Formula 1 championship leader Nico Rosberg was defeat heavily with a 10 second time penalty following receiving advice over the team radio to assist negotiate a gearbox trouble. The judgment, to be appealed by his team Mercedes and its resulted him dropped to third behind Max Verstappen.
A statement from the stewards, headed by Nigel Mansell, said: “Having considered the matter extensively, the stewards determined the team gave instructions to the driver that were not permitted under the technical directive, and were in breach of article 27.1 of the sporting regulations, that the driver must drive the car alone and unaided.”
Rosberg informed the team of a gearbox problem six laps from home. He was initially told to “reset to default”, which was deemed to be within the rules.
‘Avoid seventh gear’
The German was then commanded to “avoid seventh gear”. Following seeking explanation from the engineers, he was told to “shift to eighth gear quickly”. That advice allowed Rosberg to finish inside the podium.
‘Driver coaching’ is outlawed – “Indication of a critical problem with the car. Any message of this sort may only be used if failure of a component or system is imminent and potentially terminal.”
“Driver default 1 0-1, chassis default 0-1, chassis default 0-1.”
The illegal radio message is thought to relate to Rosberg’s race engineer, Tony Ross, instructing him “Driver default 1 0-1, chassis default 0-1, chassis default 0-1” and also avoid a problematic seventh gear.
This change in software setting on the car is specifically allowed by the technical directive on the radio transmissions which state the following; “Instructions to select driver defaults for the sole purpose of mitigating loss of function of a sensor, actuator or controller whose degradation or failure was not detected and handled by the on-board software. In accordance with Article 8.2.4, any new setting chosen in this way must not enhance the performance of the car beyond that prior to the loss of function.” In this case it would be a failure of an actuator or controller which meant that Rosberg could not select 7th gear.
The full list of what is and is not allowed:
The following is a list of the permitted messages. Any other message, including any of those below which we suspect has been used as a coded message for a different purpose (including a prompt to a driver). is likely to be considered a breach of Article 27.1 of the Sporting Regulations and will be reported to the stewards accordingly.
1. Acknowledgement that a driver’s message has been heard, this may include repeating the message back to the driver for the sole purpose of confirmation.
2. Indication of a critical problem with the car. Any message of this sort may only be used if failure of a component or system is imminent and potentially terminal.
3. Information concerning damage to the car.
4. Instructions to select driver defaults for the sole purpose of mitigating loss of function of a sensor, actuator or controller whose degradation or failure was not detected and handled by the on-board software. In accordance with Article 8.2.4, any new setting chosen in this way must not enhance the performance of the car beyond that prior to the loss of function.
5. Instruction to enter the pit lane in order to fix or retire the car.
6. Indication of a problem with a competitor’s car.
7. Marshalling information (yellow ﬂag, red flag, blue ﬂag, Safety Car, Virtual Safety Car, race start aborted or other similar instructions or information from race control). This would include a reminder to switch off the SC ‘delta time’ function after crossing the first safety car line twice from the time the SC was deployed.
8. Passing on messages from race control (this would include a countdown to the start of the formation lap and telling a driver that the last car has taken up position on the grid at the end of the formation lap).
9. Wet track, oil or debris in certain corners.
10. Weather information.
11. Information concerning the driver’s own lap time or sector times.
12. Lap time of a competitor.
13. Helping with warning of traffic and gaps to other competitors during a practice session or race.
14. Instructions to swap position with other drivers.
15. Number of laps or time remaining during a practice session or race.
16. Position during a practice session or race.
17. ‘Push hard’, ‘push now’, ‘you will be racing xx’, ‘take it easy’ or similar (you are reminded about suspected use of coded messages when giving these messages or any words of encouragement).
18. When to enter the pits (or go to the grid during reconnaissance laps), any message of this sort may only be used if the driver is to enter the pits on that lap. Having been told when to enter the pits drivers may also be told to stay out if there has been a change of circumstances.
19. Reminders to use the pit speed limiter, change tyre settings to match the tyres fitted to the car orto check for white lines, bollards, weighbridge lights when entering or leaving the pits.
20. Driving breaches by team driver or competitor, e.g. missing chicanes, running off track, time penalty will be applied etc.
21. Notiﬁcation that DRS is enabled or disabled.
22. Dealing with a DRS system failure.
23. Oil transfer.
24. Test sequence information during practice sessions (P1 and P2 only), e.g. aero-mapping.