SINGAPORE (Reuters) - Formula One supremo Bernie Ecclestone has backed a clampdown on the use of team radio to help drivers, claiming it was his idea and suggesting more restrictions should be considered.
“I was the one who started it off, yes,” Ecclestone told reporters on Thursday at a sponsorship event on the sidelines of the Singapore Grand Prix.
He added that a majority of drivers were more than happy to comply with the new regulations.
Last week, Formula One banned all radio communications that help improve the performance of the car or driver, starting with the Singapore race, in a move that could add another twist to the title battle between Nico Rosberg and Lewis Hamilton.
“I think none of the drivers want it (radio assistance). They are all happy that it has gone,” Ecclestone said.
“They drive the cars, they should know what is wrong or right. They don’t need someone on the pit wall telling them what to do.”
German Rosberg leads his Mercedes team mate Hamilton by 22 points with six races remaining but the pair have been embroiled in a feisty season-long battle for supremacy with both drivers doing plenty of talking on the radio to engineers.
Ecclestone hinted that more could be done to reduce the amount of assistance given to drivers, including a ban on live telemetry from the cars.
“We have a regulation in force that drivers must drive the car unaided. They have been aided - and still are,” the Briton added.
“There are still a lot of aids that they should not have.”
Speaking to reporters in Singapore, Ferrari’s Fernando Alonso said the new regulation would have little effect to how races unfolded.
“No big difference to be honest,” the Spaniard said.
”At Ferrari, we never use the radio for any performance reasons, just to control temperatures or talk about traffic. In our case, it won’t have a big impact.
“You know at the end of the day it’s just a competitive sport, some of the messages we receive and some of the things we receive are just for safety so it is not only for performance.”
The Spaniard’s Ferrari team mate Kimi Raikkonen was less enthusiastic about the sudden rule change but felt the drivers would be able to adapt as they had no choice.
“It does make it a little more complicated for us if there are problems with the car but it’s part of the game, so we have to deal with it,” the Finn said.
Caterham rookie Marcus Ericsson felt the new directive would put more emphasis on the driver’s ability to retain his concentration throughout a race.
“I like the idea to be honest. It’s good to get the drivers more in focus and for us, as a small team, it’s a bit trickier as our steering wheel doesn’t have such a detailed display, but I do like the idea,” the Swede said.
Editing by Alan Baldwin