Formula One: Mercedes accept Rosberg's radio penalty

Mercedes' Nico Rosberg at the British Formula One Grand Prix in Silverstone, England, on July 10.
Mercedes' Nico Rosberg at the British Formula One Grand Prix in Silverstone, England, on July 10.PHOTO: AFP

SILVERSTONE, UNITED KINGDOM (AFP) - Mercedes have decided not to appeal Nico Rosberg's 10-second radio dialogue penalty at the British Grand Prix, the Formula One world champions announced on Monday.

Rosberg finished second to teammate Lewis Hamilton at Silverstone, but the German was demoted to third after the team were deemed guilty of breaching the strict rules governing radio instructions to the driver.

On lap 47, Rosberg had reported to his mechanics a gearbox problem, with the team telling him among other things: "Avoid seventh gear. Shift through it."

The sport's ruling body, the International Motoring Federation (FIA), said that while some of the instructions from Mercedes were allowable, others were not.

Mercedes issued a "notice of intention to appeal", which they subsequently withdrew on Monday, explaining in a statement on their official website: "We were able to prove to the stewards that a car-stopping gearbox failure was imminent and, as such, were permitted within the rules to advise Nico of the required mode change.

"However, the advice to avoid seventh gear was considered to breach" the rules.

The statement concluded: "The team accepts the stewards' interpretation of the regulation, their decision and the associated penalty.

"During the coming weeks we will continue discussions with the relevant F1 stakeholders on the subject of the perceived over-regulation of the sport."

Rosberg's runner-up spot was inherited by Max Verstappen whose Red Bull team chief Christian Horner backed a relaxation of what teams can tell their drivers during a grand prix.

"The rule is complete rubbish. That sort of thing should be allowed," Horner said.

Rosberg, who leads Hamilton by one point in the world championship, said after the race: "It was a very critical problem. I was stuck in seventh gear and about to stop on track."