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2014 F1

Wolff concerned about radio crackdown, super license issue

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Toto Wolff on Friday expressed concerns about F1’s new radio communications clampdown.

The likes of Red Bull’s Christian Horner and F1 legend Alain Prost earlier welcomed the news that “performance”-related radio messages would from Singapore next weekend be subject to penalties by the FIA.

The move is in accordance with the existing rule about drivers needing to “drive the car alone and unaided”, and concerns by fans that the craft of their ‘heroes’ is being diluted by the detailed instructions of engineers.

But although Mercedes is part of the F1 strategy group that, at Monza last Friday, green-lighted the FIA’s clampdown, boss Toto Wolff made clear on Friday that he does not agree.

“This is a complex and controversial decision which will require a significant effort from the teams to understand how best we can work around it,” said the Austrian.

“The directive is not yet fully clear and there will inevitably be some controversy, so it will need further clarification as to how much the essential on-track procedures will be affected — particularly before the start of the race,” he added.

Elsewhere on Friday, as the all-new Formula E series prepares for its inaugural race in Beijing, the FIA’s World Motor Sport Council took the opportunity to get together in the sprawling Chinese capital.

A 20-race calendar for 2015 featuring Mexico was given the go-ahead, but also voted through was a commitment to look into how F1 ‘super licenses’ are handed out.

The mandatory credential has come under scrutiny recently, as the likes of Max Verstappen prepares for his debut — a 16-year-old who by completing a 300km F1 test qualifies to race in F1, but is unable to obtain an ordinary drivers’ license in his native Holland.

The matter was also discussed by F1 team bosses at Monza last week.

“We had the discussion,” Wolff confirmed, “and we still believe formula one is the pinnacle of motor sport and formula one drivers should be people who inspire, drivers who inspire, and they should have the qualification.”

So on Friday, the World Motor Sport Council resolved to “review the qualification and conditions for the issuing of a super licence” in time for 2016. (GMM)

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