Sidepodcast // All for F1 and F1 for all

All we hear is Radio Ga Ga // The best of the team conversation from the British Grand Prix

Published by Christine

There were plenty of incidents in the British Grand Prix today that are worthy of discussion, but the two that interest me the most both come from radio transmissions between drivers and their teams. Never has pit-to-car radio been more fascinating, and provided such an insight into the emotions and relationships at this tense point of the season.

Don't become some background noise

Communication Breakdown. Christian Horner keeping a lid on things at Red Bull.
Credit: Mark Thompson/Getty Images

First up, we all heard the scathing comment from Webber over the radio after he took a commanding win at Silverstone.

Not bad for a number two driver.

- Mark Webber

Whether you agree with him saying such things in public or not, it's certainly opened up yet another can of worms for the Red Bull team. Webber wasn't keeping his feelings quiet on the shenanigans going on within his team, and it's understandable. For a start, he's been handed Sebastian Vettel's cast off chassis - a car that Vettel couldn't get to work before being handed a new one.

Secondly, Webber was stripped of his new front wing, and saw it handed to his teammate after a catch holding the nose on Vettel's car failed during an earlier practice session. Everything points to life at Red Bull being just a little bit unfair. Even with all this, though, Webber has still managed to just about keep a tight lid on things, delivering the company line through somewhat gritted teeth.

Not today. Today he let it all out, right when he knew the world would be listening. The phrase "not bad for a number two driver" will be hurting Red Bull for a time to come. Christian Horner, who was on the receiving end of the public radio broadcast, appeared to try and play it down with a quip: "At least you might manage a smile now," before Webber put in his request for the team member joining him on the podium.

We hardly need to use our ears

Give Peace a Chance. Fernando Alonso requested to be alone with his thoughts.
Credit: Mark Thompson/Getty Images

From unexpected radio conversations to the opposite extreme, Alonso had yet another frustrating afternoon. If you thought Ferrari were angry after Valencia, then imagine how they are feeling after yet another race of safety cars, penalties, overtaking controversies, and general bad luck. I worry that the team are going to spontaneously combust at any point.

With the final portion of the race still to go, and the positions mostly shaken out, both Vettel and Alonso could see the task they had ahead of them. Alonso was clearly determined to have things his own way with a radio message telling the team to keep quiet.

No more radio for the rest of the race please, no more radio.

- Fernando Alonso

You can read this in two ways. On the one hand, he might have been in a massive sulk and just didn't want to hear anything, preferring to just get to the end of a horrible afternoon with no more interruptions. On the other hand, and the commentators preferred this version, he knew what he had to do, and he was determined to put his foot down and get on with it, without anyone chirping in his ear.

I'm not sure which it was, but Alonso only managed to finish 14th, whilst Vettel made his way through the field and well into the points. Alonso's only saving grace is that he finished above his teammate. Interestingly, it was a radio message from Massa's engineer Rob Smedley warning his driver of on track debris that preceded the announcement of Safety Car being called. Did Ferrari bring the unfortunate turn of events on themselves?

The Formula One Teams Association would like to take credit for the availability of team radio during races, but in truth this is something fans should always have had access to. Radio conversation adds a new dimension to the race that's unfolding, we would love more, much more from the race director. Or perhaps a means of tuning into a specific driver and engineer during the whole race. Either way, this is a good start, and the radio traffic shaped the British GP for me today.