Russell: Wrong Algarve Circuit layout chosen

Jamie Woodhouse
George Russell Williams

George Russell believes track limits will be an issue since the Algarve International Circuit will use its fast Turn 1 layout.

The venue is set to host Formula 1’s first Portuguese Grand Prix since 1996, and it’s a versatile track which has several available options at Turn 1.

Formula 1 have opted to go with the fast right-hander, rather than the available slow configuration which goes from right, to left and back again at Turn 2.

And having tested F3 machinery and a Mercedes Formula 1 car at the venue, Russell expects drivers to heavily exploit track limits at Turn 1.

“I’m really excited. It’s a spectacular circuit, very undulating, a lot of blind corners, which is great, and adds a lot of character,” he told Autosport.

“Obviously I need to wait and see once I’ve driven it in a current car, and how it will all pan out.

“We may have some track limit issues, which I hope can be rectified before we even get there, at Turn 1.

“I know that was an issue in F3. We had a race weekend in F3 in 2015, and on the Thursday we had a test day, which was on the quick Turn 1, which is what we’ll be doing for the F1 weekend.

“But everybody was just doing track limits, so they actually adopted doing a sort of a hairpin loop, which was very nice.

“So I’m actually surprised we haven’t done that loop, because for racing it would be better having a slower speed corner at the end of a long straight.

“But nevertheless, I’m excited to go there and intrigued for the challenge that we face and the teams face.”

FIA race director Michael Masi shares Russell’s fears that drivers will abuse track limits during the Portuguese Grand Prix weekend.

But he doesn’t think that will be consigned to Turn 1.

“Regarding track limits, Turn 1 won’t be the only location that we’ve got a possibility there,” he admitted.

“However, we’ve put some elements in place to try and manage those as best we can for the event.”

Although there has been an unofficial Formula 1 test held at the track, that came all the way back in 2009, meaning the teams have no meaningful data for how the 2020 spec cars will perform around the Algarve International Circuit.

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