F1 plans clampdown on driver aids

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The International Automobile Federation (FIA) on Thursday made available a directive concerning restrictions from 2016 on pit-to-driver communications and signalling during races.

In it, the FIA told teams that “methods to limit the telemetry channels sent in real-time from the car to the pits will be investigated.

“The objective will be to restrict real-time data flow to signals essential to run the car. Any 'monitoring' or non-essential channels should only be logged to on-car memory.”

The FIA last year abandoned a plan to limit radio messages but indicated in the latest directive that the rules would be tightened next season.

Article 20.1 of the sporting regulations states that “the driver shall drive the car alone and unaided”.

The FIA listed 31 pit-to-car messages that would be permitted, only six of them before the start of the race, and said anything not included was likely to be considered a breach of the sporting regulations.

The list included details such as lap times, gaps to a competitor, warnings about traffic ahead, tyre choices at the next pitstop, information about a rival's likely strategy and when to pit.

Drivers can also be told how many laps remain, weather information and when to push hard.

WILL IT REALLY MAKE A DIFFERENCE?

Double world champion Fernando Alonso welcomed the changes but doubted how much difference they would make.

“We are receiving some information now on the radio about tyres, about fuel or other things on the car but we are perfectly aware of what is happening in the car,” he said.

“So if that information is not coming, it will come anyway by instinct and by the reactions of the car.

“We will have to pay a little bit more attention to a few things that now we rely a little bit on the radio but it's not a big change and probably it's welcome.”

New rules have been introduced already for this weekend's Belgian Grand Prix banning teams from advising drivers remotely about the best way of setting the clutch to ensure the quickest and smoothest start.

Drivers currently use two clutch paddles but the FIA said that from 2016 only a single 'clutch operating device' may be used for the start. A standard clutch is set to be introduced for 2017.

Reuters

Original source: F1 plans clampdown on driver aids

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