Brawn refutes Russell’s ‘processional’ sprint claims

Frank Parker
Ross Brawn speaks to reporters. Imola April 2022.

Formula 1 managing director of motorsports, Ross Brawn. Imola April 2022.

Formula 1 motorsport director Ross Brawn has dismissed comments made by Mercedes driver George Russell who said that Saturday’s Emilia Romagna sprint was “processional”.

The British driver started the sprint in 11th and finished in the same place after getting caught up in a ‘DRS train’ in the early stages of the race stuck behind Haas driver Mick Schumacher.

With Schumacher on the medium compound, he was able to hold on to the life of his tyres better whereas the softs on Russell’s Mercedes started to degrade.

However Russell believes that the race didn’t go on long enough for the degradation to have an effect on the result.

“I don’t know what the rest of the race was like but it felt processional from where we were,” said Russell, as quoted by RaceFans.

“The race just isn’t long enough to get some tyre degradation there and to have some big differences between the drivers and the cars.”

The Emilia Romagna Grand Prix sprint saw the first overtake for the lead take place when Red Bull’s Max Verstappen was able to reel in leader Charles Leclerc in the Ferrari with just two laps to go.

Cars line up for the sprint at the Emilia Romagna GP. Imola April 2022.
Cars line up on the grid for the sprint at the Emilia Romagna Grand Prix. Imola April 2022.

Ross Brawn believes that the tyre compounds brought by Pirelli were perfect for this occasion and hailed the “great success” of 2022’s first sprint.

“I think we were fortunate in the tyres were perfect for the sprint race because they started to degrade,” he said, quoted by Motorsport Week.

“Of course in a normal race you would have had the driver coming into the pits, changing the tyres and it would have all come down to strategy. They only had one shot in the race and the drivers had to make the tyres last.

“The interesting thing is it’s probably given Ferrari a good insight for tomorrow. So I think they’ll be stronger in the race tomorrow than what they were today.

“So we’re very pleased with the sprint race. Great entertainment, lots of racing going on, plenty of overtaking. We’ve demonstrated the cars can follow. I know you may say, well, it was DRS but you can’t use DRS unless you get on the back of the car. So I think overall it was a great success.”

Brawn admitted that he was focussed on learning the thoughts of the front running cars as he believes that drivers struggling with their cars in the mid-field, or towards the back, tend to complain about races.

“Whenever my driver’s had a bad car he’s complained about the race,” explained Brawn. “So I think George’s opinion or the opinion of anyone in the back of the grid is not the opinions that we really listen to.

“The opinions we listen to are the guys who were really competitive, they’re racing in the middle or racing at the front. They’re in a very unfortunate position, but I don’t think their position in the back of the grid is really one that reflects the true position of racing.”

However, Brawn, who was happy with the abundance of overtakes further up the field, has promised not to ignore Russell’s comments.


“I just know from my own experience psychologically a driver of the back of the grid has got all sorts of other things going on,” continued Brawn. “It would be great if there were things going on at the back.

“We had a Mercedes that couldn’t overtake the cars in front but there was plenty of overtaking going on in the middle and the front. So of course we’ll listen, we won’t ignore it, but I think you have to you have to keep a perspective on it.”


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