Lewis Hamilton was busy lapping traffic when the engine failure which cost him victory in the Malaysian Grand Prix struck.
The race leader was mid-way through complaining to race director Charlie Whiting about the lack of blue flags for the backmarkers when his Mercedes W07’s power unit cried enough. “Oh no!” Hamilton exclaimed.
His misfortune was swiftly communicated to his team mate and championship rival Nico Rosberg. Concern over what had happened to Hamilton’s engine had a knock-on effect for the team’s car.
Rosberg needed to build up a ten-second lead over Kimi Raikkonen due to the penalty he had incurrect while passing the Ferrari driver. He asked Mercedes if he could use a high performance engine setting but was initially told they weren’t sure given what had happened to Hamilton. Rosberg was later given permission to use it, but only for two laps.
While F1 fans only hear the messages featured in the broadcast, which are transcribed below, each team can listen to all of their rivals radio messages, and do. Therefore Ferrari was able to keep Raikkonen up-to-date with what engine settings Rosberg had used.
Hamilton’s misfortune opened the door for Red Bull to score a one-two led by Daniel Ricciardo. His team mate Max Verstappen had pursued him closely during the race, drawing the team’s attention to that fact on at least two occasions on lap nine and again on lap 37. There’s no indication Red Bull used team orders of any kind, unlike their unsuccessful attempt to enforce a ‘hold position’ instruction in the same race three years earlier.
Here’s what we got to hear of the team radio messages in Malaysia.
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2016 Malaysian Grand Prix team radio transcript
|PR||To Felipe Nasr||Felipe the track temperatures are a bit higher than expected. So it’s quite important that we need good tyre management for the rears.|
|FL||From Felipe Massa||Massa had to start from the pit lane.
The throttle is not working, guys. Just pressing the throttle is not working. I don’t know.
|FL||From Jolyon Palmer||I’m losing power.|
|1||From Carlos Sainz Jnr||Vettel hit Rosberg while trying to pass Verstappen.
The engine switched off. How is it possible? Engine off.
|1||To Carlos Sainz Jnr||MGU-K, MGU-K start.|
|1||From Sebastian Vettel||I made contact with the Mercedes. I had nowhere to go. I think that’s it. Front suspension is damaged.|
|1||From Max Verstappen||Really, Sebastian is crazy.|
|1||To Max Verstappen||Yeah, agreed.|
|2||From Felipe Massa||OK let me know if it’s a Safety Car we stop for the tyres or not?|
|2||To Felipe Massa||I’ll let you know.|
|2||From Max Verstappen||Yeah mate I mean he [censored by FOM] crashed into Rosberg like an idiot.|
|3||To Jenson Button||OK Jenson so Massa did start the race from the pit lane. Vettel has damaged a front wheel, he’s out, and his car is stopped on the right-hand side of the track exit.|
|4||From Nico Hulkenberg||Massive high-speed understeer at the moment. And medium-speed.|
|4||To Nico Hulkenberg||Some of that down to traffic?|
|4||From Nico Hulkenberg||Yeah some but still there’s quite a bit of understeer we carry.|
|4||To Max Verstappen||OK Max so for info DRS is enabled and ignore the fuel dash for the moment, I’ll get back to you on that.|
|5||To Felipe Massa||Felipe default off please. Hit it hard. And box this lap.|
|5||From Sergio Perez||Verstappen overtook Kimi before the Virtual Safety Car ended.|
|6||To Kimi Raikkonen||OK Kimi we’re very hot on rear caliper, we’re about to get the alarm.|
|6||To Felipe Massa||OK Felipe we’ve got a front puncture, we need to box this lap.|
|7||To Nico Rosberg||Doing a good job there Nico, doing a good job. And either a little bit of lift-and-coast into 15 or 1, or HPP 1 to 3.|
|9||To Esteban Gutierrez||Virtual Safety Car. Romain went out, went off in corner 15.|
|9||From Max Verstappen||It’s very difficult to stay behind, I’m getting closer.|
|9||To Max Verstappen||OK so just manage the gap then, mate. Manage the gap for the moment.|
|9||To Max Verstappen||Understood.|
|9||From Max Verstappen||Yeah but I can fight Lewis.|
|9||From Romain Grosjean||OK I braked but the brakes ‘breaked’.|
|10||To Kimi Raikkonen||OK we believe the problem with the K is now fixed, Kimi. We’ll concentrate on the rest of the race.|
|10||From Nico Rosberg||Keep an eye on my left-front I drove over some debris.|
|10||To Nico Rosberg||OK get the delta positive first.|
|10||From Nico Rosberg||Yeah, yeah, yeah I’m getting the positive.|
|11||From Carlos Sainz Jnr||What does this mean?|
|11||To Carlos Sainz Jnr||We are on it. The one that pitted put hard or medium. The only one that didn’t pit is Bottas. In front of Bottas there is Max who pitted and put used softs.|
|11||From Pascal Wehrlein||Quite happy at the moment. Front and rear, it’s OK.|
|11||To Pascal Wehrlein||Understood, we’re sticking with the plan at the moment as well.|
|12||To Valtteri Bottas||So from out side stay on Plan A, everything is looking good.|
|12||From Valtteri Bottas||Copy.|
|13||To Lewis Hamilton||So gap to Ricciardo 3.2.|
|13||From Lewis Hamilton||Tyres still good, these tyres still good.|
|13||To Lewis Hamilton||Copy, good information, we’ll go target plus three. Currently lap 14.|
|13||To Kevin Magnussen||OK Kev due to the damage we’re missing some downforce. So there is some damage to the car, missing downforce.|
|14||From Kimi Raikkonen||How are the tyres, Kimi?|
|14||To Kimi Raikkonen||Yeah tyres seem to be OK so I wouldn’t be very keen to do what we talked in the meeting.|
|14||To Daniel Ricciardo||OK Daniel so the gaps are opening up again a bit. Hamilton pulling away slowly and you are pulling away from Raikkonen a little bit.|
|15||To Pascal Wehrlein||Pascal we need to push now please to keep within a pit stop gap to Ericsson.|
|15||From Pascal Wehrlein||I cannot push now. If I push more I’m too close to Kvyat.|
|15||From Nico Hulkenberg||Massive understeer again.|
|16||To Max Verstappen||You under control?|
|16||From Max Verstappen||Yeah, pretty much.|
|16||To Max Verstappen||OK mate.|
|16||To Daniel Ricciardo||OK Daniel we are looking at fitting the hard tyre for the next stint.|
|17||To Jolyon Palmer||How are the tyres?|
|17||From Jolyon Palmer||Stage two. Losing the fronts a little bit.|
|17||To Jolyon Palmer||Copy that.|
|17||To Daniel Ricciardo||OK Daniel you think you’re OK for one more lap on this set? Can you do one more lap?|
|17||From Daniel Ricciardo||Yep it’s stabilised a little bit. One lap’s fine, no problem.|
|17||To Daniel Ricciardo||OK mate, understood. You’re doing a good job mate.|
|17||From Daniel Ricciardo||Yeah grip’s actually not too bad it’s definitely stabilising now.|
|18||To Esteban Gutierrez||Need to do the best we can with this damaged floor.|
|18||From Kevin Magnussen||I can’t do much more than I’m doing now.|
|18||To Kevin Magnussen||OK Kev we’re going to retire the car, mate, so box this lap, please.|
|19||To Max Verstappen||OK Max so ahead Raikkonen three seconds, he’s lapping in the low 41s and he’s yet to pit. So ideally we can catch and pass as quickly as possible, mate.|
|21||To Lewis Hamilton||So brake balance ready for turn one you are pushing from now. We are on the hard tyre. We are behind Verstappen, he boxed under the VSC. Close the gap, we are good on strategy.|
|22||To Max Verstappen||I think start to push a little bit more at this stage.|
|24||To Fernando Alonso||OK Fernando because of the situation an extended Plan B is our best option. Sorry, Plan A. An extended Plan A is out best option.|
|24||From Fernando Alonso||For what?|
|24||To Fernando Alonso||A better tyre for the last stint.|
|24||From Fernando Alonso||I doubt that I can extend. There is too much degradation.|
|24||From Felipe Nasr||How long are we going to drive on these tyres?|
|24||To Felipe Nasr||We need another few more laps. Looking all good now on the strategy.|
|24||To Fernando Alonso||OK Fernando we’re currently thinking Plan A plus five to deviate.|
|24||From Fernando Alonso||No way. Too much degradation.|
|26||To Max Verstappen||How is the balance?|
|26||From Max Verstappen||I’m losing grip. Left front and left rear.|
|27||From Nico Hulkenberg||It’s getting tougher for the rears now.|
|27||To Nico Hulkenberg||There’s still no window, we’ve got to make the window.|
|27||From Nico Hulkenberg||Yeah but with a good fresh set of boots can overtake also, don’t forget.|
|27||To Lewis Hamilton||So Lewis that gap is going to close. He’s on 16-lap used soft tyres. Some deg starting to appear.|
|28||To Max Verstappen||OK that was nice. White line on the exit and we should emerge a couple of seconds clear of Kimi. You’ll be racing Kimi.|
|29||To Kimi Raikkonen||So we need two seconds to Rosberg, you’re currently 2.4.|
|29||From Kimi Raikkonen||Yeah I’m going full speed so if he gets close I cannot do…|
|29||To Kimi Raikkonen||Understood, keep going as you are.|
|29||From Kimi Raikkonen||Yeah we have a issue with the SOC [state of charge] it doesn’t charge. It’s all the time low SOC.|
|29||To Kimi Raikkonen||OK the SOC is coming back up, Kimi.|
|30||To Valtteri Bottas||OK the pit exit should be clear. Got Palmer who’ll be behind you. This is all looking good. So we just need to make this Plan A work.|
|30||From Valtteri Bottas||Copy.|
|30||To Jolyon Palmer||OK Jo we are P9, keep pushing mate, keep pushing.|
|30||From Jolyon Palmer||Copy.|
|32||To Kimi Raikkonen||You’re doing a great job just keep doing what you’re doing now. We’ll let you know what we’re going to do.|
|32||From Kimi Raikkonen||Come on he doesn’t have the blue flag.|
|32||To Kimi Raikkonen||OK he does on our system, we’ll find out why. Rosberg is in, push Kimi, push.|
|33||To Kimi Raikkonen||Rosberg coming down the straight now. We’re good, we’re good.|
|34||From Lewis Hamilton||Tyres are starting to drop a little bit, grip.|
|35||From Kimi Raikkonen||Come on we have to be in push mode.|
|35||To Kimi Raikkonen||It’s a very, very small lap time loss Kimi but we need it for the battery.|
|36||To Nico Hulkenberg||So we can push these tyres all the way to the end now, Nico.|
|36||From Nico Hulkenberg||Copy.|
|36||From Lewis Hamilton||Blue flags!|
|37||From Max Verstappen||OK I’m starting to get held up now. If you want me to get to the end of the race, do something.|
|37||From Kimi Raikkonen||Come on we need all the power that we can have.|
|38||To Lewis Hamilton||OK Lewis these are great lap times. Just keep your head down, mate, you’re doing a great job.|
|39||From Kimi Raikkonen||He just drive into me I have to turn right otherwise he…|
|39||To Kimi Raikkonen||Understood.|
|39||From Kimi Raikkonen||He hit me already I lost some part I don’t know what.|
|39||To Kimi Raikkonen||OK we’re checking.|
|40||To Nico Rosberg||Doing a good job there Nico just build that gap to Kimi now. Got another 17 to go.|
|41||To Daniel Ricciardo||Alright mate let’s go. So it’s still VSC. You’ll have a five-second gap to Verstappen when we get going again. Be cautious of pit exit make sure you don’t overtake anyone. OK so Massa next car ahead of you. Rosberg behind also pitted. So we’re on new softs, Verstappen behind.|
|41||From Lewis Hamilton||Charlie are you listening to me? Blue flags. Oh no! No!|
|41||To Lewis Hamilton||Alright Lewis just find a fire marshal, jump out, jump out. You’ve got a fire onboard, jump out.|
|41||To Nico Rosberg||Lewis is stopped, Lewis is out of the race. The two Red Bulls are leading now. Possible oil into turn one, OK.|
|43||To Daniel Ricciardo||OK Virtual Safety Car is ending. You only need to be just positive.|
|43||To Nico Rosberg||OK Nico so we have a ten-second time penalty. And currently Raikkonen six-and-a-half seconds behind on the soft tyre.|
|43||To Daniel Ricciardo||Rosberg is about 20, 30 seconds behind you. It’s going to be pretty plain sailing to the end, mate.|
|44||From Nico Rosberg||Flat-out ’til the end, is that correct?|
|44||To Nico Rosberg||Affirm, that’s what we need.|
|45||From Jenson Button||One day we’ll get some luck. Maybe next year.|
|45||To Jenson Button||So Jenson this is still P8. This is now P8. Not a bad position. If we can stay ahead of Hulkenberg this is P8.|
|46||To Max Verstappen||Take a drink, Max, if you need it. Reminder, take a drink.|
|47||From Nico Rosberg||Give me strat three.|
|47||To Nico Rosberg||Standby Nico, we’re thinking about it relative to the other car’s failure.|
|48||To Kimi Raikkonen||And engine position four, Kimi, good lap, you brought the gap down.|
|48||To Kimi Raikkonen||OK Rosberg has a ten-second time penalty for the collision. You know what we need to do: stay within ten seconds and we go to the podium.|
|49||To Nico Rosberg||And Nico you can have two laps of strat three now.|
|50||To Daniel Ricciardo||OK Daniel so there’s six laps to go. You’re doing a good job, gap now 1.2 behind.|
|51||To Jolyon Palmer||OK Jo still the same gap to Sainz. You are doing a good job. Keep pushing.|
|51||To Kimi Raikkonen||OK Kvyat should be getting blues.|
|52||To Kimi Raikkonen||And lap mode FS1. Rosberg used his quali mode for a few laps now but he’s gone back to standard now.|
|53||To Daniil Kvyat||Oh man the brakes are going to [censored by FOM].|
|54||To Kimi Raikkonen||Three-tenths quicker than Rosberg last lap, you’re doing a good job.|
|54||To Nico Rosberg||And strat eleven please, Nico.|
|55||To Kimi Raikkonen||Ignore the low SOC page, we can stay where we are.|
|VL||To Daniel Ricciardo||Well done Daniel, fantastic, fantastic, you deserve that, well done.|
|VL||To Daniel Ricciardo||Nice job mate, absolutely brilliantly, very, very good.|
|VL||From Daniel Ricciardo||Oh… Yeah… Well, I need a drink! Thanks, guys. Bit of luck but we’ve seen that before. Think we did bloody good. We deserve this. Thank you.|
Lap: Refers to lap message was broadcast on. There may be a delay between messages being said and being broadcast. PR = pre-race; FL = formation lap; VL = victory lap.
Message: Repetitive or irrelevant messages omitted. Notes in italics. Highlights in bold.
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Malaysian Grand Prix data
- 2016 Malaysian Grand Prix tyre strategies and pit stops
- 2016 Malaysian Grand Prix lap charts
- 2016 Malaysian Grand Prix lap times and fastest laps
2016 Malaysian Grand Prix
- Alonso wins Driver of the Weekend after salvaging seventh
- Hamilton ‘wasn’t pushing’ when engine blew
- Dramatic Malaysian GP gets strong rating
- Mercedes reveal why Hamilton’s engine failed
- 2016 Malaysian Grand Prix team radio transcript
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19 comments on “2016 Malaysian Grand Prix team radio transcript”
5th October 2016, 19:25
I’m quite surprised some drivers think they have a private line to the Race Director (“Charlie are you listening?”) or is that just out of frustration, but I’ve not heard that before..Usually those kind of remarks are addressed to the team are they not?
5th October 2016, 20:08
Charlie/FIA Race Control are also listening in to all the radio communication, so as also to ensure compliance with regulations. As are all other teams. Now many messages are exchanged every minute, so not all individually will be picked up by Charlie himself, but Race Control and the other teams clearly are taking notice, so e.g. per Hamilton’s message to his team on why blue flags are not shown, will subsequently raise the attention to this in central race control who will dispatch the message out to the marshals not doing their job. As well as the team with the driver in question might radio a message to the driver to yield to avoid penalty. There is also a big difference in the usage of radio from one driver to the next… E.g. Hamilton appear more chatty and wanting updates versus e.g. a Raikkonen.
5th October 2016, 20:15
Race control used to previously monitor radio communications, maybe they still do?
That said, I think blue-flag requests would be assessed by a more level-headed race engineer before being routed to Charlie.
5th October 2016, 20:28
Yep a recent program about charlie and his team showed that all communication is followed by a team of stewards in race control. Important ones are directly relayed to Charlie.
5th October 2016, 20:27
But they know this is being broadcast. That Charlie IS listening.
There was another race a couple of years back that was delayed because of rain, Japan 2014, maybe, when Hamilton said the same thing “Charlie the rain is fine, we’re good to go” or something like that.
Keith Collantine (@keithcollantine)
5th October 2016, 21:32
I had a quick look back through some of the past transcripts and I’d say it’s not unheard of for other drivers to refer to ‘Charlie’, although they do tend to use phrasing along the lines of ‘can you tell Charlie such-and-such’, rather than directly addressing him as Hamilton tends to. Though I seem to recall drivers besides Hamilton doing that, such as Vettel, I don’t have an example to hand right now:
But I think the principal of drivers saying things purely for Whiting’s benefit is pretty well established, especially in wet conditions behind the Safety Car.
5th October 2016, 21:47
Thanks for the replies. Yes, I am aware that the drivers are monitored by Race Control and that drivers deliberately make statements to attract Whiting’s attention, but I found it unusual for a driver to address the Race Director directly. I think it possibly sets an unwelcome precedent and seems a breach of professional protocol. It’s no biggie, and something I may have missed in the past.
6th October 2016, 11:20
Professional protocol? Lol. Maybe he should have put something in writing …
Pinak Ghosh (@pinakghosh)
6th October 2016, 14:46
Perhaps you are reading too much into this @baron
Each driver has unique style (some shout…and one even sing Blue Flag…Blue Flag). There is no breach of professional protocol here.
6th October 2016, 15:09
The Race Director is supposed to be completely impartial (now there’s a whole can of worms!), and I would not have expected that a driver would have direct access to him on first name terms, attempting to influence a decision which may (or not) affect the outcome of a potential maneuver for position. In points terms, you are potentially talking substantial remuneration, and therefore a clear conflict of interest.
5th October 2016, 23:56
Red bull could have tried multi three hundred and thirty three but that might just confuse the issue!
6th October 2016, 5:19
Considering that Kimi had to contend with problems with the power unit plus all the action his Ferrari saw on track it’s a bit of a miracle that he still got P4 for all his troubles.
A bit of debris from the chaos at T1 affected his rear wing, then Nico damaged part of his floor and front wing and on top of that he had to avoid Gutierrez and his flying wheel, all the while managing the PU, a pretty eventful Sunday ;)
6th October 2016, 9:37
It also appears from the transcript that there was a delay of 5 laps before Kimi was given the information about the penalty to Rosberg by which point the gap was too big. Unless this was just a delay in broadcasting the message and the laps indicated above show the lap it was broadcast not when it originally occurred?
6th October 2016, 6:42
Great to have the radio transcript as usual, it really adds perspective to what happened the weekend before.
That said, I am missing the bolding you used to use to highlight the most important bits. Sometimes one has time to read it all, but sometimes not, especially not now that they are becoming a small wall of text again (which is positive!).
With bolding, I always found myself reading all the bolded parts, and by extension often the comments immediately before and after, for context, and then you pick that important buzzword a bit further down and you keep on reading. A plain, unbroken wall of text like this… I find it difficult to focus on, and sometimes I end up ignoring it altogether beyond your intro.
Just my opinion ho how to turn great into awesome.
Keith Collantine (@keithcollantine)
6th October 2016, 9:15
Thanks for the feedback. I stopped highlighting sections of the text earlier this year because the number of messages FOM was broadcasting had become so low it wasn’t necessary. However it’s risen again lately so it might be worth bringing it back.
6th October 2016, 9:35
Is this an instruction to allow Sainz to restart his engine? Is this something the cars can all do using electrical power?
I recall in the early draft of the current engine regulations it was intended that cars would run entirely on electical power through the pits but this was later deferred. I’ve not heard further on that development, is it still something which could be in the pipeline or was it ruled out due to a fundamental problem with the concept?
6th October 2016, 13:02
The fundamental concept (in technical terms) is sound, Toyota’s LMP1 cars have been departing from pitstops on electric power and bump-starting the engine before exiting the pits since 2012.
6th October 2016, 11:26
I’m baffled as to why the teams are allowed to hear all their rivals’ messages. I get that they can tune in to what the fans are allowed to hear, but everything else as well??? Can you imagine Jose Mourinho and Pep Guardiola’s half-time team talks being broadcast?? Seems a very odd thing to do and ends up neutralising strategies in the end, which is not good for fans.
6th October 2016, 19:47
Charlie got annoyed with the direct approach so he pressed the red button!
Comments are closed.