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George Russell

Russell urges FIA to not force three-stop on drivers

The Mercedes driver has strong views on potential mandated strategies for the Qatar GP.

Russell Qatar
To news overview © XPBimages

George Russell has urged the FIA to not impose a mandatory three-stop stint length on drivers for the Qatar Grand Prix.

Drama surrounding the tyres erupted on Saturday morning, when Pirelli said engineers found "microscopic" cuts were forming due to excessive time spent on the kerbs around the Lusail Circuit at high speed.

The FIA responded by adjusting the track limits between Turns 12 and 13, giving drivers an extra 10 minutes of practice before the Sprint Shootout.

They are also considering imposing a maximum stint length or require drivers to change tyres three times, as no drivers have completed a stint that could be done over the course of the 57-lap race.

A decision will be made after analysing data from the Sprint race, but Russell does not believe it is necessary.

“It’s kind of part and parcel of a Sprint race weekend," he told media, including RacingNews365.

“If we go to a track like Barcelona, you do the practicing, [then] you know in the race after all of the information gathered [whether] it has to be a two or three-stop.

"If you try a one-stop, it’s just not going to work.

“This weekend, we had no data.

"If we had the [usual] three sessions we’d have learnt that the tyre’s wearing and you got to do a two or three-stop.

"What the FIA did with the small modification to the track was good. I was a bit sceptical but I thought it was a good step, but I don’t think they need to intervene to say it needs to be a mandatory three-stop."

Russell wants improved communication line

Russell believes enough data should be able to be parsed from the Sprint race, to enable a decision to be taken over whether it will be safe to run the race with no issues.

“I think give us the data, see how much wear there was on the Soft, the Medium and we should all be smart enough to make a decision based on that," he explained.

“You should be able to see even with the 10 laps we did [in the Sprint], how much wear there is, how it would have progressed had there been a 19-lap race."

In addition, Russell called for an improved communication line between the governing body and drivers after finding out about the changes through a WhatsApp message on Saturday Morning.

"I found out from a text on WhatsApp from another driver, which is obviously not ideal," said Russell.

"I think Nikolas Tombazis and Steve Nielsen are aware and recognise the communication line between the FIA and the drivers isn't strong enough.

"It needs to have a better cooperation, because a lot of these things directly impact us. We can also give our first hand view from the cockpit, which can help aid some of these decisions."

F1 2023 Qatar Grand Prix RN365 News dossier


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