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Di Grassi Calls for Radio Silence During Races

Lucas di Grassi calls for ban on communication between drivers and teams during races…

Photo: Formula E

Lucas di Grassi would like to see a complete ban on radio communications between drivers and their teams in the ABB FIA Formula E Championship.

The 2016-17 champion believes that all radio accessibility outside of safety communications should be eradicated to enhance the challenge to drivers and the overall spectacle of Formula E races.

Di Grassi’s opinions come as the FIA and Formula E discuss ways of curbing the use of so-called ‘mission control’ operations between the race track and manufacturer bases during real-time competition.

E-racing365 highlighted some of the concerns recently and Di Grassi believes that a complete ban on discussions between drivers and the pit wall would largely eliminate ‘mission control’ use and also benefit the overall entertainment value of races.

“Why not just cut the radio communication to the driver and then it doesn’t matter how many strategists you have or how big a mission control you have, as you cannot tell the driver what to do then,” Di Grassi told e-racing365.

“I think that’s the way forward, its more driver dependant, you have to decide your own strategy you need to know what is going on and you need to figure it out for yourself.

“There would also be no team orders, no bullshit like this, you will go racing and that’s it, it is your problem to solve and I am totally in favor of this.”

Di Grassi has recently discussed the possibility of limiting radio communications with Formula E founder and CEO Alejandro Agag.

E-racing365 understands that the matter of advanced communications between race track and ‘mission controls’ has been discussed and that a clarification on what is allowed and how it could be policed might be made ahead of the upcoming campaign.

Drivers are set to have more communication with their engineering teams this season as they compete in timed races which will need more planning than previous races which were set over a number of laps.

“For me this is a way to go and actually I suggested this to Alejandro [Agag],” di Grassi confirmed.

“We need to have a radio because it is important for safety reasons, of course.

“We need to know about full course yellows, accidents, etc. But I’d like to have only comms from the race director to us and us to the radio director so I can tell them if I had a crash or something has gone wrong on track.

“I am against team radio, I am against any type of driver aid. I see the continual dialogue in a race as a driver aid and Formula E should look at eradicating it.”

Le Mans Radio Drama Formed di Grassi Opinion

An accidental loss of radio communication throughout an entire stint at the 24 Hours of Le Mans in 2015 informed di Grassi about his preference for Formula E races to be largely communication-free.

Competing for Audi Sport at Le Mans with the Audi R18 e-tron quattro he shared with Loic Duval and Oliver Jarvis, the Brazilian had his radio dislodged and forced him to complete a stint without communication to his pit.

“The mechanics pushed my belt when I was doing a driver change and they took my radio out. So for one stint I didn’t know what was going on,” he said.

“I knew that I could speak only, so I said I’m coming in so prepare for driver change. I did only one stint, stopped, jumped out and then had to fix the radio and go back in.”

“It was not great at the time but looking back now the challenge was immense and you get through it of course.”

Sam Smith is e-racing365's Formula E Editor. A 20-year veteran in motorsports media, including press officer roles in both the FIA Sportscar Championship and at Lola Group, Smith is a well-known face in the Formula E paddock, where he served as series editor for Motorsport.com from 2014-17. Contact Sam

3 Comments

3 Comments

  1. Rodrigo Mattar

    November 2, 2018 at 2:42 pm

    I honestly do not know what else to say about Lucas di Grassi unless all his statements are always full of arrogance.

    • Sam Smith

      November 3, 2018 at 9:48 am

      Rodrigo, I can only speak as I find, but when I speak to Lucas he never comes across as arrogant.

      He is usually very engaging and interesting.

      I can’t see why you would find this particular interview ‘arrogant’. What he is advocating is shared by some of his colleagues and not by others I’m sure, but you can say this about any sporting topic I guess.

      Anyway, thanks for engagement and hope you enjoy the site.

      Regards
      Sam

  2. Kris

    November 4, 2018 at 10:33 am

    They did try this in F1 a couple of years back and didn’t work. Communication is part of any sport and necessary for a car development. I understand that some are romantic about the time drivers didn’t talk to the pit-crew but the reason they didn’t was because they didn’t have the technology that we have today! Lets keep moving forward people…

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