As day turned to night in the floodlit Singapore paddock, the big talking point was the FIA's radio clampdown. Actually, F1 supremo Bernie Ecclestone claimed the credit. "I was the one who started it off, yes," he told reporters on Thursday.
Earlier, in downtown Singapore, Mercedes duo Lewis Hamilton and Nico Rosberg welcomed the move. "The drivers are all happy it's gone," said Ecclestone, referring to the end of all performance-related messages between the pitwall and the drivers. "They drive the cars, they should know what's wrong and right."
The 83-year-old, who has been fiercely critical of the direction of today's F1, also suggested that more moves could be on the horizon, amid rumours all telemetry might be the next to be axed in the not-too-distant future. "We have a regulation in force, 'drivers must drive the car alone and unaided'. They have been well and truly aided and still are, even if we get rid of this 'ship to shore', as I call it. There are still a lot of aids they shouldn't have," said Ecclestone.
However, as the drivers filled the Singapore paddock as the sun faded on Thursday ahead of F1's popular night race, it became clear that not every driver is in fact happy with the ban. "Maybe he (Ecclestone) spoke to the drivers from the 80s, who do not know what it is like to drive these cars," said Felipe Massa.
"The cars are very complicated (and) if the settings are wrong, you cannot do two laps before the car fails," he explained. "If it stays like this, there will be a big fight in the drivers' briefing." Sergio Perez agreed: "It's not great they have made such a big change from one race to another."
World champion Sebastian Vettel said the drivers might struggle to manage the complicated charging of the cars' on-board energy recovery systems. "That's why we have so many people in the garage," said the Red Bull driver. "They're not here to have a nice time and have a couple of beers. They're here to do a job." (GMM)