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George Russell

Russell: 'Devastating' issues demand more from F1 drivers

Whilst many believe F1 drivers must simply be the quickest, the complexity of the cars in modern times has ensured it is not as straightforward as pure pace. But societal issues away from the racetrack now put added pressure on the sport's leading voices.

Russell Las Vegas
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George Russell has insisted F1's competitors have to be 'more than drivers' to succeed in the sport.

The Mercedes driver also believes there is a need to provide a positive impact on supporters given the number of "devastating" situations away from the racetrack.

The complexity of machinery in F1 has amplified in the modern era, with a multitude of different settings available to a driver on their steering wheel to fine-tune the car throughout an event.

Recognising simply being quick behind the wheel is not enough to prosper on the grid, Russell told media including RacingNews365.com: "When I grew up, it was only about speed and you jump in the car and you don't think about anything else, you just think about driving as fast as possible.

"The times have changed. If I talk purely on a racing sense, the cars are more complex than they have ever been before and the way you work with your team is so different, the teams are larger than they have ever been before - we have 2,000 people in Mercedes.

"So if I was a driver, equally as fast as I am today but I couldn't work with my team or couldn't communicate, I wouldn't be in the position I am right now."

An impact to ne had

Russell's teammate Lewis Hamilton and the now-retired Sebastian Vettel led the way in tackling societal issues as part of their platforms in the sport, especially when travelling to countries in the Middle East where human rights abuses have taken centre stage.

But with further issues such as war affecting the sport in recent years - Russia's invasion of Ukraine leading to the loss of an event and team sponsor for Haas, as well as driver eligibility being impacted - Russell recognises there is an impact to be had as a leading competitor.

"Off the circuit, I think we all recognise that we have a powerful voice," said the Briton.

"You want to have a positive impact on people and especially when you see what's going on in the world at the moment, it's pretty devastating.

"When you take a step back sometimes and take the perspective of us being in our own little bubble, we all think this is the most important thing in the world, not just the drivers but for everyone in this paddock.

"But actually, there's so much going on that is truly devastating. I only hope the impact we have is positive on the lives of others."

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