Team radio messages give us the best insight into how drivers and teams approach the races and we can expect to hear plenty about the new technology once the season begins in Melbourne.
Here’s a look at what were the dominant themes in last year’s team radio communications and what we can expect will change in the year ahead.
In 2013: With over two dozen dials, switches and buttons on their steering wheels it’s a lot to expect Formula One drivers to keep their cars in the perfect state at all times while also driving it flat-out and jockeying for position. Teams were once able to adjust the cars directly from the pits but those days are long gone, meaning if a setting needs to be changed they have to tell the driver to do it.
|Canada||9||Sergio Perez||Mark Temple||My DRS isn’t working in the second part.|
|Canada||9||Mark Temple||Sergio Perez||We think you pressed it too early so next time if it doesn’t deploy immediately come back off and press it again.|
|Britain||3||Peter Bonnington||Lewis Hamilton||Suggest tyre mode 11 for exit snap.|
|Britain||25||Andrea Stella||Fernando Alonso||When you can, boost magnettino zero.|
|Britain||26||Tony Ross||Nico Rosberg||Remember to drink.|
|Germany||25||Guillaume Rocquelin||Sebastian Vettel||Start burning fuel.|
|Germany||45||Marco Matassa||Daniel Ricciardo||Push the oil button, Daniel.|
|Hungary||67||Guillaume Rocquelin||Sebastian Vettel||Mate you failed 23. So you need to fail 23 again, then fail 22. Fail 23, fail 22. Fail 22 OK but we need to fail 23 as well, to undo what you did. I’m sorry mate, I know it’s a bad time.|
|Singapore||16||Mark Slade||Kimi Raikkonen||Battery charge is dropping, we need to reduce the use of the paddle or go to KERS recovery six and two clicks forwards on balance.|
|Japan||5||Tim Wright||Charles Pic||Use the race KERS pattern not the qualifying pattern.|
|India||10||Marco Schupbach||Nico Hulkenberg||Recovery for braking stability low, on the toggle.|
|India||10||Nico Hulkenberg||Marco Schupbach||Copy. Thankyou.|
|USA||10||Francesco Nenci||Esteban Gutierrez||Unlock the diff with the toggle for 15, 16, 17 and 18 for front-left tyre energy.|
|Brazil||2||Mark Slade||Heikki Kovalainen||Diff is still latched.|
Teams have incorporated display screens into their steering wheels to help their drivers keep on top of energy recovery systems that are more powerful and more complex.
In 2013: F1 teams have always been wary of finishing a race with too much fuel in the car, wasting valuable performance on unnecessary weight. The flip-side of that is sometimes they find they are running short and have to tell their drivers to back off.
|Canada||23||Mark Slade||Kimi Raikkonen||Mix one, Kimi. Fuel consumption is higher than expected. Do what you can to save fuel without losing performance.|
|Germany||39||Francesco Nenci||Esteban Gutierrez||Rosberg is saving fuel in some braking events. He will do that when you’re not too close so if you put him under pressure he will have problems with the fuel so push on him.|
|Italy||6||Mark Slade||Kimi Raikkonen||Please avoid throttle and brake overlap, please.|
|Italy||6||Kimi Raikkonen||Mark Slade||Why is that?|
|Italy||6||Mark Slade||Kimi Raikkonen||Fuel consumption is on the high side.|
In 2014: Expect this to be a much bigger factor in 2014 as teams grapple with a maximum fuel allowance of 100kg per race and a limit on fuel flow rate of no more than 100kg per hour.
Renault Sport F1′s head of track operations Remi Taffin explained what to expect in terms of radio chatter about fuel use: “We won’t call out to change the fuel mixture, instead referencing fuel budget, or the quantity of fuel used per lap.”
“Prior to the race the engineers will decide on the mix between fuel and electricity over one lap and we will have a target – or fuel – ‘budget’ we will need to monitor to ensure we get to the end of the race. The engine engineers will monitor the rate of fuel consumption (both carbon and electric) and the driver will be told over the radio if he is over or under the fuel delta. He will have to manually adjust or alter the style to take this into account.”
In 2013: Unreliability was an occasional problem for some drivers last year. Others – such as including both McLaren drivers – completed the entire season without their car breaking down once during a race.
|Italy||16||Jean-Eric Vergne||Phil Charles||The engine has gone.|
|Italy||16||Phil Charles||Jean-Eric Vergne||OK Jev, understood. Hard luck, Jev, you were doing a really good job.|
|Italy||44||Guillaume Rocquelin||Sebastian Vettel||Short-shift into five and into six only on red lights.|
|Italy||46||Simon Rennie||Mark Webber||I know we’re fighting but we need to short-shift gear two to gear three. You must short-shift gear two to gear three to finish the race.|
|Singapore||13||Paul Davison||Jules Bianchi||OK Jules we’re not changing tyres, just the steering wheel. Stop in the box.|
|Singapore||34||Ayao Komatsu||Romain Grosjean||We have a problem with air consumption on the engine so we need to box this lap, please.|
|Singapore||34||Romain Grosjean||Ayao Komatsu||No!|
|Singapore||34||Ayao Komatsu||Romain Grosjean||We need to top up the air bottle in the pit stop so it’s going to be about 40 seconds pit stop.|
|Singapore||34||Romain Grosjean||Ayao Komatsu||What is wrong with this car…|
|Brazil||3||Romain Grosjean||Ayao Komatsu||What is this seventh gear? It’s a disaster.|
|Brazil||3||Ayao Komatsu||Romain Grosjean||OK, copy that Romain.|
|Brazil||62||Charles Pic||Tim Wright||Err… something broke on the car.|
|Brazil||62||Tim Wright||Charles Pic||OK Charles, understood Pull off the track and kill the engine.|
In 2014: This is also likely to change in a big way this year due to the new engine rules and limited pre-season testing time. Last year the car failure rate was an amazingly low 6.7% but many expect it to be much higher this season, particularly at the beginning of the year.
We’re going to hear more disappointed drivers pulling up in smoky cars. And should either of the new Motor Generator Units (Heat and Kinetic) fail, drivers will find they lose much more performance than when their old Kinetic Energy Recovery Systems broke.
In 2013: A first lap rarely seemed to pass in 2013 without someone damaging their front wing. This has been a particular problem since 2009, when front wing dimensions were increased to the full width of the car.
|Belgium||1||Felipe Massa||Rob Smedley||Just check if the front wing is fine.|
|Belgium||1||Rob Smedley||Felipe Massa||OK we’ll have a look.|
|Belgium||4||Romain Grosjean||Ayao Komatsu||Is everything OK with my front wing?|
|Belgium||4||Ayao Komatsu||Romain Grosjean||OK we’ll double-check and get back to you.|
|India||1||Tim Wright||Charles Pic||How is your front wing Charles? Is you front wing OK? Please confirm.|
|India||1||Charles Pic||Tim Wright||Yes front wing OK. Somebody touched me at the rear.|
|Abu Dhabi||1||Jenson Button||Dave Robson||Damage: front wing.|
|Abu Dhabi||1||Dave Robson||Jenson Button||OK Jenson how bad is the damage, how bad is the balance?|
|Abu Dhabi||1||Jenson Button||Dave Robson||Quite a lot of understeer. Can you see it in the data?|
|Abu Dhabi||1||Dave Robson||Jenson Button||OK Jenson we are going to need to box this lap.|
|USA||4||Dave Robson||Jenson Button||As you come along the start-finish straight this time, I’d like you to stay to the left-hand side so we can take a good look at the car.|
|USA||4||Dave Robson||Jenson Button||So there is some damage to the front wing.|
|USA||4||Jenson Button||Dave Robson||It feels OK in turn two, I can push through turn two.|
|USA||4||Dave Robson||Jenson Button||Yep, understood Jenson. Damage is relatively minor. Much less than the last race. So we’re going to stay out.|
In 2014: This year’s front wings have been reduced by 150mm to 1650mm wide. As there’s now less to hit that should mean more drivers make it to the end of lap one with them still intact. But this is still going to be one of the most vulnerable parts of the car.
Those controversial noses are likely to be exposed to knocks as well, though as they’re not major contributors to performance don’t expect teams to be too concerned about re-fitting them. The upshot being a lot of this year’s car’s might look rather better come the start of lap two.
In 2013: One of the most interesting aspects of the increased team radio chatter we have heard in recent seasons is how drivers are coached during races as engineers study the telemetry from both their cars in real-time.
|Canada||5||Gianpiero Lambiase||Paul di Resta||Sutil’s brake temps are high at this point in the race, Paul. Avoid pedal crossover if you can.|
|Britain||20||Guillaume Rocquelin||Sebastian Vettel||Don’t forget, ten car lengths behind Safety Car and no erratic driving either. I know it’s not easy, mate.|
|Britain||23||Brad Joyce||Adrian Sutil||Use KERS to defend.|
|Britain||27||Peter Bonnington||Lewis Hamilton||Throttle/brake overlap is preventing KERS charging so just minimise that where you can.|
|Italy||49||Gary Gannon||Max Chilton||We think you are downshifting too early.|
|Italy||50||Giedo van der Garde||Juan Pablo Ramirez||There’s something wrong with the engine braking.|
|Italy||50||Juan Pablo Ramirez||Giedo van der Garde||You are out of sequence with the paddle.|
|Korea||22||Rob Smedley||Felipe Massa||OK maybe try a lap where you save everything and then see if you can catch him through sector two and sector three. So save everything for one lap and use everything to launch at the last corner.|
|India||52||Tony Ross||Nico Rosberg||Avoid turn 15/16 boost to get full boost on back straight.|
|Abu Dhabi||13||Ayao Komatsu||Romain Grosjean||Your shifting too early from five to six and six to seven.|
|Abu Dhabi||41||Tim Wright||Charles Pic||Charles you’ve improved in turn 21. 21 is better. But you are losing time in 5, 6 and 18 by going too fast into the corner on the brakes and losing in the mid and exit.|
In 2014: Expect this to continue, and again the new engines and the differing skills needed to extract the most from them will play a role.
In 2013: This is Formula One’s equivalent of a footballer complaining about a bad tackle. As race director Charlie Whiting can listen in on the radio chatter drivers seldom miss an opportunity to grass up a rival – even for an incident they aren’t involved in.
|Monaco||4||Jenson Button||Dave Robson||I know we’re both team mates but he cut the chicane, when I was up the inside of him, to keep position.|
|Monaco||4||Dave Robson||Jenson Button||OK Jenson this pace is very strong, we know what we need to do.|
|Monaco||10||Jenson Button||Dave Robson||Just so I know, can I go straight on at the chicane to keep position?|
|Monaco||46||Sergio Perez||Mark Temple||Fernando cut the chicane.|
|Monaco||46||Mark Temple||Sergio Perez||Understood Checo, we saw it.|
|Monaco||46||Sergio Perez||Mark Temple||He has to give me the position.|
|Monaco||64||Marco Matassa||Daniel Ricciardo||What happened?|
|Monaco||64||Daniel Ricciardo||Marco Matassa||You can probably guess the driver. Looks like he probably misjudged it, went over the top of me.|
|Canada||44||Guillaume Rocquelin||Sebastian Vettel||Watch out for Van der Garde, he might not see you on the inside, be careful.|
|Canada||51||Mark Temple||Sergio Perez||You must let Hamilton through, you’ve had a blue flag.|
|Canada||53||Mark Webber||Simon Rennie||Are these backmarkers serious today or what? Unbelievable.|
|Hungary||25||Jenson Button||Dave Robson||Might have front wing damage. (Censored) idiot in the Lotus [Grosjean] decided there wasn’t enough room for the two of us.|
|Belgium||10||Felipe Massa||Rob Smedley||For information Perez put Grosjean out on braking, he pushed Grosjean to the left.|
|Belgium||10||Rob Smedley||Felipe Massa||Yeah OK it’s nothing to do with you so just stay where you are.|
In 2014: Expect more of the same.
In 2013: In a similar vein, complaints about penalties are part of the game these days.
|Canada||VL||Adrian Sutil||Brad Joyce||I really don’t understand this drive-through. I mean the backmarkers are holding me up, holding everyone up, and I get a drive-through. So to the FIA I really don’t understand that.|
|Canada||VL||Brad Joyce||Adrian Sutil||Yes we think it’s very harsh and we will discuss it further with the FIA.|
|Hungary||37||Romain Grosjean||Ayao Komatsu||Why did we get a drive-through?|
|Hungary||37||Ayao Komatsu||Romain Grosjean||Because of the incident with Button. We left the track.|
|Belgium||14||Sergio Perez||Mark Temple||Why the drive-through?|
|Belgium||14||Mark Temple||Sergio Perez||For forcing Grosjean off the track when you overtook him.|
|Belgium||14||Sergio Perez||Mark Temple||I had the corner.|
|Singapore||27||Nico Hulkenberg||Marco Schupbach||I still don’t understand why I had to let Perez past. He was inside, I had to go on the kerb, then the car bottomed, and it pulled me to the right. But I was in front before the corner and I was in front after, so what’s the problem?|
|Singapore||27||Marco Schupbach||Nico Hulkenberg||OK Nico, that’s understood. We focus now on the race. We discuss after, can be still OK.|
|Brazil||33||Rob Smedley||Felipe Massa||OK mate, unfortunately we have a drive-through penalty for crossing the white line at then entry to the pit lane. So there you go. Can you take the penalty at the end of this lap, please? So pass through at the end of this lap.|
|Brazil||33||Felipe Massa||Rob Smedley||This is unacceptable. It’s just unbelievable. Unbelieveable, FIA. Unbelieveable! Unacceptable!|
In 2014: One of the most frequent causes for dispute last year concerned where drivers had gained an advantage by going off the track. Having seen several of their rivals punished for it last year the competitors have even less excuse for getting it wrong in the first place now. A detail change in the regulation for this year has attracted little comment so far (see below).
- FIA makes another change to rules on overtaking
- Drivers respond slowly to FIA track limits crackdown
In 2013: There were a few major rows over team orders last year and many of other instances of teams manipulating the running order of their cars.
|Germany||12||Lewis Hamilton||Peter Bonnington||Nico is not in the same race.|
|Germany||12||Tony Ross||Nico Rosberg||Nico you are on a different strategy to Lewis, don’t hold him up.|
|Germany||55||Ayao Komatsu||Romain Grosjean||Kimi behind is on [soft] tyre, do not hold him up.|
|Germany||55||Romain Grosjean||Ayao Komatsu||Does that mean he’s faster than me?|
|Germany||55||Ayao Komatsu||Romain Grosjean||Yes, confirm, yes.|
|Korea||50||Ayao Komatsu||Romain Grosjean||Romain you are quicker than Kimi, eight laps to go, you can overtake him, you will overtake him, OK?|
|Korea||50||Romain Grosjean||Ayao Komatsu||No I cannot I lose all downforce.|
|Korea||50||Eric Boullier||Romain Grosjean||Romain keep racing like it is.|
|Japan||8||Rob Smedley||Felipe Massa||Multifunction strategy A. Multifunction strategy A. Now, please.|
|India||58||Alan Permane||Kimi Raikkonen||Kimi get out of the ******* way.|
|India||58||Kimi Raikkonen||Alan Permane||Don’t shout, **** when I have a chance but not in the middle of the fast corners.|
|Abu Dhabi||22||Giedo van der Garde||Juan Pablo Ramirez||He’s holding me up a lot.|
|Abu Dhabi||22||Tim Wright||Charles Pic||Charles, let Giedo past.|
|Abu Dhabi||22||Charles Pic||Tim Wright||Why? We are in different strategy?|
|Abu Dhabi||22||Tim Wright||Charles Pic||Giedo is faster than you. If Giedo does not pull away we will swap back.|
|Brazil||12||Tony Ross||Nico Rosberg||So Nico, we’d like you to let Lewis through. We think you may be holding him up. Just to build a gap to Massa. We are in your Safety Car window now.|
In 2014: It was often said during the years of the ban on team orders (2003 to 2010) that if it were legalised again teams could use them in a transparent fashion without fear of punishments. That belief turned out to be false: teams still issue team orders using coded signals such as “Multi 21″ (Red Bull) and “Multifunction strategy A” (Ferrari).
There’s no obvious reason why this might change this year. Though whether Ferrari will dare to make the same demands of Kimi Raikkonen as they previously have of Felipe Massa will be a point of interest.
Too much information
In 2013: Information overload seems to affect some drivers more than others. During his first season with Mercedes Lewis Hamilton was often heard asking for clearer information from his team. He also asked for the controls on his steering wheel to be simplified as he tried to rationalise the dizzying array of variables modern Formula One drivers have to cope with.
|Canada||59||Peter Bonnington||Lewis Hamilton||Traction metrics are under 2,000. Temps are looking good.|
|Canada||59||Lewis Hamilton||Peter Bonnington||You should let me drive, man.|
|Korea||9||Peter Bonnington||Lewis Hamilton||Target minus one so you can push, push.|
|Korea||9||Lewis Hamilton||Peter Bonnington||You’re confusing the hell out of me, man.|
|Korea||50||Marco Schupbach||Nico Hulkenberg||Release nine and straight back to ten.|
|Korea||50||Nico Hulkenberg||Marco Schupbach||Do not copy. Don’t talk three centimetres from braking.|
In 2014: It’s not going to get any easier for drivers in this respect in the year ahead. Expect a few more cries of “don’t talk to me in the braking zones”.
In 2013: Despite being the star driver of Formula One’s most famous team, relatively little was heard of Fernando Alonso’s radio messages at most races last season. That may partly be to do with his tendency to converse in Italian.
|Italy||26||Andrea Stella||Fernando Alonso||Ok, dobbiamo tenere sotto controllo Webber, sotto controllo Webber dietro di noi, dobbiamo spingere al cento
OK, we need to keep Webber under contrrol, Webber is behind us and we need to keep him under control, we need to push at our 100%.
|India||15||Fernando Alonso||Andrea Stella||Il gruppo dei leader che sono davanti a noi che non si sono fermati, chi sono?
Between the group of leaders that is in front us, who did not stop yet?
|India||53||Andrea Stella||Fernando Alonso||OK, adesso abbiamo usato’ dobbiamo targettare 60, 60 prima della 15. Adesso abbiamo usato 80.
OK, so now we used’ we need to target 60, 60 before 15. Last time we used 80
|USA||39||Andrea Stella||Fernando Alonso||Situazione stabile, apparte Perez, che gira come noi, apparte Perez, che gira come noi, non ci sono altri problemi dietro.
The situation is stable, apart from Perez who’s lapping like us, there aren’t any other problems behind us.
|USA||41||Andrea Stella||Fernando Alonso||Fernando, facciamo solo un po’ d’attenzione al wheel spin, cerchiamo di controllare un po’ di piu’ il wheel spin, il resto ottimo.
Fernando, lets pay attention to wheel spin, lets try and control our wheel spin a little more, the rest looks good.
In 2014: Teams and drivers are not required by the rules to speak in a particular language on the radio. So if it suits Ferrari and Alonso to carry on using Italian – whether that’s because it’s Ferrari’s native tongue or just because it makes life more difficult for their rivals – don’t expect that to change.
In 2013: If one subject dominated team radio chatter in 2013 it was this. Rare were days when tyres didn’t need nursing, sometimes to extremes.
|Monaco||9||Simon Rennie||Mark Webber||The gaps are not opening. We need to look after these tyres. Recommend a two-second gap.|
|Monaco||9||Mark Webber||Simon Rennie||OK mate.|
|Monaco||78||Guillaume Rocquelin||Sebastian Vettel||Alright, that’s enouogh. You’re not getting any more points for that.|
|Monaco||78||Sebastian Vettel||Guillaume Rocquelin||But satisfaction rather than going slow for 77 laps.|
|Monaco||78||Guillaume Rocquelin||Sebastian Vettel||There’s no satisfaction for us in that one though. You might enjoy yourself, we don’t like it.|
|Monaco||78||Sebastian Vettel||Guillaume Rocquelin||Let’s discuss this after the race.|
|Canada||31||Jenson Button||Dave Robson||I need to know the plan.|
|Canada||31||Dave Robson||Jenson Button||We are Plan C and there are 42 more laps to do. We need to take care of the tyres, Hiroshi [Imai, tyre engineer] is confident.|
|Britain||16||Guillaume Rocquelin||Sebastian Vettel||Sebastian you had damage to your left-rear tyre previous stint. You’ve got to stay off the kerbs as best you can. There are punctures all around.|
|Germany||19||Lewis Hamilton||Peter Bonnington||These guys are on different tyres to me man.|
|Germany||19||Peter Bonnington||Lewis Hamilton||Copy that Lewis. You’re on your target lap, lap 19 currently.|
|Germany||36||Marco Schupbach||Nico Hulkenberg||Do you think 12 more laps on that set will be possible?|
|Germany||36||Nico Hulkenberg||Marco Schupbach||No, I doubt it.|
|Belgium||19||Sergio Perez||Mark Temple||I’m in F3 now. Very close to F4.|
|Belgium||19||Mark Temple||Sergio Perez||Understood, which tyre is limiting?|
|Belgium||19||Sergio Perez||Mark Temple||The rears.|
|Korea||24||Lewis Hamilton||Peter Bonnington||Right-front is destroyed.|
|Korea||24||Peter Bonnington||Lewis Hamilton||Copy that Lewis. It looks like others have gone through the graining phase and it cleans up, but let us know how you get on.|
|Korea||24||Lewis Hamilton||Peter Bonnington||I’ve been through the graining phase and it’s dead.|
|USA||29||Marco Schupbach||Nico Hulkenberg||No need to push like mad.|
|USA||31||Lewis Hamilton||Peter Bonnington||OK, you need to give me some feedback, man. About my tyres, temperatures. Do I need to push more? Less?|
|USA||31||Peter Bonnington||Lewis Hamilton||So the front tyre temps are now dropping off the maximum line. So they’re now coming into the window, so they’re looking safe. Your pace is good. Target, 43.7.|
|USA||54||Mark Webber||Simon Rennie||Trouble with the rears, mate. I’ve used a lot of tyre.|
|Brazil||12||Nico Rosberg||Tony Ross||Find out why I’m struggling with the rear tyres. What aero balance is the other car on?|
In 2014: The power delivery of the 2014 turbo engines is likely to put greater stress on the rear tyres. Taking that into consideration, Pirelli have produced more conservative rubber.
That will hopefully lead to less of the tyre conservation which became excessive last year and fewer complaints about tyres wearing out. Though it could just easily provoke more complaints about tyres not heating up and not offering any grip.
To race or not to race?
In 2013: One of the most aggravating aspects of modern F1 is the spectacle of drivers declining to defend or attack their rivals because they’re too concerned with looking after their tyres.
|Canada||27||Jules Bianchi||Paul Davison||Should I race Maldonado or not?|
|Canada||27||Paul Davison||Jules Bianchi||Yep we’re racing him Jules. His deg’s starting, let’s race him.|
|Germany||44||Peter Bonnington||Lewis Hamilton||Don’t lose any time holding these guys up and update your wear switch please.|
|Germany||44||Lewis Hamilton||Peter Bonnington||Did you say to let them past?|
|Germany||44||Peter Bonnington||Lewis Hamilton||Just don’t lose any time holding them up.|
|Italy||29||Nico Hulkenberg||Marco Schupbach||Do you think Kimi will have to stop again?|
|Italy||29||Marco Schupbach||Nico Hulkenberg||He does, Nico, but we have to try and pass him. He does have to pit again.|
|Abu Dhabi||15||Peter Bonnington||Lewis Hamilton||If we can’t make the move stick then we’ll need to back off. Target traction 1,300.|
In 2014: On one hand more durable tyres may make this less of a problem. But as Adrian Newey pointed out recently the need to conserve fuel is likely to be pressing at most races. So instead of drivers backing down from battle because they don’t want to destroy their tyres, we may instead see drivers backing down from battle because they don’t want to run out of fuel.
Over to you
What are you expecting to hear more or less of on the team radios this year? Have your say in the comments.
2014 F1 season
- Live: Second Bahrain test day two
- Ricciardo positive despite more Red Bull problems
- FIA and Pirelli to monitor tyre temperatures
- Bahrain test two day one in pictures
- Lotus to revert to old exhaust after failure
Team radio transcripts
- 2013 Brazilian Grand Prix team radio transcript
- 2013 Brazilian Grand Prix qualifying team radio transcript
- 2013 United States Grand Prix team radio transcript
- 2013 United States qualifying team radio transcript
- 2013 Abu Dhabi Grand Prix team radio transcript
Images © Caterham/LAT, Red Bull/Getty, Pirelli/LAT, Williams/LAT, Daimler/Hoch Zwei, Sauber