New guidelines that close loopholes in Formula One’s controversial radio communications rules have been introduced ahead of this weekend’s Hungarian Grand Prix.
The revised package, designed to prevent teams gaining an advantage by abusing the previous rules, was issued by the sport’s ruling body the International Motoring Federation (FIA) on Thursday.
The FIA made clear that it was seeking to avoid, or prevent, a repeat of the scenario that saw championship leader Nico Rosberg taking a 10-seconds time penalty for receiving assistance from his Mercedes team during the British Grand Prix.
The German driver was relegated from second to third, having completed the race, after a radio dialogue with the team.
Mercedes lodged notice of appeal, but then withdrew it.
In future, when a team reports a potentially critical car failure, the driver must drive to the pits to have the problem repaired.
This removes the option of giving radio instructions to fix the issue – and potentially improve a car’s performance — by taking a possible time penalty, which may have been less damaging to the driver’s overall race result.
It was feared that the existing guidelines allowed teams to break the rules and take a punishment that was preferable to a pit-stop.
The note explained that a permissible message would be an “indication of a problem with the car,” adding that “any message of this sort must include an irreversible instruction to enter the pits to rectify the problem or to retire.”
Rules on car damage have also been tightened.
Teams may only inform drivers of broken ‘bodywork’ and no other components.
In another change, radio restrictions will not apply in the pit lane – thus allowing teams to talk to drivers as they approach the garage.
The restrictions had previously included the pit lane.