herald

Tuesday 17 October 2017

Rivals Rosberg and Hamilton brace for radio ban

Title rivals Nico Rosberg and Lewis Hamilton were in rare harmony yesterday when asked to voice their opinions on Formula One's controversial decision to ban radio assistance ahead of this weekend's Singapore Grand Prix.

Both agreed the change was "a challenge".

Rosberg leads his Mercedes team mate by 22 points with six rounds remaining, the pair fighting an often hostile season-long battle for supremacy with both drivers relying on their race engineers to give them a vital advantage during heated exchanges.

"I don't know how it's going to impact, but it's definitely a challenge. They can only tell me 20 per cent of the stuff they used to tell me, but I like challenges, so that's good," German Rosberg said.

Hamilton felt the restrictions, imposed following his victory in Monza, would be something of a step into the unknown, but said it was a positive one that had him reminiscing about his early days in motorsport.

Battle

"On one side, over my F1 career it's been a real battle making sure you say the right things on the radio - and I haven't always got it right - so that's a great thing," the Briton laughed. "On the other side, the way Formula One has gone it's really an assistance.

"We still have to do the job out there, but we do get help in terms of guiding us... I quite like the fact that it feels like I am going back to my karting days. The only way you can find out what the guy behind, or in front, is doing is by watching them. I am excited about it."

For Rosberg, racing without radio assistance was less daunting a prospect than losing the help his engineers would previously give him before the race started.

"The formation lap will be the most difficult as there are so many procedures and we were not expecting this (ban)," he added.

"For sure, the starts are going to be difficult to get right because we relied on the engineers to give us the settings over the radio, but now that's gone. So it's down to me now."

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