Fernando Alonso says he isn’t concerned about his radio messages being played during race broadcasts as he believes most people don’t understand them anyway.
During the Japanese Grand Prix, Alonso’s message to his team suggesting that they had ‘thrown him to the lions’ with the timing of his pit stop was broadcast on Formula 1’s world television feed. It was interpreted by many as a reference to the fact Alonso had emerged from the pits in front of several drivers who then overtook him.
However, after the race, Alonso said his radio comments had been misunderstood. Other radio messages of his not played on the world feed showed he had been referring to the difficulty of completing the race distance with the stint lengths Aston Martin had chosen.
Alonso, who has previously objected to his radio communications being broadcast, insisted he has “no problem at all” with his messages being published. However, he believes people often fail to understand them because they are not privy to other discussions taking place within his team.
“Obviously in Suzuka it was difficult to get the point of the media,” said Alonso in Qatar. “Even I think last Monday, Motorsport.com still put in the radio – so it was one week after Suzuka – saying that I was in traffic after my stop. Which was a little bit surprising because I don’t know what negativity it is on that, discussing with the team.
“Obviously you have no information about how the weekend goes, all the meetings that we have on Sunday morning. Even on the grid, the conversation on the grid on Sunday in Suzuka we were talking ‘don’t stop too early’ because then with our lack of speed on the straights, we will be in traffic and we will get stuck.
“So when the radio comes out, obviously the level of maturity and complexity on the comments [means] 99% of the people cannot understand.”
Drivers’ radio messages were seldom played in television broadcasts when Alonso made his debut in F1 22 years ago in 2001. However, drivers who arrived in F1 in recent seasons know everything they say is likely to be played live on F1TV, where fans can watch their onboard videos.
Zhou Guanyu, who arrived in F1 last year, says that means drivers have become used to censoring themselves.
“You always have to be a little bit careful with what you say, because it could be quite bad for you,” he said. “But it’s fine. It’s the same for everyone.”
“I think it adds a little bit of entertainment to the sport,” Zhou added.
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