Lewis Hamilton questions radio clampdown after Baku frustrations
"There were probably 100 different switch positions it could have been," says exasperated Lewis after tough race in Baku
By Mark Crellin
Last Updated: 19/06/16 8:32pm
World champion Lewis Hamilton says he does not 'see the benefit' of the ban on conveying messages via radio after enduring a frustrating European GP in Baku.
Hamilton was working his way through the field after starting from 10th on the grid but his progress stalled when his car began to suffer from technical problems midway through the race.
A frustrated Hamilton sought help from his Mercedes team but the rules forbid them from passing on any assistance and the Brit was left to try and solve the problem himself.
Full power eventually returned to his car but it was too late for Hamilton and he came home in fifth place, a long way behind Nico Rosberg, who cruised to a victory which took him 24 points clear of his team-mate in the World Championship standings.
Asked about the delay in resolving the issue with his car, Hamilton said: "I had no idea, there were like 16 different engine positions and, in those engine positions, like 20 positions. I had no idea what problem I had, just low power.
"I didn't do anything, it just fixed itself."
Regarding the radio ban, he added: "I don't see the benefit.
"The FIA have made Formula 1 so technical. There were probably 100 different switch positions it could have been, at least 100, 200. There was no way for me to know, no matter how much I study that.
"It was a shame I couldn't race, I wanted to race.
"If I had been able to resolve the power situation, I might have been able to be a part of the show and maybe catch the guys ahead. It wasn't to be and that is the way it is."
Mercedes boss Toto Wolff says Rosberg's car had the same problem but that the German was able to fix it.
"We had a problem on both cars with configurations of some switches," said Wolff.
"Lewis' problem came a bit earlier, Nico's a couple of laps later, and there was a way of changing the switches on the dashboard which of course, by regulations, we are not allowed to communicate to the drivers.
"This caused a bit of confusion and it took a while for Lewis' car to re-set.
"Nico was in a little bit of a more fortunate situation in that he had done a switch change before
"Lewis was trying to figure out what it was and it took 12 laps and then the power came back, but obviously it was too late.
"The reason for the regulations is we want more unpredictability and we don't want the drivers being driven from the pit wall.
"We have a driver capable of being at the very front but he can't figure the technology out himself so there are now two possibilities - you teach the technology, difficult, or you look at the regulations."
The Mercedes team also released a statement regarding the settings which read: "Nico had made a change during the race that caused the issue.
"So when told it was an issue with the mode, as permitted by the FIA, he switched back out of it.
"Lewis had the setting from the start of the race and it was not obvious that this setting was causing the problem.
"The fundamental problem is on our heads as it was a configuration not working properly, not the driver's fault.
"But the radio rules complicated things drastically. Without this, it would have been solved immediately."
Don't miss the F1 Report: Baku review on Sky Sports F1 at 8.30pm on Wednesday with Natalie Pinkham, Marc Priestley and Mark Gallagher