Russell hails FIA safety innovation despite Saudi Arabia danger

Mercedes driver George Russell has hailed a new-for-this-season safety innovation introduced by the FIA into F1, despite issues associated with the device’s target causing problems during practice for the Saudi Arabian Grand Prix.

A number of drivers escaped with near-misses as traffic caused chaos on Thursday, particularly in second practice, with Russell’s teammate Lewis Hamilton warned and Mercedes fined for almost causing a collision with Williams’ Logan Sargeant.

Russell himself was almost forced into the wall on the run to the final corner later in the session as RB driver Yuki Tsunoda suffocated the space on the inside of the track with drivers jostling for track position.

‘Really big improvement’

Asked about the issue, Grand Prix Drivers’ Association director Russell explained a new system introduced by the FIA for this year.

“It’s always difficult in Jeddah,” said the Briton.

“You can’t have it all because it is 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 have 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 – you don’t know who is three or four cars behind on a push lap.

“But definitely a real improvement on safety in that regard.”


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