Mercedes’ Nico Rosberg believes the enforcement of Formula 1’s radio restrictions this season means fans can no longer say drivers are “muppets” who are directed by their team.
There has been a stricter implementation of the regulations around messages this year, with a requirement for each F1 driver to drive his car “alone and unaided.” Lewis Hamilton said ahead of the season that the restrictions would make life “a lot harder” for F1 drivers. Teammate Rosberg believes the rules reward those who get their preparation and homework done before the race.
“I like the direction because now we’re more on our own,” he said. “What’s more important now is the pre-race preparation where we work more intensely together through all these different things [my engineer] can’t tell me in the race. There’s more focus on that. It’s more intense and complex.
“In the race it’s good. We’re out there, we get the job done ourselves and it’s a real challenge, I like it. To everybody at home who said that we looked like ‘muppets’ directed by our engineers on radio, that’s stopped now, so it’s a good direction.”
Rosberg said his engineer Tony Ross, whom he has worked with for all but one of his 11 seasons in F1, continues to play an important role.
“Everybody has important roles, but in my personal relationship with getting the car right it’s important and Tony thinks like me, which is important,” he said. “We think along the same lines, that helps and we speak the same language which is very useful. It’s a close relationship. There’s so much that the engineer needs to work on with me, so many different things, procedures and everything.”