Brawn dismisses Russell’s criticism

George Russell labelled the Imola sprint race "processional" after his P11 finish.

Formula 1 managing director Ross Brawn has discussed that his philosophy for improving the show in the pinnacle of motorsport usually involves asking for feedback from the drivers towards the front of the grid, so is unlikely to seriously consider George Russell’s feedback.

Both Russell and Sir Lewis Hamilton got caught in a DRS train during the sprint at Imola having failed to make Q3 on Friday, and the 24-year-old would end the 21-lap dash 11th, with his team-mate behind in 14th.

Subsequently, the Briton indicates that the short race, coupled with tyre degradation in traffic, made for an uneventful afternoon from his personal perspective.

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“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,” he told Sky Sports.

Naturally, Russell will have made these comments having not watched the enthralling battles going on towards the front – after all, how was he to know? – and Brawn is pleased with the interesting dynamic a shorter race with no stops presents.

“As we all know, racing drivers are racing drivers, so any thoughts they were going to take it easy for the race I don’t think this is the case,” he explained.

“I think we were fortunate in the tyres were perfect for the sprint race because they started to degrade. 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.

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“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.”

The 67-year-old amusingly observes that his drivers during his time at the helm of the likes of Mercedes, Ferrari and Benetton, usually endeavour to find a reason for lack of performance, and that often comes in the form of criticising the race. 

As such, the Briton feels he will get a more honest summation from those higher up the order.

“Whenever my driver’s had a bad car he’s complained about the race 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,” he divulged.

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“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 will not completely disregard the concerns raised by the former Williams driver who spent much of his time at the Grove side racing at the back, as he would like to improve the spectacle across the board.

“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. It would be great if there were things going on at the back,” he affirmed.

“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.”

Russell finished an impressive fourth in the grand prix on Sunday, while Hamilton could only manage P13.