Does anyone know why the car-to-pit team radio (ie the driver to race engineer) sounds so much better for several of the F1 teams this year?
It's most obvious with Red Bull and recently Mercedes: they sound more natural and very much more readable/less 'choppy'.
This only applies to:
Sauber (they've had really clear comms for 2 years now)
Mercedes (but only from Monaco onwards)
I think this must be down to different (new) radios being installed in the cars of these 4 teams, given that:
8 teams use Riedel radios, including all 4 of the teams listed above with this improvement this year.
Sauber were the first F1 team partner of Riedel Communications and would therefore likely be the first place they try out new technology
The digital TETRA radios used by for example the Red Bull race engineers when on the grid still sound choppy like the drivers radios did in 2013. This suggests that the FOM and the rest of the team radio setup hasn't changed.
This can't be down to the engine background noise being lower this year: if that were the case then surely all the teams radios would sound better this year.
This can't be down to the team radio now being linked into the FOM onboard video/audio feed: again if that were the case then surely all the teams radios would sound better this year, and Mercedes radio wouldn't have suddenly improved since Monaco.
I know that McLaren have changed radios this year to an encrypted digital Kenwood Nexedge NX220 system which explains why the drivers sound drunk. Toro Rosso have also moved to an MRTC digital Kenwood Nexedge system, but its not encrypted so that's why their radio sounds a bit better than McLaren. It's the same system used by most GP2 teams.
Ferrari still use a Digital TETRA radio - but supplied by Selex. It still sounds like it did last year - crappy quality.
Force India, Williams, Caterham and Marussia also use Riedel TETRA radios, but they still sound the same as last year - crappy quality.
And just to clarify, the race engineer comms won't sound any different to previous years, as FOM take this feed from the hard-wired Riedel Artist node mounted on the pitwall: so when you hear these 'team radio' comms on TV they won't have come via a radio link.
Anyone got any detail/explanation to offer?