George Russell calls for Monza track change after FIA penalties galore

Henry Valantine
George Russell and Esteban Ocon almost tangle at Monza.

George Russell takes to the run-off area after almost making contact with Esteban Ocon at Monza.

George Russell has called for changes to be made to the Rettifilo Chicane at Monza, with a “Get Out of Jail Free card” available to drivers who miss the corner currently.

The Mercedes driver was penalised for doing just that in the heat of battle on Sunday, running deep while trying to stay ahead of Esteban Ocon after coming out of the pit lane and taking to the run-off area, jumping over the speed bump and retaining position.

By not ceding position to the Alpine driver, he was given a five-second penalty, though he was able to hold onto fifth place come the finish, but Russell believes drivers should be disincentivised further from avoiding the opening chicane at Monza.

George Russell calls for Monza change at opening chicane

Additional reporting by Thomas Maher

There were a swathe of moments during the Italian Grand Prix that saw drivers run deep into the opening chicane while defending position, and taking to the run-off to try and either hold onto their place or gain one, with multiple incidents of drivers having to give positions back throughout the race.

When discussing his moment with Ocon after the chequered flag, Russell accepted his penalty, but hopes to see a change at that particular place on the track to try and halt the drivers from an easy get-out in future.

“Yeah, I knew that it had to be a maximised out lap,” Russell told media including when asked about the run that led to his penalty at Monza on Sunday.

“I came out of the pits next to Ocon, and I knew if I fell behind him my chance to undercut the guys ahead has disappeared.

“So I went in very hot into Turn 1 knowing there was a bit of a risk to miss the corner, and that’s what happened.

“But in Monza, it’s a bit of a shame because it’s always a bit of a ‘Get Out of Jail Free’ card with the run-off there.

“And that gives drivers, especially when you’re fighting, the chance to miss the corner – so I’d probably like to see a bit of a change in the future.” recommends

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Despite the risk involved at braking from some of the highest speeds achieved in Formula 1 cars all season, Russell said he would make the same kinds of moves again in order to hold onto a place – even with the changes he wishes to see at that chicane in future.

“Yeah, absolutely,” he responded when asked if he would take the same kind of risk again at that corner.

“I knew that P5 was probably the worst that we could have achieved considering the gap to the guy in P6, so it would have only compromised me if there was a Safety Car right at the end.”

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