Mercedes F1 drivers weigh in on rules changes

Ryan Joseph Ramos March 14, 2016

If you’ve been bored to death by the dominance of Mercedes AMG Petronas F1 in the past couple of years, don’t worry. The Mercedes drivers recognize it, too, and in line with that, they think that the new rule tweaks in the sport set to go live this year should make races more exciting for those in the stands and watching at home.

Mercedes driver Lewis Hamilton 2016Foremost among these changes is the radio ban, which defending champion Lewis Hamilton sees as something that makes life harder for the drivers but could be good for the sport overall.

This radio ban is an effort to be true to the spirit of the F1 sporting regulations, particularly Article 20.1, which stipulates that “The driver must drive the car alone and unaided” and is seen as something that will put more focus on the drivers by limiting the information that the team can relay to them during the race.

A radio ban has been in effect a couple of seasons ago, but to a limited degree that included only gear selection, braking points, racing lines, and comparisons regarding speed. Last December, F1 race director Charlie Whiting sent out a list of what information would be allowed in radio communications.

“We were really trying to understand what the ban would mean in terms of what they can and cannot say to us,” Hamilton said, adding that the number of items that need to be memorized doesn’t really help in terms of making the race more exciting by improving drivers’ pace. He did say that the idea behind it could be a good thing and that the situation should evolve as races go by.

Another big change is the freedom teams have when it comes to the tyres. Teams are now able to pick the compounds they want for each race, and they can even opt for different choices between each car.

“The tyres might have a bigger impact than we could predict, because there are three tyres in Melbourne that we can us,” said Nico Rosberg, who came in second to Hamilton last year.

“People can gamble a little bit more and that will increase the variability, and variability is probably good in that sense,” said the German driver. “That could increase the excitement.”

Rosberg added that we should all expect an exciting start to the 2016 Formula One season, and I’m sure that’s something we can all look forward to.


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