Smedley: Arguments against F1 radio communication “inane”

Williams's Head of Vehicle Performance Rob Smedley has said it's “inane” to argue against Formula 1 drivers getting help from their teams during races.

Smedley: Arguments against F1 radio communication “inane”
Rob Smedley, Williams Head of Vehicle Performance in the FIA Press Conference
Radio on team pitwall
Valtteri Bottas, Williams on the pit gantry
Felipe Massa, Williams FW38 on the grid
Rob Smedley, Williams Head of Vehicle Performance

The wish to see drivers compete “alone and unaided” was a major impetus behind the sport's controversial radio clampdown, which has since been relaxed following last month's Strategy Group meeting.

For Smedley, the restrictions on radio use did not make sense for F1 in its modern state, given the vital influence a team has on a driver's overall performance.

I think from an engineering point of view, it’s absolutely the right thing to open up the radios again,” Smedley said.

The cars are incredibly complicated now with these power units, and to be able to drive the car at 200mph and manage the power unit or any other problems that arise was just asking too much.”

When Smedley was asked whether that kind of assistance from teams went against the idea of a drivers' championship, he said: “You're going back to a Formula 1 that doesn't exist anymore.

"Everyone wants to go back to a Formula 1 that doesn't exist anymore, when we had carburetors, when we had throttle linkages which were mechanical linkages, rather than the incredible complex cars we have now.

We've gone to something else. It's a team sport, and we have 500 people who work in the team.

If you take this inane argument that the drivers are alone in the car, then why don’t we take a step back and get rid of all the engineers, because 'it’s the drivers and drivers alone'?

And we'll bring two cars here and we'll bolt them together... or we don’t even have to do that. We can bring a bag of bits and they can bolt them together and they can get into them and drive them and they can get out and talk between themselves in that truck there.

Where do you stop? It’s an inane argument, to be honest. It’s a team sport, whether or not it’s called the drivers' championship, whether or not it's called a championship from the moon, it’s a team sport.

And if it wasn’t a team sport, then we wouldn’t have 500 people who work for the two drivers or for the good of the team.”

Additional reporting by Jamie Klein

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