Opinions within the F1 community have been regularly voiced since last Sunday’s British GP when Nico Rosberg was handed a 10s penalty for receiving a recommendation from the Mercedes pitwall on how to deal with a potentially terminal gearbox issue.
While clarification of the regulations is certainly required, Steiner admitted that rewriting the rule was a very difficult task.
“We need to define it better, but how easy that is ?” Steiner asks.
“I wouldn’t like to write that rule because how long is a piece of string? It’s not easy to control. But not talking like it was suggested is not good because it takes something away from the fans in my opinion.
“The biggest difficulty is making a judgment on what is legal and what’s not. The line is not clear. How you can write a clear line on what you say, if you talk in a code, if somebody suggests what you say was a code and it wasn’t.
“It comes down to the pitwall and asking ‘Can we say this?’ I don’t really know if we can say this, but I think you can. It’s the uncertainty.”
Steiner believes restrictions are necessary to comply with the spirit of the rules, but he also thinks more leeway is necessary because Formula 1 is, after all, a team sport.
“If the team cannot influence the strategy, and it’s just down to the driver, it’s not really fair, I would say. It’s part of the sport.
“But telling them how to start is also not right. The car becomes a PlayStation car in saying, you do this, you do this, get to this value. It’s a fine line.”
“With Rosberg, he had a problem with the gearbox and they told him not to go in that gear. In the end I could say that could be dangerous going into that gear because all of a sudden you are in neutral and you fly off.
“That’s what I think. The definition of it is difficult, to rule on what is right and what is wrong.”
Ultimately however, he believes pressure is building for the FIA to step in and clarify the matter, for everybody’s benefit.
“Absolutely, and we all just want that for the benefit of the sport, not to do anything wrong. It would not be nice to be penalised 10 seconds and to say ‘Actually I didn’t do anything’.
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