Marcus Ericsson, Caterham, Jerez, 2014

The team radio messages we can expect in 2014

F1 technologyPosted on | Author Keith Collantine

Marcus Ericsson, Caterham, Jerez, 2014Life in the cockpit of a Formula One car is going to get even more hectic this year as Formula One’s engine revolution puts teams and drivers under greater strain.

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.

Car advice

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.

Race Lap From To Message
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.

Adrian Sutil, Sauber, Jerez, 2014In 2014: Drivers are going to have even more to keep on top of this year as their power units have become far more sophisticated.

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.

Fuel management

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.

Race Lap From To Message
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.”

Car problems

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.

Race Lap From To Message
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.

Sebastian Vettel, Red Bull, Silverstone, 2013In 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.

Front wings

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.

Race Lap From To Message
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.

Start, Sepang, 2013In 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.

Driving advice

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.

Race Lap From To Message
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.

Driving standards

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.

Race Lap From To Message
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.

Race Lap From To Message
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!

Pastor Maldonado, Nico Hulkenberg, Sergio Perez, Singapore, 2013In 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).

Team orders

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.

Race Lap From To Message
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.

Nico Rosberg, Lewis Hamilton, Mercedes, Sepang, 2013In 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.

Race Lap From To Message
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”.

Language barrier

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.

Race Lap From To Message
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.

Tyre management

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.

Race Lap From To Message
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.

Race Lap From To Message
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.

Images © Caterham/LAT, Red Bull/Getty, Pirelli/LAT, Williams/LAT, Daimler/Hoch Zwei, Sauber