SILVERSTONE, England, May 1 (Reuters) - Formula One drivers have been promised a properly functioning electronic cockpit warning system for next week’s Spanish Grand Prix after problems prevented its use in the first four races of the season.
“We’ve been told they’ve got an upgrade which is going to Barcelona and then it’ll be working from there,” former F1 driver and occasional race steward Derek Warwick told Reuters on Wednesday.
The telemetry link between race control and cars is provided by Riedel Communications and acts as an electronic marshalling system with drivers alerted by red, yellow or blue cockpit lights in addition to the conventional warning flags waved around the track.
The governing FIA has had to disable it for the opening long-haul races due to malfunctions.
Warwick, who will be a steward at his home British Grand Prix as well as in Belgium, Singapore and South Korea, said the problems had led to some leniency in dealing with flag infringements but there had been no instructions for officials to go easier on drivers otherwise.
“You can’t blame a driver if we’ve messed up in terms of the support package,” said the president of the British Racing Drivers Club (BRDC), the owners of Silverstone circuit.
“The FIA has asked us to be lighter on fines for the drivers, but we still have the same tools available to us for other punishments.”
Drivers had a hefty rise in the cost of their mandatory super-licences after last season but were assured by the governing body they would be fined less for rules infringements where a financial sanction is at the stewards’ discretion.
That does not include the offence of speeding in the pitlane, with fines laid down in the sporting regulations.
Under article 30.12, a limit of 60kph is imposed for all free practice sessions and 100kph for the race. Drivers face a 200 euros ($260) fine for every kph over the limit in practice and qualifying. ($1 = 0.7580 euros) (Editing by Alison Wildey)