The Mercedes duo romped home to another 1-2, well done folks. There were strong drives from Daniel Ricciardo, Sebastian Vettel, Carlos Sainz Jr, Fernando Alonso and a solid comeback drive from Kimi Raikkonen meant TOP DOG this weekend was a hard call.
In the end we went for something a little bit different. Please step forward…
Formula One needs world champion drivers like Jenson Button. The popular Brit has been in the sport for nearly seventeen years and really has seen it all, or at least he thought he had until today.
Button’s McLaren decided to develop an allergic reaction to it’s brake pedal early doors leaving him flummoxed as to how he could continue in the race. As his car continued to lose hydraulic pressure it appeared to be game over.
Believing their car to be on the brink of imminent retirement with a dangerous brake issue, McLaren chose to coach Button over the radio on how to alleviate the issue as much as he could. They even brought him into the pits, where driver coaching is very much allowed, before sending him on his way with a working car.
This is where it gets tricky. Despite the severe brake issue, the race stewards decided to penalise Button with a drive-through penalty for ‘unauthorised radio communications’. On paper they had a point, in reality is was completely bonkers.
Button was extremely unimpressed. His radio communication after being told of the penalty were as follows –
“So the brake pedal going to the floor isn’t classed as a safety issue?. That’s quite interesting. I think someone needs to read up on what is a safety issue and what isn’t.”
Social media exploded into life with fans and pundits all agreeing with Button. While the radio driver coaching ban was sensible, the limit on what teams can tell the drivers clearly is not.
Safety should never be compromised in such a dangerous sport and we applaud Button for standing up for not only himself, but his colleagues in the aftermath of the race. When speaking to NBCSN’s Will Buxton (@TheBuxtonBlog) Button had this to say about the radio rules –
“That’s what the regulations say, but are they correct? I don’t think so. It’s a joke really. Stopping an incident should be praised, not penalised. I understand the regulations in terms of information to drivers. We’re not told how to push, what to save.
But when it comes to that – a sensor failure – the sport has a long way to go before it is good again. F1 needs to realiSe its mistakes in terms of where the cars are.
Next year’s regulations are quite exciting. It shouldn’t need the drivers to speak out. It’s common sense that’s missed by the regulations that are being written.”
It’s abundantly clear that in such a complex era where cars are riddled with technology, the drivers can’t be expected to play engineer while going at 200mph. Either simplify the cars or let the drivers get instructions that could prevent a tragedy.
So well done Jenson Button for showing the FIA exactly what common sense is. After all, even in F1 you can’t get by without a little help from your friends.