In an earlier report, Ferrari Formula One Team has been investigated by the FIA for possible violation of regulations around communications to drivers, and if the FIA found out that Ferrari are acting outside the new FIA regulations, there will be penalties which could range from fines to possible points reductions.
But things are looking good for the Italian racing giant. The F1 racing team has now been cleared by the FIA of any wrongdoing regarding a potential coded message on a pitboard at the Australian Grand Prix, following a query raised by a rival team.
This season the FIA, Formula One’s governing body, has severely tightened up article 27.1 of the sporting regulations, which laid down what teams can tell and cannot tell drivers. The strict guidelines have led to clampdown not only on team-to-car transmission, but also messages displayed on pitboard.
In addition, coded messages or ‘using James Bond stuff’ to get around the issue have also been banned in the race track.
During the season-opening race at Melbourne’s Albert Park, Ferrari Formula One Team displayed what appeared to be an obscure pitboard message to their driver Sebastian Vettel, where the messages read ‘-3.2 LFS6 P1’.
But the coded messages was spotted by a rival team and reported to FIA F1 race director Charlie Whiting, prompting a drastic action and massive investigation. The rival team presented the FIA with some photo of the Vettel’s pitboard messages from the Melbourne race that showed some sort of coded messages: ‘-3.2, LFS6 P1’.
Right now, it still unclear what the ‘coded messages’ was referring to, but reports said that there is a setting on Vettel’s steering wheel that can be selected ‘FS6’. In theory, giving an information or instructing an F1 driver to change setting on his race car is not allowed by the FIA.
However, the fact that it was the first race operating to new rules, FIA has simply no grounds to take any action. Reports said that Vettel has a problem with his dashboard at that time, and Ferrari had sought permission from the FIA to use the pitboard to send information its driver should have had anyway. This means that the FIA was aware of what the Ferrari team was up to.
Recently, FIA racing director Charlie Whiting made a clear statement during a press conference in Melbourne, Australia prior to the race that all messages would either be heard or seen, and anything deemed to be coded messages would certainly be watched into.
Following an investigation, in which the Ferrari team provided the FIA with an entirely satisfactory explanation about the meaning of the coded message, it has been decided by the FIA that whilst messages would be banned under normal conditions, but no action would be taken.
During the race, a mid-race red flag caused by Fernando Alonso’ violent crash on lap 17, led to a problem with the fuel calculation and the way it deal with the stoppage. This led to a serious tech problem with how the ECU (Electronics Control Unit) handled the stoppage, necessitating a pitboard at the time. A fuel miscalculation meant a manual change to the mixture ratio was required, something Sebastian Vettel can do on his steering wheel.
The FIA concluded that such actions was permissible and will not take any action. Vettel’s times after that change were roughly around 0.2 seconds a lap slower, indicating that Vettel could be using a rich mixture which would have seen him run out come the end of that race.
Video Courtesy: F1 Grand Prix Racing Channel 2/Youtube.com
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