Sunday 22 April 2018

'Complete bull****' - Sebastian Vettel slams Formula One's controversial radio rules

Sebastian Vettel. Photo: Getty
Sebastian Vettel. Photo: Getty

Philip Duncan

Four-time world champion Sebastian Vettel has described Formula One's controversial radio rules as "complete bull****".

Championship leader Nico Rosberg was demoted to third at the British Grand Prix when he was handed a 10-second elapsed penalty after both he and Mercedes were adjudged to have broken the sport's strict radio regulations.

In the closing stages of the race, Rosberg was instructed by Mercedes on how to solve a gearbox issue which was slowing him down. But at the beginning of the season, the FIA, Formula One's governing body, introduced stricter radio guidelines forbidding such information to be transmitted in a bid to make the sport more challenging for the driver.

And ahead of Sunday's Hungarian Grand Prix, the drivers have been told they must report to the pits if they are informed of a technical problem, to act as a deterrent to teams who may have been prepared to risk a post-race timed penalty.

But Ferrari driver Vettel, who had already described the new ruling as a joke earlier this season, went one step further on Thursday.

"It is complete bull**** all the radio issues that we have had," Vettel said. "I think it's a joke. I looked at the (Silverstone) race afterwards and I found as a spectator it was quite entertaining to hear a driver panicking on the radio and the team panicking at the same time.

"It was the element of human being in our sport that is very complicated and technical, so I think that's the wrong way. There's a lot of boring stuff on the radio that got banned. I don't see the point."

The FIA introduced the new rules after it had been claimed that too much information was being relayed to the drivers.

But in Baku earlier this year, Lewis Hamilton's charge through the field was curtailed by a wrong engine setting which his Mercedes team were outlawed from telling him how to fix. At the next race in Austria, Force India could not inform Sergio Perez of a brake issue which led to the Mexican crashing out on the penultimate lap.

"If you want to change it, you should change the cars," Vettel said, jokingly. "All the buttons we have on the steering wheel are there for a reason. If you just look at the 1995 steering wheel it was a lot simpler because the technology was simpler.

"It's not our mistake that the cars are so complicated these days that you need a manual this big and a steering wheel full of buttons to operate it.

"We're going the wrong way, it's bad, and we should just go back to saying what we want."

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