Russell frustration at FIA over rogue decisions

George Russell is concerned the FIA continue to shorten the DRS zones this season without consulting the drivers

George Russell is concerned by what he feels have been a number of rogue decisions made by the FIA of late

George Russell has voiced his concern over what he sees as the “rogue” decision making from FIA race control this season.

Following the Saudi Arabian Grand Prix, Mercedes driver Russell was critical of what he saw as the “senseless” nature of some of the FIA regulations after Fernando Alonso was penalised for a grid-slot infraction.

During the Australian Grand Prix, three red-flag periods were run by FIA race director Niels Wittich. Certainly, the first two of those left many drivers puzzled as to why they were shown and the race stopped.

As a director of the Grand Prix Drivers’ Association, reflecting on what unfolded at Melbourne’s Albert Park, Russell said: “For sure, there are going to be a lot of conversations with the FIA to understand their views.

“It’s a bit of a challenging time, no doubt, for all of us in that regard.

“The FIA, they’re not stupid. They’re trying to do the best job possible, but things do need to be ironed out and understood as to where their approach is going to lie.

“We can’t really be having weekends that are just totally dictated by what somebody in the race control office wants to do.

“And we’ve seen a few crazy, or let’s say, rogue decisions that have been made recently.

“If they’re consistent, that’s absolutely fine. But it’s the inconsistency that makes it challenging for the rest of us.”

Russell concerned by lack of DRS consultation

Russell has also been left frustrated by the fact the F1 drivers have so far had “zero input” into the DRS changes made by the FIA this year which have made overtaking more difficult.

Russell claims Wittich has shortened the DRS zones without consultation, basing his decision on historic information from past events.

Russell feels the drivers should have at least provided input to ensure Wittich is informed.

“I think overtaking is harder this year than last year,” assessed Russell.

“As the cars have evolved away from the initial regulations that F1 introduced, overtaking has become more difficult.

“And they’re shortening all DRS zones as well, which the drivers have had zero input on. I’ve been a little bit disappointed again that we weren’t in that loop.

“I’m not even sure the FIA are aware that we feel that overtaking is harder, yet they’re basing the DRS off historic information.

“Again, it’s changed this weekend, and it’s going to make it challenging to overtake.”

For the Azerbaijan Grand Prix at the Baku Street Circuit, the DRS zone has been shortened by 100 metres, which Russell concedes is “not going to change the world”.

The matter, however, will still be raised with Wittich and the FIA as he feels the decision is “directionally incorrect”.

“We just want to be kept in the loop whenever these decisions are being made, and to have an opinion or share a thought that can contribute towards their decision,” added Russell.

“That’s a process we still need to work on because clearly, we’re all in this together, and we only want the best for the sport.”

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