Perplexed by some of the calls Race Control made in Australia, George Russell says a conversation needs to be had because F1 can’t have their decisions being the headlines.
Max Verstappen clinched the win at round three of the championship, the Australian Grand Prix, with Lewis Hamilton bagging Mercedes’ first podium of the season while Fernando Alonso made it a hat-trick of P3s.
But it was Race Control’s decision to thrice red flag the race that created most of the post-race chatter with the race stopped for Alex Albon’s crash and later Kevin Magnussen’s.
That second red flag stoppage set into play a two-lap shoot-out that resulted in the day’s third stoppage when Carlos Sainz pitched Fernando Alonso into a spin while there was chaos further back.
After a lengthy delay, Race Control sent the remaining cars back out for what were the final metres of the 58th and final lap with the grid reforming only for the drivers to cross the finish line.
Drivers and pundits were baffled by the decisions, many believing the FIA were to blame for the late-race chaos as Magnussen’s crash could’ve been cleared behind the Safety Car.
Russell, the Grand Prix Drivers’ Association director, says the drivers want to speak with the FIA about their recent “crazy or rogue decisions”.
“For sure, there’s going to be a lot of conversations with the FIA to understand their views,” he said as per Autosport.
“It’s a bit of a challenging time, no doubt for all of us in that regard, and for sure as well for the FIA.
“They’re not stupid, and they’re trying to do the best job possible. But things do need to be ironed out to understand where their approach is going to lie.
“We can’t really be having weekends that are just totally dictated by what somebody in the race control office wants to do.
“We’ve seen a few crazy or rogue decisions being made recently. If they’re consistent, that’s absolutely fine. But it’s the inconsistency that makes it challenging for the rest of us.”
The Mercedes driver also wants to speak about the FIA’s recent decisions to reduce DRS zones given that this season the drivers have complained that they’re finding it more difficult to pass.
He questioned whether the FIA have heard the drivers in their complaints.
“I think the overtaking is harder this year than it’s been last year,” said the Briton. “I think as the cars have evolved away from the initial regulations that F1 introduced, overtaking has become more difficult.
“Obviously they’re shortening all the DRS zones as well, which the drivers have had zero impact on. I’ve been a little bit disappointed again that we weren’t in that loop on that.
“I’m not even sure the FIA are aware that we feel that the overtaking is harder, yet they’re basing the DRS off historic information.
“We will be raising it for sure. I mean, it’s only a hundred metres [here]. It’s not going to change the world, but it’s directionally incorrect.
“We just want to be kept in the loop whenever these decisions are being made, and to have an opinion or share a thought that can contribute towards their decision.
“That’s a process that we still need to work on because, clearly, we’re all in this together and we only want the best for the sport.”
The 25-year-old called for more collaboration with the FIA.
“We just need a bit more of a collaborative effort to improve the sport from an excitement factor, but then also on a safety regard,” he said. “Who better to give them feedback than the people who are actually driving the cars themselves?”