No further action against George Russell by FIA over contentious overtake attempt

Thomas Maher
George Russell, Mercedes, 2024 Japanese Grand Prix.

George Russell and Oscar Piastri have been summoned by the FIA stewards at Suzuka.

Oscar Piastri and George Russell headed to the steward’s office at Suzuka, following their late-race battle over seventh place.

Russell clinched seventh place in the Japanese Grand Prix, following a thrilling late-race fight with McLaren’s Oscar Piastri – but an incident during the battle caught the attention of the FIA stewards, who decided against taking any further action following an investigation.

FIA stewards summon George Russell and Oscar Piastri

With just three laps remaining in the Japanese Grand Prix, Piastri had fallen out of the DRS region behind sixth-placed Fernando Alonso up the back straight and into the chicane.

Russell moved to capitalise on this, switching direction at the last moment to dive up the inside of Piastri at the chicane. The pair stayed side-by-side but, with the space between them shrinking rapidly, Piastri was forced to back out and cut across the chicane to resume the track.

Piastri was overtaken by Russell shortly after, having run slightly wide through the chicane and opening up an opportunity for the Mercedes driver.

But Russell’s aggressive move on Piastri was forwarded to the stewards for a closer look, who summoned both on the grounds of an “alleged breach of Appendix L, Chapter IV, Article 2 b) of the International Sporting Code – car 63 [Russell] forcing car 81 [Piastri] off the track in Turn 17.”

The wording of the regulation invoked states that “A driver may not leave the track without justifiable reason.

“More than one change of direction to defend a position is not permitted.

“Any driver moving back towards the racing line, having earlier defended his position off-line, should leave at least one car width between his own car and the edge of the track on the approach to the corner.

“However, manoeuvres liable to hinder other drivers, such as deliberate crowding of a car beyond the edge of the track or any other abnormal change of direction, are strictly prohibited. Any driver who appears guilty of any of the above offences will be reported to the Stewards.” recommends

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The stewards duly sat down with both drivers and examined video footage and data to decide whether or not to impose a penalty – before letting Russell off the hook.

“The Stewards heard from the driver of Car 81 (Oscar Piastri), the driver of Car 63 (George Russell), team representatives and reviewed external and in-car video evidence,” read the verdict.

“This incident provided a number of challenges in arriving at a decision.

“There are a number of matters that, based on the “level of comfort” criteria used by the International Court of Appeal in accepting evidence, we accept as fact:

1. That [Russell] did not “dive in” and was in control at the entry to Turn 16.

2. That coming into Turn 16, [Russell’s] front axle was in front of the mirrors of [Piastri] hence, according to the driving standards, [Russell] was entitled to “racing room” on
Turn 16.

3. That [Russell] bounced off the inside kerb and then collided with [Piastri] (based on photographic evidence tabled by [Piastri]).

4. That Piastri, having felt the impact from Russell, took evasive action by driving off the track rather than risking another collision with perhaps more serious consequences.

5. That [Russell] left sufficient room on the exit of Turn 16 for [Piastri] to take the turn remaining on track.

6. That [Piastri] cut the chicane and returned safely to the track in front of [Russell].

“The driving standards are however silent on what action is required of a driver who leaves the track to avoid a collision or is forced off, safely rejoins the track and retains position.”

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