Dashboard messages are a recent feature in the world championship and the number will increase with two new options this weekend, for the Austrian GP. In fact, the Team and Race Direction cannot write what they want to the drivers, but there are a series of pre-set texts to send.
This weekend, as mentioned, two new message options will be available. The first is a message that communicates a problem with the rider's equipment - leathers, boots, gloves, helmet - and has been introduced by the Race Direction. The second, requested by the Stewards, is a warning regarding the rider’s on-track behaviour.
"For many years we’ve had dashboard messages where Race Direction can send messages to riders on the bike; flag signals and information about penalties, things like that – explained Race Director Mike Webb - But a couple of things have come up recently, one is at the Catalan GP we had something that has never happened before, where a rider’s equipment; leathers, wasn’t functioning correctly and we needed to tell the rider to fix it. And there isn’t really an appropriate signal, we have signals about a mechanical failure on the bike, signals about disqualifications and things like that, but we decided after this incident that we needed a specific signal about rider equipment because it’s different to a mechanical failure, where if a bike is leaking oil or water or something, it’s important the bike goes off the track immediately. In the case of a problem or fastening undone on rider equipment, or something that’s not immediately a problem but needs to be fixed, it’s a different situation. So we have a new signal on the dashboard, it shows ‘equipment’ on the rider dashboard and the meaning has been explained to the riders and teams: there is a problem with your equipment and you’re required to fix it immediately. If that means coming into the pits to fix it, ok. Or if you can fix it yourself on track, that’s also ok. What we require is that you fix it immediately, so there’s a new message about rider equipment.”
"The other update is a request from the FIM MotoGP Stewards about rider behaviour – he continued - There are times when a rider may do something we don't like, but it is borderline and could have been a misjudgement or a mistake. However, if they repeat that behaviour and prove it was neither, it will incur a penalty. So the Stewards want a warning signal to say ‘hey, don’t do that. We’re watching and if you do it again there will be a penalty’. So there’s a new display on the dashboard called ‘warning’ and it’s specifically about rider behaviour. The warning signal says to the rider ‘what you’re doing, we don’t like it. Pay attention and if you continue there could be a penalty'. That’s the two new messages to improve communication between Race Direction and the riders."
Why are these updates coming into force now?
"Messages on the dashboard take a bit of lead time - he added - The manufacturers of the dashboards and motorcycles have to adjust their systems, and the timekeeping, to send the messages, they all have to get ready and it takes a little time so we’ve agreed on the messages, the technical part is being changed now and these messages will be available from the Austrian Grand Prix this weekend."