Team directors have passed the opportunity to speak directly with race director, says Toto Wolff Christian Horner Lewis Hamilton Max Verstappen Red Bull Mercedes Michael Masi
In addition to the fallout from the spectacular Abu Dhabi Grand Prix, calls are growing to ban radio communications between Formula 1 team managers and race control.
This season, F1 and FIA have agreed to broadcast selected conversations between the teams and FIA Race Director Australian Michael Masi.
Moving away from the traditional sporting director setup of a team with sole responsibility for communicating between the pit wall and race control, it was hoped that the broadcast of more exchanges would give fans additional insight into areas. hitherto unknown race.
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However, as the season progressed, it became apparent that Mercedes’ Toto Wolff and Red Bull’s Christian Horner were using the hotline in an attempt to influence race control decisions.
This was especially evident in the closing race of the F1 season, as both team managers were active throughout the championship battle between Lewis Hamilton and Max Verstappen.
Wolff explicitly requested that the safety car not be deployed after Antonio Giovinazzi stopped in an emergency exit outside the track. An ultimately improbable call that encountered frequent interventions by the clerk of the course in similar situations to ensure safety.
“Michael, please no safety car, it gets in the way of the race,” he said over the radio.
Meanwhile, in the finals, Horner demanded that overtaken cars between the two championship rivals be allowed to split.
“Why don’t we rule out these cars? We just need one race lap,” he said.
After the race, F1 general manager Ross Brawn suggested that team managers should no longer be allowed to take over from their respective sporting directors to use the race control channel.
“I agree with Ross,” Wolff said Motorsport.com when asked if he shared the same opinions as Brawn.
“But I also blame Ross and myself for being part of the decision to broadcast more channels for the sake of transparency and entertainment for the fans.
“There’s so much going on on the intercom that giving fans a little glimpse into all the little dramas that are going on, like the car breaking down, have we got some sort of strategy talk, was well intentioned. But I think we have passed.
“I have to take myself by the nose, and Christian. We had the opportunity to speak directly to the clerk of the course, and because we are fighting so fiercely for the interests of our teams, we have all overstepped.
“It was certainly part of the failures of this year that under pressure from the team managers the life of the race director was certainly not made any easier.”
Wolff also went further by suggesting that regulations be put in place to limit what athletic directors can pass on during races.
“I think the team directors shouldn’t speak directly to the clerk of the course, it should be the sports directors. I’m going to take it one step further and say that I don’t think so. [the] sport directors should put pressure on the clerk of the course or exert pressure.
“They should point the finger at situations that the clerk of the course or his colleagues may not have spotted, but no lobbying, no pressure.”
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