Radio communications, you hear people saying all the time, are the most interesting thing about F1. Today that might well be the case, but only because the premium category of four-wheeled motorsport has wrapped itself up into a ball and no longer offers the excitement of the past, except on rare occasions. So we are reduced (at least that) to smiling at Raikkonen's answers to his box…
In any case, you can rest assured: even though now we are talking about communicating via radio with the MotoGP riders, we will never listen to conversations like the ones they have in cars.
This is what has emerged from the test carried out yesterday by Stefan Bradl who went out on track with a radio system that communicated with the race officials.
"In the Safety Commission, FIM and Dorna work very closely with the riders and one of the things we have been addressing this year is the visibility of the yellow flags, and flags in general I would say - said Carlos Ezpeleta, MotoGP Sporting Director – And after the incidents in Austria, we spoke to several riders and they asked if we could try the radio system again ”.
It has already been tried in the past, to be more precise at Estoril, under the supervision of Valerio Maioli and Gianni Rolando, who was working with him at the time. But then nothing came of it because the riders found it disturbing.
“In the beginning, this will only be used by Race Direction to communicate pre-determined recorded messages already, about flags or penalties. Then maybe in the future, if the teams and riders agree, we could open it up to communications from the teams and even if it’s possible from riders back to the teams".
A further test will be made during the test session next Tuesday. Compared to the equivalent system used in cars, talking to a motorcyclist is much more complex, and not just because the entire system must fit inside the race leathers. The physical effort required is also different, as any motorcyclist who has tried to strike up a telephone conversation with one of the many accessories available knows.
Dorna still wants to include it because it probably thinks it will help to improve the show. It’s an idea we never felt the lack of, also due to the brevity of motorcycle races. The aspect that actually needs to be improved is signalling along the track. Acceleration and speed are no longer those of the 1980s and identifying a flag is not easy.