George Russell reveals new FIA safety step to tackle Saudi Arabian GP traffic issues

Oliver Harden
George Russell holds onto the halo as he lowers himself into his Mercedes cockpit with a prominent FIA logo alongside him

George Russell has revealed a new F1 safety measure introduced by the FIA for 2024

Mercedes driver George Russell has revealed the FIA has introduced a new system on F1 steering wheels for 2024 in an effort to ease traffic issues such as those at the Saudi Arabian Grand Prix.

While F1 has made a huge leap forward in safety standards over recent decades, speed differential between cars is widely regarded as the most dangerous part of the sport.

George Russell explains new FIA safety initiative

Those issues are only amplified at a circuit like Jeddah, which is made up of fast sweeps and long, winding straights with a blind approach to a number of corners.

Russell’s Mercedes team-mate Lewis Hamilton had a reminder of the dangers in Thursday practice in Saudi Arabia, where he inadvertently blocked Williams driver Logan Sargeant.

Hamilton was given a warning for the incident, with Mercedes copping a €15,000 fine. recommends

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Speaking to media following FP2 in Jeddah, Russell hailed the circuit as one of the most exciting from a drivers’ perspective – but bemoaned the visibility problems around the high-speed track.

And he revealed that the FIA have taken steps to help traffic problems this year with the introduction of new data on the steering wheel, informing the driver of the gaps to the drivers directly ahead and behind.

However, Russell explained that this still does not resolve the issue when drivers are on push laps, pointing to the Hamilton incident as evidence that it remains imperfect.

He said: “It’s always difficult in Jeddah. You can’t have it all because it’s one of the best circuits to drive, so exhilarating – but you can’t see! It’s definitely challenging.

“The FIA, at the start of this year, introduced something on our steering wheel to show us the car in front and the car behind and the gaps, which has been a really big improvement.

“But the thing is if you’ve got two cars behind on a slow lap, you might have a car travelling at 200mph 10 seconds behind and he passes through.

“That’s kind of what happened with Lewis and Sargeant – he had one car behind, [Hamilton’s readout showed] that direct driver who’s behind, but you don’t know who is three or four cars behind that on a push lap.

“But it’s definitely a real improvement in terms of safety in that regard.”

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