Former Grand Prix driver Stefan Johansson says that Formula 1 must quickly move away from what he describes as the “engineering pørn” that is reducing the role of the driver in the sport.
The Swede’s comments come in the wake of three consecutive races affected by the new restrictions on pit-to-car radio communication in Baku, Austria, and Silverstone.
The latest of these in particular, which saw Nico Rosberg penalized and demoted one position for illegal radio assistance from Mercedes for a gearbox issue, has reignited debate about whether the new rules are serving their purpose properly.
And Johansson has now weighed in, the former McLaren and Ferrari driver describing the situation as a “complete joke” writing on his personal blog.
He added: “F1 creates these monstrously complex vehicles and then gets way down the road before they realize that what they’ve done is causing huge problems.
“The multitude of complex settings and technical adjustments on the current cars’ steering wheels never should have been allowed. With the complexity of these cars, [the] engineers were telling the drivers on every straight what settings to have for the next corner – which is ridiculous, of course.
“So they then ban all kinds of communication, which effectively means that currently you can’t even tell a driver what to do even if there’s a technical fault on the car.
“In the case of Perez in Austria, it was outrageous that they couldn’t tell a driver that his brakes were about to fail because of this radio ban. Imagine if that happened at Monaco coming out of the tunnel? There’s no logic to it.”
Back to basics
Johansson believes the root of the problem is that F1 cars have become so complex that the drivers can’t possibly hope to manage all the systems without considerable help from the pit-wall.
He said: “If you allow the designers to make cars so complex that you have to tell a driver how to drive them during a race, you’ve got to pull back and get back to basics, fast!
“What we have now is what I keep repeating – engineering pørn. That’s all it is.
“The drivers don’t even understand half of it, so how can the public?”
He concluded: “I’m the biggest fan in the world. I love racing and I love F1. It’s my passion and I watch every race live and I just end up being frustrated because of the absurdity of what takes place.
“And if that’s what I’m thinking, I can only imagine what the casual fans think. You have to wonder.”