- Singapore GP - Race
McLaren questions Red Bull radio messages
Eric Boullier thinks Red Bull used outlawed coded messages during the Singapore Grand Prix to help Daniel Ricciardo finish on the podium.
The FIA banned radio communications relating to driver performance in the build up to Singapore, but allowed help to continue for technical, reliability or safety reasons. Concerns were immediately raised about teams using coded messages to find a way around the rule, something FIA race director Charlie Whiting admitted would be difficult to police.
While managing a battery issue and holding off Fernando Alonso for third, Ricciardo was told by Red Bull: "Avoiding exit kerbs may help the problem with the car." F1 teams had been told messages relating to kerb contact are now prohibited and Boullier believes Red Bull was falling foul of that.
When asked about the differences in dealing with a race from the pit wall with the new limits on radio, Boullier said: "Nothing, but it makes us more busy listening to the others to see they are not doing anything like Red Bull did twice on Ricciardo. I think it was coded, yes. It is up to the FIA to investigate, so it is not for me to say anything but it was a strange message. Once would have been OK, but twice or three times is a bit strange."
But Christian Horner says Red Bull cleared the messages with Whiting and does not believe it breached any part of the new radio regulations.
"It wouldn't have made life easier, that's for sure," said Horner about Ricciardo's chances of finishing on the podium if radio communication had been unrestricted. "We spoke to Charlie, we told him that he's got some reliability issues and that was why he was told to keep off the kerbs because that was causing damage to the battery for instance. Its finding that balance with this radio stuff.
"These cars are so bloody complicated. There is an awful lot going on. I totally support getting rid of driver coaching through the radio. It's not the engineers job to tell him to brake 10m later or turn in earlier but managing the actual power unit they're so complicated that just from a reliability and safety point of view that's so important."