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Mercedes’ Nico Rosberg defends team radio restrictions after bother in Baku

The Guardian logo The Guardian 01-07-2016 Giles Richards
Nico Rosberg of Mercedes said it was up to the driver to cope with situations in the cockpit: ‘You need to make sure that the driver has all the options to handle everything on his own.’ © Getty Images Nico Rosberg of Mercedes said it was up to the driver to cope with situations in the cockpit: ‘You need to make sure that the driver has all the options to handle everything on his own.’

Nico Rosberg has dismissed arguments for changes to the restrictions on team radio, after his Mercedes team‑mate Lewis Hamilton was unable to take advice from his crew on how to change an engine mode at the last round in Baku. The British driver believed the ruling had become a safety issue because of the need for constant attention to the steering wheel and was backed by both Ferrari’s Sebastian Vettel and McLaren’s Fernando Alonso.

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Rosberg, who has a 24-point lead over Hamilton in the world championship, had a similar problem to his team‑mate but was able to change the setting on his way to winning the European grand prix from pole, believed it was up to the driver to cope with situations in the cockpit.

“The fans were complaining that we were puppets on the track, and we were just doing what the engineers were telling us to do,” he said before the Austrian Grand Prix in Spielberg. “This is why the rule changed, and they are OK the way they are now. It is more challenging for us out there. You need to make sure as a team and driver that the driver has all the options to handle everything on his own.

“Of course, is not easy to get it 100% perfect, so that is why there are going to be problems, and that is what we got in Baku. That is what we wanted to achieve with these rules.”

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Hamilton also confirmed in Austria that he had no control over the problem with the setting that ultimately saw him begin in 10th and finish in fifth in Azerbaijan. “It was nothing to do with me,” he said. “At the beginning of the race the team decided to use a programme that was on the car. It had nothing to do with the functionalities I had put in or anything I requested on the car and was the first time the team had decided to use this at the beginning of a race rather than activate it in the race. I started with it and Nico didn’t, so Nico went into it, realised it didn’t work and disengaged it whereas I started with it and did disengage it but it didn’t make any difference. The team are going to work hard and make sure it doesn’t happen again.”

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