“A little bit of common sense needs to be shown”: Mercedes racer George Russell snaps sharply amid Ocon and Alonso penalty controversies

George Russell, the Mercedes driver, has expressed his frustration with the FIA over the penalty issues faced by Esteban Ocon and Fernando Alonso. He has urged the governing body to adopt a more common-sense approach towards penalty rules. Russell’s remarks come as a reminder of the need for a more practical and less rigid application of regulations in such situations.

Following the recent Esteban Ocon and Fernando Alonso issues, the FIA will expand the grid boxes used for the start of Formula One races ahead of the 2023 Australian Grand Prix. Ocon and Alonso were both penalized after starting outside their grid boxes in the opening races of the 2023 season in Bahrain and Jeddah, respectively.

How does every F1 car lineup perfectly in these boxes before race start? :  r/F1Technical

In each instance, Ocon and Alonso crossed the white painted lines on the edge of the grid boxes but stayed behind the yellow line that indicates how far forward a vehicle can start and were penalized by five seconds for being out of position.

The grid boxes for this weekend’s race in Melbourne have been made 20cm larger compared to the previous round in Jeddah at 2.7m – with the prior 2.5m width essentially 20cm wider than the 2.3m grid boxes used in 2022.

What did George Russell say about the penalties?

Mercedes driver George Russell had some words for the FIA for his fellow driver’s penalties. He said, “I understand why these rules are there, we’ve got to stick within the guidelines, a little bit of common sense needs to be shown.”

“Ultimately I think he [Alonso] was a bit to the left, was that right? He gained nothing from this, perhaps a five-second [penalty] is too much.”

George Russell - F1 Driver for Mercedes

Alonso also spoke after the Jeddah incident where he admitted his fault in the grid spot issue, “I need to pay more attention to that, it is a little bit also strange that in two races, two cars, Esteban and myself. We have similar things. So maybe this is cars, or the Halo, whatever it is interacting with the vision of how we position the car. But anyway, that was my mistake.”

FIA Expands F1 Grid Areas and Tests New Guide Line Paint Marking for Visibility Improvement

The FIA is thought to have made the original move to expand the grid areas for the start of 2023 due to the difficulty for drivers in seeing around convoluted bodywork on current F1 cars. Given the move to drastically alter the chassis regulations for 2022, as well as the Halo cockpit safety system that has been in place since 2018, visibility has been a significant discussion point among current drivers.

However, following the Ocon and Alonso incidents in the first two races of the 2023 season, the governing body has decided to make F1 grid boxes even broader for the immediate future, after consulting with the teams.

The FIA will also test a new central ‘guide line’ paint marking. It will be put down in the center of a few of the grid boxes of the Albert Park circuit. It is to be examined by drivers during the practice sessions and likely will be applied to the rest of the grid if thought useful during the tests that will follow on Friday.

Fazal Al Bashar

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Fazal is a passionate soccer aficionado, who when not discovering the latest soccer stories and rumors, indulges in playing FIFA all night. While he sucks at the sport, he knows the who and what in all things soccer-related.


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