Button’s complaint shows we need more team radio

CommentPosted on | Author Keith Collantine

Jenson Button, McLaren, Bahrain International Circuit, 2013The battle between Jenson Button and Sergio Perez was one of the highlights of the Bahrain Grand Prix.

It was made all the more interesting because Button’s increasing irritation at being given a hard time by his team mate could be heard in clips played from the team’s radio broadcast.

“He just hit me up the back,” complained Button at one point, adding: “Calm him down.”

Though McLaren has since cleared the air between its drivers, Button remains unhappy that his conversation with the team was heard by television viewers.

“The problem with the radio is that my message is not meant for the masses, it’s meant for the team,” explained the 2009 world champion, who said he did not intend his comments to be made public,” he said later.

“In a way it’s a pity that TV companies just choose the messages they want, because they can come across in the wrong way.

“I was obviously angry, but the anger was supposed to be kept within the team, because I am radioing the team, I’m not radioing TV companies.”

It is, of course, not “TV companies” but Formula One Management who listen in on the radios and decide what gets broadcast. Button’s dissatisfaction at being opened up to that kind of scrutiny is exactly why we need to have more of it, not less.

Formula One is not like most sports. Watch at a football stadium, a cricket pitch or a golf course and the reactions and emotions of every player are there fore you to behold. You can study a player’s craft at close quarters.

For the most part that simply isn’t possible in Formula One. Competitors are shielded beneath carbon fibre and Nomex and even if they weren’t they’d still be going past at two hundred miles an hour.

There was a time when fans could turn up to races with radio scanners and had their pick of whichever cars they wanted to listen to. That practice ended when teams began using military-grade radio encryption.

But thanks to an agreement between the teams a few years ago, we can now hear radio discussions via the television broadcasts. This has revealed illuminating details of how they go about racing – not least the extent to which they strive (not always with success) to manipulate the running order of their drivers.

This transparency is what F1 needs more of, not less. Instead of having edited messages played minutes after they’re broadcast, they should make the full live radio communications for every car available online – with suitable warnings about swearing, naturally.

Inevitably it’s American forms of motor racing which show F1 how it should be done. Watch an IndyCar or NASCAR race and the use of team radio broadcasts is more widespread and greatly enhances the viewing experience.

It’s easy to sympathise with Button’s embarrassment at being overheard criticisng his team mate when he had seemingly forgotten such radio broadcasts are no longer private. But like the walled-off F1 paddock, private team radio broadcasts were emblematic of a sport striving to keep the paying public at arm’s length. The reversal of that trend was a step forward, and long may it continue.

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Image ?? McLaren/Hoch Zwei

99 comments on “Button’s complaint shows we need more team radio”

  1. MB (@muralibhats)
    7th May 2013, 11:04

    Jenson.PR worded sentences are also not welcome to viewers.

    1. Yeah but it’s just something else for Jenson to moan about isn’t it. I can’t remember the last time Jenson was positive. Remember the so called ‘happy magic glowing bubble shield’ he allegedly lived in. Where’s that now?

      1. Michael Brown (@)
        8th May 2013, 12:59

        He’s like Paul Di Resta except he smiles.

    2. Agreed, he should have chosen another excuses. Like for instances arguing that the full transcript isn’t broadcasted or that people may get things out of context because they can’t understand how much drivers can perceive inside a car, come crap like that…

    3. Jenson just needs to learn from Webber. Drop the F-bomb when talking to the team and it won’t be broadcast.

      1. If it’s juicy enough, it will, they’ll just edit it. They seemed to do that with some of Vettel’s radio in Malaysia.

        1. And we have heard it often enough from Kvyat’s radio transmissions where they just beep out the “bad” words too @keithcollantine, @scottyd

  2. Traverse (@)
    7th May 2013, 11:12

    Button is just upset because his prissy, nice guy image was damaged. It’s not the fault of the radio that the masses heard his immature comments, it’s his.

    1. Mark (@marlarkey)
      7th May 2013, 12:04

      No… the point is that FOM SELECT radio messages to make public…. all the drivers have conversations like this with their teams but the SELECTION of certain messages to made public is prejudicial…. FOM can influence and shape perceptions by what they SELECT.

      So the solution is to make ALL messages available for the public, broadcasters, teams and drivers can make up their own minds after they hear the WHOLE PICTURE.

      1. Yeah, but as far as we know, what was played out IS the whole picture. Nothing is out of context. FOM played exactly what Button said. There is no record of Perez saying anything that FOM whitheld, or Whitmarsh for that matter – And funny enough, that isn’t Jenson’s main complaint either.
        Jenson is just upset he came off negative in this incident. Remember he was the one crawling all over the cameras trying to get his side of the incident across after the race. He virtually took over Whitmarsh’s interview. He is a skilled media manipulator and that is what he tried to do after the race. He as also talked about the incident to anyone who was bothered to hear it afterwards, basicaly treating Perez like a junior understudy who had dared exceed his remit. It really is a bit rich asking for his radio messages to be private, when he has been babbling to all and sundry about it afterwards.
        Remember this is the guy who criticised his teammate publicly over a misdemeanour, even though he is not part of the management. Humpf!

      2. 100% agree with Mark.

      3. Thank you for that unbiased comment. I agree that it should be all or nothing; anything else will be selective and biased.

        It’s sad to see people agree with rash comments that clearly mark a dislike for particular drivers…

      4. Traverse (@)
        7th May 2013, 13:56

        @marlarkey
        Every driver knows that FOM select which transmissions to broadcast based upon entertainment value, which makes it all the more ridiculous for Button to complain about the matter. I don’t hear any other drivers moaning about unjust radio traffic, and that’s probably because everyone else is concentrating on racing rather than finding a convenient scapegoat for self-inflicted embarrassment.

        1. Oh please… Just because FOM does it, doesn’t make it right.

          If I were to take your words out of context to get a laugh, does that make it right?
          No.
          Same principle. Context should always be given.

          1. Traverse (@)
            7th May 2013, 14:08

            Jenson’s words weren’t taken out of context though.

          2. Of course they were… Or at least people are focusing on one aspect and not the other in the way it was broadcast.
            Button’s comment was along the lines of “We made contact. Tell Perez to be more careful.” But obviously more heated and less structured due to him focusing on the race.

            Yet people act like Button is saying “Hey guys, I deserve to be in the lead. Slow him down. He might overtake me.” Which is not the case.

          3. Traverse (@)
            7th May 2013, 14:47

            Yet people act like Button is saying “Hey guys, I deserve to be in the lead. Slow him down. He might overtake me.” Which is not the case.

            Oh I think you’re the one that isn’t seeing it for what is it. Jenson was making just that point, he tried (and failed) too put his foot down and solidify his position within the team as the No.1 driver, after all he can hardly manipulate the team to put more support behind him if he can’t even outperform a younger, less experienced driver.

            When Hamilton left, Jenson thought that he’d be guaranteed the moniker “Team Leader”, But (despite his slow start to his McLaren career) Perez has come out fighting and Jenson doesn’t like it one bit. Not to mention he’s sick of the sight of a faster driver sporting a yellow helmet overtaking him :P

          4. You’ve just solidified my point.
            You’ve gone deep into an interpretative dance about what you think Jenson meant and intended, but you’ve completely ignored the fact he only became completely vocal about this after they made contact… Which isn’t an interpretation, it’s a fact (at least, given the radio messages given to us by FOM).

          5. Ryan (@ryanisjones)
            7th May 2013, 16:41

            Perez only made contact because Button broke aggressively on the apex of the corner to avoid Perez undercutting him on the way out, as Perez had taken a much wider line.

            Given the fact that Perez was clearly quicker than Button at that point, and that Button wore out his tyres to defend against his team mate (ultimately ruining his race), one could clearly conclude the fight for position was more than a simple fight for position. Had Button let his team-mate through, he would have certainly finished higher than ninth. Their fight was pure politics and ego. The fact that Button forced an error from Perez, then attempted to use it against him – well, that says a lot about the man. The same man who squeezed a faster Hamilton into a wall and then blamed him for the crash.

          6. Traverse (@)
            7th May 2013, 19:08

            @Oople

            You’ve gone deep into an interpretative dance about what you think Jenson meant and intended

            Really!? It’s clear to me (and judging from his post @ryanisjones) that Jenson’s comments carried more meaning than just ‘we made contact, tell Perez to be more careful’.

            but you’ve completely ignored the fact he only became completely vocal about this after they made contact… Which isn’t an interpretation, it’s a fact (at least, given the radio messages given to us by FOM).

            So it’s not a fact then. :P

          7. @hellotraverse, @ryanisjones
            I think those comments of Jenson were born out of frustration, as he had an ill timed and slow pit-stop. Due to the bad decision, he dropped behind Grosjean, Rosberg and Perez, while he was ahead of them before the pits, he gained the positions back, but he could not get away form his teamate, who ‘should’ have been out of DRS distance, if not for the bad stop. So it is clearly understable, if he was frustrated, and on top of that his own teammate went banging wheels with him, which was more than he could handle with silence at that time. It doesnt matter how you interpret it, he was just frustrated, as any other driver would have been in his place.

    2. Sky tv showed Perez only ran into him three times, hello? Who in the anti-JB crowd dismissed the likes of Kimi and Alonzo when they have criticized Perez’ driving?

      1. Traverse (@)
        7th May 2013, 19:21

        Who in the anti-JB crowd dismissed the likes of Kimi and Alonzo when they have criticized Perez’ driving?

        Kimi and Alonso don’t walk around like butter wouldn’t melt, saying ‘I’m glad that McLaren is a team that let their drivers race’ one minute, and then calling for team orders the next.

        1. While I don’t agree with JB’s comment, I think that everyone needs to keep something in mind. Regardless of the interpretation or context, he had just been hit by his teammate. I don’t which driver it is or how “nice” a person he may be, any driver in that situation would have said something to his team and it would have been broadcasted. With that said, if FOM want to continue to be selective about what radio transmissions are broadcast, then out of respect for the teams they should not broadcast anything when there is an inter-team conflict like the on in question.
          Personally though I would much rather hear the transmission due the laughter I get out of it then not at all. I am just saying that we as fans have no need to hear what is said within the teams unless the TEAM wants us to hear it. We as fans are supposed to be entertained by the race itself, not what the drivers are saying. I think that David Coulthard does a pretty good job of letting us know what would be going through a drivers head in certain situations anyway. But that is just my opinion.

  3. They should loose the radios all-together, make it up to the driver to manage tactic, only using boards to call pit stops.

    1. Traverse (@)
      7th May 2013, 11:40

      That would separate the men from the boys! In fact, that’s a fantastic idea, the team’s only responsibility is to manufacture the car and when the race starts the driver is left to his own devices without any strategic help from the team. Hopefully Bernie reads F1Fanatic (fingers crossed!).

    2. 23kennyboy23
      7th May 2013, 12:00

      Terrible Idea. If a driver damaged his car he’d have to wait minimum 1 lap to find out how bad it was from the team and if it was worth pitting. Fine you can say it’s something the driver should manager but if it’s something like the front wing which you can’t see it’s not exactly easy is it.

      1. Traverse (@)
        7th May 2013, 12:36

        The team could be allowed to interact with the driver in the event on a collision or if the car is damaged.

        1. Traverse (@)
          7th May 2013, 12:36

          *interact via radio

        2. 23kennyboy23
          7th May 2013, 22:08

          Ok, seems to defeat the purpose of doing it in the first place, the same as before but with pit boards for pit stops not radio. You’d then get disputes about what ‘car damage’ is I suspect. Giving the driver more say in strategy I’m all for but not unless it’s done right.

        3. 23kennyboy23
          7th May 2013, 22:11

          I’d also add that there could be strange circumstances which occur with the driver not being able to contact the team. I’m thinking of Mark webber vomiting etc. Having him pull into the garage to retire then the team finding out after why he did it just sounds mad to me.

      2. So what?

        Not like it helped Alonso to have radio and team spotting what must have been the most obvious damage to a front wing in recent years.

    3. Shreyas Mohanty (@)
      7th May 2013, 18:16

      @tvm : That is probably the worst idea anyone has had in the last millenium. No communication between drivers and teams? What would happen to pit and tyre strategies? It will be utter chaos. Drivers can be seriously irritable – they would all probably go crazy out on track after 30 laps.

      1. So how did the drivers communicate with the pits regarding tyres , fuel etc before radio dohh oh yes with pit boards

        1. @sonia54 Except it’s not 1973 any more

      2. @shreyasf1fan You must have taken a wrong turn on the Internet somewhere, this is racing site, supposedly for the most mean machines in the game.

        Easy mistake to make honestly, with all the talk about tires, racers opting to not qualify or deliberately adding 30 seconds to their qualify time, asking on the radio to be allowed to defend their position or keep the delta, cars & drivers deliberately running only 80% of their capability and car makers turning down the hp of their cars.

        You are probably looking for this: chess.com, its a nice strategy game, probably the best there are and certainly the oldest.

        :)

  4. I second the notion Keith.

    During V8 Supercar coverage in Australia we get to hear plenty of team radio, much more than in F1. It’s particularly interesting when they’re in pit lane. We also get to hear race director Tim Schenken at appropriate moments which greatly adds to understanding of what’s going on during safety car periods etc.

  5. Watch an IndyCar or NASCAR race and the use of team radio broadcasts is more widespread and greatly enhances the viewing experience.

    I watched both the Indycar race in Sao Paulo and the NASCAR race at Talladega and I can’t remember much radio. I mean NASCAR had the spotter radio but I didn’t really want to hear that, it is just too much inane chatter.

    The only thing I remember was Darrell Waltrip speaking to Michael Waltrip who was racing, mid race during a caution. That has been happening in F1 more recently with the broadcasters being able to speak directly to the pit wall and the race engineers during the race.

    I wouldn’t say it greatly enhances the viewing experience.

    1. @zantkiller I agree, I wouldn’t say it greatly enhances it, it’s never all that interesting anyway, apart from when they’re throwing team orders all over the place. It’s usually stuff like “Am I racing the car behind me?” (well… duh!?) or “awwww, my tyres are worn again… *sniffle*”

      love the KSP avatar too!

      1. I agree, I wouldn’t say it greatly enhances it, it’s never all that interesting anyway, apart from when they’re throwing team orders all over the place.

        @ajokay – I agree with your agreeing – radio chatter does not greatly enhance my viewing experience. This is purely a matter of opinion on the part of @keithcollantine.

  6. There are basically two things that could potentially be a problem. First you have the added pressure for the drivers of what to say and not to say during the actual driving. If every single radio conversation between driver and team were to be put online, I can imagine that a driver would feel uncomfortable with this, which might influence his concentration and therefore his driving.

    Second you have an increase in ridiculous ‘Multi 21’-like codes. Not only the fans, but also the other teams are able to listen to pit wall-driver conversations, so either the radio will be used less or the radio messages literally become like the old WW2 radio messages – though it might give us the bonus of listening to constant “the goat has seen the hedge” ;)

    Nonetheless, it’s still a terrific idea!

    1. “the goat has seen the hedge” ;)

      @andae23 – “and the swordfish has sailed at midnight!”

      Personally, I don’t think teams should have to suffer the discomfort of having all of their communications broadcast publicly. That’s crazy! While a huge aspect of F1 (and all motorsports … and all sports, actually) is “the show,” the drivers are still professionals, competing full-time for a living, practicing their profession when they’re driving around the circuit at 200kph, and they deserve reasonable working conditions – which I don’t think include having their every utterance broadcast to 500 million people! The show is spectacular enough without that gross invasion of personal and professional privacy.

      The drivers have as much right to privacy in their communications as any other athlete competing in any other sport. Tour de France teams don’t have to submit their radio communications b/w riders and team car to the broadcasters (though radios have actually been banned from most of the lower-level events), and you can’t bring a long range directional microphone into the stadium with you to an NFL game to record what’s being said on the field by the players or by the coaches on the sidelines.

      While I can appreciate @keithcollantine‘s objection to practices that stifle the fans’ enjoyment of sport, and policies to intentionally keep them at arm’s length are counterproductive, no sportsman should be forced to surrender 100% of his privacy and denied the ability to engage in confidential dialogue with his team!

      1. jimscreechy (@)
        8th May 2013, 6:59

        A good and well made point. I struggle to think of another sport where public access to inter-team communication is so readily available, but struggle equally to name a sport where this communicaiton is so vital.

        The call for more exciting events has given us strange tyre introductions, overtaking mechanisms, and dramatic changes in track conditions amoungst others, and this means strategy has an ever greater significance in the state of play for a team. To have this strategy broadcast arbitrarily is insane.

        Now I admit it does enhance the viewing experience but I don’t think the random selection of broadcasts we have currently is the right balance between teams right to privacy and viewing enhancement.

  7. We definitely need more team radio on the tv, but more importantly for me I think we need the quality, not the volume of what we hear to increase first. Several times FOM have broadcast snippets of the conversation between the driver and the team instead of the whole conversation and we lose out in hearing certain things in their full context. If FOM can fix this selective use of only parts of what a driver says over the radio I’d be a lot happier.

    1. Still love to hear what exactly Vettel said in America last year. Everyone heard something different, and there’s no context to make any sense of it.

  8. 23kennyboy23
    7th May 2013, 12:34

    If the drivers are worried about it getting broadcast they should just swear a lot!

    1. Don’t laugh, teams actually do that when they want to ensure an instruction isn’t broadcast and heard by other teams.

    2. I think Alonso is doing it quite elegant with his Italian, but I have a sneaking suspicion Kimi might actually do that.

  9. I’m all for this but there should definitely be some ground rules of what is published and what isn’t.

    Is it necessary, for example, to potentially embarrass drivers with releasing radio messages like the one with Webber’s onboard vomiting, etc. In the heat of the moment you can say stuff that you don’t really mean, haven’t properly considered or for different reasons might not want millions of viewers to hear; it’s essentially a personal discussion between two adult people and I don’t think everybody is automatically entitled to listen it through the world feed. Should drivers’ privacy be protected in stressful situations, regardless of the public nature of their jobs? Releasing everything can seriously hamper the ease of discussion between the pit-wall and driver, it’s a matter of safety as well.

    There’s also the question of secrecy of teams’ operations: they can potentially suffer from the fact that everything said in the radio can end up to live television feed and therefore into the ears of other teams that they are competing with. This could also be a good thing, though, as some comments have previously suggested.

    1. I’m all for this but there should definitely be some ground rules of what is published and what isn’t…

      @tmekt – wow, thank god it’s good to hear the voice of reason still on this forum! Like you said, releasing all of the driver-team communication could have negative sporting consequences, if truly sensitive (but necessary) communications were disclosed publicly (and scooped up by rival teams). Plus, what right does anyone have to demand to be able to listen to the dialogue b/w a driver and his race engineer during a difficult personal moment, for example? Yes it’s nice to hear to the sonorous messages of congratulations and mutual admiration that pass b/w Alonso and his race engineer, but totally-unprotected radio traffic would make it extremely difficult, if not impossible, for a different driver-engineer pairing that couldn’t employ a mix of Spanish and Italian to communicate openly and effectively b/w themselves, which is a necessary condition to any working partnership in a high-stress environment!

      The last thing F1 needs is to follow the path of those horrid “reality TV” shows that do nothing but vomit-up personal “drama” b/w the participants for the enjoyment of a sick, voyeuristic audience!

    2. I may be in the minority here, but I certainly don’t think the broadcast of Webber vomitting in his helmet and continuing to drive at the limit could be considered embarrassing. If anything, I think that moment grants him god-like status :-D

  10. The reason only limited amounts of team radio is played on the world feed is because broadcasters don’t like them been too long.
    We used to play more & it all used to be live on F1 Digital+ but were unable to do it live now because of the risk of swearing.
    There’s also the problem now of teams/drivers intentionally swearing constantly during stuff they don’t want to be played.

    There is the pit lane channel now which is used to play longer versions of the snippets played on the world feed as well as a lot of additional bits & pieces.
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7uiz-ykINu4
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Cfc6ee4NIg4

    Its also in the regulations now that teams must make all team radio available to the tv broadcasters however none of the tv broadcasters have bothered to make use of this. Am a bit surprised that sky didn’t jump on that to be honest, Would have made a nice addition to there ipad app & online features.

    There was some talk at FOM a few years back of bringing live team radio to the in-car channel & I know they trialed it as a 2nd audio track on that feed at a few races back in 2010. Of all the broadcasters who take the in-car channel only the BBC ran the team radio track for 1 race & only on there website & after some consultation with the broadcasters the idea was scrapped.

    1. There’s also the problem now of teams/drivers intentionally swearing constantly during stuff they don’t want to be played.

      I think this is a very good point. Let’s imagine Jenson said “calm him ******* down!” Ironically, his public image would have been left untarnished.

    2. Its also in the regulations now that teams must make all team radio available to the tv broadcasters however none of the tv broadcasters have bothered to make use of this. Am a bit surprised that sky didn’t jump on that to be honest

      Sky definitely do have a Pit-lane Radio audio channel on their Race Centre/Interactive setup. I also think the BBC offer it for their Live races via their Red Button extras.

    3. Its also in the regulations now that teams must make all team radio available to the tv broadcasters however none of the tv broadcasters have bothered to make use of this. Am a bit surprised that sky didn’t jump on that to be honest, Would have made a nice addition to there ipad app & online features.

      That’s interesting – if anyone from Sky is reading, take note!

    4. John Bergqvist (@)
      10th May 2013, 15:14

      GT_Racer, do you have a twitter feed or Facebook profile that I could add (My twitter page is at @FOM_Fan)? I’m trying to set up a FOM information/resource website, about the graphics and technologies that they use for the world feed and the extra channels, and it would be nice to have someone to check things over with. Thanks :)

  11. I was just thinking about this subject, watching some older F1 videos on YouTube. People complain about Button’s complaints (and/or feedback) over the radio, as well as Alonso’s call at Hockenheim 2010 and Vettel’s asking what the penalty is about and his odd question at Hungary last year, but imagine we had radio transmissions before. I’m sure people would feel differently about the likes of Prost, Senna, Schumacher (especially in his Ferrari days) and many others. I’m unsure if you guys have seen the video in which you can hear Damon Hill proposing team orders at Spa in 1998, but if those messages would have been broadcasted in 1998, the win would have been a lot less glamorous, I’d imagine.

    While I wouldn’t be able to really estimate the influence more team radio has, I do feel Button is currently overexposed (both by the FOM and the fans) and would like to hear more. Of course, it would be guessing for us when we hear them talk in ‘engine dry, the goose is loose’ encryption, but isn’t that part of the fun we have with F1, speculating?

  12. I do noticed FOM on a number of occasions have used a piece of team radio completely out of context or even taken a small sentence that doesn’t tell the whole story.

    One that springs to mind was when Vettel was complaining about Karthikeyan holding him up in Austin but it came across on the TV like he was moaning about Hamilton overtaking him unfairly.

    1. One that springs to mind was when Vettel was complaining about Karthikeyan holding him up in Austin but it came across on the TV like he was moaning about Hamilton overtaking him unfairly.

      The radio message wasn’t actually complaining about Narain, It was about how easy Lewis was able to pass him with DRS.
      Radio message was:
      “(Can’t hear……) about Formula 1 these days & these stupid overtakes”

      The radio message about Narain holding him up was only played on the pit lane channel & was a seperate message to what was played on TV.

  13. The one thing I am afraid of, is that the drivers might become PR machines even while driving. Now how sad would that be.

    1. We will always have Webber!

      Well, for the rest of the season anyway.

  14. As long as it wasn’t used excessively I would support extra use of team radio and having a dedicated radio feed online where we could listen to all the drivers. I do feel though if it were used excessively it could become almost gimmicky, and change perspectives of the actual on-track action. Sometimes I would say the less we hear the better if there was a really intense battle taking place for example, where the commentators may provide more excitement than the radio feed.

    I personally dislike it when Kravitz is interrupted by a team radio which holds little interest!

  15. As I read it, it seems Jenson is concerned with messages said in the heat of the moment being broadcast out of context.
    In this instance, it was anger that was supposed to be kept within the team.
    Fair enough, but he does realise he is driving a Formula 1 car? A sport in which drivers have journalists poking cameras and microphones in their face the majority of the time and where their every word off the track is typed up in many different languages and published all across the globe.
    Since he’s the most experienced driver on the grid, you’d think he’d be used to it.
    If he continues to be a part of this sport, he acknowledges the fact that he will continue to be scrutinized on and off the track because that is the nature of the life of a Formula 1 driver.
    The sport has come a long way in the past few years in recognizing that the fans want more insights into a sport that used to be much more secretive and selective with its inner workings, and the team radio is just a small part of that.
    The fans crave to see drivers put to the test in the heat of the moment, and we love to see their reactions. The radio messages are as equally important in immersing the viewer in the action as onboard shots, close ups, on screen graphics, commentary and team garage reactions.

    We get insights like these in all other international sports; usually you’d hear multiple curse words in a rugby match through microphones near the pitch, that’s just part of it (not to mention unflattering slow-mo’s).
    I just don’t understand why Jenson would complain about this now when other drivers have “had it worse” than him in recent years (Vettel to name just one) when it’s come to radio broadcasts.

    Toughen up?

    1. I think the difference is if a driver says something to the media, and the media manipulates it or takes parts out of context, at least there is proof or backing to bring things back into context.

      Whereas broadcasting small snippets of Team Radio has no backing that is available to the public eye… If a sentence is taken out of context, the driver has no proof that he meant something different… Which is incredibly frustrating for them.

    2. Fair enough, but he does realise he is driving a Formula 1 car? A sport in which drivers have journalists poking cameras and microphones in their face the majority of the time and where their every word off the track is typed up in many different languages and published all across the globe…Toughen up?

      @nackavich – dude, every high-end professional sport is like that, but Tour de France riders aren’t subjected to having their communications b/w each other and the team car in the heat of the moment broadcast to hundreds of millions of people. Likewise, NFL players don’t have to worry about every horrible, intimidating and disrespectful comment they utter towards the opposition being transmitted on the Internet in real-time. The same with soccer players – never mind the truly vile athletes who racially abuse their competitors…

      Rather than quipping that Jenson should “toughen up,” maybe the more voyeuristic fans such as yourself should be reminded that you’ve no inherent right to wedge yourself b/w athlete and team to scoop up every single snippet of dialogue that passes b/w the two while they’re trying to do their respective jobs!

      1. You say I have no inherent right, yet I do, since FOM have given me that right.
        They’ve also given the right for people who use services such as those SKY offer to listen to even more of the radio messages than those viewing it on free-to-air.
        I do see your point, but if you relate it to other sports where the players cannot hide (i.e. on the pitch/field), the fans sitting on the sidelines get to experience every heated, passionate remark said by the players on the field. FOM is maybe trying I replicate that a little bit by broadcasting some of these messages.
        And the message Jenson is referring to was relevant to the action on screen.
        I just don’t see the deal with this being an issue to complain about.
        They’re PROFESSIONAL athletes, and being professional means you understand and acknowledge that there are aspects of your life/work that will inevitably be watched by millions.
        I’m not saying I want to have wire taps in his motorhome or in his holiday villa.
        But when he’s on track, in his car, being watched by millions, the viewers have a right to see/hear every part of that.

  16. It’s all or nothing. If teams really need radio comms with their drivers that in the interest of the sport and of drivers’ safety should not be available to other teams, then military-grade radio encryption should be used — if not, then everybody (teams, FOM, TV, public) should be able to use a simple scanner for immediate access.

    What is wrong is censorship by FOM (despite Ecclestone perhaps calling it “selective editing.”) The use of “bad” language, or Italian, or “codewords” is up to TV commentators and FOM to deal with however they want — a lot of live broadcasts use a few seconds delay to bleep offensiveness and TV companies could presumable hire translators for a few hours on GP weekends.

    1. then military-grade radio encryption should be used

      @paul-a – they already do. the problem is that they’re required by regulations to make comms accessible to the broadcasters via FOM (iirc).

      @keithcollantine notes in his op/ed:

      There was a time when fans could turn up to races with radio scanners and had their pick of whichever cars they wanted to listen to. That practice ended when teams began using military-grade radio encryption.

    2. James Allen can speak fluent Italian. Coupled with Jaime Alguersuari last year, 5 Live listeners knew what was happening at Ferrari before most of the rest of the world worked it out.

  17. Team orders or no team orders, surely anyone would have said the same. I am no F1 driver but if I had a team mate bang into the back of me, I would voice in the same way. I would expect the same if the situation was reversed.

  18. Well What goes around comes around. When the Red Bull Radio messages were publicly discussed, Button too was a part of it. He too commented that he would not have done that etc. Now when his case is public on a similar kind of team mate battle issues, it is a private matter between the team and the driver. People in glass houses cannot throw stones. If button was so conscious of the private radio chats, when asked about Red Bull messages he should have just said “It is a private matter in their team I have nothing to comment about it” and stopped there.

    Well we all love spicy stuff. More the microphones around the racers , the more happy we fans and the media are. That keeps the entertainment beyond the actual sport itself. One of the reasons why people love to hear about the personal life of sportsperson and celebrities alike.

    My suggestion. Make it completely open or close it out completely. Don’t make it selective. In Nascar you can listen in for the entire race somebody’s radio if you want.

  19. I don’t get Button’s complaints. It’s like saying that pit stop blunders or driving mistakes shouldn’t be broadcast because spectators are meant to see only the bright side of the sport, some kind of utopia, and everything else is ‘supposed to be kept within the team(s)’.

    However, spectators shouldn’t get a false impression of what’s going on. Currently FOM choose to broadcast only selected messages and sometimes even only parts of them. That is why complete transparency is the right way to go.

  20. Chris (@tophercheese21)
    7th May 2013, 15:18

    Have a cup of concrete and toughen up Jenson.

    1. How good would it be if in response to this Perez came out with “if you no longer go for a gap that exist, you no longer a racing driver”? ;) Albeit that gap was filled with Button’s right rear tyre, but that’s just a technicality!

  21. Nick.UK (@)
    7th May 2013, 15:22

    I watched a youtube video of an Aussie V8 race where the commentators could talk directly to a driver during the race (during a safety car period). Coupled with a cockpit camera it made for quite an immersive watch, it made the driver feel far more ‘human’ too. With F1 it’s so hard to see genuine characters among drivers. Largely we just see relatively non descript cars (they all look the same essentially after all).

  22. “The problem with the radio is that my message is not meant for the masses, it’s meant for the team,” explained the 2009 world champion, who said he did not intend his comments to be made public,”

    Well boo hoo Jenson.

    Guess its hard to put up that PR friendly and mr.nice guy routine forever… its equally difficult when your philosophy of never asking the team for favours goes out the window due to a radio message

    1. Traverse (@)
      7th May 2013, 15:56

      +1!

    2. Not to mention that he’s changed his tune since commenting about other team’s radio messages.

      1. @david-a Yeap, that one’s coming back to bite him! How great it would be if the faster driver could actually just overtake the slower – no questions asked, no radio complaints raised – without the use of DRS. That’d be lovely.

  23. The radio chatter is a good peek behind the curtain of the F1 magic and mystery. It could be unfair that only selected snippets are heard and no amount of post race explanation might defend the complete conversation. So, perhaps Keith is correct, more access is better to tell more of the story.

    The other thing that comes to mind is that many seem to forget that most of these radio transmissions take place at 200 plus kph inches away from potential disaster with mass quantities of adrenaline flowing. I wonder how civil each of us would be while racing in anger at speed whilst a supposed teammate appears to be trying to knock us into next week. This is not a defense of any particular driver, just realizing that they are not at a cozy tea party nonchalantly discussing the weather.

    As has been mentioned, the more radio that becomes public, the more likely the coded lingo between drivers and pit wall is to be. Guess that could just add to the allure as folks scurry about dissecting the next multi-21 phrases that parse out of radio F1.

    1. the more likely the coded lingo between drivers and pit wall is to be

      Yep, and they are not forced to speak English either. I guess that wwould work well if drivers learn the team’s language:
      Ferrari and Toro Rosso: Italian
      Sauber: Swiss, German or French
      Force India (I know they speak English, but they could get some Indian too!)
      Red Bull (German probably… sorry Mark you won’t get a word)
      Just wondering…

      1. Actually, I believe they are ‘asked’ to speak English, but its not enforced.

        Also, the Red Bull team is almost entirely British, apart from Vettel’s race engineer, who is French. They race under an Austrian license. The only German part of the team is Vettel. :)

  24. they should make the full live radio communications for every car available online – with suitable warnings about swearing, naturally.

    That would make F1 look like hockey, guys with helmets swearing at each other.
    Probaby that would be too much. You would see journalists taking radio scripts out of the context even more often than now.

    1. That would make F1 look like hockey, guys with helmets swearing at each other.
      Probaby that would be too much.

      @omarr-pepper – exactly.

  25. I don’t know why he cares about how he came off. Kimi loves a good rant and everyone still loves him.

    1. cause there´s just one ICEMAN.

    2. Not ‘everyone’! :)

      But if we get some messages then I agree with a lot of others here that we should get them all. And yes some drivers do swear in an attempt to make sure those messages are not broadcast.

  26. he repeated the same afterwards in the interviews and now he says he did not wanted everyone to listen to it! he is a crybaby end of story..

    agree about the radio should be available online.

  27. I think we hear enough radio in terms of quantity. However, there are occasions where the most interesting things don’t get broadcast.

  28. you know, i totally agree with this article’s suggestion. we need more access, not less. i’m for some more team radio access, and also the next wave of future: live onboard cams access during the races. F1’s site can sell subscription access to it, but Ecclestone’s in denial and living in the Stone Ages, so…

  29. Poor putt-putt Button.
    It is bad enough to be slower than Hamilton, but at least Hamilton is a world champion and recognized as one who possesses brilliant pure speed. But to be revealed as slower the Checo? And petulant to boot?
    I greatly respect Button’s track smarts. But because he is just plain slower than a multitude of other drivers, he needs to couple his smarts with good old-fashioned British class to remain a fan favorite. Hopefully he learns a lesson from his mistake here.

  30. Team Radio is always exciting to hear, it’s further insight into the race and of course they’re only meant for the team not TV companies, but this is not a private family conversation; it’s one aspect of the race that we used to see on boards before live radio. The only reason not to broadcast as much messages as possible during a race would be political correctness (cursing etc…), even though having the stripped down version would be Amazing :D
    Team Radio is a fantastic way to know more about the strategies, the racers, the tension while on track, and it does not really harm anyone; it’s added value to the broadcast and should be broader. At the end of the day Button dealt with the situation rather naively, he ruined his tires and held off his faster teammate in a fight for… eighth or ninth! “Come on Jenson, this is a bit silly”. So he messed up, he shouldn’t blame messages for misinterpreting what he meant. Any short message can be interpreted in many different ways, it’s up to us, the viewers, to see it for what it is and not more.

  31. I can’t support this article enough. One of the great things about watching sport is witnessing the human drama and emotions of the contest. Due to the nature of F1, it’s obviously more difficult to convey this to the viewer but anything that helps on this front has to be encouraged.

  32. I’d love to have all team radio available; ideally live. About the swearing, who gives a ****? ;)

    1. Oh, I got censored :) This was just meant tongue-in-cheek!

    2. John Bergqvist (@)
      8th May 2013, 22:06

      Ofcom does when it’s broadcast at 10AM in the morning and people complain. That’s why they’re not broadcast live anymore.

  33. Football tried using microphones on the ref with the intention of broadcasting the audio to the public many years ago and it was dropped very quickly as the trial revealed that there would be very little material suitable for broadcast.
    In most professional leagues in Europe the ref’s do have communication systems so they can contact their assistants but they don’t even record them, never mind broadcast them. Some say they should be recorded and broadcast, this is a good article about that http://www.bbc.co.uk/sport/0/football/20154047

    I’m certainly in favour of more team radio being broadcast in F1, even if it’s just so we can have a few cheap laughs at incidents such as the the recent Button “Calm him down” comments.

  34. Well expect something like this now thru the radio,
    “This is vodafone mercedes maclaren pit board doing a vodafone phone in to vodafone mercedes maclaren driver do you copy ?
    This is vodafone mercedes maclaren driver J. button I copy thi vodaphone in loud an clear, need to inform you vodafone mercedes maclaren driver Perez is been a fearless vodafone mercedes maclaren racer.
    vodafone mercedes maclaren driver button we copy, but vodafone mercedes maclaren driver Perez never vodaphones in not even to complain !”
    Hope is kept real the driver radio

  35. Why not let the drivers talk to their teammates directly and broadcast that? I believe NASCAR used to have this but stopped it. But that’s because they were concerned about conspiracies in restraint of competition. But team orders are OK in F1.

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