In response to a rules breach by Nico Rosberg and his team at the British Grand Prix, Formula One did the least logical thing they could—make even more rules, which four-time champion Sebastian Vettel reportedly called “bullshit.” For the sake of foul language in the cockpit, let’s hope he didn’t say it on the radio.
The new rule will be in place for the Hungarian Grand Prix this weekend, and it’s a fairly ridiculous one—if informed of a critical problem on his or her car, an F1 driver has no choice but to duck down into the pits in order to address it. That means drivers and teams will have to either keep quiet about issues, make up code words or simply succumb to the rules. In case it didn’t come across, Vettel is not happy about the rule. From Motorsport:
“[It’s] complete bullshit. I think all the radio issues we had are a joke,” Vettel said ahead of the Hungarian Grand Prix
“I looked at the race after and I found, as a spectator, it was quite entertaining to hear the driver a little bit panicking on the radio and the team panicking at the same time.
“I think it was an element of human being in our sport, which arguably is very complicated and technical.
Rosberg and the Mercedes-AMG F1 team helped to bring on the new rule while struggling with a “gearbox problem” with six laps to go in Britain, according to Autosport. The team told championship leader Rosberg to shift straight through seventh gear to avoid getting it stuck and gave clarification when he questioned the order, which broke an FIA regulation stating that “the driver shall drive the car alone and unaided.”
It’s not like anybody hopped in there to help Rosberg shift, but the directions were enough for F1 stewards to summon Rosberg for a hearing. They handed him a 10-second time penalty for the race, knocking him back from second to third in the final running order.
Defending champion Lewis Hamilton said the rule “makes it hopefully clearer for the team,” according to Autosport. But other drivers were more on the side of Vettel, and Williams F1 driver Valtteri Bottas said coming into the pits is more of a punishment than staying out on track and taking a penalty. From Autosport:
“Nico got only a 10-second penalty for multiple advices, so I would guess staying on the track and taking a penalty is less of a penalty than coming into the pitlane for advice,” said Bottas.
“Unless they [the FIA] are going to change the rule as to how big a penalty they will give you for being on the track, then I don’t see the point in coming into the pits.”
If F1 drivers and teams can’t panic on the radio to keep the “element of human being” into the sport, it looks like some of them may just put it back by ignoring higher directives and going for the lesser of two punishments.
That’s how it’s done.