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George Russell

Russell warns radical F1 Sprint proposal 'won't work'

The Mercedes driver is adamant that a change to the Sprint format won't produce the racing expected, citing experience in junior formulas.

Russell Las Vegas
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George Russell has citied his experience in junior categories as a reason why reversed grids in Formula 1 Sprint races "won't work."

As a way of making the shorter Sprint format more exciting in 2024, F1 bosses are discussing format changes, with reversed grids one idea mooted.

Reversed grids have long been proposed as a way of making Grand Prix racing a better spectacle, with the famous 2005 Japanese Grand Prix where winner Kimi Raikkonen started 17th on the grid pointed to as what the format could offer, but leading F1 drivers including Lewis Hamilton, Max Verstappen and the now retired Sebastian Vettel have spoken in opposition.

The format is a part of the F2 and F3 schedules, with the top 10 in qualifying for the main feature race reversed for the shorter sprint, with 2018 F2 champion Russell explaining why reversed grids could not work in F1.

Russell: It won't work

"I won't talk on behalf of the drivers, but my own personal view is that I don't think reverse grid races will work," Russell told media including RacingNews365.

"Purely because I learned when I raced in Formula 2 and Formula 3, is that if you've got the 10 fastest cars, the most challenging car to overtake is the one who you are fighting with.

"If you reverse that grid, you are going to have the quickest car in 10th, trying to overtake the second quickest car in ninth, who is trying to overtake the third quickest car in eight, so each car is trying to overtake their most direct competitor.

"What you'll probably find is that it'll just be a DRS train because you might have a Williams leading from a Haas who he can't quite get past, who is leading from an Alpine who is leading from a McLaren or whoever. The concept won't work.

"The best Sprint races have been when there is tyres degradation, like we saw in Qatar and people on different strategies, and equally in Brazil, the tyrs could only just make it 25 laps, and it was a good race.

"But most of the time, in the Sprint races, you put the Medium tyre, and you're just flat out to the end and there is no good racing."

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