FIA admits coded messages will be difficult to police
FIA technical boss Charlie Whiting has admitted it will be tough to police coded radio messages when the full restrictions on pit-to-car radio are enforced next year.
As of this weekend's Singapore Grand Prix, the FIA has banned driver coaching over the radio but stopped short of banning radio messages relating to car performance. The further restrictions are set to be brought in next year, but admits it will be tough to police and that it made the FIA think twice before forcing through the full restrictions this weekend.
"I agree [it's hard to police], it won't be straightforward," he said. "We have a little bit of time to think about that because the list given to the teams today is quite straightforward. If you've got a longer more complex or technical list you would have greater opportunities for that sort of thing.
"It was put to me yesterday that something like 'oil transfer' is allowed as a message but it could be coded in such a way that 'oil transfer' when told to a driver in Turn 1 could mean something different to if it's told to him in Turn 10. It's going to be a little difficult but I'm fairly confident we can get over that one with a bit of time."
However, Whiting says the FIA is committed to policing Article 20.1 of the sporting regulations, which states the driver must drive the car "alone and unaided".
"When it comes to enforcing a rule things have to be done. If you see or hear something that you are uncomfortable with as to whether it conforms to the rules or not, you have to do something. That's our job."
Should a team fall foul of the regulation, Whiting said the stewards would most likely dole out a time penalty if the radio message is made in the race or a grid penalty if it is made before.
"I would report to the stewards a possible contravention of Article 20.1 and the stewards would then decide what the penalty will be. I think it would have to be a sporting penalty as opposed to a monetary one, so I imagine it will be along those lines. If it happens in a race it might be - and I emphasise 'might be' - a five second time penalty. If it happened in practice it might be a grid penalty or something like that. But a sporting penalty rather than a monetary one."
The FIA is confident its team of eight officials will be enough to listen to the radio of all 22 cars.