Christian Horner admits that Daniel Ricciardo might not have finished the Singapore GP had the full radio ban gone into effect for the race.
The Australian had a battery issue, and was told to avoid contact with kerbs – something that is still subject to the ban. However as the discussion related to a specific car problem, the FIA allowed RBR to pass on the message.
“He had a problem on the run down to Turn One after the start,” said Horner. “And then the [next] problem started relatively early, probably before half distance, where we had basically an issue with the battery not discharging. Quite a lot of management needed to go on with that to try and help him out, it was quite an intermittent problem for him.
“Some laps [the loss was] more than others, some laps would be three or four tenths, some laps would be nothing.”
Horner said that RBR checked with the FIA: “We spoke to Charlie [Whiting], we told him we had some reliability issues, and that’s why [Daniel] was told to keep off the kerbs, because that was causing damage to the battery. Which I think is sensible, it’s finding that balance with this radio stuff at the end of the day.
“From a reliability point of view it would have been a problem.”
Horner says that it’s right to allows some messages, but clamp down on others.
“These cars are so bloody complicated, there’s an awfully large amount going on. I totally support getting rid of driver coaching through the radio, that’s not the engineer’s job, to tell them to brake 10m later or turn-in earlier. But managing the actual power unit, they’re so complicated that just from a reliability and safety point of view, that’s quite important.
“I think for the show it’s good, at least we can tell him his brakes are getting hot and pull out of the slipstream, and everyone knows what’s going on.”