Masi denies DRS led to Russell/Bottas crash

Date published: April 20 2021

Valtteri Bottas George Russell Imola

Michael Masi has defended the decision to activate DRS after George Russell said it played a role in his crash with Valtteri Bottas.

Russell was involved in a high-speed crash with Bottas when he attempted to pass the Mercedes driver down the main straight on lap 31 at the Emilia Romagna Grand Prix.

The Brit, who was running tenth, got a better exit out of the final corner and, with the help of DRS, closed in on Bottas and drew alongside him.

However, touching a damp spot on the track, Russell lost control of his Williams and slammed into Bottas at speed.

Both drivers were out of the grand prix and so the blame game began.

While Bottas said Russell was clearly at fault, the Williams driver blamed the Finn and even DRS.

Race Control had activated the Drag Reduction System after the wet start to the grand prix, deciding that the track was dry enough.

Russell reckons if it wasn’t for DRS, he would have had more control over his Williams.

“Probably in hindsight, given the conditions, given the circuit – that the straight is not straight – the DRS probably should not have been activated,” Russell said.

“I would not have [spun] if I was in the exact same position with DRS closed. So I highlighted that may be one for the future.”

Race director Masi disagrees.

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“Having looked at it at the time, it’s obviously something we were monitoring closely,” Masi explained via ESPN.

“But, to be fair there was a number of DRS overtakes that were completed successfully before and after.

“No, I don’t think it was [allowed to be used too early]. Looking at all of the footage, the track was all fine from our perspective and no issues on that end.”

Russell, who confronted Bottas after the crash, has since apologised to the Finn for his actions.

“I apologise to Valtteri, to my team and to anyone who felt let down by my actions. That’s not who I am and I expect more from myself, as I know others expect more from me,” he said.

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