Russell offers F1 pre-season compromise

George Russell has an idea to solve the lack of a pre-season testing

Mercedes driver George Russell has offered a compromise solution to the criticised paucity of pre-season testing in F1.

As part of Formula 1’s cost-cutting measures and in the sport’s efforts to be more environmentally friendly, there is just one three-day test this year, which takes place in Bahrain from February 23-25.

It means each driver will only spend one and a half days – around 12 hours in total – in their new car before embarking on a record-breaking 23-race calendar.

Grand Prix Drivers’ Association director George Russell can understand the reasons behind the limited running but feels a different solution is required.

Russell, who at least recently spent a day behind the wheel of last year’s W13 for a Pirelli tyre test to help shake off any winter rust, said: “Personally speaking, I don’t think three days is enough.

“You’ve got to remember, from a driver’s perspective, that is one and a half days per driver.

“We were fortunate to do the test last week but had we not, that would have been getting on for 12 weeks out of the car from Abu Dhabi (the final race of last season) to Bahrain.

“Could you imagine Rafa Nadal spending 12 weeks without hitting a ball and then going straight into the French Open with one-and-a-half days of training? It just wouldn’t ever happen.”

Russell view shared by Alonso

Proposing an idea, Russell added: “I understand and recognise why we do that.

“I think three days with two cars would be a good place to be, and that would probably be the best compromise for all of the reasons why they’re trying to limit it.

“Right now, one and a half days per driver is too few.”

Russell’s viewpoint is shared by the most experienced driver in the history of the sport, Fernando Alonso.

The 41-year-old two-time champion made clear at this week’s launch of Aston Martin’s AMR23 he would not be 100 percent ready for the season-opening race in Bahrain after switching teams over the winter, potentially not even up to speed by the third race in Australia.

“That’s a little bit unfair,” said Alonso of the pre-season test schedule.

“This is the only sport in the world where you do a day and a half of practice, and then you play a world championship.”

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