F1 Tells Teams To Leave Drivers Alone, They Should Know What They're Doing

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Formula One race director Charlie Whiting sent a note to teams before the Australian Grand Prix informing them that the restrictions on communications with drivers would be tighter than previously announced, per Motorsport.com. I think we know at least one driver who may appreciate the silence.

The full text of Whiting’s note can be read here, for the curious. The restrictions apply to all communications to a team’s driver, including radio chatter and content placed on pit boards.


Motorsport.com spelled out the items that were previously allowed, but will no longer be under the latest rules:

  • Tire choice at the next pit stop
  • Number of laps a competitor has done on a set of tires during the race
  • Tire specification of a competitor
  • Information concerning a competitor’s likely race strategy
  • Safety Car window
  • Change of front wing position at the next pit stop
  • Reminders about track limits

Many common messages will still be allowed, including messages about test sequence information during practice sessions, marshaling and weather information, the number of laps or time remaining in a session or race, and reminders related to tire settings and pit lane speed limiters when a driver makes a pit stop. Outright coaching of drivers through things is still banned, as it was last year.


However, a driver can only be informed of a problem with the car now if “failure of a component or system is imminent and potentially terminal” under the new rules. Furthermore, coded messages are explicitly called out in the note as a huge faux pas. Whiting’s note reads:

Any other message, including any of those below, which we suspect has been used as a coded message for a different purpose (including a prompt to a driver) is likely to be considered a breach of Article 20.1 of the Sporting Regulations and will be reported to the stewards accordingly.


Coded messages were called out again when the note mentioned that words of encouragement were permitted:

‘Push hard’, ‘Push now’, ‘You will be racing xx’, ‘take it easy’ or similar (you are reminded about suspected use of coded messages when giving these messages or any words of encouragement).


It’s a safe bet that Charlie Whiting will layeth the smacketh down if he catches any Multi 21-style messages flying over the radio this year.