Radio clampdown gets poor reception from F1 drivers

Thu Mar 17, 2016 5:52am EDT
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By Ian Ransom

MELBOURNE (Reuters) - A fresh clampdown on radio communications during Formula One races has been branded as "unnecessary" and "strange" by the drivers in the lead up to Sunday's season-opening Australian Grand Prix.

Governing body FIA will restrict messaging between drivers and pit walls in a number of areas, including flagging up positions of other cars during qualifying, as part of a crackdown mooted nearly two years ago.

Some team officials, including Mercedes motorsport head Toto Wolff, have welcomed the move to put more race management and strategy in the drivers' hands, saying it would make races less predictable and more exciting.

But McLaren's two-time world champion Fernando Alonso was dismissive of the idea that drivers would have more control over their fate on track.

"Instead of instinct from the driver, we will follow what we agreed two hours before the race," Alonso told reporters in the paddock at Albert Park on Thursday.

"It's strange the direction that they are going... in the era of communication and technology, Formula One try to restrict it, which is probably not the normal way to go."

Force India driver Sergio Perez said he could not see the point of the new restrictions, claiming it would change nothing for the sport or the fans.

"It just puts a lot of extra load to the driver," he said.   Continued...