Formula One Puts The Smack Down On Instructions Teams Can Give Drivers

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Formula One said they were going to crack down on driver coaching and other aids to ensure that the driver has more control of the car, and now we know exactly what that will entail. Here’s why Kimi Räikkönen is probably smiling somewhere next to a bowl of ice cream because of the rules released today.


There are two main pieces of what F1 is cracking down on with today’s rule tweak: driver aids for the start of the race, such as automated bite point finders, and pit-to-car radio chatter.

First off, there’s the matter of driver aids. Bite point finders help drivers find where their clutch will engage for F1’s standing starts, and now they are expressly verboten. According to Fox Sports, drivers will now be required to disable any button or switch related to finding the bite point on their car’s clutch.

The “bite point update from the bite point finder should be disabled by setting BBitePointFinderUsed to zero,” reads today’s directive from the FIA, as quoted by Fox Sports.

Additionally, no changes will be allowed to the clutch bite point from the first moment the car leaves the garage after the pit lane opens on the day of the race until after the start lockout period once the race has started.

A bigger chunk of today’s changes relates to what’s said over the radio. According to Fox Sports, radio chatter must relate to one of the following, else it is not allowed:

  • Critical problems with the car
  • Problems with competitors’ cars
  • Instructions to enter the pits
  • Surface conditions of the track (oil, standing water, debris, etc.)
  • Instructions to swap position with other drivers (such as passing information)
  • Marshalling information (including flags, restarts and other commands from race control)

The message to the teams is simple: leave those drivers alone. They know what they’re doing, or at least they should know. Formula One wants more of the challenge to rest on the drivers. Hey, if it gets us more crazy hole shot starts because some drivers nail the start better than others, I’m all for it.

Say too much? F1 will consider it a breach of Article 20.1 of the Sporting Regulations, which states, “the driver must drive the car alone and unaided,” as quoted by Fox Sports.


This latest round of changes comes at the behest of the latest Strategy Group meeting, who unanimously called for less instructions to be given to the driver. This new crackdown will be implemented starting with the Belgian Grand Prix in late August.

Perhaps they’d like to have a nice mid-race break for some ice cream, too.

Ice cream for everyone! (And less blah blah blah SHUT UP over the radio for all.)


Photo credit: Getty Images

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Ratchet when he's all hopped up on synthetic energon

As a prototypical American who finds F1 to be this fancy things that Europeans do, can someone give me the digest version of how the radio was being abused previously that prompts this?