SEPTEMBER 18, 2014
FIA could ease radio clampdown in Singapore
The FIA could back down over its newly-imposed radio communications ban.
It was the hot topic of controversial conversation in Singapore on Thursday, as the teams and drivers prepare for the rest of 2014 with tight restrictions on what they can and cannot say over the pit-to-car radio.
Then the team managers headed for their usual pre-race briefing with Charlie Whiting.
"It might be a long one," said Lotus' Alan Permane, according to Auto Motor und Sport.
Some chiefs had prepared to go into the meeting with the message that, irrespective of the merits of the ban, the haste in which it is being imposed is unreasonable.
Williams' Pat Symonds said: "In every sport, some coaching is allowed. In football, the coach is constantly giving his players instructions and nobody gets upset about it.
"We might have to at least wait until 2015," he added, "to give everyone sufficient time to prepare."
Others had a safety argument.
"The drivers will suddenly be playing with much more information on their screens, which could distract them, overwhelm them and they end up in the wall," said Sauber's Beat Zehnder.
And the struggling Swiss team's manager added: "We had also warned the drivers to look after the differential -- they forget that they can ruin the transmission."
Zehnder also said the ban disadvantages F1's minnows, because the rich teams can afford to respond quickly, for example at the controls of their sophisticated simulators.
And some teams do not even use the new McLaren-supplied LCD steering wheel display in 2014, which would mean the mid-season ban unfairly punishes some drivers who will have less information at their disposal.
In the end, the team managers' meeting with the FIA was the longest of the season -- three hours and 40 minutes.
"There were more questions than answers," an unnamed F1 chief said.
Auto Motor und Sport reports that Whiting promised to think over the teams' concerns, amid speculation the FIA might agree at least to wind back the severity of the clampdown.
A decision is expected early on Friday, before the first practice session in Singapore.