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George Russell

Russell blasts 'obscene' potential for €1 million driver fine

The WMSC agreed to a change to the maximum fine a competitor, including drivers and teams, can be issued for an infringement.

Russell Qatar
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To news overview © Mercedes F1

George Russell has questioned the “obscene” scenario that a driver could be fined €1 million for an infringement going forward in Formula 1.

Following a meeting of the World Motor Sport Council in Geneva, the FIA announced that it had raised the maximum potential fine for a driver in Formula 1 from €250,000 to €1m as part of the International Sporting Code.

Fines are commonplace in F1, although rarely do they reach six figures with pit-lane speeding penalties or technical infringements the most likely reasons for a financial penalty to be handed out.

The move to quadruple the fine for Grand Prix racing comes after it was felt the 12-year-old guidelines were no longer appropriate, while other FIA championships such as Formula E and World Endurance have had the maximum fine increased to €750,000.

Reinvest fine payments

Last time out in Qatar, Lewis Hamilton was handed a €50,000 fine, half of which was suspended for 12 months, for crossing the live race track after his first-lap collision with Russell, who has questioned the €1 million possible sanction a driver could receive.

"I think it's pretty ridiculous that a driver could be fined €1 million," he told media including RacingNews365.

"In my first year of Formula 1, I was on a five-figure salary, and actually lost over six figures in that first year from paying for my trainer, paying for flights, paying for an assistant.

"That's probably the case for 25% of the grid. We’re doing what we love, so we're not complaining about that.

"But if you take a year one driver, who probably by the end of the year is losing over €100,000 because of the investments he has to make, if you fine him €1m, I don’t know what's going to happen.

"We've requested before from the FIA to hear what these fines are going towards, what causes they're going to.

"It needs to be reinvested into grassroots, but so far, we've had no response on where that's going.

"So we'd love to get some clarity and transparency.

"If they truly believe a €1m fine is worthwhile and they're going to reinvest it into the sport, maybe one of the drivers who's been paid a lot is happy to pay that fine.

"But it seems obscene."

F1 2023 United States Grand Prix RN365 News dossier

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