Since the British GP, a huge amount of the F1 press has been consumed by comment and opinion on the Charlie Whiting led radio ban. TJ13 has lent its weight to the overwhelming view that as they stand the current rule is born from stupidity.
Christian Horner is not one to mince his words and described Whiting’s dictact on the matter as “rubbish”.
Now Williams F1 technical director, Pat Symonds, has weighed into the debate, charging Whiting and FIA with being ‘negligent’.
The nature of the pit wall has fundamentally changed since Whiting’s intervention on radio Symonds reveals. Races are dominated by debates about what is and isn’t allowed.
“Poor old Perez in Austria, how ridiculous,” observes Symonds. “You’re going to do tens of thousands of pounds worth of damage to the car, because you can’t tell a guy his brakes are about to fail? It’s negligent. It’s not just wrong, it’s negligent.”
Williams have discussed the very scenario Force India found themselves in with Sergio Perez in Austria and have decided they will ignore Whiting’s regulation whatever the penalty because risking driver injury is not something they will countenance.
It could be perceived Charlie Whiting is once again on the wrong end of a conflict of interest. He is the FIA’s F1 safety officer, yet his role as interpreter of regulatory matters has led to the technical directives on radio conversations – now seen as anti-safety.
Yet it is different conflict of interest Whiting is in. His relationship with Bernie Ecclestone is driving the current radio regulations, because unreliable F1 cars spice up the show.
This very same relationship weighed on decisions Whiting made in Suzuka 2014, the events of which led to the death of Jules Bianchi.
Symonds has upped the anti with the charge of negligence over the radio ban, and the pressure is rising on Whiting to concede once again – as he was forced to do over the ridiculous qualifying format introduced earlier this year.
How many U-Turns must Whiting make before his position is untenable?