Symonds disagrees with “harsh” radio restrictions | 2016 F1 season

Williams technical chief Pat Symonds weighed into the row over Formula One’s radio restrictions, arguing teams should be allowed to assist their drivers.

“I think that the interpretation that’s been put on the rules is quite harsh,” Symonds said during today’s press conference at the Hungaroring.

From this weekend teams must tell their driver to pit if they are informing them of a problem with their car related to something other than its bodywork.

Felipe Massa, Williams, Hungaroring, 2016
Hungaroring practice in pictures

“The rules that [we] are taking about is a rule that says the driver must drive the car alone and unaided,” he said. “I think it was put there many, many years ago to perhaps limit some of the electronic controls and things like that. Indeed it was that very rule that was cited in the banning of traction control, for example.”

“To bring it in to the sphere of communication with the driver is odd. I’ve always through of Formula One as being a team sport and I’ve always thought, as teams, we should participate together to assist our driver. And you know, you can ask where the limit is.”

“If the driver is to do everything alone and unaided, should he change his own tyres at the pit stop? Clearly ridiculous but that could be the logical extension of it?”

Symonds linked the new restrictions with the decrease in radio communications being broadcast on television this year.

“I think it’s rather a shame that something that’s really unique in motorsport is something that we are doing away with,” he said. “If you cast your mind back just a few weeks, we have the Euro football championship going on, that fantastic game, Italy and Germany, it’s going to penalties, wouldn’t you have loved to have heard what was being said?”

“Three penalties missed. Would you have not wanted to hear what the goalkeeper was saying? Would you not wanted to hear what those strikers were saying?”

“Now in Formula One we actually have the ability to engage our fans and allow them into the cockpit to get that sort of level of immersion… and we’ve allowed it to go away. I think that’s the biggest shame of all.”

2016 Hungarian Grand Prix

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