.

      It’s simply unnecessary to have those radio messages so banning them makes sense. If only policitians would do the same in real life (e.g. an outright ban any and all junk mail). In F1 among other things I find DRS unnecessary. And “engine modes”. Why bother with the complication of engine mode switching during a race? No value to it, just scotch that altogether and race in one mode, and the engineers need to make that work.

      It may have enforceability issues but then that is also the case with all rules, with all teams seeking to skirt or bypass them for their benefit.

      Drivers and teams will always be able to review and coach etc. between sessions.

    2. On the other hand Coaching in tennis while the game is in play is banned.. If you are earning the big bucks you shouldn’t be coached while competing imho. These drivers are supposed to be the best in the world.. I personally welcome the restrictions. I just hope they aren’t reversed a few years down the line.

  4. Late news: FIA bans opera stars with megaphones from the pit wall. Semaphore flag signalers to be illegal from 2015.

  5. If Tost was talking about practice only I would be 100% in agreement with him, I can’t see any logical reason why the driver should have to return to the pits in order to find out where he is fast/slow or what brake setting may be worth trying, that after all is what practice is all about, but during the races it’s time for the driver to step up and put what was learned in practice to good use. However the team should be able to warn the driver about technical problems and track hazards during the race, I also feel the engineers should be able to help the driver fix a technical failure, it’s been a long time since drivers carried a tool kit and were expected to make trackside repairs.

  6. I completely agree with Tost, The ban/restrictions are utter nonsence.

    Regardless of what information they are given by the team its still the driver driving the car, Been told he’s slower in a specific corner or whatever isn’t going to make a bad driver good, Its just going to give some direction on where improvement is needed & even then its still totally down to the driver to act upon it & there’s no guarantee that he’ll even find the necessary improvement.

    F1 is already far too over-regulated & this is just another step in that direction, Total nonsense!

    If the radio/Pit boards are there then there should be zero restrictions on what information teams can put across, This is 2014 & not the 1970s & F1 needs to go forward & stop looking backwards.
    Drivers been given some information is not the reason F1 is in decline, Its c**p like DRS, High-Deg tyres, PayTV, High ticket prices & the like thats turning people off & this absurd set of over-regulated restrictions will not bring people upset with those gimmicks/high costs back!

    1. Perhaps its just all the old guys desperate to get F1 back to what it was ‘In there day’ who are pushing this through.

      Time to realize that its 2014 now & not the 1970s & that technology & the sport have moved on, If you don’t like it then go away & watching something less sophisticated like Nascar! Of wait Nascar still allows drivers to be given advice on driving, How about Karting…. No you can even do it in karting if you run a radio..

      Guess F1 is the only series to restrict radio communications, Just shows how backwards this dumb 1960s rule is!

  7. Hah! For you to think that any audience would love to hear that their sport hero wins because his/her coach telling every move is the ultimate nonsense, Franz!
    What do you think about chess, football, tennis players start wearing ear piece???

  8. How does a MotoGP rider ever manage to survive with no radio whatsoever?

  9. tgu (@thegrapeunwashed)
    20th September 2014, 11:38

    This isn’t the way to run a professional sport. The rule changes seem almost whimsical, not properly thought through, not properly discussed and imposed at the last minute. As a fan I like the messages, but if they are going to be banned then do so in a way that gives no scope for interpretation or latitude, otherwise you’re just going to end up with [even more] inconsistent stewarding.

    If you’re going to ban messages, give the teams a set of standard recorded messages which are permitted to be played during the race: “box box box”, “rear brakes hot”, “front left pressure low”, “stop the car now”, etc. That will rule out any inconsistency. It will be a step backwards in my opinion, but at least it will be enforceable.

  10. Franz Tost is right. With the nonsensical limit on testing both before and during each season, how do they develop their drivers *and* teams.

    However, the FIA banning them, particularly the parameters that were set (they provided no real certainty) and then “clarified” is consistent with the other maddening rule changes they have made over the years. No re-fueling during races [also imposed in the early ’80’s (IIRC)], cars having to be re-fueled in the garage “for safety”, no changing tyres during races, treaded” tyres that had to keep a minimum of tread, having to use both types of tyres during a race regardless of suitability, engines having to have only 10 cylinders, engines having to have eight cylinders, engines having to have six cylinders, gearboxes having to have a maximum number of ratios, this year a limit on the number of ratios for the season, for a small sample of the anti-competitive nonsense. Yes, the loonies are running the asylum.

    F1 is a team sport, with the possible exception of the relationships between “team mates”. Let the teams run their teams, including providing advice and feedback between drivers and their pit crews.

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