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George Russell

Russell raises a suggestion for the FIA after Vettel's outburst

After more controversy over track limits at the Austrian Grand Prix, George Russell is the latest F1 driver to call for greater consistency within the sport.

Russell Austria
To news overview © XPB Images

George Russell has added his voice to a growing chorus within F1 that is pushing for more consistency with the sport's stewards, and a return to a single Race Director.

Matters between drivers and stewards came to a head during the Austrian Grand Prix weekend, when Sebastian Vettel - who, along with Russell, is one of the two directors of the Grand Prix Drivers' Association - was issued with a suspended fine for leaving a drivers' briefing early.

Drivers including Max Verstappen and Charles Leclerc had also publicly criticised the FIA's interpretation of track limits at the Red Bull Ring, after 43 separate violations were recorded by stewards, and Russell noted that greater consistency was needed in setting and policing regulations.

"I think it's incredibly difficult for the FIA, it's very difficult for drivers, [and] there's been a lot of borderline decisions or manoeuvres this season, whether it's defending, whether it's track limits, in a racing scenario," Russell told media including RacingNews365.com.

"We don't want to be dishing out penalties left, right and centre, but there needs to be an element of consistency somewhere.

"I think we need to look at the root cause of issues and, with these track limits offences, the issue is the circuit.

"We're never going to solve this issue until you solve the circuit, and Turn 4 here in Austria, you'll never have that issue [with the gravel there], but compare that with Turn 1, you'll always have the issue."

Russell keen for return to one Race Director

F1 has two Race Directors for 2022, in Eduardo Freitas and Niels Wittich, who have jointly replaced Michael Masi after the Australian was obliged to step down following his role in the controversial ending to the 2021 season.

Freitas and Wittich are rotating in their role from race to race, and Russell said he believed that having more than one Race Director is negatively affecting the policing of F1's rules and regulations.

"I do agree that we need to stick with one Race Director. We need to have more consistency with the stewarding," said Russell.

"We come to the following event, and often the steward from the previous event is not there, so there's no accountability, no explanations of decisions.

"We ask questions and it's difficult to get a straightforward answer because – I wouldn't say the blame, but the blame is put onto someone else who isn't there. It is tricky, everybody has their own interpretations.

"This is racing and things change every single week. You go to Monaco, and you're not going to have these issues. At other circuits, you're coming into new issues.

"I don't envy [the Race Directors], it's by no means an easy job at all, but I guess we just want consistency.

"A number of drivers have commented on that. When you had one Race Director, things were consistent."

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