Russell airs frustration over ‘senseless’ rules

George Russell has expressed frustration at what he sees as some 'senseless' rules in F1

George Russell has expressed frustration at what he sees as some ‘senseless’ rules in F1

George Russell has called for ‘common ground’ to be found following a Saudi Arabian Grand Prix weekend during which he felt there was a “senseless” nature to some of the regulations.

At the chequered flag, Mercedes driver Russell finished fourth behind a Red Bull one-two spearheaded by Sergio Perez and Aston Martin’s Fernando Alonso.

After celebrating on the podium, Alonso was handed a 10-second time penalty for seemingly failing to observe the rules behind a five-second punishment that was served at his only pit stop, promoting Russell to third.

Three hours later, the stewards overturned their original decision based on ambiguities discovered after Aston Martin had called for a right to review procedure.

That resulted in Alonso being reinstated to third – the 100th podium of his F1 career – and Russell dropping back to fourth.

Alonso received the initial penalty for incorrectly lining up his AMR23 in his grid box, with the car inches over to the left.

Given the lack of visibility for all drivers, Grand Prix Drivers’ Association director Russell feels this first point needs addressing.

“I understand why these rules are there,” said Russell. “At the end of the day, we’ve got to stick within the guidelines.

“But I think a little bit of common sense needs to be shown and ultimately, I think he was a bit to the left, he gained nothing from this. Perhaps a five second (penalty) is too much.”

Alonso pit penalty “excessive”

The 10-second penalty was applied as the rear jack was in place ready to lift the car for its change of tyres.

The current rules state no work can be carried out on the car whilst a penalty is being served.

As pointed out in a stewards’ statement, Aston Martin managed to argue that “the alleged representation of an agreement between the FIA and the teams that touching the car in any way, including with a jack, would constitute ‘working’ on the car…was incorrect”.

Russell feels the imposition of a 10-second penalty for the offence of ‘working on a car’ to be “extreme”.

“It’s just making it a little bit, I guess, frustrating for everybody,” said the British driver.

Russell demands ‘common ground’

That frustration had commenced earlier in the weekend via the notes issued pre-race by race director Niels Wittich.

Drivers were warned about touching the white lines on pit entry and pit exit, whilst lap times were deleted if they also touched red painted sections in the same areas.

“There were a lot of conversations going on this weekend about which lines you could touch, which lines you couldn’t touch, especially at the pit exit, and on the pit entry,” said Russell.

“In qualifying, we saw a number of cars get laps deleted for touching a bit of the red paint, ending their lap.

“I just thought that was a little bit senseless, really, so I think we all need to come together and just find a common centre ground.”

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